Jess Mullen ran Badwater last week and was the 7th woman to finish and 36th overall with a time of 37 hours, 20 minutes and 12 seconds! Here is a recap of her experience:
Badwater... It's hard to describe in words what this race is like. It is unique in many ways - the distance is a bit farther than most races (using the 100 mile distance as a reference), it's a bit hotter than most races, there are no aid stations, it is completely on the road, and you have a crew that sees you most every mile of the race. I absolutely loved it. All of my expectations of misery were met!
It was much more a 'team' event than a solo run and I had an amazing team. The first major section of the race (~42 miles) from Badwater to Stovepipe Wells is the hottest and I handled the heat surprisingly well. Going into the race I was most concerned about this section. The most memorable part of the race was during the night. It was majestic in the desert with the moon and stars. We skipped the headlamp for the most of the night and just let the moon (and our blinking red lights) guide us. It was peaceful and magical. The second day was the hardest – dealing with the sun and heat after all the miles the day before. I also had gotten slightly dehydrated (my weight was down) and had some bathroom issues. My feet were on fire. They felt raw and hot (but only one blister, thank goodness). The stretch between Darwin (~mile 90) and Lone Pine (mile 122) was boring and mostly straight road with expansive views. I ran for hours and felt like I'd gotten nowhere. Finally, the last climb, to the Whitney Portals was scenic but steep. Reaching the finish line was a special moment, not only because it was the finish, but also because I had thought about (dreamed about) reaching this point for 5 months and I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. Then I sat down and all the pain set in!
I had 5 members in my crew. Van Phan was my crew chief and made sure everything ran smoothly. Sara Malcolm was the accountant and made sure I took all the necessary food, supplements, hydration, etc at the specified times. Matt Hagen was the publicist and made sure updates were reported and photos were taken. Eric Barnes was our medic and took care of my aching feet. Mike Mullen arrived the evening of the first day and helped cycle-in to give other crew members more time to rest. He helped pace and crew. Everyone helped pace, each running 4 miles at a time. The team worked well. I had a successful race and would do it again in a heartbeat.