Continuing from where we left off last time, from the mouth of my friend Mike:
Fast-forward a few weeks to Friday, June 27th. I arrived in Vegas, picked up my Atayne shirt that Jeremy had so kindly expedited to the Mandalay Bay, grabbed a bite to eat, lost some money playing craps (I have no idea what I’m doing), and then fought off peer pressure from my two friends to enjoy Sin City that night.
Later that evening, I found myself sitting in my hotel room bored and decided to fully investigate what I was getting myself into the following day (yeah, I know I should have done that weeks before). Here’s what I found out.
It’s only 35-40 minutes outside of Vegas, easy enough. Temperatures expected to be 110+ degrees Fahrenheit. Crap; I’ll need to buy sunblock, a bandanna, and chapstick. The race requires runners to carry 20oz of water at all times; at least I planned properly for one thing.
I then read through a few 2007 race reports, again something I should have done a few weeks ago. Here is a nice little sample from Laura Yasso (yes, Bart’s wife):
“The run, as expected, was beyond brutal”
“116 degrees with incredibly intense winds throughout the afternoon”
“I’ve rarely seen so much carnage on a race course”
“When three veterans of Badwater call it tough, you got to believe it”
“The hills were relentless as were the afternoon winds”
“Go to your kitchen. Preheat your oven to BROIL. Return 15 minutes later. Open the oven door. THAT’S what it felt like for hours and hours”
As I read through the reports I thought, what the hell did I get myself into this time?!? It was 11pm and I was scared – seriously scared. All that was going through my mind was – how can I get out of this one? I finally fall asleep hoping the next morning I would be mentally tougher. Yeah, not the case.
I woke and I was out the door at 8am to find a store to get all the stuff I had neglected to bring. I arrived at Lake Mead, parked, and called Jeremy. No answer. I decided to send a text. “Dude. Scared. Not sure if I can do it. 50/50. I might die.” I was secretly hoping he would let me off easy so I could safely return to Vegas and join my friends at the Hard Rock pool. I began to fantasize about cool waters, bikinis, great music, and tall slushy beverages.
Jeremy finally returned my phone call, and here was his response to my exit request. “If you really don’t want to do it, don’t. I won’t make fun of you, that much. If you’re not ready, go back to Vegas, BUT, it would be really cool to field test the top in these conditions and report on it. Just go out there, listen to your body, and take it easy. If you have to quit, just quit. Of course, I would never quit – remember the Chicago Marathon in 2007 – I finished, despite limited water and ridiculous heat and humidity. I won’t make fun of you too bad if you do not finish. Just remember, a couple of weeks ago you did a one-day 25 mile hike in humid, mid-90 degree Pennsylvania weather – how much tougher can this be?”
Knowing me for nearly a decade now, Jeremy knew he could get me to do it by threatening my ego (darn thing is always getting me into trouble). I rolled up to the registration area and signed the “I will not sue you should I die” waiver (always frightening). At that point there was no turning back: in two hours I would meet the Devil…
In the time preceding the race, I mingled with some of the other runners, drank a ton of fluids, and then did the weigh in. They take your weight so they can pull you off the course if at any point you lose too much during the run (ok, that was concerning as well).
For attire, I decided to pair my Atayne shirt with a pair of yellow shorts with red chili peppers on them. I figured I’d mock the devil and this damn heat…