Sunday, July 23, 2006

Badwater Ultramarathon for my pal Jay

Hot enough for ya?
While slogging through the heat and humidity the past month or so, I consistently reminded myself I had nothing to complain about. My work colleague, Jason Hodde, is an ultramarathoner and is entered in the most demanding of all ultramarathons, the
Badwater Ultramarathon, which starts on Monday. 135 miles through Death Valley in the middle of summer, with 60 hours to reach the finish line at the portals of Mount Whitney. Over two mountain passes, it also has a total of 13,000 vertical feet and 4,700 feet descending.

Jay is part of
Roster of 85 endurance athletes. He’s taking a crew of 6 others with him to supply him with the water, food and support he’ll need. He told me Thursday he’ll have five pairs of shoes, 7 pairs of socks, five sets of SPF30 sunprotecting garmets, a rental minivan, rental small car and more ice than imaginable. He has a clear plan for completing the race, which he started once before and has been a crew member for others twice. He knows just how tough it is. The plan includes walking most of the uphills and only a judicious use of running. Staying awake and on his feet for 40+ hours in 120 degree heat is the real challenge. As he pointed out to me “We run on the white line on the roads because it is cooler than the black asphalt.” Yeah…that’s just the start.

I’ll be following Jay, bib #36, via the
their webcast over the next three days. Jay sets off at 8:00 am PDT on Monday morning with an ultimate challenge ahead of him. Go get ‘em, Jay, in the ultimate test of perseverance.

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