Monday, July 13, 2009

Badwater Time!

It's that time of the year! Dubbed "the world's toughest footrace" Badwater Ultramarathon starts today July 13 and will finish sometime on the 15th. The journey begins at 280 feet below sea level in the bowels of Death Valley and climbs to the Mt. Whitney Portals at around 8,300 feet above sea level over the course of 135 miles. It is run completely on pavement or whatever gravel can be found on the side of the highway and temperatures are in the 100-130 degree Fahrenheit range for the entire day.

I have read a lot about this race and watched movies/documentaries about the intense journey and, call me crazy, but it looks appealing. It's definitely on my list. I hope to possibly crew down there next year to get some experience with Death Valley. This year I have a couple friends running it and I made a list of people that I know or know of and tacked it to my wall with their respective bib numbers.

Local ultra runner from the Syracuse area Todd Baum will be running his third Badwater. I tracked him last year and am anxious to see how he prevails with a couple races under his belt. Todd is the race director for The Green Lakes Endurance Runs Ultras and friend of mine. He has helped me with my transition into ultra running and has done a lot for the Central New York ultra community. He even arranged a birthday cake for me last year for my 30th year upon completion of the Green Lakes 50k! We were also honored to host Badwater course record holder Valmir Nunes from Brazil at that very race and meeting and taking pictures with him is something I will always cherish. Good luck Todd! Sending you ice cube thoughts and lightweight blister-free feet prayers!

Next up...Anthony Portera. I've been in contact with Tony ever since I met him while I was attempting my first 100-mile run last year at Iroquois Trails 100. Tony was crewing for Bryon Powell but when I forgot some salt tabs at my drop bag Tony was nice enough to share. Since then we've emailed back and forth discussing everything from training tips to dreams about this very race! I was excited to find out that Tony got in and from reading about his sauna training and Bear Mountain hill workouts we think he's definitely got a strong race in him. Go Tony! GO!

Elizabeth Carrion is another person I briefly met at Green Lakes last year where she tore up the 100k. Elizabeth and her significant other Joe Azze are phenomenal athletes and make a great team through these endurance events. Elizabeth and Joe created Mountain Peak Fitness and you can learn more by clicking HERE. Elizabeth is definitely one tough woman who is accustomed to the heat already and watch out for a strong performance from her this year! Best wishes Elizabeth!!! and Joe!!!

Steve Hanes and Alisa Springman shared the same trails with me last year at Iroquois Trails 100 and although I don't know them very well I will be tracking them and sending out positive vibrations. Good luck you two!

The rest of the list of people that I will be tracking over the next couple of days consist of:

Jamie Donaldson- a teacher that I used to live close to in Colorado; former Badwater winner
Charlie Engle- a recovering addict/alcoholic that I admire greatly
Dean Karnazes- Dean doesn't need any intro. Reading his book a few years ago inspired me into ultras.
Jorge Pachecho- One of the top ultra runners and last years winner
Pam Reed- also a former overall winner and haven't read her book yet but hear it's awesome
Marshall Ulrich- a legend on the Badwater course and first ever to complete the unassisted trek

Although I will be keeping tabs on all the amazing people out in the valley right now above are just a few of the favorites.

As for me and my running...well...I got in a couple solid short runs Saturday (5 miles) and Sunday (7 miles) pain free and am looking forward to another beautiful 6 miles today at Buttermilk Falls.

Last week consisted of recovering, resting, a 90-minute massage, some Active Release, and strengthening and stretching of the iliotibial band. I'm gonna beat this thing! I was also able to get some camping in on my brother's land and visited the in-laws out in New Haven, CT. We're getting closer to our big move...less than three weeks away!

Not sure what the near future entails as far as the running goes but am thankful to be able to run shorter distances and am going to hopefully build back up while strengthening some of the weaknesses.

Happy Trails!

Quote of the week: "Running helps me stay on an even keel and in an optimistic frame of mind."--Bill Clinton, former president of the United States

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