Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bandera 100k 2017

I usually put pressure on myself to finish any run I'm doing. This year was slightly different. A friend of mine, Shane, from New Mexico had agreed to drive in all the way from there to pace me. I kept telling myself "I'm not making him drive all the way here to not have him run." He'd told me he was doing a 100k in the mountains in a couple of weeks, and was looking forward to a nice little 50k training run. The pressure. The pressure.

We met in Bandera the night before when the temps were in the 20s. I don't think I've ever run in temps that cold.

In the morning, the temps were in the high teens I think, but "let's do this" I told myself.

It was time to start...

Loop 1:  
I met a couple of frunners right before the race, but once they told me what their goal pace was, I decided to back off. I didn’t want to run with them and get “caught up” in the excitement and end up starting too fast.
The last several Bandera races that I’ve run, I’ve tended to start off feeling flat and sluggish. This was on my mind the days leading up to it. I tried to get extra rest, eat extra well, extra everything to avoid it. Luckily, whatever it was, it worked.
I was a little surprised how well I felt during this loop. The climbs were tough. Really tough, but I expected that. I don’t feel the cold weather affected me. I was pretty well bundled up but not too bulky.
My only concerned happened at the 1st aid station when I couldn’t locate my drop bag. My gells! My Rocktane!!! My tp!!! The awesome aid station volunteers had no answers for me, but I tried not to be a diva about it. Luckily, I had packed extra gells (and tp) in my vest. “Don’t panic!” I kept telling myself.
When I got to the next aid station that was supposed to have my 2nd drop bag, it was not there again. Now, it was time to panic. I had the same things there, plus, my headlamp for the 2nd loop. Several other runners that heard me, offered to loan me an extra headlamp they had later later. I appreciated their concern, but I knew I probably wouldn’t be running with them for the next 10 or so hours to be able to borrow it.
I usually have to pack my own nutrition because I have a pretty weird/weak stomach which can’t stomach much of the aid station goodies. Luckily, I was able to use my vest gels and felt ok. At this point, I’d had about 7 gels. That’s about twice my limit before I start getting nauseous.
I finished the 1st loop at around 7:30. I’d given myself between 6:30 and 7:30 to finish. Right on track.
As soon as I came in, I saw my buddies, David and Joel and told them my drop bags were missing. Fortunately, we found them at the start, and they promised to drop them off.

Loop 2: 
After about 15 minutes, I picked up my pacer, Shane, and began the next loop.
I was looking forward to dark because the warm aid station food hits the spot when it’s cold. It didn’t disappoint: cheese toast, quesadillas, ramen soup, mash potatoes…
I told my pacer to just keep moving, and I’d try to follow. We came across Nancy at this point whose good no-nonsense attitude can be contagious. She told me she didn’t like pacers because “she doesn’t like anybody to tell her what to do” but she’d try to stay with us. I’m glad she stayed with us for the next 30 miles.
Shane kept us moving and reminding us to take in calories. We’d take no more than a couple minutes at each aid station, so we wouldn’t get too cold. The take off from each aid station was pretty brutal. It’d take a couple miles to get warmed up.
The climbs seemed easier on the quads this time around. Maybe I needed a 31 mile warm up. Who knows.

We finished the 2nd loop right at 10 hours. My A goal was to finish close to 14 hours, B goal was to get it done under 17. In the end, it just wasn’t in the cards, but I’m ok with that.