There are so many people I want to thank that I will probably forget but in any case if I don’t name you I still thank you. Thanks to Lety for always being there, for making the trip to the finish line to give me a big hug, that finish was worth 10 times more and then some, thanks to you. EDIT: Thanks for the awesome brownies honey 🙂 Thanks to Joe and Joyce for always putting great races on. Thanks to my training partner Jorge for sticking out this tough race, I was not happy seeing you sitting down at Crossroads so all I could think was “just get him moving again and he’ll do great”, glad that worked out :). Thanks to Luis for baby sitting me ha ha and feeding me (and to Maria for cooking that awesome caldo de pollo), thanks to my family for asking me how the race was and because I know you are reading this mom, no I won’t get fatter to run these races but I will eat more next time 🙂 Thanks to David Zuñiga for making me run the flats, I probably would have run less in the first loop if it wasn’t for you 😉 sorry for slowing you down. Thanks to Olga for coaching me and giving me words of encouragement in an Olga kind of way. Thanks to the awesome volunteers at the race (Amanda, Hilario, a guy who I don’t know his name but helped out a whole lot at Crossroads, Dave Silvestro).

My unofficial finish time was 14:45 I will edit with an official result once the results are in.  EDIT: Official time was: 14:48:52 good for 68th place out of 184 finishers (there were was a big drop rate, maybe 50+ that either only did the 50k or DNF’d) The race was awesome, while I complained about the mud I also thought that having the mud there would give every runner in this race more credit, I’m sure the hills were “welcomed” in a masochistic kind of way after running through that mud.

My first buckle

My first buckle

Race Details

First loop was around 6:43, which puts the second loop about 8:02. Honestly any hope I had of finishing sub-13 quickly faded after the first loop, the mud fest put a heavy dent on my quads and was definitely not looking forward to the second loop. The course as described in the race course was:

A 50km loop, repeated twice. Starts & finishes at the Lodge. First 5 miles are pretty rugged on into Nachos, including Big Nasty, Sky Island, and Ice Cream Hill. From Nachos through Chapas on to xRoads is all pretty tame. From Cross Roads back to Cross Roads again sports only the Sisters and they are not all that bad. The next section is relatively easy, until Lucky Peak, just before Last Chance. And the last 5mi to the Lodge include two more excellent climbs: Cairns Climb and Boyles Bump

1st loop – The mud fest

I started off running pretty smoothly with David and was trying very hard to not pass anyone and instead take the right amount of time to warm up. Jorge caught us around mile 5 I think, maybe more I forget, it’s all blurry now. Between Chapas and Crossroads was where the mud was worst, the open field section was just awful, mud sucking, pain in the ass awful, and as such it left a heavy dent in my quads and ankles, felt like having ankle weights at times. The out and back from cross roads was where the hills really hit me, but the views were just awesome and I appreciated the hills over the mud much more.

Bandera 50 km Elevation Profile

Bandera 50 km Elevation Profile

"Happiness is everywhere, we just need to find it..." -Photo courtesy of my friend Ben

“Happiness is everywhere, we just need to find it…” photo courtesy of my friend Ben

Before I came into the race I was feeling pretty good with respect to training and hills and little did I know that I need more, much more. Through out the race I felt a sensation that I had felt before which ended in a tendonitis on my left foot but this time it was my right foot;  I guess reading all those books about enduring pain and learning to differentiate between pain that will heal and pain you have to stop, helped because I have little red mark on my  swollen foot that it’s not bothering me but its a sign of how much I was able to ignore it.

Purple foot

Purple foot

In hindsight I lost a lot of calories between Crossroads and Last chance and I think that’s when things got a little out of control. In fact they would only get better until after Chapas on the second loop. I caught up to David and Jorge at the lodge and refueled, for more details on what I ate see Nutrition section below 🙂

2nd loop – Embrace pain

I was certainly not looking forward to this 2nd loop not because of the hills but because of the mud, fortunately the mud had ceased a bit during the 2nd loop that it wasn’t sticking anymore and for this I thank the weather gods or whoever dried it out 🙂 I had lost David and Jorge coming into Nachos where I met Amanda and Hilario from Team RWB and who only had awesome things to say and for that I thank them because that was a rough patch. Amanda said I had a good post on the group last week which was: ‎”…there’s happiness everywhere, we just need to see it” – Stephane Brosse, the quote is from the latest Summits of my Life movie from Killian which narrates a lot of his accomplishments and how we should enjoy what we’re doing. That quote stuck through out the reminder of the race.

Before I got to Chapas I stopped and sat down at the top of one of the hills and could see Jorge and David about 5-10 minutes out, I sat and contemplated everything around us, listened to the coyotes howl (never had this at a race before :), then spirits were lifted and I started bombing the down hill. From Chapas to Crossroads I was still low, my calorie intake at the time I thought it was good but in reality it wasn’t. I had been drinking plenty but the humidity had taken its toll and now not only was I low on calories but also a little dehydrated. I started to catch up on calories from Chapas to crossroads but was still not properly hydrated. As I was getting to Crossroads the sun set and I was left with no light which was actually not bad, I was about to run through what I thought would be the worst section, the field with plenty of mud in the first loop, but fortunately the mud had receded and it was only sticky now; not enough to slow me like it did on the first loop. Made it to crossroads just in time and it was when I caught up to Jorge who was having a low at this point, was pretty dehydrated but would later regroup and finish. Here I grabbed my flashlight , was going to skip and grab my long-sleeved shirt and gloves until the way back but as we were waiting for hot ramen to be ready, the wind had picked up so instead of waiting for the way back I changed shirts and got a dry cap. Headed out of Crossroads with Jorge, ramen in hand and we power hiked until the start of the Sisters; made it all the way up and convinced Jorge to jog for a bit just to get him moving again. When we reached the top, Jorge and I parted ways and I started trying to make up lost time, this was the most exciting part of my race given I would be catching up folks and well its always a good morale booster.

Here’s a video courtesy of Bruce Evans that shows some of the terrain and hills we went through:

Made it back to Crossroads, picked up my jacket and replaced batteries, grabbed some more ramen, and asked for the right way to proceed so as not to go in the wrong direction, not that there’s anything wrong with adding miles but lost I did not want to get. Ran pretty smoothly from xRoads to last chance where I met Bryan from Ft. Worth and ran part of the first section with him, chatted for a bit about Jemez, Ultracentric, and how these hills are nothing compared to real mountains 🙂 I was power hiking as fast as I could what wasn’t flat and running the rest, flats and downhills included.

When I reached Last chance I was hyper and ready to finish. I ran almost all that was left of the course except for the climbs, overheard it was 9:15PM and I thought maybe I’d finish before 15 hrs but it’ll be hard. When I made it to Boyle’s Bump there was a couple going up hill which I asked if they knew how far we were from the finish line to which they replied: “we think it’s about 2.5 miles left”, my first thought was that I had picked it up too soon and was going to regret but I didn’t, made it through the bump and ran some more, caught up to another couple which said that there were only 2 miles left and my reaction was: WTF? I was sure I had just ran more than half a mile, I said thanks and kept running, later as we were making it to the finish line another guy asked me if I knew how much longer was left to which I replied maybe a mile worth, I could see the light which meant we couldn’t be that far off, kept bombing what was left of the down hill and quickly came to the turn around where I was told there was only a quarter-mile left, whew! almost done. Sprinted some more to the finish line and got 15 minutes under 15 hours, was pretty awesomely happy. Saw Lety made the finish 10 times more memorable, saw Joyce and gave her a big hug, and Joe caught up to me and shook my hand, think I told him something like “you son of a …”, no disrespect intended of course but more a tribute to how bad ass Joe is. Luis was also waiting and props to him for finishing his own first 50km and under these conditions.

Nutrition

What I remember, it was probably a bit more but not much. 7 Honey Stingers, 2 bonk breakers, 1 pack of Honey Stingers chews.

Lodge – David’s girlfriend was cooking some excellent quesadillas with avocado which were just delicious. 2 quesadillas. Also had half of an avocado courtesy of Jorge

Nachos – Chips 2 handful, water, 1 quesadilla, 1 water cup of coke, started taking 1 electrolyte cap every 25 mins after Nachos on the second loop.

Chapas – Mashed potatoes (2 cups worth), chips 2 handful, 2 water cups worth of coke

Crossroads – first loop was just chips, second loop 2 cups of ramen noodles (first time around), 2 more on the way back, about 3 cups worth of coke combined, 1 cup of mashed potatoes, 2 handful of chips

Last Chance – 1 cup of ramen noodles

Post race

I’m sore right now, as I’m sure a lot of us are, but the worst is my left ankle is swollen and don’t have a lot of flexibility on it. Sotol of course left its mark but it really is not as bad as they say it is. Next up is Rocky Raccoon 2013 and 100 miles, goal is to go under 24hrs, here’s to that being an accomplishment this year 🙂

Bandera sunrise the day after the race

Bandera sunrise the day after the race

After the race we stopped by at PEI-WEI and got this in a fortune cookie, guess they do know a thing or two about fortune 🙂

Endurance and persistence will be rewarded.

Endurance and persistence will be rewarded.

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