Going Rogue at Salton Sea

If you are here looking for a traditional race report on the inagaural Badwater: Salton Sea, you’re not going to find it. If you’re wanting mileage splits, blister pictures, and name dropping,…you’re in the wrong place. This is my story about a journey…and running… it’s always about running.

COME OUT AND PLAY?

So a few months ago, my friend Chris Kostman started dreaming up a sister race to his world famous 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon. Of course he had this crazy epic place in mind… duh, it’s AdventureCorpsAnd after several weeks of planning, driving, and mapping, his brainchild turned into a reality. Chris’s idea was to put on an 81 mile run from this super weird place called Salton Sea to the top of Palomar Mountain, the highest point in San Diego County. The race would eventually become a qualifier for Badwater.

The whole time, my best friend Jen and I were getting the live planning updates via our year long [and highly entertaining] group text thread. Chris would send us pictures, ask for input, etc. So when he asked us if we wanted to race, I jumped at the chance to be involved. Without knowing an exact date or any details, I just wrote “I’m in!”

Well, “I’m in” turned into somewhat of a panic attack when Chris later texted that he wanted the race to be a three person team format.

“I want there to be groups of three. Racers run the entire distance together, and separation would lead to disqualification.”

*switches to private text with Jen*

“Did he just say ‘team’???”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t matter, because this is all you. I’ve got an Ironman, and I’m not backing out of it. You already agreed though.”

“Dude. Jen. Bail me out. I don’t want to do a team race.”

“NO! You already agreed.”

“Ughhhhh. You suck… No seriously. I hate you.”

*switches back to group text*

“Sounds great, Chris. I’ll find a team”

(Haha, sorry Chris. You know I love you!)

Team…Team…Team… Hmm…This could be a bit of a problem.

Why? Well. I’ll tell you why. For one, there aren’t a lot of women out there that can easily run 81 miles at the drop of a pin. And two, y’all, I have like 5 friends total. Seriously, it’s kind of embarrassing…It would seem that hanging out in the woods running alone all day isn’t actually conducive to a thriving social life,…who knew?...But instead of freaking out, and beating the pavement to find a team to race this thing with, I figured I’d just sit back and let things fall into place. 

And that’s exactly what happened…

SWEET LIKE SUGAR

Team member numero dos, the lovely and talented Mrs. Amber Hanks, didn’t hesitate to join my team of ultra elite greatness. All though Amber had never raced any significant ultras, she’d handled her share of long distance solo endeavors in epic places, plus, you know, she wanted to hang out with me. So Amber signed her name on the dotted line.

The next chick pretty much fell out of the sky… Marie Ange Smith, an acquaintance I had met a couple years prior at an ultra event, randomly tweeted me one day. And poor Ange didn’t even get two sentences typed out before I jumped on the chance to ask her to join my team. But hey, she must be crazier than me, because she instantly agreed.

The last thing we needed was two crew members.  I wanted them to be chicks, because, you know, I prefer to be in the presence of females when I handle my dirty ultra bizznazz…But turned out not many women felt like driving a car and filling water bottles all day.  Lots of men offered, but no gals. And with two weeks left until race day, I finally started to freak out a bit.

Until an angel from the Lord arrived in my inbox:

“Hi Ashley, My name is Shawna Wentlandt. I live in Southern California, right near Borrego Springs where the race is. I would LOVE to crew your team! I can bring my friend Laura to help.”

And just like that, Team AAASugar was officially born!

And why AAASugar?… C’mon, you know why.

MEET N GREET AAASUGAR STYLE

I arrived in California and met up with Amber and Ange. Of course there was nothing but absolute chemistry and positive vibes. Each of us had a great sense of humor, and we all seemed to mesh well bouncing witty banter off of one another. 

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Amber, Ange and I had a few setbacks before we made it out to Borrego Springs from San Diego, roughly a two hour drive.  And when I say setbacks…I do mean setbacks…But if the way we handled it all was any indication on how we would race together, then everything was going to be okay. We eventually arrived at the resort at 2am and passed out by 3, laughing ourselves to sleep.

When we awoke the next morning, and could finally see our surroundings lit up by the sun, we were pleasantly surprised by the beauty around us. Borrego Springs Resort, the race’s host hotel, was like an oasis in a dry land. Desert palms surrounded the grounds and swayed against a backdrop of picturesque mountains. It made for such a relaxing day pre race. And Lord knows I needed “relaxing”…. cuz if we weren’t running 81 miles the next day; y’all know I would’ve been tearin’ up desert.

We finally got to meet Shawna and Laura, and we all had lunch together. Again, nothing but chemistry. I had great feelings about all of it. I think what I loved most about my team was that NOBODY asked about details. No one cared about a race plan, a strategy, fueling, or anything along those lines. It was clear to me that the only thing on mine or anyone else’s mind was to make this race one heck of an awesomely fun experience.  

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We spent the day getting to know each other, touring the course, and packing things into the car for the big day. Oh and there was also the pre race meeting: where teams had their official legit picture taken, and Chris went over the rules of the race and other vital stuff. Here we are being completely sugared out….

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(More on that in a minute….)

And did I mention that this race was an invitation-only event, and exclusively for Badwater Staff and Badwater Veterans? No? …Well… it was…

Hey. We’re In The Club.

Side note: Anyone remember that scene in Titanic, where Molly Brown was at the dinner table with all the rich folk, and it was obvious by her lack of manners that she was “new money”…? That’s kind of pretty much how it felt to be AAASugar at Salton Sea.

It was confirmed when someone approached us and asked, “So who is the Badwater veteran on Team AAASugar?”

…Err, yeah… That would be none of us…

There were a lot of great runners around us. We knew that. And on top of that, everyone LOOKED like a legit runner! You see, apparently everyone and their mom got the memo on wearing uber trendy custom designed matching race uniforms. Unfortunately, AAAS did not get that memo. But, thankfully, as you saw above, we did end up getting some deluxe shirts custom made. Last minute. With sharpies. And THAT, my friends, is what you call legit.

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 Yeah, but anyway, all of that to say: Sure, we probably didn’t belong at this race full of extra cool and elite runners. But hey, Chris invited us, and we came. So that’s that. We were there to have a good time, and to really experience all that Salton Sea had to offer. And come race day morning, we were going to do just that.

GET ON WITH THE RACE REPORT.

Race day morning was freaking epic—in every sense of the word. First off, we woke up to THIS out one window….

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And THIS out the other.

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…You kidding me?!…

And the energy my crew had was off the chain…

We were just ready to get this thing started!

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All of us runners made our way out towards the race start at the super weird Salton Sea, crunching millions of tiny pieces of dried fish bones as we walked. …AdventureCORPS motto is “We’re out there.”…And guys, there’s a reason for that…

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After the playing of our National Anthem, we started on what was going to be an incredible journey. None of us knew what to expect, but I sensed no anxious nerves from me, or either of my girls. I think we were all just genuinely ready and excited to run together.

TO BORREGO SPRINGS, AND BEYOND!!!

The first 35 miles of the race were going to be the easiest. We would run a fairly flat route through the desert back to Borrego Springs Resort. Next, we would head off road for some mountainous trail, and then we would make our way towards the 11 mile climb up Palomar Mountain.

Amber, Ange, and I quickly settled into a routine of taking turns leading. We laughed and chatted our way through the first few windy miles. It wasn’t too hot, but it was definitely warm. Shawna and Laura played leap frog with us, driving a couple miles up the road for us to run to them to get our food and water.

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We eventually found after 15 miles or so that Ange ran best in the front, Amber ran best in the middle, and I did good bringing up the rear. Everything was pretty smooth sailing until Ange started to feel really nauseous. We ended up walking several miles until she felt like running again.

And honestly, it was hard to walk so much early on in the race. It was hard because I really really felt like running. Almost like a race horse waiting behind the gate. I kept feeling that sense of suppression. But, man, if my stomach was torn up, I’d want to walk too…Scratch that, I’d probably just sit down and cry, because I’m a wimp at dealing with stomach stuff… But we knew we had to work through it, and though Ange never felt quite better, she put on her poker face and toughed it out. We all kind of got silent for awhile, so we pulled out our headphones, and tried to work through our first funk. And somehow, we started running again!

Those moments, when we were all in sync with the road, and with each other, man, they were beautiful. I loved every minute of them.

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Chillax.

When we finally made it to Borrego Springs, it was almost like we died and went to Heaven. There was an actual BATHROOM, so we didn’t have to duck behind a cactus! It felt good to reach our first race milestone. I guess it felt so good that we didn’t want to leave…

“Hey guys,” Chris Kostman shouted to us, “You know your team has been here the longest out of everyone else who checked in? Did you forget you were racing?!”

…No!!!…Yess!!!… (10 points for you if you got that Night At The Roxbury reference.)

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I guess we finally got our butts rollin’, because the next thing I knew, we were pounding out more mileage, making our way towards the next milestone:

The Trail. (DunDunDun….)

Yes. The trail suddenly was scary to us, because we started to hear nasty vicious rumors about it:

“Hey guys, be sure you’re prepared for the trail. I hear it’s cold, windy, and hard to navigate!”—random person.

“Hey Ash, be sure your team has a cell phone when you go on the trail, we’re hearing the other teams have had a rough time.”—another random person.

“Girls. You need tons of layers and all of you should bring your cell. It’s bad up there.”—Shawna.

…Layers?? What are layers? I live in GEORGIA. Dirty south. I run in a bra and booty shorts 10 months out of the year for Pete’s sake.

“Ha. Guys, did y’all bring layers?” I asked Amber and Ange, almost joking.

“Yeah, I have some Gore-Tex.” said Amber, Rhode Island native.

“Yep, I brought cold gear.” said Ange, Colorado citizen.

…Well…I’m a loser… “Oh.Yeah. Me too, I uhh… brought my cotton Brooks hoodie.” [AKA the one I happened to wear on the plane to make sure my skin didn’t touch the armrests because Jen told me they are contaminated with venereal diseases.]

And did the rumors turn out to be true? Only time would tell.

Shawna and Laura did the best they could to prepare us for our big send off onto the trail. They would not be able to see us for the next 3 or so hours as we navigated our way over the mountains in the rough weather.  I know they were a little worried about us; they’d turned into our mamas as the day had progressed. But they did a good job of pumping us up, and sending us off with confidence.

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GAME CHANGERS.

Amber, Ange, and I waved goodbye to Shawna and Laura and made our way to the trailhead. This time, we changed it up a bit, and I took the lead. It was a crazy little piece of a trail, and that’s coming from a psycho trailrunner. There were a lot of rocks, a lot of scrambling, and a lot of climbing. There wasn’t much confirmation that we were going in the right direction, and the twists, turns, and switchbacks became a little unnerving. That combined with slight rain, powerful wind gusts, and already 40 something miles on our legs, and we were sippin’ on a nice lethal combo of BuzzKill.

Amber and Ange both started to get really quiet. I tried to remain upbeat and keep some sort of conversation going, but neither of them were interested in talking. After about 20 minutes, they both started to walk incredibly slow, and I knew neither of them were feeling well at all.

“Can we slow down a bit?” I heard one of them say behind me.

…Slow down?…My grandma walks faster than this!…

“Guys, we’re moving really slowly already. We’ve only got a couple hours until sunset. And if we move any slower, we’re going to be on this mountain cold and in the dark.”

After a little while longer of moving at the same pace, I noticed that I had seen neither of them eat much. I hated to sound like a nagging mom, but I began to inquire about their caloric intake.

“Are you guys eating? Because if you’re not, it’s basically like you’re starving all of us. If one of us stops moving because of energy deprivation, none of us can continue forward.”

Amber started to munch on some fuel, and Ange tried, but complained that she was too nauseuos to eat anything more than some ginger chews. Despite the lack of enthusiasm or energy, we continued on our way. The trail felt like it would never end!

I decided to break up the monotony of the moment by playing Truth or Dare style games, like we were little girls having a sleep over. And after we shared some giggles, we finally started to break out of our second funk and run.

We ended up cranking out the final four miles of the eight mile trail fast enough to catch the teams in front of us.

TEARS OF JOY?

When we finally popped out of the trail, we were so elated, that we literally ran the road up the hill to greet our crew.  The temperature had dropped significantly, and the wind was downright pounding the living daylights out of us. But I was so excited with our speed on the back end of the trail, that I didn’t even notice. I turned around to high-five Amber, and then looked over my other shoulder for Ange….…Ange?

What I saw made my gut do one of those flip-flop things you feel on a roller coaster. Ange was clearly upset, with her face buried in her hands, and it was obvious that she wasn’t crying any tears of joy.

“What’s going on?” I asked, shocked, “We just killed that. You did great!”

“I don’t know.” she cried, clearly shaken, “I’m just cold. And I’ve been feeling like crap the entire day.”

“What??? I thought you were feeling fine? You’ve been running extremely well.”

It suddenly dawned on me that I was running with a World Class Champion Tough Chick, one that had been doing an excellent job at hiding her pain and emotions. She had been feeling terribly rough the entire day, but for the good of the team, decided to keep her thoughts and feelings to herself. The final push we had made on the trail, and now being completely exposed to the wind and cold, was too much for her to handle.

But after some encouragement, Shawna and Laura wrapped blankets around Ange, and sent us on our way.

“You got this.” I said.

I stepped in front of Amber and Ange, and just kept to myself for a bit.

Amber walked next to Ange to comfort her and try to cheer her up. But I decided, on the other hand, not to comfort her, because in my own ultra experiences, when people baby me, I only want to quit. So I kept my distance from Ange and told her she would snap out of it, and that she just needed to get moving again… in full hope that she would do just that.

But instead, Ange only got worse, and started to break down. She began to get really upset, and began yelling that she was too cold and was feeling hypothermic. I got nervous and called Shawna and Laura to come back and meet us so Ange could sit in the car.

SO…WHAT’S NEXT?

Ange and Amber jumped in the car to escape the wind, but I refused to get in. In my experience, if I ever give myself a taste of comfort during a long race, I’m likely not to part with it. So as they sat inside, I just stood outside, in the dark, freezing my butt off in my tiny hoody and thin capris… waiting to see what would happen next. I’m glad that our team dynamic allowed for both of to try different mechanics of working with Ange, because since we had never run with her, neither of us really know what would work to get her back out there.

 I kept looking in the window thinking, ….please don’t quit on us…… but in my gut I already knew it was too late. I knocked on the door and asked Shawna to jump out and talk to me for a bit.

“What’s going on in there. Is Ange done?”

“Yeah I’m scared that she is… We’re trying to talk her out of it, but I think she’s done.”

“You know, I think she’s pushed all that she can today. I know she felt like crap. She’s done good to tough it out and hide it for so long, but I think the elements are too much on top of everything else.”

“I think you’re right.”

“Look. Shawna. This is a first year race, and I have no idea if we will get in trouble if we continue on without Ange…but would you be willing to crew us if we do?”

“Absolutely, Ashley, Laura and I are here for you guys.”

And with that, I leaned my head into the car and prepared for a heart to heart with Ange…

I looked over at my new friend, this crazy awesome girl that I had grown to love and respect over the course of a day, like I’d known her my whole life.  I could tell that she was hurting in more ways than she was voicing, and I knew what she wanted to do. I also knew that she would have a hard time saying it. So I cut straight to the chase…

“You done?” I said, looking straight into her eyes.

“I don’t want you to be pissed at me Ashley.” She cried.

I wrapped her in a hug, now crying tears of my own, and said, “Girl. How could I be pissed at you? This has been nothing but awesome. You need to take care of yourself.”

“I know. I can’t go on anymore.”

“It’s okay. I know. That’s all I needed to here. I love you girl!”

And with that, Amber and I geared up, and prepared to tackle the remainder of the run as a duo.

GOING ROGUE

“Ash. Do you think Chris will be mad at us if we go on without Ange. I mean…do you think maybe we should just stop too? He emphasized several times that we had to cross as a 3 person team.”

“Look. I love Chris, and I respect this event. But right now, this isn’t about a race, or following rules. All that matters to me right now is finishing a route that we started. I flew all the way out to California to run 81 miles, and by God, that is exactly what I’m going to do.”

“All right, well you know I’m with you.”

“So you wanna do this then? You wanna go rogue?” I laughed.

“Heck yeah, I wanna go rogue. How else would we do it?”

So together, my best friend and I set out into the darkness, with Shawna and Laura keeping watch, bound and determined to see this thing through one way or another.

MY FAVORITE PART

The course began to weave its way through [what seemed to be] farmland. The road was flat for the most part, the wind and rain died down completely, and Amber and I started to get really comfortable. We began to just walk, chat, and laugh our way through the miles, soaking up each other’s company, and relishing the adventure together. We turned on our Roofus and Dangemon voices, and found our way to that super silly, high on mileage, middle of the night giddiness that you can only feel during an ultra. It felt absolutely perfect to be experiencing the moment with my best friend. I couldn’t help but voice it…

“Being out here in California with you, experiencing this, and everything we’ve gone through together…its super special to me. I hope you know that. You my boy, Dangemon.”

“Aw, you gawn make a girl tear up, Roofus.  Thank you fo’ sayin that. There ain’t nobody like you fo’me! …Seriously though, I don’t share this with anybody. What we have is definitely special.”

“I’m happy we’re going rogue together.”

“Me too.”

After our “moment” and a few silly transactions, Amber and I began to dig deep into why we were even out there doing the race in the first place. You know, by becoming moms at such a young age, Amber and I were both forced to grow up really quickly. And though we experienced the incredible beauty of motherhood, we know we missed out on other traditional aspects of transitioning from childhood into adulthood. And while we agree that neither of us would change our lives for the world, I think deep down, that need to feel reckless and free—like a kid—is forever trapped in our veins. I think it’s part of what draws us to these epic events and places.  Part of what drives us to run for hours on end.  It’s what makes us unique. And that night, it kept us moving, regardless of the outcome, towards a finish line that held no rewards or medals for us. We were “going rogue” but that was nothing new.

…We’ve spent our whole lives doing that…

CRUNK JUICE AND MOUNTAINS

After we talked and walked for a long while, I guess we finally remembered that we were still in a race atmosphere, so we decided to start running again.

Amber and I chugged some crunk juice (i.e. anything liquid featuring caffeine and sugar), plugged in some music…I went with Lil Jon, of course…and we took off running like there was no tomorrow.

No I mean really running.

Like…we were running, balls out. (It might have been like a 10 minute pace in reality, but it felt like a 7.)

And just like that, we were back in the groove.

We passed the leading female team, not that it mattered, since we weren’t officially in the race. But it felt good to know we were improving. We ran hard for miles until we reached the base of Palomar Mountain.

“Okay, we just need to tackle this smart.” I said, “Let’s run for 2 minutes, then walk for 3. If we add in some running intervals, we’ll get up this mountain a lot sooner than we would if we just death march it.”

“Uhhh.. whatever you say…” Amber said, all of the sudden a lot less enthusiastic than she was a few minutes prior.

“You got this!” I said, knowing good and well why her mood had changed.

One of the few ways that Amber and I differ is our approach to training. While we both are fitness professionals, our focuses are extremely different. The majority of my training is spent focusing on leg work, speed, power and agility. I spend much of my training powering up hills and mountains. So I was fully pumped, and had all the energy in the world to tackle Palomar. Amber, however, trains more total body, leading group fitness in Rhode Island, where the best hill in town is probably a slight one in someone’s driveway. So despite her best attempts at last minute hill training, Amber was ill prepared to tackle the mountain. I knew she was nervous, but I also knew she was confident. We would just need to find a way to make it work for both of us.

GOOD FEELINGS GONE.

But as the climb towards the top increased in difficulty, the temperature started to drop significantly, and the precipitation picked up.

Amber and I were walking, but I knew that we would need to move a little bit faster to avoid hypothermia.

Shawna and Laura stayed right with us as we moved, making sure we were safe, and told us to stop and put some layers on. Amber grabbed her Gore-Tex jacket, but I had nothing to put on. My cotton hoodie was already wet from the rain earlier , and that was all I had brought….*kicking myself*…idiot…so I grabbed what I could find in the car, and headed back on course.

Amber and I began to walk again, but her walk turned into more of a death march, which after half a mile or so turned into more of a completely exhausted Walking Dead style bout of relentless forward motion.

With 8 miles left, the wind picked up full force. The temp was well below 40 degrees, sleet started pouring down, and fog settled in all around us.

….Ohhhh crap….I knew what was coming…

“All right, girl, we gotta work together to get up this mountain.” I shouted behind me, “If we don’t one of us is gonna get really sick, really quick.”

“I’m doing the best I can..” Amber mustered up, trying to raise her tired voice above the wind.

I had 100 percent energy. I was completely ready to tackle the mountain. But Amber, with 70 miles on her legs, fatigue, sleepiness, and armed with Gore-Tex, was simply just needing to walk.

I was soaked to the bone, and with multiple stops and wardrobe changes, had used up every dry article of clothing in the car.

“Amber, if I don’t start moving to get my heart rate up, I’m going to get hypothermic.” I shouted.

“I know, you need to go on ahead. We’re not in the race anyway, we’re disqualified, just do your thing. But this is as fast as I can go.”

So with that reassurance from Amber, I began to run ahead to warm up, then, I’d hop in the car and wait for Amber to catch up. Each time I would get into the warm car, it became increasingly difficult for me to get out. Not only would I feel more hypothermic each time, but I would get more sleepy and comfortable each time. And every ultrarunner knows that’s the worst place to be during a long race.

So with roughly 2 miles left, I told the girls to just stick with Amber, and that I would run on and wait for them at the top so Amber and I could finish together. Shawna and Laura hated for us to separate, but knew that we were both in survival mode, and just wanted to get to the finish to be done, and to get warm.

AND THEN WE TRULY WENT ROGUE.

Hindsight is usually 20/20, but looking back, I still don’t see any other way we could’ve made this work. When you’re battling extreme elements in no gear, and your body is completely shot, you either get moving, or you end up in a hospital.  It’s that simple. And it this point, I didn’t care about the race, because in my head, it had already ended at the 50 mile point when Ange dropped. But I came all this way to run 81 miles. I was almost at the top, and there was no way I was stopping. So separated or not, I just needed to move.

The fog was so dense, I literally could not see two feet in front of me. The sleet was coming down so hard, the wind felt like it was going to knock me over, and the cold was bone chilling.

….If only I had brought some freakin’ gear…

I began running as fast as I possibly could up the mountain to warm up.

I felt that I was losing control of my body, but I’ve been there before plenty of times, and knew I’d be okay.

….Just keep running, Ashley..

But MAN, this feels like the longest mile ever….

I started to pray, and beg God to take away the elements.

“This isn’t fun anymore, God. Please help me out!!”

But God didn’t send me a Heavenly jacket, turn off the rain, or send a warm spell. Nah, it turns out, He thinks this sort of super discipline is good for the development of character in a human being, or something…. ;)

So I just kept running, until I got to an intersection, and realized that I needed to make a turn. But whad’ya know, “going rogue” me left the daggum map in the car, and I had no idea what the name of the road was. So about a mile out, I just sat there, running in place and doing jumping jacks, as I waited almost 20 minutes for Amber and the girls to catch up to me.

It was downright miserable.

But aren’t they always?

TOGETHER IS BETTER

But you know everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that. Because when Amber and I saw each other again, and we knew we only had a little bit left, we embraced, and then together, climbed the final hard portion of our crazy journey. Soaked in sleet, tears, n’ all, we powered up the last climb together.

When we made it to the finish line of the race, after 22 and a half hours of moving, we had no idea what to expect. But we were absolutely elated by what we found: There, inside of the lodge on top of Palomar Mountain, was Chris Kostman…holding up two beautiful shiny medals.

He wasn’t mad at us for going on without Ange, he didn’t send us packing, or tell us we failed—he could have! But instead, he decided to make us “honorary finishers” of the race. The sight of it, and all that had happened was simply too much. Amber and I hugged Shawna, Laura and Ange, and then locked into each other’s embrace… knowing that we’d added yet another powerful strand to our intrinsically beautiful web of friendship and ultrarunning.

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AND THAT’S A WRAP. I’M OFFICIALLY ASHRUNS81s.

Haha, really though. I loved it. And I’ll be the first to say that Salton Sea turned out to be the exact opposite of what I expected. Honestly, it turned out better. I had some serious reservations about doing a team event, but now, I would jump at the chance to do it again. I left with more valuable things than I could’ve hoped for. I have some new close friends, and an even stronger bond formed with Amber. It’s amazing how close you can become to another person just by running an ultra with them…

And you know what else? AAASugar may not have tackled Salton Sea like everyone else did. We may not have been the super prepared and qualified Badwater veterans. We might not have dressed or looked the part of “hardcore ultrarunners”. And we definitely didn’t get that official finish. But, in the end, we stuck it out.

We bonded.

We laughed.

We cried.

We walked.

We ran.

We dug deep.

 Yep, we did it our own way, …but we finished the job. And that, my friends, is what going rogue is all about.

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Thanks for reading my story about Badwater: Salton Sea! If you liked it, do me a favor and leave your comments below & tell me what you thought about BWSS! I appreciate the tweets, instagram msgs, emails, etc, but I LOVE hearing from you guys here most!  & BTW-If you like listening to podcasts during your long run, be sure to download the episode of Trail Runner Nation where Jimmy Dean Freeman and I compare our experiences at BWSS…download here. We weren’t at each other’s throats this time, but it’s still good conversation;). Thanks~Ash

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45 thoughts on “Going Rogue at Salton Sea

  1. Awesome blog… there’s no “i” in “Team” and this is a clear definition as to why… great finish for you and the team. @chadders27

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  2. AAA SUGAR was my favorite team to follow! I was rooting for the cute blonde underdogs. It is great that your individual efforts were acknowledged!

    Keep it up girl! I hope you do 100 soon!

    K

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  3. A few things:

    Maybe you are not aware, but you were running amongst two of the most majestic souls to ever grace ultrarunning. Positive energies radiate from their core. I’ve seen it.

    Also, you have nice hair. I would love to smell it. Just marvelous.

    Thanks for being so uplifting, and writing a most enjoyable post! Cheery kudos!

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  4. I love reading your ‘recaps’…they truly read like a novel and I hold onto every word. You should write a book! I am nowhere near an ultra runner like you but I am still a distance runner and to read your story inspires the outta me, girl! I love it!!

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  5. Another awesome running adventure! I almost felt like I was there! What I want to know is when are you going to run Badwater? Based on this web site, I’d say that you were exactly the type of runner to really embrace that challenge – of course that’s easy for me to say when I haven’t even finished my first marathon yet. :)

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  6. Pingback: The Weekly Stoke: Ed Viesturs chimes in, drones, effects of running, the L.A. River and a trail race recap that’ll make you grin | proactiveoutside

  7. Great blog. It was about time :)
    My favorite part was you had not prepared for the proper gear. You’re descriptions are priceless and hysterical! “10mths out of the year you wear bra and booty shorts” LOL. I love your determination. You didn’t go to run 50 miles; you went to run 81 and you weren’t leaving until you finished that. Badwater staff or veterans – give me a break! Why do people have to be so ridiculous. Ughhh.
    I felt like I just ran this with you – by the length of your blog, no just kidding, but it was a perfect story of how it all went down. I played Lil Jon while I read this.

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  8. Seriously long post, but I was interested the whole way through! Somehow I only just found your blog, but LOVE it all. Completely inspiring crazy fun!

    The folks that come decked out to races like their going on a catwalk make me laugh and shake my head. I would be like you and be completely unprepared for the elements.

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  9. Great job on your finish! Not sure if I am the only non-runner who reads your blog, but I enjoy reading all about your training and races and of course seeing pics of your kiddos! Hope to run into you again soon! I think this has been my favorite race recap! I love that you got to have awesome girl bonding time while on the course! What a blessing that was!

    ~Carrie Anne

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      • Probably not. Nothing personal; you’re just nowhere near as unbelievably inspirational as I clearly am… :) #what’scoolerthanbeingcool #sausagekingofchicago

        Seriously, though, I can’t wait to get out to DV — the race is 5 weeks from today!

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      • I’m not witty enough to tweet. And I guess “ice cold” is one way to look at SS (it was certainly freezing by mile 50!)

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        • Nice cover. Oh well, your wife is really cool and your kid is insanely cute so i guess u get a free pass for being a douche. Next time in the desert though…. you act like were not friends buellah & I swear I will scream “inspirational” at you…your entire freaking race. 5 weeks man. 5 weeks!!!

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    • “Douche” may be a bit of a stretch. “Measured,” considering I have a pregnant and hormonal wife may be a bit more of an accurate description of my demeanor around 3 girls in their 20s :)

      Seriously, though, no “douchiness” was intended at all. The laps at AO were hilarious fun.

      At any rate, feel free to scream at me during BW about my awesome inspirational running. I know. #myrunningwillbringworldpeacetoall

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  10. Aaah!..That took me back. I was in the Miami Thrice team & was stoked with that race. Good wordsmithing. It made my choc soy milk so much more enjoyable while reading this…

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