"Only those who risk failing greatly can ever succeed greatly." –RFK
Monday, July 21, 2008
Badwater Ultramarathon - 7.14.2008
Ah! Another successful year at Badwater from a medical perspective. It was a "fast" year with many fine performances and a women's course record by Jamie Donaldson and a win by Jorge Pacheco. There were lots of races within the race too, like between Pam Reed and Dean Karnazes, making this one of the most exciting Badwaters ever.
The medical team consisted of doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and exercise physiologists. We formally treated about 20 people, including a few crew members. The most popular reason was for dehydration and heat exhaustion, but there were other medical issues as well like nausea, vomiting, and an upper respiratory infection.
John Vonhof and Denise Jones tended to numerous foot problems, patching up runners and enabling them to finish there races.
It was a "slow" year for medical. We saw about 2/3 the usual number of patients. I attribute that to the cooler weather, like last year, 115 degrees F, but also to the high caliber athletes at this year's event.
After the race, we enjoyed the post-race party, the post-post-race party, and a Mt Whitney summit.
We had the privilege of having Dr. Brent Ruby and his colleagues from the University of Montana doing medical research on water turnover and core temperature at the race. These results should be very interesting!
Danny Westergaard and Anita Fromm completed their double crossings!! Lisa Smith-Batchen completed her run from Las Vegas to Badwater, then to Mt. Whitney and its summit. In October she will ride the Furnace Creek 508 to complete her 810 miles for charity.
I am an ultra runner, physician and have been medical director of some of the toughest ultras. I tend to be a mover and a shaker and louder than my size suggests. However, my Gemini twin is gentler and contemplative, an artist, a writer, and a poet. I am a dog lover, a believer in souls, and have a special affinity for those who struggle because I have been there.
This is my crazy lovable huggable Weimaraner, Steely Dan. I call him Steely. He left us in January of this year at only 6 years from lymphoma that did not respond to chemotherapy treatments. Steely was a total goof. He loved trail running, road running, treadmill running, new experiences, making eye contact, sleeping on his back, me, kids, and liver treats. He was Zappa's best friend. We miss him dearly.
This is Stella. A rescue from the shelter. She's about 6 months old and a Border Collie. She is a joyous bundle of energy and curiosity and now also Zappa best friend. She will make a nice running partner when she grows up.
This is the now the big brother of my family - a rescued Greyhound. His name is Frank Zappa. I call him Zappa. He's 7 years old and has learned all about life beyond the track and crate from Steely when he was with us. It was very rewarding to watch his personality bloom as he settled into the family. And yes, he runs like the wind!
This is Natasha, my dearest friend. She was with me through college, medical school, residency, and she moved with me from Chicago to Spokane several years ago. She was my best running partner for 10 years. My sweet Natasha died from bone cancer in 2006. I miss her still. I hung a windchimes over the deck outside. When it chimes, I smile and think she has finally -- wherever she is now -- caught a squirrel!