AWESOME news! My new book about Badwater, the 135 mile run across Death Valley is getting close! It’s in the final stages of editing. And I brought on the amazing Luke Thoreson to help co-write! (Photo by Jud Burkett)
I was first introduced to Luke's writing when I came across his blog. His posts about buying a month-long all-you-can-eat pass at Olive Garden are so, so good. His writing is intelligent and hilarious, and he also has a deep connection with Badwater. You can check out his blog HERE.
Here's how the process went: I finished writing the book. Then I sent it to Luke. He took my manuscript and added another delicious dose of spice, sass, and humor. I seriously LOVE how it turned out.
When I asked Luke why he loves Badwater so much, he said “As four-time crew member, I think the question of why is amplified for crew members compared to the runner. Janice from accounting can at least somewhat understand someone wanting to run a race ("My niece ran a marathon!") - but when you tell her that you're going to spend 24+ hours in a van with three other people, eating your body weight in cookies and Fritos (magical scoops of deliciousness), and driving two miles at a time to hand someone a cup of Coke and a fistful of animals from the genus "gummus" (my personal favorite is "scandanvianus piscus," or what the lay person calls Swedish Fish) is a bit harder to explain. Why is Badwater week the first PTO request I make on January 1st? Because. Because of the moments looking around the crowded, chaotic registration room and seeing someone's face light as they do the one arm shake / other arm hug to another runner who provided some much needed company at mile 74 of last year's race. Because it's turning off the headlamp, walking away from the hazard lights blinking, blinking blinking, and looking up into the sky hearing the far-away howl of coyotes and appreciating how a moment can be both humbling and intimate. Because it's a chance to wear a T-rex costume and entertain/make a runner question their sanity ("But where would a dinosaur even get a light saber?"). Because the moment you set foot in the basin, you're being entrusted with someone's race, their hopes and dreams, and most importantly, their safety as they - to quote the great poet Artis Leon Ivey Jr once wrote - "walk through the valley of the shadow of death."(Okay fine, yes, it was Coolio and yes that's his real name) It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure book writ large - you make the wrong choice and suddenly you're realizing how long it takes to walk it in from Darwin. (Answer: Long. So very long.). I didn't really understand what I was getting myself into my first year crewing for Harvey Lewis, which became progressively more surreal culminating in standing around Jake's Saloon watching Sportscenter's "Summer of Champions" segment about the race (holy crap, that's me running with him in that section - that means I was on ESPN!!!!). And there wasn't an ah-ha moment where I told the rest of the guys in the van "I get it now." Badwater becomes a part of you. It's a lifestyle, it's a family, it's a feeling. And the first year that mid-July rolls around and I'm not searching the horizon for the lights of Lone Pine, that part of me will feel empty.”
NEXT STEPS: From this point, the book has a few more edits to finish. It has been sent out to a few people for some advance praise quotes. A graphic designer will work their magic for the book cover, and then it will be available for pre-order. There will be an audio book too! Until then, you can check out my first book "Nowhere Near First" on Amazon and Kindle HERE.
I CAN NOT wait to share this new book with you.