Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cactus Rose 2013

Going into CR, I felt really good. I was rested; I was injury-free, and anxious to run. I'd trained harder than last year and felt more focused.  
We got to Bandera around 5pm, quickly caught a bit of the trail briefing and off we went to set up our drop bags.

After a sleepless night, we were ready to begin.
Loop 1:
I started at a pretty good clip. Looking back, it was kinda humid, so I began to worry a bit. I really was expecting the same temps as last year, but it was not to be.

I felt a bit too comfortable because I could tell I was going much faster than I had planned. I figured I was pushing in an attempt to get catch up to my friends, so I decided to slow down quite a bit. My goal was to average 7 hours per loop, and I was on pace for a 6 hour loop. I decided to walk more this loop…even the flats. I still had a long way to go.
It turned out that 1 of my friends, Ace, was actually behind me. He caught up several miles later.
The 1st 15 or so miles of the first loop were pretty tame, but I knew the hard part was about to come the last 10 miles. And it did, but I still felt really well when I finished. I ate a pretty ginormous taco and after 10 minutes, was ready to go at it again.
Loop 2:
In retrospect, I ate a little too much, because I felt sluggish right from the get go. I couldn’t explain it: how could I finish loop 1 feeling so well and then start loop 2 so poorly? I hoped that I’d regain my mojo soon, but it only appeared here and there.
After the initial tough 10 miles, I was pretty exhausted but glad I had about 15 ‘easy’ miles before finishing up the 2nd loop.
I didn’t have a lot of food in my drop bags, but I had a lot of a lot. I’d decided to eat different foods at each station since I tend to get tired of the same ol’ same ol’ and get stomach issues.
With about 10 miles to go to finish up the 2nd loop, I started feeling a little twinge on the outside of my right knee and the top of my right ankle. Plus, the inside/back of my left knee was bothering me quite a bit. Since I always get aches and pains here and there, I figured it’d go away soon…but it didn’t.
Upon finishing loop 2, one of my friends, David, gave me an ice pack to put on my knee. I also decided to wait around ‘til Ace came in. We’d gotten separated sometime during the last 10 miles or so.
I rested, ate some soup and iced my knee for about 45 minutes.
Loop 3:
I could kinda feel like I was in a bit of trouble. My knee pain was pretty unbearable. Other than that, I felt like I was still good. I asked my trusted partner, Sami, if she would pace me this loop instead of the last. “What about the last loop?” she asked. I told her – I’ll worry about the last loop when it gets here. Right now, I’m just worried about this loop. She quickly got ready and we took off.
From the lodge to equestrian was a death crawl. I couldn’t bend my knee or step onto anything. The 1st incline coming out of the lodge was extremely painful. I noticed I was stepping oddly just to avoid or compensate for the pain. We tried running several times, but it was pretty ugly.
It took us almost 2 hours to do the 5 miles to equestrian. I knew I’d never do the next 10 miles OR the more difficult sections on time. Forget the time, I didn’t think I could physically do it with my knee acting like it was.
As we approached equestrian, I told Sami that I thought that’s as far as I could go. I felt really disappointed for stopping at mid 50. I’d like to think I have a pretty high pain tolerance level, so I think it was reached.
I decided to call it right then and there. I also said I’d take a long break from trail running and probably was done with attempting another 100 miler.
We went to our cabin and after a painful shower (from the stiffness setting in and the sotol cuts), Sami taped me up with K tape which made a big difference.
We went back in the morning to pick up my drop bags and cheer on some of the other runners who were out there. Unfortunately, we only got to see a couple runners at Nachos which I think was mile 90. Those guys were HARDCORE!!!
It’s been a few days, and I have had time to think about my DNF. I don’t know how I was able to do that last year. I didn’t start hurting ‘til mile 90ish, and this time, it happened much much earlier.
Despite my DNF, I had a really good time.
Oh, and about taking time off from trail running? Well, I’m debating about doing the 50k or 100k for Bandera…so…so much for taking time off.


  1. i wanted to drop at mile 65 during my first CR in 2011. Melissa gave me 600mg of ibuprofen every ten miles and that got me through. consider if you run another one.

    1. I will, and I have taken ibuprofen before, but I keep hearing these horror stories about taking ibuprofen. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. Be proud of your efforts. It's easy to look back. But you do a better job looking forward. I'll see you at Bandera. And with God's blessing I will be at CR100 next year!

    1. Thanks, fawn. Missed seeing u out there!!!

  3. Well, I told myself I was done with trail running before I even got to Lodge on my first loop. Now that I'm feeling better and am in the right frame of mind, I know I will do more.

    1. Same here, Caleb. I guess it was just the disappointment of the DNF. I know I still wanna do trail. Now, i'm looking forward to bandera. Hopefully see you there.