Bandera 100k January 9, 2010
This race has been on my radar for a while to do. So this past summer we decided that we would get some use out of the motorhome and visit Texas. Race week was very laid back and relaxing. I don't think I have ever been this relaxed before a race! I was confident and feeling ready to tackle this. When we arrived in Bandera one of the first things we did was visit the race site. We hiked a little bit of the trail just to get a feeling for what we had ahead of us. Oh boy! This was going to be fun!!! On Wednesday we met up with the Race director to see where we could park our motorhome on the race site. The race director was very friendly made us feel right at home.
THE DAY BEFORE THE RACE
Friday came and we checked out of the campground we were staying at. We packed up and moved the motorhome over to the race site. This was our first time camping without any hookups. Because of the unusual cold weather that had moved in the race director allowed us to run our generator so we had heat,water,electric and TV!!!We were steps from the start finish line, that was cool!!! Since we had time before the pre-race meeting I was able to get all of my drop bags packed and ready to go. Soon after that we were off to the pre race meeting. We picked up our numbers and listened to the last instructions for the race. I met up with my friend Dan who I ran with at the North Country 50 miler a year ago. I also met up with Dan Vega and had a chance to talk with him briefly. We left the meeting to go get our usual pre race dinner, pizza and salad. We took it back to the motorhome to eat and relax, Saturday would be a long day!!!!
I didn't sleep well that night but woke up to look at the clock. I thought we were late getting up! I woke Brian up only to find we had four clocks with four different times! We realized we had another hour to sleep, ahh.... When we did get up we were able to make breakfast, get dressed and stay relaxed! I happened to look at the outside temp. only to notice it was a whopping 6*!!!! Since it was so cold out our plan was to go check in and drop off my drop bags. We then headed back to the motorhome to stay warm and have a real bathroom to use. Minutes before the start we headed out to the start line. We had a real good laugh, the Texans were bundled up like it was below zero outside!!!! I only had windpants on with shorts underneath and a warm top. I knew it was going to warm up once the sun came up. I kissed Brian goodbye since he had a bit of a hike back to his start line. I told him I would see him when I finish my first lap. And we were off!!!!
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS!!!!
It's good easy running for a bit but it wasn't long before we were climbing our first rocky nasty hill. Climb, climb, climb!!! Holy cow and these rocks!!! Running was hard to do and lots of power hiking was going on. I was having a hard time navigating the rocks but I felt I was doing okay. There were areas I could run. Not many people were talkative so things were a bit quiet. The first aid stations was called Nachos and you could hear it long before you got to it from the music. I didn't spend much time there and was on my way quickly to the next aid station. I was headed to Chapas!! I was able to run a bit more. It was a beautiful sunny day and the sunrise was spectacular and so were the views when I was on top of the hills. I got to Chapas and decided I would get rid of the windpants and heavy shirt. Ahh... shorts!
FINALLY RUNNING IN SHORTS
I was back on the trail and on my way to the cross roads aid station. There was lots of running time here and I was able to stretch the legs out a bit and get a rhythm. The morning seemed to go by rather quickly. On my way to cross roads I was starting to feel a bit more confident about running on the rocks but that changed abruptly when I took a nasty hard fall skidding down a hill on a pile of rocks! Wow! That rung my bell, I got up and assessed myself. Okay, some nicely skuffed up hands with blood running down them but everything else was okay. A guy happened to come around the corner and saw me. He asked if I had fallen and I replied, yep and I was fine. He told me the next aid station wasn't too far ahead. Okay back up and on my way!!! As I was running I noticed that I broke a nail! Oh drats! Not like I care but, for some reason I found it funny. As I cruised into cross roads it was time for more grilled cheese and coke. Just as I was getting ready to get back on the trail an aid station worker came up to me and said how ya doing Michigan? I replied Awesome! But how did he know I was from Michigan?? I didn't ask and will never know but I was well on my way. As I was eating and going down the trail another guy came up beside me and we chatted about the day. I was now running with him. He asked if I was doing the 100 and I said yes. He told me not to tag onto him. He was doing the 50k. So I took his advice and fell back. As he left he also warned me about two up coming tough hills. I thanked him and was on my way. I had been running happy and confident, the only thing that was bothering me a bit was the fact that at the pre race meeting we were told we would not see any of the 25 or 50k people unless we were front runners or the back of the pack. This made me think I was running rather slowly. After more hill climbs I made it back to cross roads with 10 miles left until I finish my first lap! I grabbed more food and hightailed it out of there! I was headed to last chance aid station!! I was still feeling great and was running more and more! WOW! More hills and these were some nasty rocky hills. But, I will say I was loving the hills and climbing them. Just before I came into last chance there was this awesome big climb. I made comments to people about how I couldn't wait to do this in the dark! Once I crested the top of the hill it was a severe downhill with more rocks! I was actually getting the hang of running thru the rocks and felt strong! As I pulled into Last Chance I knew I had 5 miles to go to finish the first lap. I grabbed two cheese quesidillas and headed back down the trail. I'm now feeling stronger and I'm totally charged up! Funny how I've already run 26++ miles and I'm feeling so strong! Before I knew it I was finishing my first lap. I had no idea what my time was because I chose to not wear a watch on purpose and just run. As I rounded the corner I looked at the time clock and saw that my lap time was 6 hours and 40 mins. Holy Crap!! Are you serious??? That is only 3 mins longer than my 50k pr time!!!! I was not pushing the pace and I actually thought I was running slow. This was the aid station that Brian was supposed to meet me. I looked around and he wasn't there. Where was he? Did he finish his race, was he napping in the camper, did he get hurt??? The only thing I did know was that I finished my first lap an hour faster than what I had planned. I grabbed food and a coke. I decided I only had so much daylight to work with and wanted to get as much running in when I could see that I could. I decided to head back down the trail.
ONE MORE LAP AND THIS IS WHERE THINGS GET EXCITING!
I already did this once and so I already knew what I had in front of me. Lots of hills and big rocks! The only difference when I started my second lap was that there were hardly any people near me. I was excited because I was way ahead of what I had planned but it was also in the back of my head about Brian. I reassured myself that he was okay and I would see him at Nachos aid station. I had my mp3 player going and was cruising along with the music and I was happy! But before I got to Nachos my mp3 player decided to die. Great! So I put it away and made the best of it. As I cruised into Nachos I was looking for Brian but he was nowhere! Now, I'm really getting worried about him. But, I can't think about that right now and I tell myself that he fell asleep. I did tell him before we started not to worry about me, I would be fine. As I grab food and head back down the trail I was still in good spirits and still just cruising along. I had to make up music in my head. There were times out there when I wouldn't see anyone for a really long time so coming into an aid station was nice! As I rolled into Chapas Ahhh..... there he is! Thank goodness! Brian! and who's that with him??? He had Scout with him. She was so happy to see her mama! I looked at her and said you aren't supposed to be here. The aid station workers set me straight and told us how they just loved her! While my backpack was being filled they asked what they could get me. I said whatcha got to eat. The normal pbj, grilled cheese, cheese quesidilla all of these I said no to along with the soup. But then someone piped up hey we've got hamburgers! I said really??? Do you have ketchup and mustard?? She said absolutely! I'll take that! She got them ready for me and Brian asked if I wanted warmer clothes since the sun was going down and it was cooling off. I said no I'm fine and remember boasting I'm from Michigan! As I began eating the burgers another guy came up to me and said those are buffalo burgers. I said all the better! He was just kidding. So I was headed back down the trail after I gave Brian a list of things to bring to the next aid station. One being a fully charged mp3 player for me.
Heading out I was okay but I made a huge mistake! I had slowed to a walk for most of this section. I didn't understand what was going on. I looked at my hands and they were bright red! I tucked them inside my long sleeve shirt. What I didn't know was why was I feeling so low and walking seemed like that was all I could do at the moment. I ended up walking most of this section, which I should have been running it! It seemed as if it took forever to get to the next aid station!! When I did get there I was shivering and a bit dizzy. Dizzy enough that I leaned into Brian as I came in. This alerted the aid station captain and I knew I was being watched!!! Brian said lets get you into some warmer clothes. Okay this pit stop was rather long! I changed out of my shorts and into some tights. That was a trip in itself. I was unstable and trying to get the tights on. So bare butted outside I'm changing. I finally got them on put on a couple of shirts and we went back inside the tent to get food. I was warned that I need to drink more and I was made to take a salt cap while there. I was all set more grilled cheese, one in each hand, a half of almond joy and another cup of Coke and I was headed down the trail. Oh yeah, don't forget a new fully charged mp3 player. Okay I ate while walking and once my food was gone I concentrated on getting warm. As I warmed up the life was slowly coming back. Plus, on top of it all it is now dark and I'm all alone! Shadows will play alot of mind games with you especially when you're alone and tired. There were some big sticks on the ground from the cactus and the first time saw one I thought it was a big snake! I freaked out but then I'm telling myself its way too cold for snakes to be out. It took a little while but I did get over it! The really cool part was I saw the most spectacular sunset while on on of the big hills. The other scary part was I looked way down at the bottom of the hill to see a tiny aid station!!! That's where I'm headed! I knew going in the dark was going to be slower, that's why I busted my butt earlier in the day. As I came back into the aid station Brian was hiking backwards of the trail looking for me. Only I was just finishing. He was surprised to see me. His comment was you look 100% better! And I was smiling again! As I went into the aid station I was telling him about my earlier low and how I thought about quitting only to know in my head that I wouldn't do that. His comment was you only have 10 more miles to go!!! And I didn't drive all the way down here to Texas for you to quit! I knew that! I was in and out of the aid station. I knew this next part had alot of cruising I could do in the dark! My power was back and I was taking full advantage of it. Climbing the hills and hopping over rocks once again. Plus, the music really helped!!!! Before getting to the last aid station I had the death defying hill climb and descent!!! But as I was climbing near the top of the hill I looked up at the sky! It was incredible and the stars were so beautiful! I felt as if I could reach out and touch them! The sky was so clear!!! I cruised into Last chance aid station knowing this is the last one before the finish line!!!! I really think that helped pump me up!
LAST CHANCE AID STATION!
I got there and Brian was waiting for me there. I didn't want to waste alot of time there because I only had 5 miles to go! I got my final cheese quesidilla and one last coke. One of the things they had there was a fifth of bourbon. I looked at it, tempted to drink a shot but then quickly dismissed it knowing that if I even sniffed the cap I would be loaded! I told Brian see you at the finish line!!! I started on my way only to be told turn right!!!! I was going straight. If I went straight I could be at the finish line in less than a 1/2 mile! But, they all set me on the right course and I had to go 5 more miles! But I really wanted the short cut!!!! I was good, I choked down that cheese quesidilla ( I don't want to see grilled cheese or cheese quesidillas for a long time) and was good to go! I was humming along more hills, more rocks! But, I was so revved up that I was passing people on my journey to the finish!!! I think I passed 5-6 people along the way. As I came down the final stretch I was still running a nice pace. I came around the corner and saw the clock hmmm.... 15 hours and 7 mins! I was happy to be done and the race director was there. He congratulated me and handed me my belt buckle! I asked him if next time they could clear some of the rocks on the course. He did laugh!!!!! I really enjoyed this race. I think this race is one of my favorites now and ranks near the top!!
We walked back to the camper and relaxed. We got a few hours of sleep and then woke up to head home. As we left people were still out there running and finishing. Time to start focusing on the next big race!!!