Monday, March 22, 2010
The Bataan Death March
We left to New Mexico from Lubbock on Saturday, March 20, 2010. The weather was bleak. It started snowing - of all days, on the first day of spring! Not a good day to drive. Luckily, I went with two fun guys, Alec and Chris, and they made the trip quite entertaining. These guys were so awesome, and they ran a fantastic race!
I was delegated the responsibilities of trip photographer. Here I am, hard at work:
We played something called the "hot game." It works better in the summertime, but we made do. Here's how it goes: you turn up the heater in the car as high as it will go, put it on full blast, and direct the air stream directly at your face. First person to call it off loses the game. Simple. Now go try it.
Another game that worked quite well in the cold weather: roll down the windows while going 70 miles per hour, and stick your hand out in the rushing, 27 degree air. Whoever can withstand the cold the longest wins. Simple. Now go try it.
Along the way, we stopped in Roswell for a bite to eat. A gas station attendant recommended a Mexican joint nearby. I don't recall the name of the restaurant, but it was inside an abandoned Sonic. The food was somewhat dubious, but it made do.
Now, you know those little fifty cent machines that kids put money in and toys come out in little plastic casing? Well, I got a fake mustache from one at the restaurant. Alec and Chris wanted their own. So they got mustaches, too. We put them on and the waiter took our picture. Here it is...
Aside from the mustaches, there wasn't much to Roswell - no offense to anyone living in Roswell!
We stayed at the home of the parents of another law school guy and runner: RB Nichols. RB does triathlons and he is a wonderful runner. His parents were the nicest people! They had dinner ready for us when we got there - spare ribs, green enchiladas, potatoes, and a dinner salad. It was delicious and oh-so-filling! These wonderful people live on a ranch up in the hills. The view at sunset was glorious. Here it is...
Here is the view during the day...
We left Alamogordo at 4:30 the next morning to the White Sands Missile Range. It was very cold outside - 27 degrees! Runners huddled around outdoor standing heaters.
There was a quick ceremony and then the race got started. I started off at a nice, quick pace of about 10:00/mi. I had to tell myself to slow down a bit and not push off too hard in the beginning. Running with a 46.1-pound rucksack can be quite tiring after a while!
I took one GU Gel every 45 minutes and three Hammer Endurolyte pills every hour. By afternoon, the sun was up and it was quite warm - beautiful running weather. The scenery was gorgeous. The mountains just beyond the base were impressive to view. The course even took us up the side of one of those suckers. I didn't do a whole lot of hill training prior to the race, and so going up the mountain was a struggle. But, I had practiced power walking with the pack and that's pretty much how I got through that portion of the race.
I hit a low at two points during the race: at mile 8 (when we started ascending the mountain) and at mile 20. It was particularly challenging to run through the loose gravel and sand.
A side note: I used Drymax Trail Running socks for the first time and they were AMAZING! Not a single blister or hot spot. I will definitely be using these socks again for my next race.
I did regret not buying a pair of gaiters. Pebbles were getting into my shoes during the sandier portions of the course. I just kept running because I felt stopping to clean my shoes out would take too long. It was uncomfortable for a bit, but after a while, I ceased to notice. Nonetheless, a pair of gaiters would be beneficial to me, I think.
I started cramping up a little in my calves at about the 20 mile mark. But, I popped some Endurolytes and I felt fine after that. All things considered, it was a great race. I had a lot of fun, and I would definitely do it again next year. Maybe with less weight to get a more competitive time. In the end I came in 14th civilian male, 5th in my age group with a 5:27:45 marathon time, or an average pace of 12:31/mile. Not too bad. Here is a link to the official results. Looking forward to doing this race next year - this time with less weight in my pack, more hill training, and of course some cool gaiters!
Note: My friend RB Nichols, ran the honorary march (15 miles long) and placed 2nd overall!