Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Road to Badwater Part III

The morning of the race
We all turned in early and were out by about 10:00 p.m. I slept well until about 2:30 and then woke up hourly until 6:00 when we all started moving. We went to breakfast at the FC Inn. I didn’t have much of an appetite, but I forced down some bacon, eggs, fruit and coffee – I don’t have much of a pre-race eating ritual like some runners.

Everyone was a little quieter in the morning as we focused on the event ahead. My crew jumped into, as Dave would say ‘it’s all about Gregg’ mode. They loaded up the vehicles with my gear and labeled them with ‘Geerdes 29’ and motivational verses, while I got dressed and rested. My race didn’t start until 10:00 so I was trying to relax as much as possible, but even when lying down I couldn’t get my heart rate below 60.

At 8:45 Dave’s alarm went off and we drove to the start.

The heat at Badwater by 9:00 a.m. was already intense and I knew it would only get worse. I was truly having second thoughts about my ability to handle this heat and even my bronze goal was looking slim. Experts say that you can only effectively consume about 1 liter of water per hour. At Death Valley, during physical exercise you can easily sweat through double or triple that amount, i.e. you can’t keep up with your hydration demands.

While I was baking in the heat, drinking more water, and going through the motions of the 10:00 a.m. wave photos, all I could think of was the intense heat. How am I going to run in this heat? Then I heard Race Director Chris Kostman call for the 10:00 wave to line up. A young lady sang the national anthem and suddenly I began to feel my confidence come back to me and thought - let’s get this party started. The count down was given and ‘BANG’ the race was on.
  • Lesson Learned: Prep your crew well, the more they know you and the situation the better they can prepare themselves and support you
  • Lesson Learned: If you trained correctly your body will start acting independent of thought in preparation for the event
  • Lesson Learned: Fear is a good thing, but don’t let it control you.

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