The Journey to Badwater: The Why


He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Every person who attempts the Badwater 135 has a reason; it’s even a question on the application. Why? Why would you want to put yourself through the grueling months of training? Why would you want to suffer through the heat and the miles upon miles of pain? Why do you think you can do it? Why do you think you deserve to? Why? It’s a small, but loaded question. We all have our reasons, and they are very personal and individual, but we all have our reasons. 

To me, running 100+ miles is, at its core, a raw and primitive experience. Much like the training itself, it is an exercise in patience and problem solving, survival, tenacity, and will. Those who reach the finish line are stripped of all superfluity and left with only the visceral characteristics that enable them reach that point. They are simultaneously strong and vulnerable; they are raw in its purest sense. Badwater 135 epitomizes that experience to me, and I want to live that experience to the fullest extent. I want to be stripped of all of the excess, to be broken down and rise again. I want to prove to myself that I can rise to the challenge, embrace the pain, and emerge on the other side stronger for the experience. Badwater is everything I never thought I could be and everything I want to prove to myself that I am.

The last several months have been some of the most difficult I have ever experienced, both physically and emotionally. I have been broken down over and over and over again. I have beaten myself up over and over and over again. I have cried, I have yelled in frustration, and I have been injured. I strained my hamstring, strained my quad, tore my groin, and tore my hip flexor. I have fallen and I have gotten back up over and over and over again. My body is stronger and my skin is thicker. My scars are visible markers of hard effort. I took the road less traveled every single day. Long runs, short runs, night runs, doubles, physical therapy, hills, layers, the sauna. Whether tired, sick, injured, depressed, discouraged, hungry, nauseous, stressed, or frustrated, I persisted. When I didn't think I was good enough, I tried harder. When I was nervous, I tried harder. When I was afraid, I tried harder. Every time I broke down, I picked up the pieces and I tried even harder, because that's what you do when you want something with every fiber of who you are; you find a way. Regardless of how my race ends, I will know this much is true: I wanted Badwater more than it hurt, and I showed up every single day.

It took courage for me to apply for this race, and it will take humility to finish it. It will be the hardest thing I've ever done, and I can honestly say that I am now prepared to take the journey in a way I wasn't before. I am nervous and I am excited, but I am not afraid. The Journey to Badwater is nearing its end, but the journey to Mt. Whitney is just beginning.