Reflections upon Badwater

By 2002 finisher Angela Brunson

Click here for Angela's training advice.

Click here for the National Public Radio coverage of Angela's experience. 

 

"The young are so reckless, they feel they are invincible, that nothing can stop them. Ultra-runners also display many of these characteristics, so I suppose in many ways, running ultras makes us young again."
- Crew member/boyfriend Brian Seaver

"I know there's that something in all of us, which you have tapped, that allows us as individuals to achieve the remarkable. Oh what fun it is to watch. Ha! I say this with the same morbid humor I savor while watching automobile accidents."
- Crew member Steven Hong

"Treks through places named 'Stovepipe Wells' and 'Furnace Creek' are the ultra-runners' way of once again disregarding mothers' advice and placing not only our hand, but our whole body upon the stove. As a result, we become stronger and wiser. Some lessons can not be taught, they must be experienced firsthand."
- Crew member/boyfriend Brian Seaver

My lowest point: Those eternal three miles leading into Panamint. At one point, I was laying flat on my back when I heard Brian's voice in the walkie talkie say "The van won't start." I remember being so very grateful that I had not thought to put a mechanic on the crew and now I had the perfect excuse to quit this nonsense.

My second lowest point: The 100 mile mark. Although I knew by now I was going to make it to the finish, I very much wanted the finish to occur far sooner than I knew it would. I felt I had worked hard enough to that point and I was entitled to be done by now. The thing about patience being a virtue didn't apply to those who already traveled as far as I had. Why couldn't Al had just been satisfied with the Badwater 100 mile course???

The most physically demanding part: Getting up off the most pleasant couch in the world after an hour and a half of sleep at Panamint. Brian's words, "C'mon Angela, if you want to quit, you have to get back out there on the road first" somehow made sense to me in my state of half-sleep.

The highlight: Much to the dismay of my crew, cruising 9:00 minute miles from the start with Marshall Ulrich.

The most unbelievable part: Once my crew achieved the perfect blend of caffeine, sugar, and ibuprofen, I was power walking up the portals and actually feeling better than I did at the start.

The biggest disappointment: No hallucinations.

Would I do it again: Highly unlikely. Although, I keep unintentionally having thoughts like, "I bet I could be a little faster next year" or "If there was a next time, I'll be sure to try more of this/less of that" or "Oh, wouldn't it be great to have ____ on my crew next year?" Hopefully, I will commit to being on a crew next year very soon so I won't be able to toy with the idea of a double.

The best way to be assured of finishing the race: Having a reporter from National Public Radio tag along. The listeners probably wouldn't be interested in hearing the triumphs and tribulations of someone who refused to get off the couch at Panamint. Click here to read, or listen to, the NPR report.

Final thoughts:

Denise Jones is no longer merely a Blister Queen, she is a Blister GODDESS.

Dr. Chris Rampacek is the most masculine guy to ever wear support hose.

I am so thankful that I kept the puke to a minumum and the pee to a maximum.

The Heat Training Clinics hosted by Ben and Denise Jones are like knowing the answers before the final exam.

Thanks to Kirk Johnson for writing such a thoughtful and inspiring book.

If it wasn't for the movie "Running on the Sun" none of this would have happened.