Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Experiences At Badwater 135

Badwater is special to me because.....
When Ed “the jester” Ettinghausen got accepted to run he asked me, my mom, my dad, and four other people  to crew for him. We were very excited.  Ed also made us wear skirts! 
At the pre race check-in I met Dean Karnazes, he lifted me up on his shoulders and said “I couldn’t run as far as you can when I was your age, keep running.” You have no idea how happy that made me :) I was wearing a jester hat so people would say things like “Hey mini jester.” and they would usually talk about our skirts, Ed (who most people thought was my dad), and about Badwater.

Almost everyone at the race was wearing all white and some people had their faces covered, so Ed was really easy to see in his orange shirt and jester hat. Ed’s crazy outfit also made it easier to crew because you could see him coming and have enough time to grab the stuff that he needed.
Ed started at the back while everyone went out fast and he was like a fisherman just pulling in and passing the people as the time and miles went on. 
For the first 17 miles runners weren’t allowed to have a pacer so when the runners hit the first check point the pacer had to experience the heat too. Most of the check points were really small cities with only a general store, restaurant, and hotel. Gas, ice, and almost all food was way over priced in these little towns.
At probably mile 25 we pulled over to help the pacer van and I was writing a sign, and we started hearing groans coming from the guy behind so we looks behind us to find a naked man using the toilet (a bush). The sight of that made me laugh for a few hours =).
At about mile 41 we were driving to the next checkpoint to get some ice and popsicles when this huge dust devil came in front of us and all we could see is sand I didn’t see it coming so it kind of freaked me out. After going through the dust devil we passed these massive sand dunes. I can only imagine how hot that sand is.
I noticed that if you didn’t give Ed what he wanted when he wanted it he wouldn’t take anything until the next stop to save time. Ed also didn’t stop running so he saved a lot of time.
At night most of the runners were climbing around a 7,000 foot hill and the temperature dropped down to about 45 degrees! When me and my mom stopped in front of the pacer van I would lean out of the car and cheer and then have to get back in because it was so cold.
I fell asleep in my mom’s car and I woke up and found out that Ed is at mile 98. He complained his knees are shot because of the shoes he was wearing, oh no! After about an hour Martha Ed’s wife came back to my mom’s car and we drove to mile 122 the next check point to take a shower and a nap.
After we got ready we went to were the race staff was setting out times and we would cheer for the runners and every once in a while one of the staff would come out and yell something along the lines of “Here comes elite athlete ....” It would kind of shock me when they came out because I never heard them coming.When Ed made it to mile 122 he looked terrible and you would have to yell at him for him to talk to you, I felt really bad for him.
The travel up Whitney Portal (the last 13 miles) is all hills and is really hard for all the runners.  You would go up a hill just to find another hill plus there is high elevation. I noticed that on the trip up to Whitney portal that Ed was in the zone and seemed to be in a lot of pain.
Most runners and their crew were crying and cheering for the other finishers, so in the end most of the runners picked up their pace a lot for a strong finish! 
After Ed finished he sat down, took a picture with the race director and the crew and he got back up and said “okay guys time for me to carry you.” so Ed literally picked all of us up, one at a time, and ran across the finish!

The day After Badwater there is a little awards ceremony and you watch this years race recap and Chris the race director comes up and calls on all the runners and says their time, place, and if they got close to or beat a Badwater record. After the awards ceremony was over my dad started talking to Nickademus Hollon, Nick is the youngest Badwater, and Furnace Creak 508 (the Badwater for cyclists) finisher. My dad introduced me to Nick and told him that I was gunning for his record and he gave me his e-mail address and told me to e-mail him, meeting Nick was exciting and made me really happy.
...... Badwater certainly lives up to its title and that makes me want to run it even more.

Congratulations to my favorite Jester for another Badwater victory!

1 comment:

  1. Great report little buddy. It was an honor to have you as part of Team Jester. Can't wait to see you out there in your own Badwater 135. 2020?