I think the only reason I wanted to do Wild Hare 50km is to get this cool medal. Honestly, what I really think of it is:
Unfortunately, I went to this race with low expectations, I have said I would do another race this year and this seemed like a good one to register at the time. Nothing too technical, the race really only has 2 big hills but overall doable. I have much to write about it, but if you really only want to know the 10,000 ft report, here it goes (if you want the details keep reading): the race it self as usual is well put together by Tejas Trails, the 50km consisted of an out and back 1 miler, followed by 4 loops of 7.5 miles, 2 aid stations, first one at start/finish, second about 3.5 miles in to the loop. I finished the race in 6:34:55, my goal was to finish this race and I did. This year so far, 2 30km, 1 60km and 1 50km, not bad at all for my first year of trail racing.
The gory details
This is the first time I do a race without any kind of family support pre or post, so this was a first for me. I drove to Warda TX at around 6:30pm on Friday before the race, pretty uneventful ride to Warda except for rush hour traffic that was so fun! . I drove into Bluff Creek Ranch at about 8 o’clock. Picked up my packet and hanged around to listen in, fly on the wall style, on tales of the trail by Joe Prusaitis and Jacob Evans, from HardRock to Ozarka to Bandera, good stuff almost like bedtime stories to me :).
Usually the day before a race I can never go to sleep early enough to get plenty of rest, but somehow I managed to go sleep at around 10:30PM which is another first for me. Good night call to the wife and much-needed sleep after a long week of work.
The next morning I woke up around 5:30 and instead of hanging around waiting for our time to come (race time was 7AM) I decided to help out at packet pickup. Helped Joe and Joyce for about an hour and then went off to change and be ready at the starting line. In route to the starting line I saw my good energetic friend Jorge Guevara, props to him on his new job ;), got to the starting line and apparently packet pickup was such a good experience that I decided it was a good idea to leave my race-chip and number in my truck; quickly run to my truck to get the race-chip… whew! that was close. Back to the starting line (yes, I still left my race number and only realized I wasn’t wearing one, when one of the guys from endurophoto asked me, do you have a race number?).
The race consisted of 1 mile out and back for the 50km to complete the distance, Joe’s usual self-starting countdown (no horns, no hoopla, just Joe counting down) and warnings because we will be running in the opposite direction of the 50 milers coming in, off we went.
There was nothing unusual about this loop, I started off not too fast but not too slow, because I realized it was probably the faster I would go today. The first miles towards the first aid station were a few rolling hills nothing too serious. After the first aid station and before the first pond there was a clicking noise, Newton cradle style, took me about 2 loops to realize that it was the electric fence surrounding the ranch making that noise, whew! for a second there I thought it was a timer 🙂
The second half of the loop was always exciting to run, 2 hills to conquer, none of them too long but long enough to have to power walk them.
That feeling of not having enough conditioning in your body started to sink mid-way through the second loop, nothing too serious I just knew there were still 2 more loops to go (3 really if you count this one but its a mind game at this point). This loop was probably what has kept my left foot sore for 2 days, when I started this loop I started to feel like I had a tiny little rock stuck, for simplicity’s sake, in the ball of my left foot (more accurately below one of my metatarsals). I stopped before the first aid station cleaned up my shoe and kept going, about a mile after the aid station I stopped again, this was getting really annoying, cleaned up again, double checked to see there was nothing inside the shoe, clear again, let’s go. Finally after another mile of trying to move the darn pebble, I stopped and realized that part of the “non-removable” insole of my shoe was really removable and there was a pebble stuck in between the shoe and the bottom of the insole, glad I found it, trying to wobble that rock around, had started to get on my nerves and it took me a while before I had a “clear” mind again. Only after writing this, I realize why my foot is sore, it was probably from trying to avoid stepping on the darn pebble.
After I completed Loop 2, I felt like I had energy for about one more loop, lo and behold I came out off the aid station trying to run and a sharp pain shot up through my right knee. Thought I was done, I walked it off for about 1 mile and kept the running/walking game until the next aid station.
To this moment I have no idea what I did after that aid station but I know one thing, I ended up switching my running form and all of a sudden the pain was gone and I could at least run, now if I could only find the switch to bring the fitness back. Needless to say I didn’t. Here come the hills again and then one more loop.
At this point my breaks were more running breaks than anything else, I just knew I had to finish this one loop and I would be done. With about 2 miles to go I get passed by a runner and it was all I needed, not because I had been passed by a woman (been passed many times by faster women) but because it brought some much-needed energy to finish up those last 2 miles in whatever running condition I could. Before I realized I had caught up to her and was near the finish line. About 150m before we reached the finish line I told her that she shouldn’t be slowing down, she had been ahead of me for most of the last loop and I was not going to let her finish after me. I don’t know about you but unless I’m racing competitively I see no purpose in making an ass of myself.
All in all a good race, considering I have not recovered from my IT Band issues from doing the Georgetown loop a month ago and have had little to no running since (in fact I had done no weekly training runs for about 3 weeks and only 2 long runs) then I’m a happy camper. Now heal is the name of the game, time to build up some sort of hill training for Bandera 25km.
The best thing about finishing the race is not the medal or finishing but coming home to this:
thanks to my wife Lety and family for putting up with my training (and in this case lack of).