I WAS HOOKED!!!
I knew that Badwater was in my reach and I wanted to be the first Swiss woman to cross that finish line high up Mt. Whitney.
In July of 2009, I found myself at the 8 a.m. start line of the 135 mile Badwater ultra marathon that winds through the desert of Death Valley. This was my dream and I was in the midst of embarking upon it.
Through the tough desert sun I ran one of the best ultras of my life. I felt unstoppable. I had a great crew - all of my running friends from home in Canada. Everything felt great. I embraced the mountain climbs as I exited Death Valley and continued to run non-stop through the night. I couldn't imagine anything stopping me now. I was on course for the coveted Badwater belt buckle.
As I climbed Mt. Whitney, the last leg of my 135 mile journey I encountered the worst news I thought I had ever heard. Imagine running for nearly fourty hours, non-stop through the desert and then just about to finish the brutal four hour climb that drops you in the finish line chute only to be told that "I'm sorry, the finish line has been shut down. Forest fires ahead."
Ultras are suppose to teach you to overcome all obstacles in search of your goal. I was so mentally fatigued and so ready to taste victory, that I could not accept this reality. With less than 2 MILES to go to the finish of my 135 mile race, I had to turn back.
The next morning, my crew and I were allowed to cross the notorious Badwater finish line - arm in arm, Swiss flag raised and classic finish line photos taken. I did not DNF. I DID get the coveted Badwater belt buckle for finishing within the qualifying time limit. My official time, however, was 52:24. I lost a disappointing 13 hours and 40 minutes due to the fire.
I learned in February of 2010 that I was once again accepted as one of the very few athletes from around the globe to attempt a Badwater finish. I knew I had to return as I had "un.FINISH.ed" business. And finish it I did! Read my race report here.
I will apply once again to run Badwater in 2011. This is my favourite ultra race and why not - three's a charm!
Update: Three might just be a charm! I received the coveted email confirming that my application to run Badwater has once again been accepted for 2011. Bring on the heat!
And 3 was a charm!
Badwater Ultramarathon 2011 - 3 was a Charm!
In my third Badwater I ran my fastest time so far - 29:51:23 which was good for third place female and 10th overall. After I got home, I found out that I missed my age group record set by Irina Reutovich of Russia in 2000 by less than 3 minutes. One more reason I'd love to go back and run the race again.
In February I received an email from Chris Kostman that I have been accepted to run the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2013. Woohoo! I am so excited to run my favourite race again. Deep in my heart I hope I will have the perfect race and run an even faster time than in 2011.
Dreams sometimes become true...