The journey is complete...but the journey goes on.
I can't thank you all enough for your incredible support that you sent via email, voicemail, and otherwise. Without the support of my friends and family, Badwater just wouldn't have been the same.
At the end of the race, I did in fact finish in 13th place in a time of 32 hours, 51 minutes, 20 seconds. I had a pre-race goal of 35 hours, so I'm very, very pleased with my finishing time.
It was incredibly tough...the heat, the distance, the climbs, the descents...everything that this race throws at you is challenging. But when everything got tough (which would basically be the entire race), I just focused on moving forward without stopping and concentrated on the present.
In other words, I didn't worry about the past or the future, just on what I could do at any given moment. And that usually boiled down to putting one foot in front of the other, whether I was running or walking.
I took no breaks longer than about 12 minutes. I can recall two10-minute planned breaks for eating (at miles 42 and 59), one 12-minute break for foot "surgery" near the end at mile 128 (?), one 2-minute break at mile 74 for "sleep," an unplanned 4-minute elevate-my-feet-break around mile 105, a 5-minute check-the-blisters break near mile 115, and a 2-minute break near mile 110 to ice my feet down. That adds up to about 45 minutes out of the 32 hours when I was not moving forward on the course. Otherwise, I was running or walking.
Photos are all over the place and still rolling in. Here are a few, in no particular order:
A great set of photos from my friend Glenn, who was crewing for the women's champ Lisa Bliss. I'm in a bunch of the shots: http://www.pbase.com/gtach/bliss07
http://www.badwater.com/2007web/shows/2007showCK03/pages/DSC01487.html --About an hour after the start
http://www.badwater.com/2007web/shows/2007showCK03/pages/DSC01524.html --Paul Curran waiting for me (wearing cowboy hat) with a cold bottle of water
http://www.badwater.com/2007web/shows/2007showCK04/pages/DSC01560.html --With crew & pacer Larisa
http://www.badwater.com/2007web/shows/2007showAB05/pages/IMG_4641.html --somewhere around mile 30 with Paul
http://www.badwater.com/2007web/shows/2007showPoosa01/pages/DSCF0151.html --Near mile 122 in Lone Pine
http://www.badwater.com/2007web/shows/2007showPoosa01/pages/DSCF0152.html --Near mile 122 in Lone Pine
Finish line shots:
The level of athletic talent is sky high at this race. I wasn't worthy of carrying most of these folks' dirty underwear, much less be allowed to line up next to them at the starting line. I just ran my own race and focused on enjoying the entire experience.
And enjoy I did! I had as much fun as I could, considering the tough conditions and the blisters I suffered late in the race. But even through that shooting pain that I felt with every footstep, the race was still amazing in so many ways.
So much credit goes to my crew: Tracy Fawns, Larisa Manuel, and Paul Curran are three of the most selfless individuals I've ever met. They were a picture of efficiency. Our number one rule was HAVE FUN. From the looks on their faces, they appeared to be having a great time. We had absolutely zero problems...every food handoff, clothes change, bottle prep, etc. was seamless. I didn't have to worry a bit about the details. All I had to do was move forward.
So much more to say and write...but no time now as I'm preparing for a short family vacation. No running...just some good poolside lounging, writing, and reading. Stay tuned for many more details.
Finally, please visit www.giveshoes.org to find out how you can support the mission of Soles4Souls. What an INCREDIBLE organization!