BADWATER 135….World’s Toughest Footrace…Official finisher!

Finally I get a chance to write my race report for Badwater 135.  What is Badwater 135?  It is considered the World’s Toughest footrace!!  You start at Badwater Basin 280′ below sea level and run 135 miles through Death Valley to finish at Mt. Whitney portal 8300′.  What that means….is a whole lot of heat and climbs!  Pictured is my awesome crew…Brad, Scott, April and Begered.

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I’m just going to dive into how the race went…..

Me and my crew left for the big race on Friday morning.  My awesome crew chief Brad made a custom rack for the van and we all packed up all the gear and supplies.  We stayed in Ridgecrest Friday and Saturday night to get acclimated to the desert heat.  Brad had us run each day on the hottest part of the day to get used to running in the lovely heat.  It was great that we went and got used to the heat.  Because the first run was hot!  And we only ran around 3 miles.  By the second run though I felt a lot better and less nervous about the heat.  Our stay at the Motel 6 was quite an adventure…but only the best for my crew!!  During our beautiful stay at the Motel 6 an older woman passed away in her sleep.  I thought to myself…what a way to start this journey and was it a sign?  We washed our clothes and packed up on Sunday morning and headed for the team meeting in Stovepipe wells.

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We checked in and bought gear from the race.  Put on the magnets to the van and headed for Furnace Creek to check in and attend another meeting.  Shit was getting real!  At the meeting were all the great ultra runners.  I got a little teary eyed looking around the room.  Seeing all these amazing runners.  And here I was…small girl from Fresno.  No one recognized me.  No one knew who I was from the running community.  I felt proud and accomplished.  I didn’t even finish the race yet, but at the moment I felt proud to be able to sit in the same room with such awesome runners.  So after the meeting it was time to relax.

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On Monday it was race day.  What threw me off was the night start.  The race didn’t start until 8:00 P.M.  I tried my best to relax and take a nap, but the nerves were getting to me.  I was so excited and pumped up to start.  We packed up and made our way to the race start.  I weighed in and put on my GPS tracker that would track all the runners throughout the race.  It was time!  I knew I was going to finish…but what I was unsure of was how long it was going to take me.  I estimated about 46 hours and cutoff was 48 hours.  Then off we went!

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For the first 42 miles I couldn’t have a pacer.  So I ran with ipod and listened to music.  It was super windy and there was so much lightning.  They had warned us there were possibly going to be flash floods during the race.  I prayed we weren’t going to get rain.  It was already humid and hot and to throw in rain would be miserable!  While running my crew would stop about every half mile to mile.  I didn’t think I was going to need to be sponged off at night…but I was wrong!  It was so hot already so my crew had to spray me and wet me with cold water.  From the start the first time station was Furnace Creek which is about 17.5 miles into the race.  I checked in at 11:15 p.m. and kept running.  I knew I still had about 25 miles to Stovepipe Wells so I just kept going and counting down until that time station.

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I made it to Stovepipe Wells which is 42 miles into the race at 5:00 a.m.  I had been running for 9 hours already and knew I still had a long way to go.  The 42 miles weren’t too bad besides the humidity, but it was a nice gradual climb up to that point.  I already knew it was about to get worse though.  My plan for food was thrown out the window.  I had some healthy chips I planned to eat the entire race, but the heat was so bad I couldn’t swallow them!!  I had to change plans and eat uncrustables!  I changed my socks and shoes and Scott was the first one up to pace me.  We took off and started to make our way to Panamint Springs which was 30 miles away and with a tough climb!  The sun was starting to rise which is always nice because it gives you a little more energy.  Begered jumped out of the van and it was her turn to pace for a few miles.  The crew was taking turns about every 4-5 miles to pace me.  By this time Oswaldo Lopez…freaking awesome ultra runner…passed me and said hello.  He was in first place at that point.  Then a few other runners began to pass.  It’s nice seeing other runners out there and not being the only one suffering in the heat.  I still felt pretty good and my feet weren’t hurting…yet.  As we made our way my crew was constantly spraying me and soaking me with ice cold sponges and spray bottles.  The humidity and heat was bad, but with the ice cold water I felt pretty good.  I never felt like I was running in 120+ weather, that’s how great they did!  The sun was out and in full force.  I had on white sleeves on my legs and arms and a hat that covered my face and neck.  I was making my way to Panamint Springs and knew once I got there I could clean up, eat and change shoes.

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I arrived at time station 3 in Panamint Springs at 1:34 P.M. on Tuesday, which is 72 miles into the race.  I was now a little over 17 hours into running.  I laid down to get stretched out, when a race official tells me there is a room we could use to stretch out so I’m not on the hot pavement.  At this time my crew is getting ice, so me and Brad decide to use the room, but my shoes are off.  So, I jump on Brad’s back and he carries me to the room.  Once we get there, the people in the room say its only for medical emergencies.  So I jump on Brad’s back again and we carries me to another room…that’s up a flight of stairs.  We get into the room and its for runners who need to rest or want to sleep.  So I sit so Brad can stretch me.  By this time Scott and Begered are there to help with some chaffing I had.  All the water I had been putting on myself to keep cool caused chaffing on my chest, back and inner thighs.  It hurt so bad!!!!  Any water that hit those chaffed areas made me scream!  So were all freaking out because the chaffing was so red and raw.  What do we do?!  Put liquid bandage.  Brad starts putting it on my chest and it stings and burns like freaking hell!!!!!  Imagine putting salt on an open wound….that’s how it felt!  So I’m trying not to scream because runners are sleeping.  Then Begered decides she wants to get in on some of this action.  So she starts putting it on my lower back and it burns!!!  They ask if I want it on my inner thighs and I say hell no!!!!  So I just wipe Vaseline all over my inner thighs.  I put new socks and shoes on and make my way back to the van.  As I sit to eat a little bit and drink a sparkling water, tears are just rolling down my face.  Runners coming into the time station and looking at me crying and probably thought I was hurt or in pain from something….but probably didn’t guess it was chaffing lol  I was hurting….bad!  My inner thighs were on fire and I knew any drop of water or sweat was going to kill me.  So I asked my crew if they had buffs or sweatbands.  Luckily April and Scott had one each.  So with their permission I put one on each thigh and rolled it up.  It worked!!  It felt so much better!!!  I was so happy but knew I had a tough climb coming up to Darwin.  Darwin time station was 18 miles away, but the climb is horrible.  So it was Brad’s turn and we took off.

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By this point my feet are starting to hurt.  And they are hurting bad!  Not from blisters or broken bones.  Just pain in the bottom of my feet from the many hours of running/power walking.  The way I describe it is when you go to an amusement park and walk all day.  by the end of the day your feet are throbbing and tired.  It feels like that times 10!!  Every step starts hurting.  I know in my head there is nothing wrong with them, but it just freaking hurts!  Oh it sucks so bad!  So freaking bad!  So as we make our way up this damn climb, my pacers are taking turns watching me cry and complain.  Father Crowley is 80 miles into the race and I knew that was end of the horrible climb.  There was still a small incline after, but I knew the worst of that climb would be over.  So while making my way up, I’m balling my eyes out.  While running with Begered I asked her if I could take a nap when I got up to Father Crowley.  She said maybe but we would have to talk to Brad.  I finally make it to Father Crowley and my crew is parked waiting for me.  I’m crying and tell Brad I need my legs massaged.  So he lays a blanket out and they start working on my legs and feet.  While laying there I’m crying and hurting.  I ask Brad if I can take a nap and he says no….I start whining and crying more!  I’m in pain!  I’m hurting and in my head thinking I need a damn nap!  But he tells me at mile 90 or 100 I can take a nap.  Me and my sister can read each others minds.  At this point shes looking at me in pain.  As I look at her I can tell in her eyes she’s ready to yell at someone to let me take a nap.  But she looks me in the eyes and she knows….she knows I’m okay and I can keep going.  We give that look like we understand each other and it’s time to get going.  I tell my crew I want April to run with me.  So she gets ready and I use the restroom and off we go!!

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The sun is starting to set and I was going to be running at night again.  As we make our way to time station 4 my feet are just in so much pain.  I pass time station 4 at 9:27 P.M. which is 90 miles into the race and I have been running for 25 hours and 27 minutes.    Around mile 90 I decide to put on my chanclas (sandals).  My crew is kind of looking at me crazy and I tell them shoes aren’t working I need my chanclas!!  So I put on my chanclas and start running with April.  I noticed while putting on my sandals, my crew chief Brad was not around.  I asked my crew where he was and they said he was taking a nap!  I kept running and couldn’t believe it!!!!  I’m not going to lie….I was pissed!  Pissed off!!  I have ran almost 100 miles and over 25 hours.  I deserve a nap!  I want a nap!  But then I remembered how old Brad is and how distraught he was from the passing of the older lady at the Motel 6….So I gave him a pass…lol For the next 10 miles I was thinking about the nap Brad said I could take at mile 100.  April ran quite a ways with me because I was laughing and singing along to music with her.  There was even a point, when Brad decided to wake up, where they didn’t know we passed them because we were giggling and they thought that couldn’t have been me because I was just crying like a baby earlier.  So then the pain in my feet comes back….and it freaking hurts!  So as mile 100 was getting closer, each time I stopped for water or a change of shoes I told them how excited I was for a nap.  I knew Brad wanted me to keep going.  And he probably thought I was going to forget about it.  While running with April I told her “I am taking a fucking nap!”  No one was going to tell me no.  I had made up my mind and was sticking to it.  If it meant having to just jump in the van and ignore my crew, I was “taking a fucking nap!”  So as I approached the van I told Brad I’m ready for a nap.  And April let them know my exact words.  So Brad agreed and got the van ready for me.  I was so tired I fell asleep while he massaged my legs out.  When the van was ready I laid down to take a 20-30 minute nap.  I couldn’t fall asleep!!!  This whole time I waited and I couldn’t fall asleep!  My legs and feet were throbbing and in so much pain I couldn’t sleep.  So i just tried to rest.  So after about an hour it was time to get moving.  It was windy and dark but I had to get going.  My crew filled up my water bottle with cold brew and off I went again.  I knew I had 22 miles until Lone Pine.

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The sun started rising….again….and I was making my way across the never ending desert.  My feet were in pain and I felt so close but so far.  As we made our way I could see Lone Pine and the horrible climb to get to Mt. Whitney Portal.  I just wanted to get to Lone Pine.  As soon as I could make it there I knew it would only be 13 more miles to the finish.  A long, long 13 miles but it sounds so good to say only 13 more miles.  So I take a seat and my crew helps me change my socks and shoes and Brad puts on Hammer balm on my feet.  I pop some Ibuprofen, I know its bad, and start running.  All of a sudden I get a burst of energy!  My pain disappears and I start sprinting.  Brad even gets surprised how fast I’m going.  I’m running 8:30-9:30 minute miles and just hauling ass.  I see runners and decide to just start passing them.  Each time I pass one I set a goal and see another one and decide to catch up and pass.  I do this for at least 5 miles or more.  Other crews are even cheering and wondering how the hell I am running that fast after 110 miles.  I just had my sights set on Lone Pine.

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I finally make it to Lone Pine at 8:49 A.M. at mile 122 which is 36 hours and 49 minutes of running.  I get there and the pain comes back.  My feet are throbbing!  I take a seat and start preparing for the climb to Mt. Whitney portal.  It is already hot and I knew it was going to be a long, long way up.  My crew gets some ice cold water in a bucket to put my feet in.  While getting ready and gearing up to make the hot climb there was a live webcam setup for the race.  Everyone back home was watching, and my co worker got a picture of my crew doing the Wascally pose!  Then my crew gets me ready and off we go!

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As we start power walking….because that’s all I could do at this point because it is so damn steep…my back starts hurting.  I stop my crew and let them know I need it rubbed out.  So we get a picnic table and Brad rubs my back out.  He says “Alright no more stops until the finish.”  Yeah right…..lol Lets try this again, we start power walking again.  It is so hot!  I thought it was suppose to be cooler going up to Mt. Whitney, but I was wrong.  It was hot and only getting hotter!  I start getting really lightheaded and dizzy.  I start freaking out and hoping I’m not getting dehydrated.  I just try and keep moving.  I tell my crew I’m getting lightheaded so they give me a Popsicle and a coke.  While drinking and eating I come across Juan and Runak…runners and friends from Fresno and the media staff for the race.  I stop for a few minutes in the shade with them and try to compose myself.  I start power walking and start feeling better.  But my feet are still in so much pain!  If only that could go away!  13 miles usually takes me under 2 hours to do, but on this steep climb it is going to take me 5 hours!!  That’s how steep it is!  While making the climb, I am cussing…non stop…I even threw a rock at one point.  Not at anyone but at the mountain lol My crew is awesome and put up with my crap.  I cried non stop up to Mt. Whitney portal.  It just hurt so much!!  But I knew I was going to finish.  It was hurting but I knew I was almost there and I was going to finish.  As I reached the last 4 miles I was in a ton of pain!!  I ran to the van and cried out to my crew that I needed something done!  I don’t know what but I need something!  Brad grabs a bucket and pours the ice cold water into it.  I put my feet in and usually I can’t keep them in long, but I left them in there!  It felt so good!  I put my socks and shoes on and keep going.  The next 2 miles felt so good!  my feet felt no pain!  Then…the pain starts slowly coming.  So I tell them at the last mile to let me ice them one more time so I can enjoy coming into the finish and not be in unbearable pain.  So we ice them…and while we do that I decide…why not fix my hair?!  My hair was a mess!!  Almost two days without doing my crazy hair!  How come no one told me it was a mess!? lol So I brush my hair back, put my shoes on….and this was it!  I was going to finish!  I was so excited!  All the training, all the hard work, all the miles leading up to this.  I was going to be a Badwater 135 finisher!

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As we make our way to the finish we run in as a team carrying the American flag.  We did it!!!!!!  42 hours and 8 minutes later I was a Badwater 135 official finisher.  I ran the toughest race in the world!!!!  This small Fresno girl did it!  Some may have doubted I could do it….but I did it!  I was so happy I cried at the finish.  Happy tears!  The pain disappeared for that moment.  I cried and gave each crew member a big hug.  I was awarded my belt buckle, t shirt and commemorative coin by the race director.  We then drank our celebratory beers from Fresno of course!  It was so awesome!  It was a long journey and the toughest race I will probably ever do in my life…..but I did it.  I still can’t believe it, but as I wear my belt buckle….which I have been wearing everyday….even to work…I am so freaking proud.  First female in Fresno to finish this race.  I am no elite runner.  I am just an average runner and I just love running.  And its like I always say….if I can do it anyone can do it.  You just have to put your mind to it and train.  I have a full time job where I work crazy hours and all day.  I have an awesome family and sometimes put off training to spend time with them.  I have a baby on the way with my wonderful fiancee who has always supported me.  So I do not have tons of time to train.  So anything is possible!!……….Now time to get a Badwater 135 tattoo!!

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Thank you to Juan for the great pictures!  Thank you to Runak for being out there and cheering me on.  And thank you to my crew for being so awesome!  Without you guys I would not have finished this race!!  I also want to thank everyone who donated and supported me throughout this journey.  Thank you to Sierra Express!!  Thank youto all the Wascally Runners!!  Thank you Joanna!!!  Thank you everyone!!!  I really do appreciate it!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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135 Miles to the House Race report

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I did it!!  I finished 135 miles for the second time!  You think it would get easier, but it does not! This past weekend was the big race.  What I have been training for all year.  I trained hard and prepped as much as I possibly could.  It was a tough race and I almost threw the towel in at mile 100, but with the support of my family and friends I pushed forward and finished the race.  Let’s start from the beginning shall we?

Weeks leading up to the race I prepared and organized all my gear and nutrition.  I bought the most comfortable shoes I believe would get me through 135 miles and some cushion socks to hopefully help my feet stay comfy.  Stocked up on Hammer nutrition fuel and planned what I was going to eat to fuel up.  This was it, I was as ready as I could be.  Everything seemed to be going good…until I got sick the week before the race!!  I woke up Tuesday with a sore throat, earache and congested!  This couldn’t be happening.  So I took zinc, took medicine, drank bone broth and tried to rest and get better before Saturday morning.  Luckily everything cleared up except my congestion.  I was good as I was going to get.

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Race day came Saturday October 1st.  We loaded up and got the jeep ready for 135 miles of pure bliss. lol  There were 4 of us attempting to run this race of 135 miles to the Ronald Mc Donald House.  I couldn’t sleep all night because I was so excited and nervous to attempt to run this race again.  Woke up at 04:00 am Saturday and was at the Ronald Mc Donald House by 5:00am.  This was it!  No turning back!  I was going to try and run this race and beat my time from last year of 41 hours.  My goal was 35-40 hours finish time.  We got ready and at 6:20am we were off!

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The first 10-15 miles of the race we stayed in a pack and talked about running and how we got into these crazy ultra distances.  As time was passing by we started to gradually separate and get into our own pace for the race.  Ed the Jester of course took the lead and left us in the dust!  He is awesome at 100-135 mile runs and I knew this would be a piece of cake for him!  The other two runners fell behind me but I wasn’t sure how far.  Slowly I was making my way up North.  I was ahead of my goal pace and feeling good and pumped up!  We passed Shafter, Wasco and was making my way passed the Tulare County line.  I still had tons of energy I was able to jump around.  I knew later in the race this would not be the case and I would probably be in tons of pain, so I soaked up the excitement and had fun before the dreaded mental breakdowns.  lol

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My awesome crew consisted of my Sister April, Fiance Joanna and my nephew Isaiah.  Without them there’s no way I could complete this race.  My parents also came out later Saturday morning and stayed out on the course the rest of the weekend!  There are times during the race where I think, “Damn, it looks so fun to crew.  Why do I run?  When I can crew?” lol I don’t know how they put up with me during these races.  I am very lucky to have them crew for me.  April also runs and paces me so it works out even better!  It was warm this year but not as hot as last year.  My crew kept me cool and I had no issues running in the heat.  I also drank Hammer nutrition Fizz electrolytes throughout the race to stay hydrated.

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As I made my way into 40 miles, the awesome Wascally Runners Begered, Ron and Scott came to pace me.  They wanted to get 30 miles in for the day, so what better way than during a 135 mile race?!?!  It’s great having people pace you and get your mind off of the many miles you still have left.  I was still feeling pretty good heading into 60 miles.  The sun started to set and as the darkness fell so did the temperature.  It got a little chilly and I knew it was going to get colder throughout the night.  Around mile 60 is when the pain in my feet slowly started creeping up.  It was not too bad yet, but I knew the inevitable pain was going to come soon.  We passed the Corcoran State prison and was passing through Corcoran around mile 66.  I felt really bad for the Wascally’s because my pace was starting to slow down and sometimes I would even have to just jog and shuffle my feet to keep moving.  But they assured me it was okay and kept pushing me forward.  Around 11:00 PM I started feeling the pain and getting sleepy.  I really felt bad because the group still needed about 5 more miles.  I tried my best to hang in there, but I knew it was time for a break.  So I jumped in the RV and got ready for a power nap.  The awesome Wascally’s bid me farewell and kept running up to midnight to finish their 30!

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I woke up around 12:00am and got ready to continue the long journey I still had ahead.  Temperatures dropped more and it was time for a jacket and sweats.  I started up again and my sister joined me on the dark and lonely road.  I was heading into 80 miles and the pain on the bottom of my feet was starting to get worse.  I had no blisters, but it is just this pain with every step I take that just throbbed so bad!  I tried taping my feet, massaging, changing shoes, but nothing seemed to help.  I just had to deal with the pain and move on!  The sun started rising…again…which helps because it wakes you up and is better to run in the daylight than in the pitch black night.  April was still running with me and we made are way into 86 miles.

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img_6588img_6568img_6567   I was so close to 100 miles, but I was really bummed out because I wanted to get 100 miles under 24 hours.  And my pace was now slower and I knew I wasn’t going to hit my goal pace.  I kept chugging along though and was determined to finish.  35 more miles doesn’t seem like too much, but I knew it was a long tough road ahead.  I was about to hit 91 miles and the Wascally’s came back on Sunday!!  They must of not had enough of my slow sluggish pace and decided to come along for 20 miles.  They came at the point where I started to have my mental breakdowns and spurts of crying.  I was stopping about every 3 miles to ice my feet or change my shoes.  It was starting to get really painful and I started to doubt myself if I would be able to finish.  The Wascally’s, my sister and Joanna kept telling me I could do it and kept motivating me to keep going.  I kept telling them 100 miles was good enough and that I was really considering stopping at mile 100.  I never want to quit anything and deep inside I knew I wouldn’t let myself quit.  But the pain was unbearable and I couldn’t imagine doing 35 more miles with the pain.  Just as I headed into 100 miles at Kingsburg, I turn the corner and there is all my family waiting for me cheering me on!  I ran in and sat down right away.  Trying to hold back my tears from the excruciating pain I was in.  As much as I wanted to stop, I knew I couldn’t let them down.  They had just got there to watch me finish the race.  And to tell them I was going to stop?!?!  What would they do for the rest of the day?!  I had to keep going.

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I started getting slower and icing my feet a lot more.  How could I make this pain go away!?  how?!  Joanna started to rub tiger balm on my feet and that would help for about 30 mins.  Then the pain would just come right back and I would have to keep the cycle going for the rest of the race.  I was now 114 miles in.  So close, but so far!!  I knew I was going to finish, the question was just when would I finish.  I was so bummed that I was not going to finish during daylight.  I knew I would see the sunset…again.  And that really got to me.  Why?  Why do I torture myself?  This is a question I ask myself during every Ultra. lol  The Wascally’s finally had enough of my shenanigans.  They said goodbye again as I was stretching trying to loosen my legs.  And I was shuffling along the long lonely highway once again.  My family knew I was having a tough time.  I know it killed my parents and grandparents to see me in pain and crying.  They wanted me to stop, but I couldn’t stop now.  I was too close.  If I was going to quit I should of quit a long time ago!  Even my Grandpa and Uncle started running with me to keep me motivated.  I have the best family!  There is NO WAY I would be able to run 135 miles if I didn’t have the support of my family and friends.  NO WAY!  It would be one miserable run.  Even Juan came out to document the pain and hurt I was in.  And no I am not smiling in the below picture.  I am in pain! lol

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I was heading into 120 miles and the sun was setting.  Time to do this and finish up this damn race!  I was heading towards the final long stretch.  Just then more supporters start showing up.  Car after car passing me by cheering me on.  More runners showing up to push me through.  More friends and family show up to take pictures and motivate me.  This is it.  It’s time to push through the pain and get this done.  I was hitting Fresno and more runners came to run alongside me.  It’s late and cold and they showed up to run with me and that really helps more than you know.  It’s tough mentally to hang in there, but when you have people running with you it makes you forget how bad the pain really is.  I would breakdown here and there.  Tears would roll down my cheeks but I wasn’t going to stop.  I was going to finish no matter what.  It’s about 8:30pm and there’s a group of us crazy runners running the streets of Fresno.  People honking as we run by probably wondering what the hell we are doing. lol  I’m running as fast…really slow pace…but as fast as I can possibly go with my painful feet.  So close…final stretch…Damn it 5 more miles through Woodward park and I’ll be done!

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While running through the dark park, I knew I was so close to the finish line.  I could see the Childrens Hospital in the distance.  This was it!  I was going to finish this race for the 2nd time!  I knew I was not going to beat my time last year, but its ok at least I finished!  As I head into the final stretch of road into the Ronald Mc Donald House entrance, all my friends and family were cheering and clapping.  I run in and sit next to Ronald to stop the clock!  41 hours and 27 minutes!  I finished!!  135 miles!  Done!!  The pain in my feet go away as I hug my family and friends and thank everyone for everything they did.  They don’t have to support me in this crazy adventure, but they do and with smiles on their faces.  Yes, these races are tough and crazy and its an awesome feeling to finish.  But the best feeling is knowing how lucky I am to have the support of my family and friends and what they would go through to support my crazy habit.  I love all of you and thank you again from the bottom of my heart.  We did it!  Badwater 135…I’m coming for you 2017!

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Thank you to Juan Esparza, Jeff Thomas, Marie Jacques-De Leon, Dick De Leon and everyone who took pictures and video!!

Badwater Salton Sea 81 miles

Wow…has it been almost 7 months since I have posted??!!  I have ran over 7 or 8 races since October 2015, but I’m going to get straight to the last one I just finished.  On May 1st I ran in the Badwater Salton Sea.  Not only is it a tough course, but you also have to run in a team of 2 or 3 runners.  In order to be considered an official team finish you must complete the race with your team and stay together the entire race.  Now my main goal for running this race was to be able to use it as a qualifying race to one day apply for the Badwater 135.  More on that at the end….but the tough part was finding a female Ultra runner who was willing to run with me.  There are not many ultra runners in the running community to begin with, but to find a female ultra runner was tough!  I had to post in the race event group and hope to get a response.  And I did, Brittany found me!  Luckily she was a runner that actually lived near the race and was also wanting to sign up.  So through the power of Facebook Messenger we linked up and decided to make a team.  Our team name was Wingman Foundation.  Thanks to Brittany, not only were we going to run this race, but we were going to raise funds for the Wingman Foundation and represent their cause.  Not only do they provide support for the Navy and Marine Corps Aviation during mishaps, they also support the families of fallen heroes.  It was an honor to represent the Wingman Foundation and you can still donate at anytime.  http://www.wingmanfoundation.org/donate

So now after training for this race, it was time!  Race start was 6:30am so we had to get up early to prep the crew vehicle and make sure everything was in order.  We had an awesome crew who consisted of Joanna, Matt and Emily.  They seemed excited and ready for the challenge of taking care of us.  And we were off!!

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My main goal was to just finish the race and not slow my teammate Brittany down.  We took off at a comfortable pace and stayed with the group for about 7 miles.  Everyone was chatting with each other and getting to know the other runners.  We hit the first area where our crew was waiting and filled up on some water.  At this point it was still early into the race and we still felt pretty fresh.  Although it was starting to warm up and I knew the heat was going to come sooner or later.  We take off and head for a tower in the middle of no where for another 7.5 miles.  Once we arrive it’s nice and warm out now.  Our awesome crew is waiting with cold water and we fill back up and take off.  We know there’s a little over 20 miles until the next check in at the Borrego Springs resort.  Heat is picking up and we keep on chugging along.  Then I start to wonder, are we the top females?  No, there has to be some in front of us?  I don’t think about it too much because I’m thinking maybe there’s a team I missed ahead of us.  I also know there is an 8 mile hike later in the race and if there are any female teams right behind us, they might pass us there.

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We make it to Borrego Springs to check in and take a quick break.  Our crew was so great that they even helped another team who was having car problems.  Their vehicle was over heating and our crew helped out with getting the team what they needed and giving a ride to their crew.  And our awesome crew still kept up with us!!  They were so great out there, I can’t say it enough!  We fuel up, fill our bottles and get ready to take off again.  We run 5 more miles and get to the next check in right at the start of the 8 mile dreaded hike.  What worried me was we would not have our crew because its going up a “hiking trail”, it was hot and steep.  The race director had mentioned the day before that the fastest team to make it through this hill made it in 2:55 hours!  And he said it would take 3-5 hours to make it through.  To top it off black clouds were rolling in and we knew we would probably get hit with rain too.  So we ate, stocked up on fuel and packed our hydration packs with all the gear we might need on our trek.

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While we made our way up this horrible hill, our fantastic crew was enjoying the scenery in the middle of nowhere.  I’m glad they were having fun while we were trying not to die on the mountain lol  No but really, a happy crew makes happy runners hahaha It makes me want to crew a couple races just to get the other side of Ultra running.  So back to the mountain…it was hot and I was walking…not running..the 8 miles.  2 to 3 miles up we encountered a team who was having issues.  The female runner was on the phone asking her crew to run up pedialyte and the male runner was sitting on a large rock.  We asked if they were ok and Brittany offered anything he might need.  He stated “no thanks” but it looked like he was pretty dehydrated.  We kept moving along and I slowed down Brittany a lot!  I felt really bad because she was killing the hills and I could barely keep a slow walk.  The black clouds started rolling in closer and the thunder began.  We knew rain was near.  Our goal was to just make it out of the hill before the sunset.  Now I called this a “hiking trail” because without Brittany knowing where she was going, I would have not known!!  It was just rocks and cactus everywhere.  Some spots we would have to stop and look around to figure out where the trail continued.  There were pink flags to mark it, but it was still pretty tough to navigate through rocks.  Then the rain came.  We stopped and Brittany pulled our her poncho and I pulled out my rain jacket.  We had to keep moving and I am so lucky to have had Brittany.  If I was by myself, I KNOW I would have broke down and cried a little lol  She kept pushing me and I didn’t want to let her down.  Finally we see the road.  Were almost out!  So we pick up the pace on the down hills and as were almost out I see some teams down below the mountain.  Is it a female team??  No I think I see a male on the team, so we don’t pay it any mind.  We’re just happy we got out of the mountain before daylight ended.  We check our watches and figure out we actually made great time!!  Around 3.5 hours!  As we run a small hill on the road to get to our crew we notice….our crew isn’t parked with all the other crews.  We think to ourselves they might be up ahead at the next parking spot, so we run a little further.  Nope.  No cars.  So Brittany pulls out her phone and calls them up.  They are 5 minutes away.  Not only did we think we could make it out that fast…but our crew thought the same thing!! hahaha We’re still smiling and on track.

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As we meet up with our crew at the Ranchita store we are 50 miles in now.  We have to change out our shoes because they got soaked during the rain and mud.  We try to chow down some food and take a picture with the famous “Rancheti”.  When all of a sudden our crew tells us there’s a female team right behind us and probably about 5 minutes away!!  And that we were in 1st place in the female division!  Even the film crew for the race tells us that they are trying to catch us.  We hurry up and put our shoes on to stay ahead.  As we take off our adrenaline is pumping and I can’t believe we are in 1st after my horrible performance on the 8 mile hike.  Sun is starting to set now and we put our headlamps and reflectors on.  Every stop we make our crew makes sure we don’t take too long and stay ahead.  Thanks to Hammer Nutrition I had a great race with no stomach issues and my fuel was on point with hammer gels, fizz electrolytes and perpetuem solids.

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We’re over 68 miles in when we hit the last check in.  We grab some fuel and we don’t see the team anywhere behind us.  So we start to not worry as much.  We then hit east grade road.  Another damn steep hill, only this time this was on a road and about 10 miles!  Again I start slowing Brittany down.  She is just made for hills!  Her walking was my jogging!  I literally had to jog to stay next to her while she was walking…no lie!  So when I would start walking the steep hill I would fall behind and slow her down.  It was getting late and we were starting to get sleepy.  An all male team passed us and we asked if they had seen any female teams behind us.  They said no and reassured us there was no team behind or near them.  So we kept walking and running thinking maybe they slowed down….wrong!  There was this car that kept driving up near us and turning back around.  Which is odd because we’re in the middle of no where and besides race vehicles no other cars were around.  So our crew doubled back to check it out.  It was the female team!!!

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Boy did that wake us up.  We picked up the pace and I was wide awake.  By this time we only had about 3 to 4 miles left.  I just kept saying “We can’t let them pass us now!  If we were going to let them pass we should of did it a long time ago.  Not on the last 3 miles!”  I kept telling myself we were going to win.  I kept visualizing us winning.  They were the ones that had to worry.  They were the ones who had to wonder where we were and how far ahead we were.  We just had to keep pushing and doing what we were doing.  Our crew kept motivating us and making the stops quick.  They even had a dance party going on with rave music and glow sticks.  Well not glow sticks, some sort of light up balloons that they bought in the middle of no where lol  They made this race that even more awesome.  Even other teams commented on how great they were and what an awesome crew we had.

So as the final hill on the driveway leading to the finish line came we knew we had it.  We pushed ourselves and we were about to finish this tough race…in 1st female team!  We had estimated we would finish around 22-24 hours.  We did it in 18:55!!!  I was so excited and glad to finish.  My goal was finish this race to use it as a qualifier for Badwater 135…but better yet…1st place in each division gets an automatic spot into Badwater 135!!!  So not only did I have the pleasure and great experience with Brittany in this brutal race, but we made one of my biggest dreams come true!  I was not expecting that at all.  There was some tough female teams and we thought we wouldn’t;t have a chance in hell to beat them, but we knew we had to give it our best and that anything can happen in the sport of Ultra running.  So as I sit here a few weeks after the exciting race, I still can’t believe how it all went down and I still can’t believe that next year July 2017, I will race in the toughest race I will probably ever run in my whole life.

Thanks again to my teammate Brittany!!!  Couldn’t have found a better friend and teammate.  And thank you so much to Joanna, Matt and Emily.  You guys rocked it and are the best crew!!!  photo credit Emily Dreager, thank you so much for the great photos!!  Its always great to go back and see all the memories

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135 miles to the House!!! Race report

So I did it!!!!! I actually finished! 135 miles….I still can’t believe it! This past weekend I ran 135 miles to the house. It’s a race from the Ronald McDonald House in Bakersfield, CA to the Ronald McDonald house in Madera, CA. It’s a fundraiser to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House in the Central Valley. It’s a great cause and I was honored to be a part of it. Not only did I hit my goal of $500…I raised $977!!! I want to thank everyone who donated. It is much appreciated!
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I went into the race wanting to finish…but my longest distance during a race has been 50 miles. I trained for this race, but still wasn’t sure if I was up to the challenge. I figured I would have a support crew and if I couldn’t keep going physically I would stop. The week leading up to the race didn’t help also. My Aunt Debbie had unexpectedly passed away and we we’re all in shock. While trying to still compose myself I wondered if I could still run this race. Then midweek I started getting sick and had some female issues if you know what I mean! That day before the race I was really trying to keep it together and prep my gear. I wondered if I was doing the right thing by attempting this race…but I pushed forward.
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Race day came and I woke up telling myself I am going to do this and finish no matter what! Starting the race it was myself and one other person. We were the only two to attempt this race solo this year. There were 7 teams for the relay but they started 2 hours later. As I began the race I felt good. As the day went on and the sun came I could start feeling the heat. 3 teams started passing me up and were awesome! They would spray me with cold water and cheer me on. Great way to keep me going. Throughout the day I still felt really good and everything was on point. I even got some good pictures at certain cities I passed by.
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The sun began to set and everything still was going great. I had a great crew and family was even passing by throughout the day to say cheer me on. Weather was cooler and that was great and made it easier to run. Even at night I got some great pictures passing by little towns. The final 4 teams started passing me by. They also cheered me on and offered help. They were also pushing forward and on there way. By midnight I was starting to get tired and feel it set in. Here and there I would stop for a 5 minute nap and to refresh.
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And boy do I have a crazy story! While trying to take a little nap in the middle of nowhere, we heard some gunshots multiple times. Sounded like someone just shooting into the air. I decided to get up and start running again so I was packing up my gear, when all of a sudden we see red and blue lights behind us. It was the local cops!! They gave us verbal commands and handcuffed and detained us in the back of the cop car. What makes it even more funny is me and my sister are both law enforcement!! lol They gave awesome commands and did everything by the book..I teach this so I know lol…We let them know and they just checked the car out to be sure. They apologized and asked us what I was doing out in the middle of nowhere. lol I explained to them I was running from Bakersfield to Madera and they just looked at me crazy. I also had my reflectors with red blinking lights and a headlamp on which probably made the cops laugh even more when handcuffing us. What a crazy night in the race….so I was on my way and with adrenaline pumping continued the race.
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Night started to turn into day again and it was now Sunday morning. I was still doing good but my feet were started to feel the pain. Everything else felt great and I was still aiming to finish. As it began to roll into the afternoon and 27 hours in my feet began to really hurt. I had already changed my shoes 3 times and the pain was getting unbearable. I had cried multiple times in this race and seemed like an emotional wreck at times lol. One minute I’m energized and pump and the next I’m tearing up hoping not to quit. That’s what an Ultra does though…emotional roller coaster. I had ran ultras before and knew it was bound to happen. but never had I cried this much lol. As I approached 100 miles I thought to myself, this is it…100 miles is a great accomplishment and I would be happy with that. but as I continued to run my family came out in a big group to start cheering me on. I stopped at the 100 mile point in 29 hours and 49 minutes. As I stopped to rest my feet my mother, father, grandparents, cousins aunt and uncle were coming up and congratulating me. Telling me they were going to be at the finish to see me come in. I thought to myself, I can’t quit…I can’t let them down. Most of all I can’t let the Ronald McDonald house down and everyone who donated. I had to finish! I had to keep going and finish this race! So I gave two thumbs up and kept pushing!!!
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As I kept going I started getting into my head. Looking down at my watch I was estimating my finish at the pace I as going. I wouldn’t finish until 11 pm!! 7 hours later! I started mentally breaking down again. I stopped at 110 miles in. I started crying with frustration that my mind wanted to finish but my feet were aching in horrible pain! I told my family this might be it. It might be time to throw in the towel. I told them I was going to take a quick nap.
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When I woke up I thought..I am already this far! I need to finish! I don’t care how long it takes me or how late it is! I am going to finish!! So I asked my cousin Katrina to stretch my legs and my cousin Dick said we should pray. So we all held hands and he said a prayer for me. I got up determined more then ever to get this done. So along I went again.
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While running I felt like Forrest Gump..My family started running with me along the way. A little at a time cousins and my sister were coming to run with me. Helping me push through and motivating me to keep going. I kept eating and hydrating to keep my body going. Surprisingly throughout the race I had no stomach or nutrition issues. It’s like a science to keep nutrition on point. I had my Hammer gels, perpetuem solids and endurolytes fizz from Hammer nutrition to keep giving me the extra push. Without these I don’t think I could I have kept my stomach and body in check. People think food is enough…but with the help of Hammer products it keeps me energized and at my best.
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Without my family and friends cheering me on I don’t know how I would of finished this!!! They are so awesome!
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As I kept going the day began to turn into night…again! More family made it out as I was in my hometown Fresno which leads right into Madera and the finish line. So many people came out to cheer me on and keep me going. Icing my feet along the way to keep the pain down was all I could do. I was so close only 15 miles away I knew I was going to finish no matter what! I wrapped up the blisters and stretched my legs and continued trekking. Even picking up another local runner Farin who ran the last 12 miles with us! No one had to, but they wanted to…and that is so awesome!! I couldn’t believe the support I was getting. Even my nephew Isaiah who hates running ran the last 5 1/2 miles!!!
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As I rounded the final stretch to the finish I looked at my watch and noticed I could finish at 41 hours exactly…so I sprinted to the finish just in time…I did it!!!! 41 hours later but I finished it!!! I was determined to get it done and I did!! I was so happy and my family and friends were there at the finish. The Ronald McDonald house also had flowers, champagne and a gift bag for me. It was great!!! My family was there for me the whole race, and that just shows you family is there no matter what! I love them so much and couldn’t ask for more! I owe them a BBQ or something to thank them! My cousin Marie also took most of there professional pictures. Documenting the life of an ultra runner…they are awesome and I can’t thank her enough! To my crew and support April and Joanna…I can’t also thank them enough! They stayed awake as long as I did and without complaining! They motivated me to keep going and never quit. The race director David was also out there most the race!!!! over 110 miles he stayed out there to check on me and make sure I was ok. He didn’t have to let me keep going but he did and he actually motivated me to finish it. Everyone was so awesome I can’t say thank you enough!!!
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I still am in shock that I completed this…throughtout the race I was saying this is horrible…never again…I will never do this ever!!…but now that its all done, I want to try again next year…try to get a faster time lol..that’s an ultra runner for you! In other ultra races I always said the same thing. It’s like it comes with ultra running…the mental part. That’s what I tell people..the race is physical yes..but the mental part is the hardest part. Not only am I happy I finished this enormous goal, but I am so happy myself and the teams raised so much for the Ronald McDonald house. That is awesome and it just shows you how much runners can come together and help out there community. Well hope my race report explained enough…until you do a 135 mile race..you will not get the full experience lol…I hope this motivates people that anything is possible if you set your heart and mind to it! Keep running!
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135 mile run for Ronald McDonald House

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Well I have decided to give 135 miles a go on September 26, 2015. Race is from Bakersfield, CA to Madera, CA. Am I crazy…Yes probably! lol It is for a great charity though. I am trying to raise $500 for the Ronald McDonald House in the Central Valley. I am super nervous but excited at the same time. I can’t wait to see if I can finish or how far I can go! Please help support the cause and any donations of any amount are greatly appreciated! Wish me luck and time to start training!!!!

Below is link to my donation website. thank you!!!

http://www.135mtothehouse.myevent.com/participant/212792

Personal record for 13.1

After a whole year I finally got my time down!  1:33:30 yay! It was much but I wasn’t even expecting a PR this race since my training hasn’t been 100%.  I’ll take it though!  I was 9th female overall and 2nd in my age group.  Set up my new training plan for next big race in June.  I am hoping to break 1:30…3 minutes doesn’t seem like much..but its hard shaving time off!!  I just need to stick to training, eat great and stay focused.  If i ever break 1:30 I would probably cry from being so happy lol nutrition used for this race, ate a hammer energy bar for breakfast, hammer espresso gel before race and gel during race.  I love their gels!! No stomach issues like other products.  If you want to try just let me know!  Well time to rest and dream about 1:30 lol happy running!



50k san joaquin river trail to end the year

Well this past Saturday was my last race of the year. I was registered for the 50 mile but I had somewhere to be and couldnt make it if I had run for 11 hours lol. I placed 3rd female overall! I was about 2 minutes behind second female which I didnt know or else I would of picked it up a little more! But great race overall. I love running local and this was a great organized race. Perfect weather and great volunteers. I finished the 50k in 6:45. It’s amazing what out bodies are capable of. Ultras push your body but I believe its more mental then anything. There are times when you struggle with yourself, “can i finish? This is horrible! Why am I doing this?!” So many things can run through your mind, but once you get past that its awesome!!! You realize how far you have ran and cant believe it! I have fallen in love with ultra running, and hope one day to be faster and great in the ultra running community!
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