Badwater!!! Touted as "World's Toughest Footrace" - 135 miles through Death Valley in July. They only let 100 runners in this year, and they said it was the most competitive field of applicants ever. Wow!
Since finding out, quite a few people have had a puzzled look on their face as they asked "Why are you so excited to run 135 through Death Valley?" Their questioning look and tone would be the same if I told then that I was so excited because I was approved to get teburculosis, get a million paper cuts on my eyeballs, eat a whole can of Cream Of Mushroom soup (which is utterly disgusting), all while listening to Kenny G's Greatest Hits album.
The actual task of running 135 in Death Valley in July terrifies me, but I am so excited for the adventure that is in store. The next five months will include a good chunk of training miles (all run with layers of clothing), and time inside a sauna, all with the purpose of training my body for the heat....so that when race day comes, I will (HOPEFULLY) be ready to take on the demands of the race. I also need to dust off my road shoes. After spending years almost exclusively on trails, I have seriously forgotten how to run on roads!
I was touched to get a phone call Tuesday night from my amazing friend Ed "The Jester" Ettinghausen, congratulating me for getting into the race. In basketball terms, getting a call from Ed is like getting a call from Michael Jordan. I admire and respect this man so much.
One of the questions on the Badwater application was "Which Badwater veteran do you admire most, and why?" My answer was easy. Here's what I wrote:
"The Badwater veteran I admire the most is Ed “The Jester” Ettinghausen. I have had the honor of running many miles at many races with Ed over the past few years. I first met him at the Javelina Jundred years ago. I thought “Who is this crazy runner who is actually carrying a cowbell so that he can cheer for other runners who pass by?” I am continually inspired by his kindness toward other runners. When I have run with him on the 1 mile loop at Across The Years, he says hello to each and every runner who he passes or who passes him. I have been with Ed at races during times when he is going through a rough patch and he is struggling. Yet even during these times, he maintains the same level of optimism and enthusiasm. At the most recent Across The Years in January he was competing neck and neck with another runner. But instead of being overly focused on competition, Ed was running with the other person. They were laughing and joking with each other. They were helping each other. Two men in competition for the win were helping each other! I was so impressed by this. Ed has the willingness to set goals that may seem unattainable to others…and then he puts in the work needed to achieve those goals. I admire Ed not only for his running accomplishments, but also for who his is as a person."
What is awesome is that Ed will be running Badwater again this year. He said "Let's made a deal, Cory. Whoever gets to the finish line first will wait for the other to cross so we'll be able to congratulate each other at the end." That's a deal!
I can't wait for this once in a lifetime adventure. I'm going to work hard between now and July so that I'm up for the task.