Fayetteville: Todd Baums describes going the distance in Badwater Ultramarathon

Near Towne Pass, I stopped and rested in a reclining camp chair in the dark. Pat tended to my sore feet. I ate a much-needed sandwich. I was then able to do some effective running down the 3,325 feet and 10 miles into Panamint Valley.

The Panamint Springs motel room was a Godsend for the exhausted crew and me. I slept 20 minutes and ate half a sandwich. My hands were becoming edematous, but my feet were still looking pretty good.

Decent time

Revived from the calories and rest, I made decent time up to Father Crowley Point. The next 10 miles was a narrow shoulder-less mountain road with a sheer drop-off on the other side of the guardrail. Looking back east, I could see the lines of support vehicles in the night stretched out across Panamint Valley and up the Panamint Range. There was some consolation in the fact that those miles were behind me. Nonetheless, The next 1,300 feet of ascent took a toll and I slept another 15 minutes on the side of the road in the reclining camp chair.

Mile 90 was the Panamint Pass at 5,300 feet. I had a little more running in my legs and started a run one-minute, walk one-minute routine that made good time. As I approached the intersection of Route 136 and Route 190, I no longer had the ability to run. Even walking was difficult. Not much separated me from simply lying down on the side of the road like road kill.

A sunny Owens Valley became more challenging than Death Valley. Perception of distance became twisted. Looking down a stretch of six-mile desert highway is like looking down 40 miles. With each turn of the road, another stretch presented itself as if to say, "You have nothing to look forward to but a walking hell."

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