Monday, July 20, 2009

Badwater Day 2

One the start of Day 2, Tuesday, Molly was pretty much to the top of Father Crowley's Point and the sun was starting to come and show it's Hot self. By now she had been away for 28 hours or so. She was tired and her Achilles was still bothering her.

Once back on the road heading towards Panamint Pass which was about 10 miles from from Father Crowleys point (mile 80.2) there was still a little more climbing to do which was about 1300 feet over those 10 miles. It doesn't seem like much but then again, you are at 80 miles and 20+ hours of run/walking. Once passed Panamint pass it was heading to the town of Keeler that would bring some of the other high and lows.

As for the crew, we had all been pretty much awake this whole time with a couple of rest breaks and some were catching maybe 20 mins naps. The road from Panamint down to Keeler is a drop over the next 15 miles but the Negative of this drop is that you can see the road for about 20 miles or more and its really mentally demoralizing. Then you add in the heat again, this day, I was able to get some cell phone coverage and the temperature was 118*.

I was out pacing Molly when she came to the 100 Mile mark in the road. Molly had never gone longer than 100 miles and it was nice to see her break that record and continue on. The whole crew had stopped and come to the side of the road to cheer her on and congratulate her and take pictures. She needed it as she was already feeling bad from the head and we have given her a cold towel to basically wrap over her head and shoulders to keep the heat off her face. I called it her Tent, and she loved being in that tent for about 10 miles. After making it too Keeler things began to change. A few of us had drove out to Lone Pine and showered and ate dinner and went back out only to find that Molly had gotten sick again and was really off the pace of things for the belt buckle. This was the one and only time the crew's moral went down as we were all trying to figure out was to one, get her to eat; and two, get her to speed up! We needed time and at this point there just wasn't any to gain. But this is Badwater and at some point Bailey jumped out and just basically started making her speed up. Only sometime a great daughter and crew chief could do and she got it done. In just a short while she had made up about 20 mins. Molly wanted to stop in Lone Pine to freshen up before starting the finally climb up the Portal road but there was just no time for this and being as she is now 30+ hours of sleep deprivation and a great crew/crew chief they managed to get Molly to change in the car and freshen up there and then keep moving which was totally awesome b/c this now put things back on track and just a little ahead of the buckle cut off.

It was also dark by this time and with the cooler temps Molly just seemed to be picking up pace with Bailey who was taking her all the way into Lonepine about 7 miles away. At some point Molly realized she was leaning pretty severely to the left side, like a banana, and was worried about it to some extent. Coming into Lone Pine at mile check point 121 she asked me if I could give her an adjustment to push her back to the right but I had to chuckle and explain there was nothing to really do about that now and if she wasn't in any pain to keep moving and we would fix it later. She agreed and just kept walking.

Lone Pine is at mile 122 with an elevation of 3700 feet and goes up the Portal road to the finish line at 135 miles with an elevation of 8371, thats 13 miles of 4671 feet of climbing!! The roads are crazy. Put it this way. The winner in 23 hours and change even walked up certain portions of this road and there's pictures to prove it! So once Molly started up the road, we were quickly informed that there was a fire up on the mountain at one of the camp grounds but to keep moving, don't stop until told officially and be care with the emergency equipment. Soon we notice that a bunch of crew cars were coming down the mountain and all heading in town. Finally we got word they closed the 135 mile finish line and had moved it to 131 mile with an adjusted time cut off of 2 hours for the belt buckle, so now 46 hours not 48. After quickly calculating the pace, Molly was still behind this cut off by mins so once again it was get her and pacer to speed up. Before this could even happen Molly had been awake for 42 hours straight and she was basically falling asleep while walking and in order for her not to fall down and injur herself we had to give her a 10 min nap. She basically went to sleep so fast in the van that we had to pick her legs up and slide her in. After 10 mins we got her up and got her walking and she was better. The pace started to come down and at one point I was on duty and keeping the pace about 25 mins/mile. Basically we all did this and built a cushion going up that road.

Finally we figured we were about a mile out and the Mothership for the first time in 44+ Hours left Molly to go park at the finish line. We parked and all got out and waited just a few minutes and we could somewhat see Molly and Bailey coming up the road about 3/4 mile away and we all started walking down the road to bring her in. With a 1/2 mile left Molly was completely awake and you could feel the excitement. The energy from us all was so strong. She started to Thank us all and her appreciation and gratitude for getting her there. It was just unbelievable to feel the excitement and see her happiness on her so tired face and body. With just about 200 yards out, you could see the people at the tent stringing up the Finish Line Tape and we all said Molly you have to run! She said I don't think I can. Molly, you have to run!! Slow!! Just Run!! This is it!! We are all yelling and cheering. Molly you Lead US! and she DID! She started running and we all followed holding hands in a line and we raised our hands and SHE and the Crew crossed the Finish Line at 45 hours and 9 mins! The pictures were taken and we all hugged her!! Amazing!

The race director came over and put the finisher medal around her neck, spoke a little and congratulated her as well. Then from no where, there in his hands, was the Belt Buckle! Molly was just staring at it and he presented it to her with a great picture. She was so tired but so happy to achieve it! and we as a crew were just as happy we helped her get there! Next she got presented with a special hand made shirt from Indian cotton that was the Finishers Shirt! Once that was done she called us all into the circle, Just Like We Started With, thanked us all again, more than words could say. You could feel her deepest sincerity for all of us working so hard for her and to me that was the most special moment of the whole race. To feel her love and thanks for us all and that makes me so Proud of Her!! She is simply one of the best people I have met.

After this we quickly back into the Mothership and headed for the motel where it was bed time. Molly was pretty excited and filled with energy and talked and asked a lot of questions on the way down. Finally, it was off to sleep for about 6 1/2 hours, the first real sleep in the last 48 hours!

The next day we all had breakfast together, went up to Mt. Whitney as the original finish line had been moved back up to mile 135 around 7am and racers that finished at 131 were given the opportunity to start back at mile 131 and finish the last 4 miles, adding the time to there accumulative time. For Molly, she was 100% happy with her goal and time and no matter what 131, 132, 133, 134, or 135.. She is a BADWATER FINISHER!!

After touring Mt. Whitney and lunch we went to the post race party and then basically hit the road to come home. I slept pretty much the whole way and finally made it to my bed around 2 am.

The crew question we all had for Molly was would she do it again? The answer was "only if all the crew would agree to come back." I immediately said I would crew for any year!

The next question the crew was asked by Molly, "would do ever want to do Badwater?" On the first day of the race, the thought had already crossed my mind and I was thinking Yes, I would. Then on the second day when the race really started, I thought, WOW, I am just not sure I would want to push my body to those extremes. But at the finish, Molly changed everything I was doubt. I would want to Badwater, if I had a crew as good as she had and no less! Maybe some day.. You never know about a day in the life JT.


1 comment:

lindsay said...

not too hard to fathom you doing it! it does sound like an incredible experience, but goodness gracious a little bit hot! big congrats to molly for finishing the badwater! that stinks a little about the finish line drama but at least the race directors were cool about it. nice job to all of the crew too!