Yesterday concluded the last of my long training runs before Badwater… 21 miles along Dillion Rd in Indio where the temperature topped out at 124 degrees. WIth the race being two weeks from tomorrow, it is now time to start my taper and just let my body absorb all the training that it has gone through over the past several months, which I am actually really looking forward to.
I’ll admit, this years training for the race didn’t go much like I had hoped it would. With my foot still hurting on and off, I was forced to miss some run workouts to let my foot rest and because of that, my weekly mileage hit 60-70 miles per week maybe 2-3 times. So as a whole, I maintained a pretty low weekly mileage. Days that I wouldn’t run, I would supplement my training with crossfit or do intervals on the C2 rower or airdyne bike. My training this year also did not consist of any training in the sauna and maybe that will be a mistake as it sounds like this year may be a “hot” year at Badwater (compared to last year, which was a relatively “cool” year). Instead, I tried to get out and run in the heat as much as possible.
Mark and I went to Palm Springs to train the first two weekends in June to do our long runs, which were pretty miserable. We would make a car aid station and then run with our hydration packs about 5-6 miles in one direction and then run back to the car. 10-12 miles in one stretch was cutting it pretty close though without refilling water and I felt like I would have to ration it the last few miles, which wasn’t a great feeling! Then we would refill our packs back at the car and then run another out and back going the opposite direction. The following day we would run up the Palm Springs Tram Road. A 3.75 mile hill with over 2,000 ft of climbing. That hill sucks! But so much fun to run down!
The third week in June, Mark and I went down to Cabo to get some more training in the heat in. There was a hill that started about 3/4ths of a mile from our hotel and then climbed about 2.500 feet in the following 4+ miles. It was the perfect hill to run and temperatures I would say reached to about 100-105 degrees so we would run this on most of the days that we ran. Then we would relax by the pool and then a few days we would do a shorter workout on the teadmill in the evening. It was a fun week and I loved running up that hill. I felt super strong and was able to run the whole thing, except for one section that was ridiculously steep towards the top that I decided would be faster to power walk.
This final weekend in June (yesterday), I came up to Palm Springs one last time with my mom and step dad and my mom crewed me on a 21 mile run. Temperatures started out at 106 but within an hour or so, it soared up to 115 degrees. The heat actually didn’t bother me at all. A few miles in, I asked my mom how hot it was out, expecting it to maybe 100, but it was actually 113! It took me quite a few miles to get into the run. At first I felt tired and sluggish, oh yeah and I fell hard on the ground, scraping up my hands and knee. However as the run went on and it got hotter, I actually felt stronger and stronger. My mom would drive 1-2 miles ahead of me at a time and when I got up to her, we would switch out my water bottles, I would drink some Vitargo, take a salt pill if I needed it and quickly wipe off my face and neck with a cold towel to help keep me cool. We had a good system going and it helped me to stay feeling as good as once can in that heat without any problems the whole way. The last mile I ran as hard as I could and was probably going low 8 min pace and felt so strong. When I got to the car, my mom told me that the last few miles had been in 124 degrees! It was definitely a great finish to my last long run!
We did get some weird looks from people throughout the run. A couple people asked if our car had broken down. Maybe they thought that I was running to go get help.. ha that would be pretty messed up for a mom to make her kid do that! But I or my mom would just tell them that I was just out on a run and they then they looked even more confused, trying to contemplate why I would want to do that. A few drivers though honked and gave me a thumbs up and that was pretty cool.
So I guess, even though my training didn’t go as I had planned and pictured it would go (as in way more mileage and some more heat training), It still went very well. I have been feeling very strong on my runs and for no supplemental heat training (sauna sessions), I feel like I run pretty darn well in the extreme heat. Plus, I think endurance sports are very much mental anyways. If you believe you can finish, you will finish. Its when you start to have doubts and negative thoughts that your body will give into that as well and you are way more likely to drop. Always stay positive! During my training runs I have been visualizing myself running the race and during those long climbs up the palm springs tram or the hill in Cabo, I have been picturing myself going up the last climb to Whitney Portal. I made a comment on one of my FB pictures that sometimes I can visualize myself so well crossing that line, that I will get so emotional that I will have tears going down my face. So I know in my head, in my heart and my soul that I have the ability to get through this race again. People may have put in double the training that I have done, but mentally I am strong as f**k and I know that is going to be a big portion of what gets me to that finish line. That, along with a great team of crew members which I definitely have!
Last year I wanted to do this race I guess because of the prestige of the event. It’s Badwater… considered to be the toughest footrace in the world! And so obviously I had expected it to be insanely hard, but I guess I never thought about how deep I would have to dig inside myself and how much I would learn about myself. I also never imagined to have so much fun and develop such a deep bond and friendship with my crew. I know that Badwater doesn’t really seem like a “fun” race, but seriously, we had so much fun! I definitely remember times that were tough in the race, but what stands out the most are all of the laughs and all of the moments that I gritted it out with my team. Even a year from the race, Traci and I will text each other and can start busting up laughing out load over some of the stuff that went on during Badwater and the Brazil 135. Mark gives me weird looks because he just doesn’t get what is SO funny. So this year, I am just so excited to make some more memories and maybe find out more about myself as well. Ok, and see if I can run it a tiny bit faster!
So now only two weeks to go! Badwater, I am ready for you!