Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Final 13

A little late on the report of the final miles, however it's finally here.

What an incredible journey it has been.  To be a part of this journey again was a blessing and honor.  To stand by a great friend and get him to accomplish a dream is something special to be a part of.  Here is how it finished.

Coming into Lone Pine would culminate the closing miles of of this Bad A** Badwater journey for Darren.  We turned him onto the main street that would take him to his second to last check-in point, and the last check-in point before a wall of a climb averaging 12% grade.

It was about 1:30am when he checked in to start the final climb up.  Darren was very sleepy and at times I think he was sleep walking. We always had a crew member walking with Darren to keep him moving forward and finish before the cut-off of 10am.  At mile 100 or so, the math was panning out to be a close one, so we wanted to make sure he would get the buckle.

We devised a plan to get him up to the finish which would include some negotiating of rest, sleep and food intake.  Each crew member took turns power walking Darren up the to the finish, with a goal of keeping him with an average of 30 minutes per mile, which is really a pretty good clip for how many miles he already had on tired legs and with how steep it was.

Keeping him motivated during the twilight hours was tough, however we knew once the sun would peak over the mountains, he would be resurrected.  Approximately 5:30am, the sun started to come over the mountains and shed some light on the finish. A few little nuggets also came his way.  A seasoned Badwater finisher was coming down from the mountain and gave Darren some lift in his feet.  A crew member of a wonderful woman who was attempting a double crossing stopped by to give us the exact distance left to the finish, hand off a special wrist band and offer some words of encouragement.  And....for a brief moment, I had cell service and my boyfriend Peter happened to call. Instead of letting him chat my ear off about the week, I handed the phone over to Darren.  For Darren to hear a different voice outside of our 5 (I'm sure by now annoying) voices was a source of rejuvenation.   Oh, and he happened to see another crew car pass him and park to wait for their runner...which only means that another racer is on his heels. Well.....Darren can't have that! Let's rock this finish!

2.7 miles to go and Darren's posture straightened, his strides lengthened and his competitive nature lifted.  Each of us took our last pace set with him and we rolled into the finish just before 7:30am on Wednesday morning.  A mere 46 hours and some change after we all left Badwater on Monday morning.   We walked through as a team, with Darren as our leader, to finish a 135 mile adventure.

There is much more color commentary to go with this adventure, such as speeding tickets, people thinking we are asking for money, a bat attacking Jessica as she tries to pee, Darren making weird noises as he runs, and the early morning nap negotiations.

To hear more of this crazy adventure, Darren will share his story at the Trek Store later this month.  And, SBR Coaching will also have a special evening for you to hear all about the pain, the joy, the suffering, the laughter, and the achievement of a goal.  Stay tuned for the date at SBR.

From Lone Pine, CA, over and out.