Monday, July 20, 2009

Badwater Ultramarathon 2009

(pic: about 5:30 am at Badwater. Kim, Jeff and Tim dance on the salt flats 282 feet below sea level.)

(pic: Thalia Kostman sang the National Anthem and sent chills up the spines of the runners waiting in the heat to start. Her voice is gorgeous.)

(pic: 10 am starters)

This was my 8th consecutive year at Badwater. I crewed and paced Steven Silver in 2002, headed up the first sort of organized medical team in 2003. Ran in 2004. Headed up medical in 2005 and 2006, ran in 2007, and back to medical these past 2 years. Wow. No wonder I feel like I'm going to my Badwater Family Reunion every year. I love these people.

This year we had 10 people on the medical team. If I may brag, I would say we are a great team. We have skill and experience and the all-important sense of humor to help us get along as we work straight into day 3 of the race.

(pic: Steve Teal, George Miller, Tim Englund, me, Jeff Lynn, Kim Keeley, Mary Kashurba. Not pictured: Alene Nitzky, Dave Heckman, Woofie Humpage.)

We treat minor and major problems from mild to severe dehydration to overhydration to heat exhaustion to stomach and kidney and muscle problems. We see and treat it all.

(pic: how to avoid dehydration in Death Valley)

(pic: one of our belly-bustin' outings on the third day of the race. Corey and Jay try to scare me straight at the pizza place where we ate dinner at 10 pm.)

It was a fabulous experience once again, and adventure etched into my memories forever.
* * *

Two days before the race, Tim and I ditched our plane tickets to Vegas and decided to drive. It was the best decision ever! It was a casual unhurried road trip and we took a full 2 days to do it.

We stopped whenever and wherever we wanted for short or long breaks. One of our favorite stops was in Austin, a cute historic mining town with a cool trail to an old castle. Even better, as we went for a run and explored the trail, a storm started to roll in. Very exciting indeed!

(pic: Stokes Castle 1897)

We got to Furnace Creek (near Badwater - the location of the race start) on Saturday night. It was 110 degrees as we drove through Beatty, promising a hot race for Monday.

(pic: Furnace Creek before the pre-race meeting)

We took a little time Sunday morning before the pre-race meeting to run down the road to Badwater, and at noon, it was all work for the next 3 days straight (with of course, the usual spatterings of decompensated humor and laughs).

We slept very little, about 10 hours total over 3 nights. Despite that, we scored passes for Mt. Whitney and made the summit on Thursday. This was my 4th (maybe 5th?) summit and Tim's second. Words cannot describe how exotic that mountain is! We kept tradition by smoking a cigar at the summit. Instead of trying to put it into words, I'll post a few pictures instead.

(pic: destination Mt. Whitney summit)

(pic: Whitney portal)

(pic: surreal)

(pic: see the tree line far below)

(pic: 14,500 feet)

(pic: it got a little chilly on the descent as we got off to a late start in the morning, ended up finishing just after dark.)

The drive home was just as easy and relaxed. We stopped at Mammoth Lake to spend $300 at a t-shirt shop (!!!!) and eat a New York salt bagel (they don't have those here in WA).

(pic: Mineret Vista)

It was tough to shift gears and get back into work today, but I am now caught up. I'm already planning the next adventure!



Amazing pictures! now I want to go! ( volunteer that is, not run the race) That whole 'surreal' pic is perfectly named. Thank you for sharing that great experience with others. Totally appreciated.

AnthonyP said...

It was so great to see you guys out there ! Your entire medical team was fantastic.

Could you e-mail me the picture you took at Stove Pipe when I was getting me feet looked at ?

Backofpack said...

Beautiful pictures Lisa - I looked through the whole deal on fb. A perfect vacation!

Chris Roman said...

Amazing pics!

Mmmm, fresh salt bagel with cream cheese. I thought I was the only one...........

Jacqueline Florine said...

It was great to see your med team in action. What a great bunch! I liked the attention to detail and curiosity you bring to your work. You are a super special one of a kind gal.
Good luck in Greece.


Very cool! I love all of the photos. You didn't even look hot!