The Bataan Memorial Death March is done and we're back.
Mutha's Report:I can't decide whether or not to write lengthy anecdotes. On the one hand, much of what we experienced has been extensively discussed. On the other hand, it would be nice to record much of that, as with a diary, for future reference. Here are a few to get things moving:
Friday: arrive, get to hotel, do some shopping, register at the base, get back, find MadDog, go eat BBQ at the State Line. The waitress at State Line had the hots for tMail. We held her off with our raucous, juvenile banter. BBQ and beer later, crashed hard in bed.
Saturday: The PM & Taco climb on some crazy rock above the mines; tMail, MD and I drive through Hellhole, TX to get to Guadalupe. Stopped for gas in East Dismal, TX. Only structure: one small convenience store/gas station that looked like it had been dropped in place in a storm along with its proprietor - a leathery, pale, old man on oxygen who chain-smoked cigarettes the entire time. MadDog nearly did him in with a spirited slap of the counter when he discovered that it wasn't yet cactus jelly season. The old man figured we really liked cactus jelly and feared that his low inventory might be the basis for a fight.
Guadalupe: beautiful trails and scenery. We spent as much time picking cactus needles out of tMail's ass as we did packing for the trip. There was some huffing and puffing as we humped up the trail, exacerbated by tMail's insistence that we do 100 pushups at each switchback. After the 20th such switchback I had been given a 98 pushup starting bonus but even just two more was too much to handle. On the mountain, more than one patriotic American Texan expressed pride in the presence of American hikers on the mountain (as compared to what?).
Sunday: ran through hell.
Monday: flew back through more airports than i normally do in a year.
Friday: Arrive at Boston airport the security lifts trunk then shuts it and says your clear, Boston to Dallas Forth Worth...run into Mutha and Vietnam Vets that hug and embrace and say, "We didn't come home to that when we came home" they also said "Welcome home" to each other held each other some more. Dallas Forth Worth to El Paso, Texas...we land Tyler calls says he is in stall number 4 with pants down. Experience Wal-mart, White Sands for first time, eat all popcorn at Hilton, then visit Stateline and watch Tyler get felt up by waitress not sure what she was feeling.
Saturday: Breakfast, drop off PM and Cable Guy at airport...PM is led up the Shitadel by Cable Guy who has no idea where he is going. They take pictures with doggy or puppy. MD, Mutha and myself drive across Texas and listen to 18 hours of Grateful Dead Fire on the Mountain, we stop at DELL VALLEY OIL CODELL CITY TX for gas....my ATM card eventually shut down...MD takes a leak on a rattlesnake, Thanksgiving, Christmas, I step on his oxygen tank hose...his quote "my memory is as long as my dick"...we summit Guadalupe and see the toughest Texans on this side of the Rio Grande...dinner...bed
Sunday: I am still trying to figure it out...I swear I saw the Grim Reaper in the Desert...
Monday: Half paralayzed make it from El Paso, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts on a flight with limited air and a barking baby husky!
Puppet Master's Report:
Friday - WalMart, Mexicans, and BBQ. The first look at Juarez and the mighty Rio Grande!
Saturday - Taco and I actually attacked the East wall of the Shhhhh-itadel, not the NW as desired (should have brought my north/south finder!) Brewery food, beers, and a hard crash.
Sunday - Mutha and Taco MIA at mile 1, hot spot at mile 5, and the rest is a grueling blur, including the reaper in the desert. I was very moved by the patriotic energy, the Bataan survivors, and the recent wounded vets making the march.
Monday - El Paso horse balls. Sore behind the knee/upper calves and the soles of the feet! Gassed that afternoon when I met the Texas Tornado in Dallas.
Post-event depression sets in...
MadDog's Report: Ok the boys appear to have sufficiently documented the weekend, so let me share my view of the march.
Sunday, March Day:
T-2.5: At race central, I see Mutha scrambling to get pics, I yell "Mutha, where are you guys hanging?" He replies "Over by the cactus" I never saw any of the guys again until the finish.
T-1.5: I find myself, sitting on the cold ground, tweaking gear under the light of my Petzel, and decide to look up. To my surprise, in the time I was setting myself straight, I became surrounded by hundreds of military individuals and teams...did I get drafted?" Answer: No! I'm in the wrong starting corral. Doh!
T-1.0: Seeing the largest flag at the center stage, under the floodlights, draped from a crane and gently swaying in the pre-dawn winds.
T-.5: As part of the opening ceremony, hearing roll-call over the PA system for a small group of GIs, as each name was called, a solider responded or didn't. The silent gaps were deafening.
T-0: As the surviving Bataan POWs paraded around me to the starting line, my MP3 player is rocking in random play mode. And as the first car reaches me, Ledbetter from PJ comes on. I had chills all over me.
Mile 0: Guards over the POWs shout, please be gentle in your handshakes, and I shake one of the POW's hand, and his spouse, thank him. It was one of only half-dozen things I would say for the rest of the march.
Mile 1: Seeing little red carry the flag, and nearly every GI passing him, say "way to go sir"
Mile 2: Seeing a GI with a foot sticking out of the top of his ruck. Wondering what kind of a joke is that? Then noticing and realizing it's a spare part for his bud running next to him - a double amputee.
Mile 3: My only stop, to shed a top layer and get the pack back on me, before I got too comfortable.
Mile 4: Seeing little red again, and being told by one of his escorts, that I "got some nose action going". I had taken note of a rather strong flow of blood from nose but chose to somehow dry it to a close so I didn't have to stop. Little red seemed to like the non-stop approach as I passed him by.
Mile 5: loving the sand
Mile 6: popping stuff like mad, and forcing myself to down fluids.
Mile 7: the border patrol agent on an ATV nearly yanks someone off the course because the guy really was in bad, but would not admit it.
Mile 8: becoming aware of the climb.
Mile 9: liking my pace
Mile 10: hey, is that a hot-spot?
Mile 11: good grief pavement? and a mobile mist maker? This was my beaver pond - cramping already. Not a good sign.
Mile 12: hey there goes the lead runner, downhill through the mist maker. And OMG...the biggest and strongest set of GIs just passed me, hauling each other with tow ropes. These guys make PM and Taco look like midgets. It could have been the Giants defensive front-line incognito.
Mile 13: welcome to hamburger hill. at this point, i have been drinking 12oz every two miles, and I still behind the hydration curve. This is not good because it means dialing back on NASIDs if I cannot get the fluid level back up a quart or so.
Mile 14: another ex-POW greeting (mostly woman) runners in the middle of the desert.
Mile 15: I face planted into a bowl of bananas and oranges to grab as much as I could with my mouth because I was already double-fisting fruit to-go.
Mile 16: remember that hot spot, it's now an issue in both feet and in large areas. I turn my mind to other things and try to ignore it.
Mile 17: ignoring the issue from mile 16 was impossible. the feet are cooking bad.
Mile 18: I pass a GI with flag colors I don't recognize. Black, Red, Yellow. Hmm...
Mile 19: The same overall pack of people I have seen for the last few hours continue to leap frog one another. But hey, no one else is carrying a pack like me.
Mile 20: The ROTC team that's been with me since mile 12 has been impressive. One guy in the group has struggled since Mile 12, stopping and dropping out etc., The group hangs with him, helps him, waits, supports him, berates him, and supports him more, and the cycle continues.
Mile 22: I have been seeking out any bit of soft surface area, and can no longer plant my feet - there are in bad shape and blistering everywhere. The pain is awful. But between the dehydration, pack discomfort, and stomach cramping, I'm quite distracted.
Mile 23: Good grief....not there yet.
Mile 24: I catch a guy racing in my category...I'm determined to pass him and I do.
Mile 25: The only guy in my division to pass me during the day, do so. Damn!
Mile 26: The GI with the unknown flag is a young German, I'm not so interested in talking...he knows my feet are in bad shape...he insists we run it out together, and finish strong - can't argue with that. He gets to the finish seconds before me, but waits and then we crossed together.
Mile 26+200 ft: Finally, I get to the field hospital and have the wheels worked on.
Tyler's Report [None Yet]: