Wednesday, August 1, 2007

finally! terry's recap!

yay! im still alive!

to all of my dear friends and family who took the time to write me such great words of encouragement and kindness, i would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. you will never know the impact of your words.

this badwater quest has truly been the experience of a lifetime and thanks to modern technology i was able to share this experience in an up close and personal way. so here's what happened...

when i woke up the morning of july 15th, i was pretty much scared out of my mind wondering what the hell was i thinking...but as i stepped out onto the pavement at the official start line of the race all of a sudden this huge calm came over me. the fear was gone just like that. i said my first prayer of 1000 over those next few days and began my odyssey of 135 miles. the temp at 6:15am was already 103 degrees. crazy huh? several miles into the run it started to get cloudy and i felt a single raindrop hit my hand. who gets that lucky in death valley? the first 17 miles went great and i reached my first checkpoint at furnace creek feeling pretty darn good. things started to really heat up for me a few miles after that first checkpoint. i started to feel a little queasy around mile 24 and as i walked over to the crew vehicle they could tell i wasn't feeling to great. my crew then placed iced water towels around me, gave me ice water to drink and put me in the van for a couple of minutes. they then took my temp after all those interventions and it was registering 102.8. they were doing all the right things to bring my core temp back down. 15 minutes later im back on the road to the next check point at stove pipe wells, 42 miles. this is the point at which my guardian angel came in the form of ultra marathoner extroidaniare marcia rasumssen fresh off of her own badwater solo finish. she paced me for the next few miles and literally took my mind off all the pain and misery. i will forever be grateful for her presence and her popscicles. the elusive town of stovepipe finally arrived. there, i pretty much looked like death warmed over, it was pretty scary but no thoughts of quitting or ever giving up had entered my mind. i knew i was going to suffer and i just went with it. a quick dip in the motel pool, some ramen noodles and i was off to my next check point at panamint springs, 72 miles. the climb out of stovepipe was over 18 miles long and i did it in the dark with my daughter now pacing me. that had to be one of the longest nights of my life, it was brutal. trying to do that climb after spending the whole day in temps over 115 degrees was awful. the temp at night even up at the higher elevations never went below 100 degrees. that night i slept off and on every two to three hours for 20 minutes. finally, the morning arrived. my crew exchanged places so the girls could sleep so the guys and lisa took over. i did not reach panamint until late afternoon and it was on this day that i got to experience what trying to jog in 122 degrees felt like. the wind was blowing hot as the hottest dial on your furnace, the sun is beating down on you relentlessly and you just have to tell yourself its okay. my nephew had been pacing me for most of the day. the really crazy thing was his ipod melted, it was that hot. joey was so great, he kept me laughing the whole way plus he was an excellent water sprayer. i left panamint after a shower and a somewhat rest. my crew was begging me to sleep for an hour, i tried but i was too nervous. i faced my second major climb out of panamint on my way to darwin's point at approximately 5000 feet in the mojave desert. i climbed all night until approx. 92 miles where all of us girls slept in the crew van. it was the absolute coolest, most amazing, peaceful place. the desert is so still at night and has this magical, surreal quality. the most amazing thing was when the morning came and the temp dropped to 70 degrees. we all thought we were freezing. crazy! i reached the 100 mile mark later that morning of the second day. i not only was 100 miles into the run but i was now also a 50 year old. 100 mile mark still no blisters, no throwing up. freaking amazing! and all of this due to the most amazing crew. my best friend georjette had electrolyte and nutrition duty and like my sister and i, she's also a nurse so i couldnt of had a better group of people taking care of me. they were relentless, methodical and in tune to everything going on. i can say without a doubt i could not have made it without them. i love you guys. after the 100 mile mark the worst was yet to come. my feet which had been nagging at me from the beginning were now starting to swell and throb. i tried to ignore it for hours but i soon felt almost crippled by the pain. i was reduced to barely walking for miles. and then around mile 109 my crew put my feet in ice water for about 15 minutes and i headed back out. after the numbness wore off a little, the most incredible thing happened. after miles of barely walking i started to run. and i mean really run. it was like i had crossed over some invisible threshold of mind over body. it felt like i had a guardian angel. i ran like that alternately icing my feet every half hour or so until around mile 119. then came the big crash. three miles before lone pine i totally cracked. i had given all i had and running that hard in 118 degrees had taken its toll on me. so the next few hours were spent in the shower and sleeping. then back out for my final climb. georjette paced me to the base of the portals and i remember being so touched by my faithful, loving crew, all out for yet a third night to support me on this crazy journey. my third miracle came as i started to climb. i literally felt no pain, no blisters, my feet were good and i was able to climb that mountain like it was just another work out. i was on a mission. i felt so empowered and strong it was insane. suddenly every reason, every mile number that i had dedicated to family and friends replayed over and over in my head. thinking of all those special numbers made me feel so humbled and proud. i thought of my dad's number, 134, and how i never thought i would see it and of how proud of me he would be. when georjette told me that she had called work and talked to dawn shortly before i finished around 3:30am, she told me how they were all crying and cheering me on. i was so overwhelmed. the finish finally came. i crossed that toilet paper ribbon and approx. 3:30am wednesday, july 17th, 69 hours and 29 minutes after i had started. the feeling of accomplishment, awe, and wonder at what my now 50 year old body had done was beyond words. to have been able to reach down to a part so far inside myself, to be able to ignore all the pain and suffering, sleep deprevation and fear and to have done all this for the love of my sister, mother, friends and family was the greatest gift of all.

terry abrams
badwater solo finisher


Jack said...

Ter.....what an awesome story. It made me cry. Congratulations on your finish! Love, Jack

Jack said...