Friday, April 14, 2006


 Hi everyone,
I have just been able to get on line. I have 500 emails in my in box. It was very difficult to send any emails from the race site and camp. The line to get to a computer was about 2 hour wait each day. Sorry I was not willing to stand in the heat to do it.
Thank you for the emails you all sent to us. The race organization had and has there hands full with many very sick people this year. I am not sick and either is Jay.
Here is what has happened.
Jay had a very good first day but on the 2nd day he fell and really hurt his shoulder which is so swollen that it was impossible to carry his back pack any longer due to the pain. He spent a good part of the 2nd day in pain but also helping another runner who was in very bad shape on the course. Jay had to put the flare up of this runner (mark) and the flare back fired and it burned Jays hand and shorts! Needless to say on the morning of the third day Jay was not able to even pick up his back pack so he had to withdraw from the race.
Day 1-3 for me were picture perfect. i did my own thing, sang songs and just ran and walked at about 75-80% effort. I did not look at what place I was in each day, this did not mean anything to me. I just wanted to run my own race. The heat was not that much of a factor for me, I felt better than ever physically and mentally.
On the 3rd day I ran with Greg another American, we had a blast until the last 2 check points. It was VERY hot and I ran out of water both times near the end. I know how to sip and conserve my water but I was very worried about all the others behind me. I walked more than I had ever walked and still on the 3rd day I was told your in 5th place overall. You see if you are in the top 50 men and top 5 women you have to start 3 hours after the others, meaning 12 noon! I did not want to have to wait until noon, I went very slow on day 3 to try and make sure many women were in front on me but at the end of the day I was in 5th. Again, I felt great. my legs did not hurt at all and only a few blisters. The one pain I did have was a thorn that broke off in the ball of my foot and the Doctors could not get it out. Each step was very painful but once you get going it seems to be ok.
Day 4: I felt great when I woke and really thought that I was going to have another great day. God had a different plan for me on this day!
Kira who was on my team was not feeling well at the start. She had been throwing up and had stomach issues that were very bad. At about 5k into my run I passed a medical truck and there was kira on the ground getting an IV!
At this point I was the last runner in my group, meaning he last one on the course.
I asked the Doctors about Kira and they said she would be ready to go in 10 minutes and Kira was really looking great at this point. I told her I would go ahead and that I felt bad to, thinking that this would be a good motivation for her to think that Lisa feels bad to so I can keep going. I moved forward and my heart sank to the ground thinking...oh shit this means that Kira is in last place and she will be all alone moving forward. I started to walk very slow and my heart and mind told me the only thing that I was to do at this point was walk slow and wait for Kira to catch up to me and we finish the day together. I was not going to leave her out there by herself, the mother in me came out. At this time I was not even thinking about my own race.
In my mind I thought it would take about 30 min. for Kira to catch up to me, I was walking so slow and she can walk over 5 mph.
1 hour went by and no Kira but I ran into Bernnie who was 21st overall at the start of the morning and the first Brit!
I came up behind him and he was not looking good at all, walking about 1 mph at the most. We started talking and his words did not make any sense to me, he was in trouble!
At this point I took him by the hand and we walked holding hands so that I could keep him standing up, next I was pushing him from the back. He did not want to sit down and he did not want to stop.
Bernnie was getting worse, still no Kira!
Bernnie started falling over as he walked and I told him that he was going to sit down and I would run ahead to get help. I put water over his head and we took his space blanket out to cover him up. I went out 1//4 mile ahead and saw no truck so I went back to Berrnie. He looked worse, I ran up again and we blew the whistle to try to get help. The 2nd time I ran back to Bernnie I told him we had to set his flare off and that he was in very bad shape. We set the flare off and waited for 30 minutes. Nobody came! The sand was blowing really hard so I dont think they saw it. Bernnie was very worried about my staying with him and told me to go...I said what are you crazy! I told him that I felt really sick to so it was ok. Bernnie had been up all night with the same thing Kira had and the same thing that haf the camp seemed to have, a VIRUS!!! ok..Bernnies pulse was now 180 and he was getting worse, I took out my flare and shot it off. At this point another runner came from out of nowhere and said he would get help at the next check point. He looked right though me and said "it is your duty to stay with him", I agreed! 1:30 went by and finally the medical help came to help. Still no Kira!
During this time I did not think about my own race, I thought about what the heck I was going to do if medical help did not come soon! I used all my water to try and help keep Berrnie cool and even put HEED over his head, I dont think he even knows this.
Once the medical people came I knew all would be ok with Bernnie and I had to think about what I was going to do. Where was Kira? The reason for the medical team taking so long was that they were back with Kira who needed 9 bags of IV anf got worse once she went back into the heat with throwing up. I had no idea...
The medical car asked me what I was going to do, I told them I did not feel well. It had been 4 hours since the start of our race and we were only 8 miles into the day. They told me I would get a 1 hour penalty for using my flare and a 1 hour penalty for having to take a bottle of water from them. This put me 5 hours behind my group and way out of the race in the way my race was going, top 5 women and to place in the top 5.
I looked at Bernnie, I took off my race number gave it to the medical crew and got in the car with Berrnie.
My race was over in my mind, my place was not to be in the top 5 it was to be with Berrnie.
Did I have a DNF? Did not finish.
No, I feel like I had a DTRT: Did the right thing.
It was my duty to help someone in need it was not my duty to get to the finish line of the 2006 MDS.
I just did not have the mental part that I may have needed to be so, so far behind. As much as I felt great and wanted to continue I knew that if I started out again I would dig myself in a hole workiing to hard to catch up to the rest of the runners.
I did not even cry, I felt at peace. I felt that I a great race, I was able to hand with the top women in the world and that my new way of training had worked.
Back here at the hotel the marathon is going on right now. We have lost many runners due to a virus that went around the camp but also due to extreme conditions that have not happened in 21 years!
The medical staff and the race organization are doing an amazing job with all they have going on right now.
So..there you have it in a nutshell!
As I walked away from the race the organization thought it was due to illness, it was do to my mind being in a different place but not being able to speak french made it difficult to explain what I have to you right now.
Thank you for your love and support!
PS...Kira is here with me and she is doing fine now. She is one  tough, fine young women who ended up getting very sick and has dealt with her having to withdraw like a real champ!
Happy Feet!
Lisa Smith-Batchen


Fireroad said...

Hi Lisa and Jay!

I'm so glad you are okay (and that Jay is sort of okay)and that you could post the story on your blog. You may not be feeling it, but here's an "Aargh!" anyway. Shoot, where were the camels that are supposed to trail the last runner?

My coach and friend, yes you did the right thing throughout the day. I'm proud of you and admire your actions far more than if you'd won the race.

love to you, Jay, and the girls.

Adam Stritzel said...

DTRT indeed! Congratulations on a race well run and a story well told.

Ray Zahab said...

You and Jay rock ! You are awesome and I followed you everyday. You are "top woman" in my mind !

Anonymous said...

Hi Miss Lisa-You did the right thing and you will and will always be remembered for that,,,God Bless You love GPV

olga said...

Wow, what a day(s)! I am sorry it happened to so many people, but you did what was in your heart, and that's what counts.
Somebody did have a plan for you that day. This plan had nothing to do with a race itself.

jas said... of the main reasons many of us run is the camaraderie we exemplified that by putting someone else's needs before your own finish....definitely a hard choice...definitely the right choice. The health of another is more important than the finish line of any event. You are first in my mind! Thanks for the reminder that life is bigger than one person and what place they are in. Tell Jay I am sorry about his unfortunate luck...but he will be back next time stronger than ever I am sure!

Editor said...

Lisa and Jay thank-you for sharing your story. I am completely blown away to hear your message of "defining your own success at MDS" -- it inspires me at the deepest level and makes me proud to know you both.

Big Hugs to the Dreamchaser Team!!

To Your Adventure,
Erik and Terri :)

Triman said...


You absolutely did the right thing and I hope you know it! This is what makes you a great person. I hope Jay's burns are not bad. We need you both healthy!

All the best to you and a big hug,


mike arnspiger said...