Less than a week from today, 88 insane (yet legally-competent) runners will step out into the 120-degree heat of Death Valley to run the annual 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon. I always enjoy following this race online (in an air-conditioned room), and if you don't know what happens out there in those conditions, check out Running on the Sun and The Distance of Truth - they're fun for the whole family (provided your family is also insane).This year I have a bunch of friends running, so I'm super-excited for the webcast. First and foremost is my friend and returning ladies' champ - and course record-holder! - Jamie Donaldson (shown on the right in last year's race), and if there wasn't already enough reason to be excited about her race, this year she's making the Spirit of the race proud by running the extra 11 miles up to the peak of Mt. Whintey (the highest in the contiguous U.S.) after she crosses the finish line! The race was originally run this way as a 146 mile race from the lowest point in the U.S. (-280 ft. in Badwater, CA) to the highest on Whitney's peak at 14,496'. Permit and access issues have forced the race to end half-way up Whitney in recent years, but Jamie's ultra-running heart is proving to be pure with her extra effort and planning to attain her own personal permit and continue on to the top with her crew. I love it!!!
Also running this year are my friends Adrian Belitu (running in support of Imerman Angels!) and Anthony Portera who is looking to add another gold star to his fantastic 2009 season with his first two sub-24 hour 100s already in the bank! Good luck to everyone out there - stay cool!!
I know Jamie's and Anthony's feet will be perfectly cared for on this scorching terrain by Drymax Socks...I just hope all of the other competitors are as lucky! If you watch either of the movies I mentioned above, you realize how feet can be destroyed in no time at all out there on the 200-degree pavement. Drymax can save runners time by eliminating all the endless foot-care needed during the race, and to go one step further, by eliminating debilitating blisters, these socks can literally mean the difference between dropping or finishing the race. Why anyone would ignore the evidence of these amazing socks at this point is beyond me...maybe they just like running in complete agony, who knows?!
As for me, I'm quietly racking up the miles and increasing my speed in rehab. I'm up to 52 miles this week, and everything is feeling great. "Nice and Easy" is the theme for the next few weeks still. I'll be looking to max-out around 75 miles for the last couple of weeks before the Viaduct 100 on August 8. No need to try and do too much and risk injury before this "100 mile training run"!