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2012 Badwater Ultramarathon Pre-Race Interviews – A 135 Mile Journey for Four Texans

The 135 mile shoe melting pavement adventure that starts in Death Valley, California with a finish line waiting at Mount Whitney, California, starts Monday, July 16! Of course, we are talking about the Badwater Ultramarathon and we have four Texans looking to do their best to complete this unique challenge.

Death Valley (Photo: Courtesy etechniker @ http://flic.kr/p/8Sist1)

What’s so unique about it?

  • 135 miles…on pavement.
  • Start at the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere – 280 feet below see level in Badwater, Death Valley. No swimwear required.
  • Finish line is at 8300 feet (Mount Whitney portal).
  • Run on three mountain ranges.
  • Minimally supported. You need a crew.
  • An invitational race. You must apply and wait to hear from the Badwater gods.
  • It can be is hot! Like fry eggs on the pavement hot.
  • A global event with runners from 16 countries. 97 total runners.

Texas will represent with two Badwater veterans and two attempting their first.

Let’s meet them and enjoy a little Q&A with three of them.


Kim Budzik #51

[EB – How is the body and mind feeling less than one week out from badwater?]

Both my body and mind are feeling good and strong as my training for the 2012 Badwater has gone well.  I have worked closely with my training coach, Lisa Smith-Batchen, and my nutrition coach, Meredith Terranova, in having a good race.  I am excited about going back and enjoying the 135-mile journey from Badwater to Mt. Whitney!

[EB – What draws you to come back to this event after reaching the finish at Mt. Whitney last year (2011)?]

What draws me back is the desire for a faster time!  In 2011, I had about nine hours that were really rough for me.  Although I knew I would never quit, I wanted to finish faster.

[EB – Are there any lessons learned from the first go around you plan to incorporate this time?]

The most important lesson I learned is to have a better nutrition plan that works for me.

[EB – The surrounding beautiful desert/mountain views during the day and the star filled skies at night. Which time of day are you most looking forward to run in? Any specific spots on the course you look forward to re-experiencing?]

I have always loved running through the night, and it is my favorite part of a race.  The star filled sky is absolutely amazing and truly humbles me.  I take the opportunity to pray and thank God for all that He has given me and for the gift of endurance running.  I am, however, also looking forward to re-experiencing Townes Pass which arrives shortly after mile 42 (Stovepipe Wells).  At this point, the course begins a 17-mile ascent to 5000 feet, and the head winds and heat are relentless.  I have a greater awareness and open mind as to what I will encounter, so I expect my experience here will be much better than last year.

[EB – What did your biggest training week look like? Any special approach to prepare for the heat?]

I had a couple big training weeks which incorporated both flats and hills.  What made these weeks so great was that I had plenty of high temperatures to deal with as well.  In dealing with the heat, I put ice in bandanas that go underneath my hat and around my neck as the goal is to keep my core cool.  My crew will help as well by spraying me down as often as needed throughout the days.

[EB – And maybe the most important question, how many pairs of shoes do you have with?]

I have three pair of shoes, but I really anticipate using only two of them – Hoka One Stinson’s and Brooks Ghost.  When I found out I was selected for the 2011 Badwater, I chose to have two of my toenails permanently removed as they always caused me issues with blisters!  Most recently,  my big toenails just fell off from my last 100-miler which was the Graveyard 100 held in North Carolina in March.  Thus, I expect my feet to hold up pretty well this year thanks to having less toenails to deal with!

Other goodies:


Doug Ratliff #68

[How is the body and mind feeling less than one week out from Badwater?]

Body is feeling good except for some lingering injuries from Pinhoti [100] in November that caused me to DNF Rocky and three other races before that. I’ve been going to AIRROSTI for treatment of left anterior tibialis tendonitis and some tendonitis in my left hip flexor.

I think I am undertrained due to a busy schedule at work, but I’m not overtrained and feel like I’m in decent shape.

Mind is nervous and anxious as I prepare to pack and load my van. My wife and son and I are driving Thursday and Friday to Las Vegas and picking the rest of my crew up at Las Vegas Airport on Saturday morning. Badwater takes a lot of planning and logistics. So trying to make sure I pack everything we need.

[What draws you to come back to this event after reaching the finish at Mt. Whitney in 2010?]

I really want to summit the mountain after the race this time around.

[Are there any lessons learned from the 2010 experience you plan to incorporate this time?]

I understand my dietary needs better and I’ve refined my choice of products to supply my nutritional requirements, and I’ll be avoiding some products this time. Also will do some advance skin treatment this time around to help prevent some conditions I experienced last time around.

I’ve lost some weight so I think that will help.

[The surrounding beautiful desert/mountain views during the day and the star filled skies at night. Which time of day are you most looking forward to run in? Any specific spots on the course you look forward to re-experiencing?]

Not the night 🙂 I get so sleepy. The stars are beautiful though. I really like the stretch going up from Stovepipe Wells to Townes Pass. You turn around and look where you’ve come from and it is serene and metaphoric. A lot of things combine to make it beautiful; the sun is setting as you near the top, the temperature is dropping as you gain elevation, you can see down over the route you took to get there. It is really breathtaking.

[What did your biggest training week look like? Any special approach to prepare for the heat?]

Not sure. I had some work projects that required some extra time and attention so that threw off my training plan to the point I lost track of my weekly mileages. I did some long runs on weekends, 35 mile, 45 mile, 60 mile, and 24 hours. I certainly didn’t get to execute my ideal training plan but I did the best with what I had. That’s life.

Training in San Antonio helps a lot to prepare for the heat. Sometimes I’d drive around with the heater on even though it was 95 degrees. But mostly just running in the full heat of South Texas.

[And maybe the most important question, how many pairs of shoes do you have with?]

I will have three. I change them out when they get wet and I start to get bath tub feet.

More goodies:


David Coats #57

[How is the body and mind feeling less than one week out from Badwater?]

After an injury that took me out for three weeks in early May, I recovered and am feeling great at this point. Mind and body both happy and well with less than one week to go. Fortunately, I am feeling as good as I ever have prior to an ultra.

[What draws you to take on this 135 mile journey?]

There are a number of things that draw me to Badwater. Two of the important ones follow: First, I find life more interesting and more fun to have something difficult to train and plan for. Second, finishing an ultra always makes any challenge in my everyday life, at home or work, seem easy compared to the challenges of an ultra. This is an added bonus that I never anticipated from an ultra. There are other reasons, but these are the two on my mind now.

[The surrounding beautiful desert/mountain views during the day and the star filled skies at night. Which time of day are you most looking forward to run in? Any specific spots on the course you look forward to experiencing?]

The spot/event that I am most looking forward to is crossing the finish line. I am not very familiar with the course so I do not have any specific spots that I am looking forward to otherwise. I generally enjoy the night portion of ultras the most, and I am anticipating that to be the case at Badwater as well. The time I dread the most in a 100 mile race, is mile 60-80. Before that, things are usually a lot of fun. After that, you are usually home free. But, 60-80 is hard for me. I’m not yet sure what the 60-80 counterpart is at Badwater, but I can tell you in a week.

[What did your biggest training week look like? Any special approach to prepare for the heat?]

My biggest training week consisted of 100 miles of running, a couple of days of Bikram Hot Yoga, and core work several days.

The best preparation for heat (I think) is routine training in the hot, humid weather in Houston. I also have done an hour and a half of hot yoga 2-3 days a week, have run in Las Vegas a couple of times, and have spent some time in a sauna, though this is not a great deal of fun.

[And maybe the most important question, how many pairs of shoes do you have with?]

Good question. I have three pairs of shoes. I have never even taken my shoes off in an ultra, much less changed them, though I always bring several pairs. I suspect that I will need a change of shoes or two in Badwater.

More goodies:


Claude Hicks Jr. – #90

Claude Hicks Jr at Pumpkin Holler 100.


Follow the Journey

Race organizers, AdventureCORPS will once again have a webcast with position/splits, Twitter feed, photos, etc.

Good luck and a safe journey to our four Texans!

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

 

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

5 Responses to “2012 Badwater Ultramarathon Pre-Race Interviews – A 135 Mile Journey for Four Texans”

  1. on 13 Jul 2012 at 4:34 pm Jonathan

    More power to them and hope they all finish in one piece. I’d rather run Hardrock or Leadville and they aren’t even high on my list of races I’d like to experience. I can barely handle the Texas heat as it is.

  2. on 16 Jul 2012 at 11:07 am David Hanenburg

    Jonathan – Those that are into the Badwater experience often come back for more. And those that don’t, I bet a fair percentage likely would if it wouldn’t be such an expense to make happen (crews, vehicles, travel, lodging, etc). It isn’t for everyone that is for sure. I can’t help but be inspired by those willing to attempt the journey.

  3. on 16 Jul 2012 at 11:34 am olga

    Joe Prusaitis says he’s never been the same as a runner after BW…and not in a good way. Of course I have about a dozen friends who have done it and came back for more as well. It’s never going to be on my list – roads, heat and scenery that is not my personal favorite to say the least. I guess that’s why we’re all different. Some like it hot:) and suffering more.

  4. on 16 Jul 2012 at 11:36 am olga

    p.s. Claude, though, is a beast!

  5. on 16 Jul 2012 at 11:38 am David Hanenburg

    I begin to get woozy just looking at Claude’s yearly schedule.

    A non-stop machine.