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Why I Did Not Finish (DNF) Badwater?
What can I say?

By James Moore

First I would like to say that I truly enjoyed the experience of trying to cover 135 miles on foot from the lowest point in the United States (Badwater Basin – 282 feet below sea level) to the beginning of the highest point in the contiguous Unite States, the Mt Whitney Portals. My crew was composed of a Badwater veteran (John Dodds - Badwater ’05 ) and three seasoned ultrarunners (Carolyn Gernand, Joe Malinowski and Rebecca Moore) all with crewing experience. They did an excellent job of taking care of me.

What can I say about my crew? They were Great!!

Team 64 II
Jim's Crew (l to r): Carolyn, Rebecca, James, Joe, and John

All of the events surrounding the Kiehl’s Badwater Ultramarathon were exciting. I had experienced this excitement as a crew member, but as a runner participant it was so completely different. The race director, Chris Kostman, and his staff made me feel as if I was a special athlete while all the time I realized that I was middle to back-of-the pack ultra runner.

What can I say about the race management, staff and all the fine sponsors of the 2007 running the Badwater 135? Everything was superb!!

Donations to our charity have once again been so very rewarding. Once again, you, the contributors with your generous donations have shown us just how much kindness and generosity exist amongst us. Along with the monetary contributions we received, the kind words of wisdom, support and concern for us before during and especially after the race mean more than words can describe.

What can I say about you? Priceless!!

I approached training for Badwater as I did when I used to seriously train for marathons (seems like eons ago). I was very dedicated and knew what needed to be done if I were to be successful. I knew that I should:

Jim Moore
Jim at Badwater

Get the miles in - I did

Do some speed work - I did (somewhat)

Do hill work - I did

Do heat training - I did (enjoyed it)

Do some “walking with a purpose” training - I did (really enjoyed it)

Cut down on the beer - I did (somewhat) (hated it)

It has been a long time since I had trained like this. It felt good.

What can I say about training for Badwater? It was complete and with a purpose.

Leading up to the run itself after the runner check-in, after the briefing, after the pre-race dinner while laying in bed going over everything in my mind, I really felt good. All the normal things were there, like the pre-race butterflies in my stomach, checking all the alarm clocks and watches, the fact that I would not sleep much that night. I woke up the next morning ready to run and wanting to run. Driving to the start we approached runners from the 6 am start. This enhanced my desire to start running even more so. The ceremonies just prior to my 8 am start (picture taking, weigh in, interviews, meeting some of the Legends) made me feel pretty special again.

What can I say about the pre-race activities? I really enjoyed them.

At no time before during and especially after the race did I ever under-estimate the environments of Badwater. I was very comfortable with keeping within myself. I wanted to enjoy this and have some fun. I started running knowing that it would be easy and fun for the beginning miles. I did not let myself for once say anything like, ”Man, this is great.” I may have been running a little too cautious, knowing how things can change so suddenly in a race. Throughout the distance to the first check in station (Furnace Creek) 17 miles away, I kept saying things like “ok you feel comfortable,” “you can walk some,” “stay within yourself.” I was doing all the right things like drinking, eating, walking and even peeing. Even with all that right stuff going on, the first sign of trouble came in the form of cramps in my legs. The cramps started enroute to the 42-mile check in station (Stove Pipe Wells). This really surprised me. It surprised me so much that I asked myself “Self, why is this happening? I’ve been doing all that I thought was right. All self could say was “don’t know, man.” Well, the cramps got worse over a very short period of time, and we had to get medical advice on how to get rid of them, keep them away and get the energy back that I needed for me to continue. My crew talked with the medics and advised me on what should be done. The downtime that I needed to recover really ate into the clock. Several attempts to start out again before I had recovered sufficiently only lead to further downtime. These “false” starts were a surprise to my crew who wanted me to take more recovery downtime. I did, eventually, recover and started to move forward again toward the next check in station at mile 72 ( Panamint Springs). I reached mile 72 with the option of going on to the next check in (mile 80) and probably on into Lone Pine (mile 122) but the official time clock was no longer my friend. With all things considered, I decided to drop at the 72-mile check in station at Panamint Springs. Checking runners in at Panamint Springs was none other than the Badwater Hall of Fame legend, Mr. Jack Denness. Jack congratulated me on my effort and as always was a pleasure to talk to. Also at Panamint Springs was a restaurant still serving food and drink. Before I was completely seated, after I officially dropped out of the run, crew member Joe Malinowski had two (2) Sam Adams Boston Lagers in front of me. I was able to taste the second one, the first one I vaporized. Things were looking better already.

Other than the personal disappointment of not making it across the finish line, everything else about the run I enjoyed immensely. Everything was in place and I have nothing to complain about.

Why I Did Not Finish (DNF) Badwater? - What can I say?


PS: After my last attempt at completing the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 (MMT100) which beat me to a pulp even though I had completed it twice, I bet my dear wife Rebecca that I would pay her $500.00 dollars on the spot if I even mention entering the MMT100 again. I did not make such a bet with her about Badwater.

[For more on Jim Moore's Badwater experience, go to his Web site, 1MoRun.com.]

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