Bataan Memorial Death March - Been There, Done That

Ok. Finally have some time to sit and do my Bataan post. J and I left Remy with a petsitter on Saturday night. He was super excited to find a tiny little Chihuahua named Bella would be staying with him.

Sunday was a dark and early morning. Up before the sun. We got up at 3am to get out the door in time. Left about 3:30 and got to White Sands about 4:30. Once we were parked, we laid back the seats in the car and took a little nap.

5:30 am was up and out of the car. We headed over where they had the breakfast stuff. All prepackaged stuff like muffins and danishes, and some oranges and bananas. As usual, they had a bagpipe group starting things off. Then the opening ceremony stuff. They named the Bataan survivors that were there, and did a roll call of those that have died in the past year. (more behind the jump)

Me, pre-race

Then we got going. Well, the first people got going. They had 3 starting groups, but were very unorganized about getting us in these groups. They just kinda fired off the canon 3 times. We took off after the 3rd one. So we started around 7:30am.
Heading out of WSMR
Eventually we hit the dirt. There was tons of dirt.

By mile 5, we were well into the dirt.
You can start to see how windy it was. The temps were great, but the wind was horrible. The shemags we wore helped with that, but I think I still got some windburn on my cheeks. When it blew straight at us, it made me feel like I slowed down quite a bit.
crazy runners
Eventually made it back on to some road. This is part of a highway that they shut down for us. At this point, 2 hours in, the runners were already on their way back.

back to the dirt
Of course, the road lead to more dirt. We're heading into the mountains now.

like my blingy sunglasses?
See? I'm still hanging in there. That hat was really a lifesaver. No sunburn on my face, ears, or neck. It almost flew off my head once or twice, but all in all, I'm very glad I had it. I should call mom and thank her for buying it for me a few years ago.
halfway there!
Reaching the halfway point was a great relief, but I knew I still had hours to go.

sand. lots of sand.
And then we hit the sand pit. Apparently, this used to be even worse than this. By this point, I had blisters and my feet hurt like a mother. I thought this would be the hardest point, but actually the soft sand felt a little better on my feet. It did slow me down, but heck, didn't hurt as much!

Add caption
I'm exhausted at this point. So much pain. But I still tried to smile.

mile 25!
And finally, I saw this. The 25 mile marker. I had done a few 30 minute miles at this point, but around here it started to pick up. Between miles 25 and 26 is when the blister on my right pinky toe popped. Talk about pain!! OMG! But that pain overrode the other pains, and I was actually able to limp a little faster. The pain subsided eventually, limp lessened, and I was still able to somewhat keep the pace up to around 20 or 25 minutes per mile.

mile 26! so close!
Mile 26! We were behind the housing here. Lots of teams were stopped on the side waiting for lagging teammates to catch up. Made me glad it was just J and I. If I stopped, I wasn't sure I'd be able to start again.

finally finishing.
And the finish! Look how J was scooting ahead to get pics of me as I finished. We did the mushy thing and held hands across the official finish line. Official finish time is 9:20:53. From there, I went straight to the chairs.
My camelbak was dry at this point, so that cup of water was great. We headed to the Jeep and removed shoes and socks. That's when I knew for sure that I had popped that blister. My feet were filthy and disgusting. The dirt and sand had sifted through the shoes and socks and stuck to my feet. At this point, J and I decided that I should get that blister cleaned before we head home.

So we drove the jeep up to a closer parking spot. I had my flip flops on and hobbled over to the tent with all the volunteer medics. They signed me in and a girl took me back to a cot. She took a long time to clean and bandage. She doesn't believe in lancing blisters, but wanted them to pop on their own. I did see someone I knew, but it was too crazy in there to talk to anyone. 

While I was doing all this, J got us some food. I scarfed down a veggie burger and some potato salad, and drank most of a bud light. We got in the car and headed home. First stop was to pick up Remy. He was so sleepy! It was good to see him, though.

Yesterday morning, I gave my feet a good cleaning and drained the blisters myself. Gross, right? I bandaged them up and wore flip flops. This morning, they are doing much better, but my pinky toes are both blistered. The right one is gross. I would take a picture, but J has the camera today. I'm still wearing the flip flops because my feet are just a little swollen still. But it looks like the rest of today is free, so I'm going to try cleaning them again real good and doctor them up. That is, after I go buy more gauze. 


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