The last 20 miles were probably the toughest running of my life. I felt nauseated, every millimeter of my body ached, but I could not give up. I’m too stubborn for that. The will to finish and not give up, no matter what, was too strong. I knew they were hot on my tail, I could feel their breath on my neck. I willed that finish line closer and closer and after many soul-strengthening moments, there it was, I did it. I can now rest.
1st Place Finish with my friend Darrell who was part of my cru and the culinary artist of the weekend. Picture by: Marla Hendricks
Like most ultra runners, I continually ask my self “what in the hell am I doing.” The answer is easy, I have no fricken clue, but isn’t life funny? Humans are a funny breed. We do many things for fun, that others would call torture. Like golf, going to the mall, eating rocky mountain oysters. I don’t do those things, but I do run in circles for hours upon hours with a funny smile that resembles pure bliss. I probably need some type of psychiatric help, but running out in the mountains and forest seems to do the trick.
Picture by: Marla Hendricks
Even with moments of pain, I sure had a blast at the Bandera 100k National Championship. Texas was fun, the trails were interesting and the people were great! Thank you Joe Prusaitis for putting on such a great race.
The 100k distance is made of two 50k loops. It starts with some gnarly climbing over dump-truck loads of loose rock outlined with serrated prickly sotol cactus bush for good measure. Followed by way to flat, maze of a middle section that brings you back to a mess of more scrambled rock. It ends with a few more climbs and a bunch more of black toenailing rocks letting you know your alive. After you’ve had one go around, a bunch of us decided it would me fun to swing around twice. I personally liked all the rocks and prickles, it made you have to be entirely focused the whole race or loose your front teeth (your choice).
Dave in hot pursuit @ Cross Roads (mile 22). Picture by: Marla Hendricks
The first loop Dave James and I traded back n forth the roll of leader as a group of hungry Western State qualifying hopefuls nipped at our heals. I made it though the first loop around 3:52 and was hoping to finish around 8hrs. With the heat (70F), exhaustion and an extra mile I didn’t have much chance for the CR, but am quite happy to pull off a victory with a time of 8:28 and walk the days that followed. The CR holder Dave Macky was in striking distance the 2nd 50k and I was giving everything I am to not see him until the finish. Dave, Joe Uhan and Dylan Bowman were all within a minute of each other and came through about 10 minutes behind me. It was quite a race and I believe everyone dug really deep to finish the race as strong as they could. Amazing field of runners showed up for this race and looks as if that will tend to be the norm at the races I have lined up for 2012.
Somewhere out on the course, too busy looking at the ground
Picture by: Marla Hendricks
One take away from this run compared to other races I’ve done was the rocky terrain. The magnificent mountains and vistas are normally the fire that engage my passion for most races, but Bandera was a little different. I spend a lot of time looking up at races and getting energy from the beautiful landscapes, missing the very earth that breaths life into my feet and catapults me on my way. The terrain at Bandera was a lot different then the freshly groomed trails I run in Oregon. This gave me a good amount of time to focus on the true source of which I vibe with all day, the earth. I have a tattoo on my leg of a tree with the roots swerving around my ankle and my foot connecting me to this source. It keeps me grounded even when I’m trying to move as fast as I can in life. It reminds me to be present, focus on every step and to not worry what trivial trials lie ahead. I will remember to thank the earth for its love n care with running and every other step I take.
Still feeling good and Chapas Aid Station (mile 42). Picture by: Bryon Powell @irunfar
I want to give a huge shout out to my sponsors who supply me with the tools to put in such an effort. Pearl iZUMi for helping with the gear and amazing Peak kicks to help me fly over the rough terrain. I ran in a prototype for the up and coming Peack 3.0, so excited for this shoe, I couldn’t ask for a better trail shoe. First Endurance for my fuel and Ultragen recovery drink to keep the legs ticking. I also take First Endurance OptygenHP, which has helped keep my cortisol levels down and gives me the ability to adapt to high volume training. And to the amino acid supplement Vespa Power, I could not have run the race I did with out this product. It helps tremendously with recovery and my mental focus through out the race. Also allowing me to use fat as my fuel, so I’m not destroying my stomach with excess sugary concoctions. I actually only had about 2 goo’s an hour and couldn’t take in any calories the last 2-3 hrs, as the heat of the day would not allow.
Also a huge Thank You to my Vespa Power Cru of Darrel, Marla, Bruce and Joe who where at all the aid stations they could get to with fresh supplies and cheering me on. Darrel is also a professional chef who was grilling up a decadent storm of perfection each night that kept my tummy and legs quite happy. It was a fun trip and I’m very grateful I have had the chance to experience Texas to the fullest.