Friday, July 28, 2006

Lisa and Crew Victoriously return from the Mountain Top

After reaching the highest point in the contiguous United States, Lisa and her crew (Marshall, Jackie and George) began their descent to start the second half of the Badwater Double Challenge...

At about 5:30am this morning, Lisa and crew arrived to the Whitney Portals. This location marks the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit and the finish line of the official Badwater race. It also marks the point wherein Lisa has exactly 135 miles left of her journey to complete the Badwater Double Challenge. And all indicators read that she will do just that!

So a little about Lisa and crew's successful summit of Mt Whitney (thanks to Jackie Florine for providing a lot of the details I am sharing in this post):

Lisa demonstrated an incredible amount of courage for returning to the trailhead to make a second attempt at the summit. Not only was it courageous to return, but it was downright remarkable that she returned so quickly after her first attempt. Barely five hours had elapsed from the time Lisa returned to Lone Pine and the time she began the second attempt at 12:30pm today. The astounding fact is that Lisa wanted to make the window of time even smaller, but Lisa and crew needed to wait until 12 noon to receive the necessary permits to climb the mountain.

The second attempt brought a lot of nice surprises. Lisa and crew were met with a perfect sunset summit. There was no wind and no other climbers in view so the four got to savour the accomplishment intimately. Lisa, Marshall and Jackie celebrated the summit in reaching the halfway point of Lisa's Badwater Double Challenge and recognizing George's first ascent of Mt Whitney. George, for all you do for Lisa, I know she will be so glad to have the memory of sharing your first summit with you!

Jackie was quick to share that the ascent and descent were not without its set of challenges. The goal that was set and achieved was to keep the summit attempt simple. The crew let Lisa assume the driver's seat and they gently followed her and offered patient counsel when necessary. Lisa appeared to thrive on this display of confidence from her crew.

As for nutrition, the crew also sought to keep this simple for Lisa. Denise and Julie had lovingly prepared sandwiches cut into four squares and Jackie simply presented a little square to Lisa on the course, with the elegance one might expect when dining on tea sandwiches at Harrod's. Our girl Lisa eats in style, even on a mountain!

As an accomplished mountaineer, Jackie remarked on Lisa's prowess as a climber. Lisa faithfully committed to keepin' on keepin' on - only allowing herself short breaks. Jackie remarked on Lisa's focus - and the fact that she never lost her intention for even a step on the mountain. Jackie was impressed at Lisa's ability to deftly change her footwork on the mountain, explaining that footwork on the road and footwork on a mountain are very different.

Lisa's successful summit is extraordinary in so many ways. Burdened by the weight of sleep deprivation and the exhaustion that accompanies the physical exertion of completing the 135 mile Badwater race and throwing in a first attempt that brought Lisa up to the 12,500 ft elevation mark on the mountain - Lisa bagged this peak against all odds.

And the remarkable thing is that her body does not look any worse for the wear. Denise's taping job continues to hold up and protect Lisa's feet. Her legs are tired by relatively loose. I am beginning to suspect that perhaps Lisa truly is bionic. But that implies she's robotic and that is certainly not true. Lisa's every step forward on this journey is original and done with love - love for her own family, for her friends, and for the kids who need our help. By the way, check out information on how to donate - your money can do so much!

Lisa is now sleeping in the back of a van parked at the Mt Whitney trailhead. As the sunrises, so will Lisa and she will make her way back down to Lone Pine. There she will take a rest in a proper bed and recharge as she makes her way backwards through the Badwater course.

If you read this and have any inclination to leave a comment, PLEASE DO! I can't guarantee I can get this to Lisa on the course, but I know she will read these comments next week from her laptop in her kitchen and smile knowing you have all sent her your support and encouragement.

Way to chase your dream, Lisa!




Anonymous said...

I'm so awed by this I can't think of anything to say.

Bill Graney

KAMattie said...

"The best things in life cannot be told. That is to say, you can't talk about that which lies beyond the reach of words."--Heinrich Zimmer.

I retract my previous statement about wanting to hear all about this journey---I hope it is beyond the reach of words. Keep moving forward! xoxoxo Kira

Hans Florine said...

Pierce and Marianna say " Go Lisa!"

Crystal Clark said...

I have a picture of Lisa that my husband put up on our bathroom mirror in order to inspire me every day. At the bottom of her picture is the Edison quote "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."

After seeing what Lisa is able to accomplish because of her sheer will and determination, this quote has taken on a whole new meaning for me.

Thank you Lisa for all that you have taught me - and for all you continue to teach and share.

Thank you also to her amazing crew members and to those of you who update this blog. You are all a blessing!

Aran said...

Hi Lisa,

I am so happy and proud of you! I am constantly thinking about where you and how you are doing...although I know you are doing great...because you can do no less!

Thank you for everything and I will be checking back often to see where you are!

In good friendship,


Anonymous said...

A day ago, I posted a reply that asked if Lisa could recover sufficiently to give it another go and/or consider forgoing the summit and just do the 300 miles total.

To say that post underestimated Lisa, her crew and the determination at work here would be a vast understatement! I'm almost ashamed at having made the inquiry/suggestion, in fact.

I'm no one noteworthy; not YET an ultra runner; am just sitting here behind a computer screen "watching" events unfold from afar (along with a few others I've "hooked" into this).

I don't know if Lisa is truly aware of her impact on folks she doesn't know - but, it's amazing.

And - despite my embarrassment at the earlier post, there's a part I I absolutely DO stand by: I said that the journey is already a huge success. In fact it is - and beyond description.

Niki said...


Congratulations....a true inspiration. The world desperately needs more people like you!!!


Anonymous said...

Way to go Lisa and crew!!! The trip to the top of Whitney sounds beautiful. That was a good plan to "scout" the route the day before. : ) Should make you the first person to do the Badwater Double + Whitney ~15.


Nattu Natraj said...

Wow. Amazing job Lisa and crew. Keep on trucking. I know you will get there.


Anonymous said...

You are truly an INSPIRATION! Hold on and press on!! You ROCK! (and then some) :)
Boo yah!!

Anonymous said...

Way to go. It's just like you to do your extra miles, to reach 300, on Whitney rather than the flats.

I've only known you for a little while, and from afar, but I feel blessed. You're such an incredible example of what effort and persistance can do. You're an inspiration to all of us. You make a difference in the lives of others. Thanks.

And many many thanks to the crew for taking such good care of Lisa.

Colleen, you are doing a wonderful job of keeping us informed. I'm sure there're many like me who are caught up in Lisa's journey and you are our eyes and ears. You can't post too often! :-)

Jim Hildreth

Frank McKinney said...

Because Lisa and Jay were brought into our lives a few years ago I am sitting here reading about Lisa's successful summit while enjoying my Badwater buckle! Thanks to Lisa and Jay for making it possible.

nycgirl said...


You continue to amaze me! I am truly inspired and touched.


Anonymous said...

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! We promise we will never complain about pain again. The word athlete should be in the dictionary twice, once for you and your fellow ultra marathoners and once for all the other athletes especially the paid professionals who can't play because they twist an ankle etc.
Write your story Lisa the world needs to hear it!
Bill and Brett

Anonymous said...


GREAT JOB!!! There is no doubt that you will
make your dream
come true!
GOD be with you!!
Sending my love,
Sandy in VA

bizyah said...

Unbelievable!!! The only word to describe how you're doing and what you're overcoming right now! You and those folks on your crew are simply amazing! Now for the easy part, right? It's all downhill from there. . . :) You're kickin' butt girl!!! Keep at it and before you know it you'll be on the other side! Just like you told me before the marathon, it'll hurt, be uncomfortable (to say the least!), and in this case your body will be experiencing something it's never quite seen before. But, once you cross that finish line you'll be on top of the world! I'm just so excited to be reading and listening to these updates, you're such an inspiration! Keep at it!!!

Chris Lundberg

Anonymous said...

All of the above, ten times over!
ILY ... SK

Nilsa Mckinney said...

My Dearest Lisa,
My continual love and prayers are sent your way. You go mama!!!
I love You,

Spud said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Spud said...

Fantastic, inspirational stuff Lisa, keep on keeping on...

Paula said...

Lisa, you are truly amazing, and I continue to be inspired by you with every step you take. You keep it up! -- Love, Pula

Constance Karras said...


Congratulations on your remarkable accomplishments.

I read your feature story in "Runner's World" and had the honor of sharing the road a short time with you and Mr. Marshall Ulrich on your way toward Keeler the first time out while I paced and crewed Bill LaDieu through the second night of his journey.

You are an inspiration to all, everywhere, and help me to believe in miracles.

Continued health and adventures,

Connie Karras
Bill LaDieu's 2006 crew member
Indiana, USA