Badwater 2000 Race Report from my Perspective
2000 Official Finsher
Badwater was everything I expected and then some, very challenging but doable. Quitting never entered my mind, spending a week finishing did. The temp at the start line was 99 degrees and progressively went up to 128 by mile 33 near Scotty’s Castle turnoff at 2:15 pm. The first problem was a hot spot on the ball of my left foot. I stopped for 12 minutes and placed a gel pad under the hot spot. This did not work so stopped 1 mile latter and taped the hot spot with some 2″ Elasticon. This was about the last problem I had with my feet. I did end up putting the gel pad back under the taped spot, as the ball of my foot had become very sore. By mile 38 my stomach had turned sour and I slowed my pace from 14 to 18 minute miles. The stomach settled down and I was able to make it in to Stove Pipe Wells for a one hour twenty five minute break. I returned to the course just before 7pm and the temp had dropped down to 116. For the next 12 miles I walked and ran with Johann Pratscher , and then spent some time run…ok walking with Rick Nawrocki. Rick has been an inspiration as he has battled cancer off and on for the past few years but never gave up. For me this was a major highlight of the race. Night came quickly and the temp dropped to 81 degrees at the top of 4900′ Towne’s Pass, 58 miles. By now it was 12am and time for another long break. Started running again at 1:30am, each time I started after a break it was a real struggle to run/walk. Now is the time I wanted to get some fast miles in, I know 12 min miles doesn’t sound like much but that is what I had wanted to do through this section. 18 to 20 min miles is all I could muster.
By mile 63 I had diarrhea, not a good sign. I struggled with this for the next 4 hours I made it 67 miles in the first 27 hours, I knew there was no way I could buckle having only made it about half way. Oops, coming in to Panamint Springs I lost the diarrhea battle and had to walk close to a mile feeling very uncomfortable. Changed my shorts at Panamint and used some Desenex for the diaper rash that had developed between the cheeks. Damn that stuff stings…I see why babies cry when you use it on them. The manufactures of that crap should have to try their own product. Feeling somewhat refreshed I headed up toward Father Crowley, after climbing a couple thousand feet the fresh feeling left. It was again a struggle all the way to the 5000′ elevation sign at mile 87. The smoke from local fires was starting to cover the valley. You could see ash drift down to the valley floor. The sun had become obscured and was a beautiful red ball. After checkpoint #4 at 90 mile I felt much better, a friend and first and only pacer joined me. I had no idea he was going to run with me as his job was to escort me to the top of Whitney on Sunday. It felt great to get out of my own head and talk to somebody. We walked for 10 miles and I got my second wind and started running. I did some quick math and realized I could buckle if I kept it up.
My pacer decided to save his energy for Whitney as he was coming off an injury and had not been running much. I forged on and made it to Lone Pine at 11:36pm. Still full of energy I headed up Portal road for the final 13 miles. Within a few miles I was face first in the gravel on the side of the road. The wheels had come off. This is what I call a Marlin Perkins moment. I felt as of I had been shot with an animal tranquilizer and could not move. People where talking to me but I was unresponsive. I could hear and see them but was immobile. It only lasted about 10 minutes, and I was able to continue on at a blistering 36 minute pace. This was the worst part of the race, looking back I believe I was so excited about being able to finish well under the 48-hour mark I stopped doing the things needed to take care of myself. I had been refusing food and drinking very little.
About 2 miles from the top I got my legs back and renewed energy. I started running and did not stop until the finish. A day of rest and then on to the top of Mt. Whitney. We started up the trail at 4:00am Sunday morning. The air was filled with smoke from local forest fires. The trip up was uneventful. I only saw 1 runner, Scott Weber and crew. We spoke for a few minutes and tossed some arrows back and forth for a few switchbacks and that was the last I saw of them until my return. I pushed very hard and made it to the top in 5 hours and 22 minutes. I have no idea if that is a good time or not all I know is that was all I had left When I reached the top I broke in to tears…it was very emotional as I had trained so many hours to accomplish this goal. Stuck around the top long enough to see Adam Bookspan , Michael Styllas and Chris Moon arrive at the top. I also saw Rick Nawrocki, Barbra Elia and Scott Weber on my way back down.The return trip was pure hell. I did not enjoy the scenery after the first 5 miles. It was just one foot in front of the other with no thought other than forward movement.
I would like to thank my Crew Vivian McQueeney, Shannon McQueeney, Pat Smith and Dan Anderson for helping me through all the rough times. Without your help this would not have been possible. Also to Scott Weber my coach, thanks for the leasons and encouragement over the past year, I have learned so much from you.