This time last week I was embarking on a journey I never thought I would take. I ran my first 50 miler at the Brazos Bend 100. It’s ironic that I say first because when I was done I said I would never do it again. As I write this today, there’s a little bit of wanting to run it again. I’m not completely there yet, so don’t freak out.
A large portion of our running group was running this race. 100 miles, 50 miles, marathon and half; we had all of the distances covered. This was the group running the 50 miler. It was a big day for the Golden Triangle Strutters. And others who weren’t running were there to offer support. Willie did a great job at taking care of everyone. Jeremy was there providing the entertainment. After my second loop, we jammed to Backstreet Boys but that didn’t make the cut in the video.
I was prepared for this race. I had everything together. I had a backup plan for the backup plan. It hadn’t rained all week but of course, it was scheduled the flood the day we were going to tackle the trails. This made me nervous. Covering the distance wasn’t a problem for me, covering the distance in the mud would be something that would get me down. I wanted this so bad because this trail has chewed me up and spit me out before due to muddy conditions. I just wanted it to be OK for once.
I have a short video for my first two laps. It just shows you my state of mind at the time. I was very proud and nothing could stand in my way.
Brazos Bend State Park is a nice park that let’s your run with alligators. I didn’t spot any this time because it was overcast most of the day. Others did get a chance to see but I didn’t. I just didn’t want to trip over one come night fall. I don’t know what alligator habits are at night. Do you? That kind of made me nervous when the sun set and the headlights came on.
The first two laps went well for me. I was having a great time and I was making great time. This is a fast non-technical trail and this is the only place I would attempt to run distances like this. I’m comfortable here and it’s still a challenge for me because the weather is never right. Remember the 50k from April? Speaking of which, I beat my 50K time by like 90 minutes this time around.
The third lap I knew would be challenging for me because I’m not blind and headlamps just make that worse. The rain had set in and the trails were pretty trashed with mud so that was another reason to slow down. Oh and with 10 miles in, I felt that mud rash taking over my feet. It’s happened to me before and I knew it would happen again. I know it wasn’t as bad this time though because I did change my socks and clean my feet after each loop. Yes it was painful and it was causing me some problems but the only thing I could think about was how thankful I was the rain held off and I only had to do one muddy loop.
At mile 40 I had gotten lonely. I should have gotten a pacer. I underestimated how the time on my feet mostly alone would make me feel. Another beyond 32 miles was new to me. Luckily, a nice man picked me up a long the way and stayed with me until the last mile when I told him to leave me. He wanted to make sure I didn’t quit (which I may have threatened but I don’t think I really could have with only 10 miles left). I really just needed someone to talk to and he did that. He lift my spirit. I am forever grateful to him. I’m sure I would have busted it in the mud a couple of times if it wasn’t for him.
I had big dreams of running in Cambodia in a multi-stage race and after doing this…I realized it’s not my time. I know better than to say never but I’ve just got a lot of training to do. I romanticized the 50 miler and where as it is my proudest moment thus far, it was HARD. There’s nothing romantic about it. I’m glad that I’ve done it but I’m not sure I’ll do it again. I have to think about it for a minute.
In the end I finished in 15:18:03 and that was me pretty much walking the last 10 miles because the trail was a mess and I’m not that confident to run in stuff like that. I’ve learned I need to learn to run in mud, I need better trail shoes and mental toughness is the key. I couldn’t imagine running a 100 miles. I got sleep around 8pm because that’s my normal bedtime and that was pretty hard for me to deal with.
If you want to see a full video of the entire experience watch Jeremy’s video:
This video is REALLY great and I have some special moments! Thanks Jeremy for all the great pictures here.