No 2020 Badwater? No Problem. My 2020 Big Blue 132 Solo Runby Dawn Lisenby on 04/02/21
The Big Blue 132 mile solo run was conceived as a journey run. In concept it was to experience an epic adventure with my #SIS. (Sisters In Suffering) It ended up being that and so much more.
Starting out in Delray at 1 pm. with a storm moving in I was incredibly excited to get running after many weeks of uncertainty concerning Badwater 135. I never saw this run as a replacement for my dream race, but merely as a way to use my training, enjoy Florida’s beauty, and spend time with those I cherish.
Within the very first 5 miles I was greeted by my other #SIS, the beautiful
Maya, who made me a sign to cheer me forward. I smiled for miles after that.
Running was easy and smooth for the first 30 miles as I was continually awed by the natural and man made beauty I was running through in Palm Beach. However, I was aware that high humidity might be an issue for me, as it always is. My INCREDIBLE crew was on it though, stopping every two miles to keep me cool and replenished.
As I neared N. Palm Beach I got a burst of energy, after a not so great section on US-1, with a visit from THE
Jeff Stephens. We shared a few laughs over the Blue Heron bridge back to A1A.
Shortly after that I was treated to a 10 mile tour to Lighthouse Park with the AMAZING
Michael Brown. I had the beginnings of some stomach discomfort. I decided to eat some real food, try to walk for a bit to help with it and just enjoy the time/conversation with one of the best people I know. Right at the very end of my miles with him, as we were admiring the Jupiter Lighthouse and walking in the center median, my stomach gave up the goods in a big way. Being who he is he took it in stride and made me laugh about it.
Miles 40-50 I was distracted from my discomfort from the energy of
one very special person and the surroundings through Hobe Sound. It was a highlight of my journey to spend many miles sharing stories, thoughts and laughs with
Tony Himanshu Mehta. Over the course of our time together we solved all the worlds problems. Unbeknownst to him I am nominating him to be inducted as an honorary male member of the #SIS.
With my stomach not letting me take anything in due to continued high humidity through the night and heat stress, I decided to try and rest for a bit to let it reset and give my hardworking crew some much needed rest. For an hour and a half I laid in discomfort trying to sleep but unable to.
I began to move again just before sunrise and was having no improvement leading me to contemplate wether I could continue for so many more miles. I thought “what would I tell my athletes to do”. What came to mind was “eat an Egg McMuffin, hold the ham” lol. This solved the problem of my 20 miles of nausea. My body needed some fat and real food to reset.
As I made my way through beautiful Port Salerno I began to get some energy back. Miles 70-80, on Hutchinson Island South in full morning sun, were spent moving cautious and focused through the heat, which made it feel incredibly long. At the end though, as I crossed over at quaint Ft. Pierce Inlet, a monsoonal thunderstorm occurred. Melissa and I enjoyed moving through it together, while Lulu grabbed us some food from a beach eatery. We sat and enjoyed a delicious dinner together in the car, before I crossed back over to N. Hutchinson Island.
It is here that I made a mistake that would come back to haunt me. I did not retape the hotspots, ( that developed despite repeated replying of lube from constant moisture due to humid conditions), after running through rain. I corrected it just a few miles afterwards with the help of Lulu and her magic crew supplies (she has everything and more), but the damage had been done. The pain in my feet from so many miles of cement sidewalk and trench foot that developed under tape would be my biggest challenge to moving forward over my remaining miles. True to ultra, when one challenge is met another follows, such as in life.
North Hutchinson Island, my final island, was spent touring beautiful Vero through the night miles, joined by Tony again, and clicking over miles. At that point I knew I would make it to the finish despite getting super fatigued from moving for 32 hours without rest. I tried again to do so for 20 minutes but the nerve pains in my feet were so great, even when elevated, that I could not, so I continued onward.
Those overnight hours I battled hallucinations and ultra blindness, something I had heard of but never experienced, where I actually could barely see out of my right eye. But despite it all I appreciated being out there moving through the desolate surroundings, sharing conversations and the quiet night with my best gals.
As I experienced my second sunrise of my journey and entered Sebastian Inlet,
it took every ounce of focus I had to make it through full on sun and suffering to my finish line, which after multiple bridge crossings due to islands, ended up being Melbourne Beach.
One of my athletes and friends
Bryan Bostjoined me for a few miles at the perfect time. Fortuitously, just as he was about to leave, and with 8 miles left, my watch died. Without me asking him he offered his Suunto 9 to finish out my run like a true ultra runner would. I was so grateful to him as to not know how many exact miles I had left may would have been an added difficulty to deal with.
I grew emotional as I neared the last mile for all that I had gone through and this incredible journey coming to an end. But just as quickly my tears gave way to a smile when I saw the lovely
Dana R Marunning towards me from where my #SIS were waiting for me. My exact mile of 132 finished coincidentally where a giant star was painted on the sidewalk and a yahoo carton had been discarded. It could not have been more perfect.
What I experienced out there was transformative and what ultra is truly about. Knowing that the pain of challenges will come and when it does you will answer by moving through them. What enables us to do so is the strength of the community that surrounds us. What inspires us to is the beauty that we have to move through. More now than ever I know just how incredibly magnificent of a state Florida is.
I can never thank
Luluenough for making all of this possible for me. But I will attempt to try by paying it forward to them and all of you, my ultra family, that I appreciate and love so very much. Nothing will ever diminish what we have, not even a world wide pandemic.
Till we meet again.