This was my first trip to Texas for a race. I’d heard good things about this race and wanted to try it out. Since it was National Championship race too, there was money for top 5. Meltzer and I connected a month or two before the race when we saw we both signed up and decided to share a hotel room and rental car for the weekend. It was good to catch up with the Karl and Cheryl and hang out a bit. Karl was coming “off the couch” because of fighting an injury in December. But, the Goat always runs well and this weekend was no exception.
For me, coming into this one fresh off strained cartilage in my sternum and missing 8 days of running when I was supposed to hit my big run really made 100k feel super tough. With lack of long runs plus the stupid water bottle mistake…more on that later…well, it kinda hurt the 2nd lap. Add to it the fact that it rained the night before and the first half of the race, made for gunky conditions to say the least. Bandera has a lot of solid, rocky sections of limestone (I think). Not a lot of loose rocks, just rocky…plus clay dirt in between. The clay sections when wet become a greasy, sticky mess. Four pound shoes and slime. Add slippery clay covering smooth solid rocks and you couldn’t use the rocks to step or plant on. The 2nd lap was better when it quit raining and we had a good breeze, it got tackier in most of the bad places.
I felt pretty clunky from 26-48 due to the bone-headed mistake that I didn’t pick up my extra water bottle (so I’d have 2) from 17 miles on. I meant to, but blew it off. Bad move. When the rain quit, it got pretty humid and the upper 60s/low 70s felt REALLY hot coming from 20s high temps in Central Oregon the past month. I kept draining my single bottle well before each station, so I slowed through the middle 20 miles of the course. I just kept getting behind a little, catch up when I chugged at an aid station, run out, get behind…repeat. I picked up my other bottle at 48 and felt way better the last 12 miles. Somehow I always seem to do this at the beginning of every season. Have one early race where I don’t drink enough, remember the same exact lesson EVERY season…oh yeah, carry more water than you think you need.
I rallied the last 12 to hold onto 7th overall in 9 hours 37 minutes. It would be an awesome technical, but runnable course if it was dry (which it is a majority of years). Karl ran about a half hour in front of me for 4th. He paid for his effort though. He passed out at the BBQ joint in Bandera Saturday evening. It was quite the spectacle—Speedgoat flat on his back on the floor in the middle of the restaurant. We had his feet propped up and sipping on Sprite to get his blood sugar back up.
The waitress had the most classic line after Speedgoat hit the deck and we told her he just ran a hard 100k. In her Texas drawl “Honey, I don’t even run down the block, I wait for the bus…and if I miss it, there’s another one a comin’!” Awesome. Felt like I was in Missouri again.
Anyway, it worked Karl over for the evening and Cheryl and I took him back to the Villa and he crashed out. He was back to old Karl the next morning. Even the best of them pay the piper occasionally. It is ultrarunning.
All in all, fun time in Texas. Good to get a long one under my belt so early in the season. Makes a 50k not seem so long. Great aid stations and super well-marked course. Giddyup.
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