Saturday, January 26, 2013

Big Bend Ultra 25K

Big Bend Ultra 25
Big Bend National Park, TX

January 20, 2013

The standard picture as we enter a National Park:


Flashback: Kellisa first visited Big Bend National Park in April 2009:


We enjoyed a little sight seeing when we first arrived in the park:






We had to pick up our race packets the night before, so we decided to camp:


We arrived at our site late and it was cold, so we just slept in the back of the giant SUV:


We were visiting Big Bend National Park because we were entered in the Big Bend Ultra 25K. For those that don't know, 25K equals 15.5343 miles. However, this trail was just a little longer and came in at 15.8 miles. It may not sound like a big deal, but I want credit for every step I pushed Kellisa over the rough terrain. Below is a map of the course which followed 4X4 trails in the backcountry:


354 feet of elevation gain isn't mountain climbing, but imagine pushing 100+ pounds up a rocky trail the height of a 35 story building:


Kellisa enjoying the shuttle to the starting line:


Starting line (34F):



I decided to view the 25K as a journey and not a race. I knew we'd make the course cut-off time, so I decided to take our time enjoying the magnificent scenery and to capture as many pictures as possible to remember our amazing trip. 

Kellisa had a seizure in the first 15 minutes of the race, just after my first picture on the course. I asked Kellisa if she was OK to continue and she signed "YES". Always the trooper! I tend to trust Kellisa in these matters and she would save her next seizure until we completed the course.





















The finish line (it was now 76F) is the little white spot just to the left of the top of the road. Even though it looks like we were close, it was still almost 2 agonizing miles away. I did not take finish line pictures because there was a course photographer. I will add those pictures as soon as I receive them.


Results:

 106  269          Kain Kellisa   F       Open   05:30:43
107 268  Kain Christopher M   Masters  05:30:43
** we did not finish last **

After the finish line, in the shade of a tent, Kellisa is receiving fluids like everyone else:


Kellisa enjoying the long 4X4 road back to where we had the SUV parked. Right after this picture, Kellisa had her second seizure of the day:


This is what we looked like at the airport for a very short weekend trip:


I would like to thank Lisa for supporting this trip as only a great mother and wife could. Egypt, for understanding as she stayed home this time. A promise to take Egypt to someplace with snow made it a little easier for her. I'd also like to thank Courtney and everyone at Friends of Big Bend National Park for going out of their way to accommodate our trip. Arlene for changing our registration at the last minute. Paul Baltutis (Race Director) for a flawless event and allowing us to complete the race in a way that only we can. We really appreciate the chance! Everyone at Big Bend National Park. A special thank you to Whole Earth Provision Co. for sponsoring our entry. 

Trip stats:

Miles driven: 547 (doesn't count the van shuttles)
Mikes hiked: 15.8
Flights: 5 (Jax-Houston-Midland/ Midland-Dallas-Birmingham-Jax)
Air miles flown: 2,522


1 comment:

  1. This is absolutely awesome on so many levels! Words really can't begin to describe it. A father's strength ... and a daughter's strength ... to not let a disability keep you both from dreaming big and doing big! Big Bend was a beautiful park and the race was a terrific opportunity to visit it. I'm glad you both got to tour the park as participants in the race. So awesome!

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