• Dr. Russ Reinbolt

Badwater Training Update-My Quest for Five--May 18, 2022


Well, my quest for my fifth and final Badwater Ultramarathon finisher’s belt buckle is well under way.

I’ve had a very unexpected and uncharacteristically rough recov

ery from my 300-mile Lapland Arctic Ultra in Sweden in mid-March. Up until three months ago, I really struggled in all my workouts. In fact, I experienced tremendous bouts of shortness of breath a


t times such that I thought I had a pulmonary embolism. I felt as if a seat belt was cinched down tight around my chest.

My resting heart rate (that I check every morning before getting out of bed) had been in the 60’s and even 70’s when usually it’s in the low 40’s. Because of the increasing prevalence of myocarditis and PE in athletes from the Covid vaccines and boosters, I sought out an evaluation from one of my cardiologist friends. He gave me a thorough check with a detailed ph


ysical examination, an EKG, an echocardiogram and even an exercise stress test. Everything returned completely normal.

We concluded that many factors contributed to my situation. First, the lack of sleep during the race along with the nine-hour time difference set the table. To worsen things, within only 14 hours of finishing, I jumped on a plane to return to the US. Then the next day, I started two and a half weeks straight of work, many of the days being 24-hour shifts. Of course, the rigors of having exerted myself for eight days and nights straight sure beat me up the most.

Then, I concluded that I took things too easy in the few weeks after Sweden. I ate too much and trained very little. Basically, I got fat and out of shape. I had dug myself a hole.

The last two weeks, I’ve been crushing it. I’m back. My heart rate was 45 this am. Yesterday, I ran a solid, hilly, fast 16 miler and felt fresh and invincible at the end. I’ve been doing double workouts, involving HIIT weight training, hot yoga, Jiu Jitsu, and sauna training.

Most importantly, I’ve focused on getting plenty of high-quality sleep. One of my secret weapons, it’s made a huge difference.

With Badwater less than two months out, I’m back on pace. My weekly mileage is building. Two weeks ago, I did a 31 miler. Last week. I did a 62 miler and next week or so, I’ll do my Los Angeles to San Diego, 120-miler. I hope to get out to the deser


t for some long heat training in the immediate pre-race weeks.

My crew has come together as well. One of my best f


riends, good ole Coach Tom Atwell will be my crew captain. Last time out he ran half of Badwater w


ith me. Marios, my new great friend from Greece who I met at and did the Sweden Arctic Ultra with will be coming over. His good friend (and now mine too), Manny, who is an extreme athlete himself and adventure documentary filmmaker will round out our team. I’ve had fantastic crews previously, but these guys have the makings for the best ever.

Once again, I’ve selected DS Action as my race charity. I’m running to raise funds to help those with Down Syndrome, a cause near and dear to my heart. Here’s the donation link: Dr. Russ Reinbolt Runs Badwater Ultramarathon for DS Action - Campaign (classy.org)

Even after all these years, I’ve noticed how hard it is to find the sweet spot when it comes to recovering from a tough event and jumping back into hard training. Last month, my confidence was down in the dumps. I started feeling sorry for myself, thinking I was too old to continue ultramarathons. But nope! I’m still fighting!


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