Badwater Salton Sea

Sometimes things come your way and you either procrastinate or you jump into the deep end and JUST go for it. Well Badwater Salton Sea was one such event I would have to say I didn’t know that much about it until I had an email and Skype call from Linda asking if I would be interested in being part of a  three women, over 50 year old team to all complete together 130km in South California desert and Mountains….a qualifier for Badwater 135….. and an epic challenge in its own right…. Mmmm now let me think …epic challenge and a chance to be in a team with Linda and Pam…. it was of course a pretty easy decision…  Yes yes yes….. with Col’s incredible support for me…..I registered and all the planning started… but first I needed to research the event and see what I was getting myself in for…..

The route covers 81 miles (130km) non-stop from below sea level at the shoreline of the Salton Sea, across, up, and over Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, to the top of Palomar Mountain with a dramatic view of the Pacific Ocean.  Ohhhh arhhhh how fabulous…. and yes lots of planning with Linda and Pam was needed to make this all happen.

I have never done a team event so this in itself was a challenge for me it kept playing on my brain that I might let them down…. something might happen …but soon that was all forgotten as we got closer and started to realise we would all be in this together no matter what…. Oh must make mention to our team name….. “Old Mamas Runwell”……  just loved it not sure that we did the old part justice as think we are all crazy and young at heart….

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I was very excited to arrive and be with Linda and Pam…there was lots to organise as we needed to pick up crew members, gear, water and get all our food packed and ready to go… Linda had organise two crew members Ed and Veronica neither I had met but I was very thankfully of their incredible contribution to helping us reach our goals for this race…. And a wonderful surprise was Linda had Sam Dean joining us to capture the event with his amazing photography…. I had met Sam when I crewed for Linda at Badwater and his photos were stunning so I felt extremely privileged that Sam was joining us.

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As we all stood on that start line my usual nervous were churning in my stomach but as I looked at Pam and Linda I assured myself of how lucky I was to be here….

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I had a level of excitement different to other races as I knew I was there for them as they were here for me…. and there wasn’t going to be a time I felt lonely out there running as we were all going to be together… very different from other races as you often find yourself for hours on your own in long races…

We all counted down ….3,2,1….and we were off and running …… my nervous energy slowly went away as we settled into a nice comfy rhythm together…. chatting, laughing at times and at others saying nothing really at all. 

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Our support crew were fantastic Ed was running down to meet us as we approached the car and would give us cold water and whatever else we needed… Veronica was by the car madly making up drinks and getting food ready for us…they were like a well oiled machine and if they had any hassles I sure never knew. 

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Sam was clicking away and kept us amused with all sorts of funny locations he would show up in and take photos……even hiking and running up the mountain trying to get in front of us for some great shots……oh I so couldn’t wait to see them so awesome he was here capturing all the magical moments.

We knew the race would throw up lots of temperature changes and it did we went from warm to hot hot hot….then add the wind in and a sand storm well that pretty much summed up the first part of the race …. then through the trails and hills and as night fell it was freezing cold and finally the rain oh yes the rain… guess it washed of all the sand and sweat but really….!!!

What we didn’t expect was the suffering and pain that Linda was going through with a pre event injury to her ankle… I admired her steely determination but the pain you could see on her face was getting so intense as we moved further through the Kilometres (well miles in this case)…. the time had come, we had dreaded …..Linda was going to call it a day…..

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I felt sick and helpless and after a long cuddle we all had together Pam and I continued …..

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my sunnies where hiding the tears as they fell down my face… but then something clicked hey we had to finish this …we had to finish this for Linda… we were team Old Mamas Runwell  and in spirit we WERE all together

With BSS you can continue if a team member drops out but you are not entitled to be a finisher for the places just and honorary finisher and you receive the belt buckle.

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Well we knew it would be a bitter sweet ending and at that moment all Pam and I had to do was keep it together and get to the end.

At times we would talk and solve all the problems in the world and then laugh at how silly some of the things we said were……..

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other times we would talk about family then there would be complete silence as we pounded along the road and Mountain trails.

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I must say we were in sync with each other and zoned out completed at other times but remained side by side or front and back of each other… just motoring along…

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Finally our wonderful crew were telling us we were nearly there and that we were up the hill and through the finish line in the rain and cold of the night….. the feelings were raw and emotional and a bit mixed up…. I wished for different ….that we had all been hand in hand crossing that finish line in tacked as a team  …… but I felt extremely proud of us all I had learnt so much from these two amazing wonderful women…

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And Ed, Veronica and Sam I have to thank from the bottom of my heart …. you were with us all the way…..what a team we all were. Until we meet again …..Sandy