Gnarly, Unforgiving and Historic!!!!
We're back from Oil Creek!!! I'm still a little sore but as the days go by it is getting better. I'm taking a little extra time before putting my running shoes back on. Okay, race synopsis …. It rained for a couple of days before the race and it rained all Friday night. We got up race morning at 3:30 a.m. and headed to the start finish line. The start finish was at a middle school where the accommodations were perfect! We were able to stay in the school right up until just minutes before we were told to go. It was dark and lightly raining for the beginning of the race. At 5:00 Matt began his journey on his 100 mile race! Then it was back in the school to stay warm and dry until 6:00 a.m.!
Time to get this show on the road!!!
The time flew by and before I knew it I was toeing the start line! We had a 3.50 mile run on pavement to get to the trail head. I felt good and tried to hold the pace back. Nobody was very chatty and it was pretty quiet. Once I got to the trail head I was caught up in a large group of people so the climb up was a bit harder than it should have been. I was sucking wind at one point but concentrating on keeping my feet under me and looking for rocks. As soon as I could I stepped aside to let a few people go by. There were also trees down on the course from a wind storm a few days before the race. I was keeping an eye on the trail but, happened to look up just in time for a tree that was at head level for me and ducked down at the last minute! Whew! About 8 miles into my run a guy following me started talking. At first I was enjoying a conversation with somebody!!! But, it didn't take long for him to start annoying me!! Grr.. I came into the first aid station and it was entertaining! They had a Halloween theme with these awesome carved pumpkins lit along the trail. I got in and out of that aid station quickly, knowing that I had a big switchback climb! During this climb the aid station workers had tombstones up! They were fun to read and took my mind off of what I was doing.
Onto the next Aid Station!!!
I was able to finally turn my headlamp off and enjoy the daylight. I knew this section well and cruised along running towards the derricks. Before I knew it I was cruising into the next aid station and the first 50k runner was catching me. As I arrived at the aid station these people really knew what they were doing!!! They grabbed my backpack and refilled it for me, got my drop bag out for me and grabbed things I wanted. I grabbed a couple of things to eat and got out of there fast! I had another big climb ahead.
Over the river!!!
I took off and with food in hand (my turkey sandwich). Once I was climbing I put my headphones on to find out my I-Pod wasn't working!! Grr... I was at a low point and I was only at 14 miles! So I put the I-Pod away and settled in. We had some out and backs to make up mileage that the 50k and 100 milers didn't have. The first out and back was lonely with no one around!! I came into the next section which was a loop. I turned a corner to find a huge uphill climb!! I got through it but, was surprised with a third out and back thrown in that was not discussed (or I didn't hear it). At this point I had hooked up with another runner and we began chatting. We were a great match!!! We worked together and finally ditched the annoying guy!! This next section seemed to take forever. We had a lot of long hill climbs that kicked my butt! There were also many bridges that were also treacherous!! After almost falling on my ass I decided all bridge crossings would be walked over! The mud was slick! I had areas that I wanted to run but the rocks were holding me back. When I came into the school aid station it was mile 35, I was starving and grabbed a hot BBQ beef sandwich, chips and Mt. Dew. I spent a little longer in the aid station than I should have (Maybe 5 mins), but then, set out to finish the last 15 miles.
The last section was tough and the climbs seemed endless! We had a 1.5 mile run back to the trail head on the bike path. Upon getting to the trail head another guy that had been running near me all day was walking back towards me. I thought something was wrong. He informed me that he thought he was on the wrong trail and was coming back. I told him I knew where I was going and he could follow along. The first 7.5 miles seemed to go by quickly and before I knew it I was back at the Halloween aid station. I had a grilled cheese sandwich there and my plan was to cruise through the next aid station, since all I had to do was cross the river to get to it.
As I crossed the river I could see my friends were there waiting for me. They were going to pace me for the last 7.5 miles but, noticed I looked good and seemed happy. I asked as I came in what time Brian had been through there since I was looking forward to passing him on the homeward bound leg!!! They told me he had already been through and should be finishing at any minute. You don’t want to know what my choice words were, not once but several times!!!! I was actually happy for him, knowing that he was accomplishing a big goal! But, I was also disappointed knowing that I wouldn’t see him until I finished. I started the homeward bound section with another huge hill climb past a cemetery. It was an effort to climb these big hills and my hamstrings were letting me know it! Just before getting off the trail I had a long downhill, which was fun! Getting off the trail I knew the last 1.5 mile homestretch was in sight and I was anxious to get to the finish. The bike path seemed like it took forever but, soon I was rounding the corner and heading toward that finish line! As I got closer I could see Brian and he was yelling for me to move my butt a little faster! The pedal was all the way down and I was giving it all the gas I had, which was nothing. I crossed the finish and gave Brian a big huge hug!!!! After standing for a few minutes Brian went over and got my finishers buckle for me since the race director was not at the finish. We went inside the school where I was able to get warm and get something to eat. As I was eating about 20 minutes later the guy that was struggling crossed the finish line. I was happy to see he made it!
Let the post race celebration begin!!!
I will say, Brian is not letting me forget that he beat me to the finish line! It’s all in good fun! We both will be running again in Texas!