LooseCrew-JeffO: Bandera 100K 2009


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bandera 100K 2009

For a guy who hasn't trained since November, I've sure managed to put in a lot of hard miles.

I've been so busy, but I squeezed this long trip in. Took Th & Fr off work and drove south over Raton Pass, then over to Texas where I stopped and ate at the first BBQ place I found. Yeehah! Fried okra!

(Okay, Blogger insists on flipping this photo sideways, no matter what I do! This is a conspiracy, man!)

I love watching the land and vegetation change as I drive across the landscape. I love the vast oil fields near Lubbock, and the windmill farm of about 1,000 windmills, and south of there the land is chock-full of so much prickly-pear and mesquite it chokes the land.
I stopped at a grocery store for lunch. It's great to have one place to stock up on apples, V-8, and bullets. Yep, they have .22, .40S&W, .30-06, .30-30, .45, 12 gauge,...

So I picked up a box of fresh .40S&W from near the Fresh Produce isles and told the clerk they don't sell bullets in grocery stores in Denver. "What?" they said. "Then where do you buy them?" I told them you have to actually go to a gun store or sporting-goods store. I know, I know... I come from a strange place! Y'all have a good day!

I got to Bandera and found it to be a crowded tourist town. The speed limit was 30, but good luck getting up to 5mph. I got in with a little extra time to get my packet, meet some people, and eat dinner at the start/finish headquarters.
That night, I drank three beers and watched a movie on my laptop, then went to sleep in the back of my CR-V.

In the morning, I managed to get to the start line 5 seconds before the start.

We headed out fast. Very fast. I asked myself, if I was sure, but actually, yes, I felt like I was going faster than I was because it was an extremely crowded start. The first five miles are miserable bumper-to-bumper. Too many fast runners suck on the downhills. When I put on the brakes, it's hard not to slip and crash. I don't know how they can run races putting the brakes on that much.

Finally, I was in a fast pack of about 6 guys. We were good and strong steady. We blew through the second aid station and I felt the blisters coming on. By mile 16, the blisters had turned my feet into hamburger. I had to stop and change socks. I was stupid to experiment during a race. Neither of the blisters on either foot had popped. One had blood in it. Both hurt like hell. It was too painful to stay up on my toes, plus being up on the balls of my feet just rubbed them more, so to reduce the pressure, I let my heals drop down with a thud each step. I also slightly twisted my feet to try to use the outsides of my toes and less of the ball of my foot. This really tired me out faster. I lost my agility. I was more clumsy. I fell three times the first lap.

My goal had been 12 to 12.5 hours. That goal was now trashed. But surely I could still do it under 13, right? Nope. 13.5? Nope. I even missed that. I finished the first loop in 5:40, but most of that had been accomplished before the sock change. My second lap was very slow, and I allowed myself to just have fun. I spent more time at the aid stations, I drank more, ate more, talked to the volunteers more... but strangely, I wasn't very talkative to other runners.

I tried to keep pushing myself, even as I allowed some slacking.

Texas hill country is so cool. I grew up 20 miles north in Kerrville, and I've always felt sorry for people who didn't get to grow up in Texas hill country. It's a kid's paradise. In the race, we often ran through tunnels of oak and cedar/pinon. Then we'd climb up into sparcer hilltops covered in yucca and sotol with serrated edges and 15 foot stalks.

It got a little bit windy at night, and a little cold, but nothing worse than Colorado normally dishes out during summer.

I enjoyed the first 60 miles, in spite of my feet. The Last Chance aid station was my favorite, but not by a long ways - they were all so great. The pizza at Chapas was fantastic! Last Chance had beer and tequila. They made some great pancakes, too. Cross-Roads had lots of hot soup and a big, warm tent with lots of chairs (not something I'm used to using).
The last two miles sucked. I don't know why, but all of a sudden, I was tired of running and really pissy. The last 5 miles seemed like 7 to me. But crossing that finish was a glorious thing. It wasn't long before I had a beer and was sitting in front of a heater laughing and talking to the other runners and volunteers.

I've been so outrageously busy, to be honest, I still haven't looked at the results. Justin M. said I was 27th, and Olga said I was 13:39. All I know is, like my "worst-case scenario" I had LOTS of fun. I highly recommend this race. Beautiful course, fun, short climbs, fantastic volunteers,... There just wasn't anything missing. It's a perfect race. I wish it was closer to home - it's even further away than Death Valley!
Which makes me want to re-visit DV again, too.


At 7:50 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Hey, I think we finished within a few minutes of each other and must have sat around that same heater afterward. Loved your story about the grocery store.

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Meghan said...

Dude, you're feet were hamburger by mile 16 and you kept going. Damn! Way to grind this one out.

Yes, Death Valley! I want to go there before the end of March and MdS train. Wanna go!?


At 11:17 PM, Blogger JeffO said...

Meghan - Sounds like fun! Tell your people to talk to my people and we'll do several days of running!

Hamburger? Read my post about growing up in Kerrville. Apaches don't feel pain. I used to run across limestone rocks barefoot!
Alas, I'm not Apache, so it slowed me down for sure. But I managed to finish well anyways and have a great time.


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