Bandera 100K - RunUltra Marathon

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Bandera, Texas
United States
Tejas Trails
60F / 16C
Total Time = 16h 27m 31s
Overall Rank = 108/256
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 4:30 and drove out to Bandera with wifey. The plan was to be there by 6:30, a full hour before the 7:30 start. I checked my blood sugar when I woke up and it was 123 mg/dl, not too bad. Made some coffee for the drive and had one of her homemade Lara bars for breakfast. It was awesome! After a 90 minute drive, we made a pitstop at the gas station in town before heading to the racesite in the park so I wouldn't have to wait in line at the portajon. Am I glad I did! Even though we got to the park almost an hour before the start, the line of cars was backed up almost to the park entrance.

By the time we got close enough to park it was 15 minutes to go time! I still had to pick up my packet too. I raced out of the car, got my packet and put my chip and bib on, threw my drop bags in the trucks and had 5 min to spare. *whew*! Now its time to run 100k!
Event warmup:

ummm... this is an ultra. There will be plenty of time to "warm up".
  • 16h 27m 31s
  • 62.14 miles
  • 15m 53s  min/mile

Well let's just say this was quite a challenge -- not only a physical test but a mental one. The conditions were tough as it was about 65 degrees and very humid/muggy/foggy at the start, and the course was a giant mud pit from all the rain we got that week. The temps went up above 70 during the day when the sun came out, and then took a nosedive at night to the low 40s and even mid 30s by the time it was all over.

I was concerned that the sore quad I've been having for over a month would be problematic, but after the MRI I got on Thursday revealed no stress fracture, I knew it was just a muscular problem. The good thing is I didn't feel any quad pain during the entire race. So I must have just needed some time off from running (which I had almost 10 days off before the race).

I must have quit the race at least 16 times during the first loop. I started out strong (maybe TOO strong), and found myself running in a pack with a bunch of guys wearing the USATF 100k championship bib numbers! I thought to myself -- "OK, you feel great but should you really be running with these guys?" Maybe it was because the first 5 miles to the Nachos aid station had some big climbs (Sky Island and Ice Cream Hill -- with no ice cream at the top!), but the next 11 through Chapas to Crossroads are pretty flat. With all that adrenaline running next to people, it was hard not to go out too strong.

I tried to slow it down a bit, but perhaps too late. The last 5 miles of the first loop I felt horrible. The last 3 climbs were brutal (Lucky Peak (no luck!), Cairns Climb and Boyles Bump). I thought I was hydrating well with my handheld, and was eating good solid food at each aid station along with my gels. But I just felt completely bonked like my blood sugar was low. I didn't have my Dexcom continuous glucose meter on me either, just a normal meter at the Lodge at the 31 mile mark (big diabetic logistical error. I couldn't find my spare meter to put in another drop bag).

Feeling like that and not knowing my blood sugar just wiped me out. I actually told myself "I'm not having fun anymore, and I just want to quit and be done with it." I was going down the list of excuses and what I was going to tell people. I was trying to make myself accept defeat and be ok with it. I wasn't ok though, I was a total wreck. So many people passed me and asked "Are you ok??" So I must have looked HORRIBLE! I came into the Lodge and people looked at me like they sae a ghost.

Luckily the best crew in the world (my wife) sat me down, gave me a PB&honey sandwich and took my blood sugar. I was at 143 mg/dl. That meant my blood sugar was fine and I could (and should) go on. She looked at my feet, got me new dry socks and shoes, then decided that she was coming with me and was going to pace me for the last 50k! WOW! This was amazing. The original plan was that she was going to help pace me at the end for the last 5-10 miles or so to keep me upright and alive, but now she was offering to run the whole second loop with me. This blew me away, because she is just getting into trail running and her longest distance to date is a 25k. So I was scared to let her, but I really wanted to be with her so off we went!

She couldn't go quite as fast, especially when we hit the first hill (sky Island). So we walked a bit and talked and just enjoyed the time we had together. It was a gorgeous day by then, the fog had lifted and sun came out for a bit. We picked it up after that first climb until Ice cream hill, then walked and ran some more. I could see she was having a rough time with the big climbs and I didn't think she was going to make it the full 50k. So we decided that when we got to the first aid station (Nachos -- but they had no Nachos!) she would walk to the Crossroads aid station (only a few miles away by going off course) and just wait for me and see how she felt then. So that left me with 11 kind of flat miles to "run." It was more of a slow jog, but I was able to pick up the pace.

My Garmin battery went out around there, and my charger was at the next aid station (Chapas) along with my headlamp. It was about 4:45 pm and 5 miles away, so I had to pick it up if I wanted some light before it got dark out. I made it to Chapas just before 6 pm, before the sun went down. *whew*! Talk about lucky! I got my Garmin going again, and got some Ramen noodles and broth.

When the sun went down, the wind picked up and it started to get chilly! Hot food was just what I wanted. 6 miles later I got to Crossroads and saw wifey. She was freezing so she was moving around, helping people get their drop bags and handing out food, anything to keep warm! I told her to go back to the Lodge (start/fnish) and get in the car and warm up and I'd meet her at the finish line. I had some more ramen and broth (so good!) and made my way to the next aid station (the next one was actually the same one, Crossroads). By then the temperature had really dropped, so I put on a long sleeve shirt I had in my drop bag there and had some more solid food. Mostly salty stuff like pringles and Saltines, along with some more Ramen. Seriously, I couldn't get enough of the stuff.

By this time I only had 1 aid station to go then the finish. I was 9 miles away from finishing, when just a few hours before I had almost completely given up. 4 miles to the next aid station at Last Chance. I was taking it one aid station at a time. The only thing standing in my way was Lucky Peak, which is the most difficult climb at Bandera in my opinion. The damn thing is just straight up! Luckily at night, it doesn't seem as bad because you can't really see how far it is. I just put my head down and took it one step at a time.

I made it to Last chance, and they had some good eats! I had the best hash brown in the world, along with (you guessed it) more ramen and noodles. They also had sausage and pancakes, but I had to pass on that along with the shot of Hennessy. I should have taken them up on the shot though!

Then there was just 5 miles to go, and 2 more big climbs. But then I would be done and would finally have my buckle. I put my head down and just WENT. Throughout the whole second loop I was running back and forth with a lady who was running her 10th 100K at Bandera and earning her 1,000K jacket. I could tell she knew what she was doing so I tried to stay with her as much as possible.

It was 10:30 at Last Chance, and our goal was to make it in by midnight, so off we went. The last loop went up a big climb (Cairns Climb), back down and right back up Boyles Bump and down towards the finish line. Before I knew it someone on the trail said "only half a mile to go!" and I perked right up.

I actually felt better the entire second loop than the first, and I attribute that directly to my wife bringing my spirits up with love and a PB&honey sandwich. The last half mile was a flat jeep road into the finish line, and I actually picked it up and ran it in STRONG! I couldn't believe it. This was a huge deal for me, but surprisingly I wasn't as emotional as when I crossed the line at my first 50 miler last year.

The RD, Joe, was at the finish line and handed me my buckle, just as he handed ever other 100K finisher. It was truly one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and gave me full confidence that I can complete my next goal, the Rocky Racoon 100 miler in 3 more weeks.
What would you do differently?:

Not go out quite as fast on the first loop. Have more than one BG meter to test my blood sugar at various points in the race. Eat better on the first loop.
Post race
Warm down:

It was really cold by the time I finished at midnight, so I was taken to the tent at the Lodge and given warm potato soup and coffee, and a blanket. I was still shivering though so after lots of talking and laughing with everyone, we got to the car and turned the heater on full blast and made the 90 minute drive back to San Antonio. Wifey and I were both starving even though it was now past 1 am, so we made a pit stop at a McDonalds just to get something in us. Although we both hate eating there, at this point it was the best food I had ever had in my life!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The fact that this was my first 100K, and it was quite the learning experience.

Event comments:

Tejas Trails runs the best races in the state, if not the country. I love every one of them and will do them all, every time. Bandera is one of the toughest, most painful courses out there. I can't wait to do it next year!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-11-26 12:00 AM
16:27:31 | 62.14 miles | 15m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 108/256
Performance: Good
Elev GAP Actual Pace Mile 1 109ft 8:42 11:03 Mile 2 -5ft 9:53 12:45 Mile 3 -141ft 10:11 10:45 Mile 4 91ft 8:35 12:56 Mile 5 -239ft 11:40 10:13 Mile 6 43ft 8:58 10:18 Mile 7 10ft 9:39 10:24 Mile 8 94ft 8:18 9:42 Mile 9 71ft 8:55 10:31 Mile 10 -119ft 10:48 11:08 Mile 11 -54ft 9:41 10:04 Mile 12 2ft 9:30 10:01 Mile 13 82ft 9:06 10:19 Mile 14 -24ft 10:11 10:26 Mile 15 69ft 9:55 11:38 Mile 16 -71ft 10:45 10:26 Mile 17 52ft 10:16 11:52 Mile 18 -53ft 11:07 10:56 Mile 19 -1ft 11:43 13:04 Mile 20 94ft 10:24 15:40 Mile 21 -51ft 13:31 15:14 Mile 22 0ft 11:28 14:18 Mile 23 -6ft 13:08 13:26 Mile 24 86ft 11:25 13:50 Mile 25 91ft 11:08 15:14 Mile 26 -79ft 12:36 15:48 Mile 27 272ft 10:06 17:42 Mile 28 -171ft 17:30 17:47 Mile 29 168ft 11:51 19:42 Mile 30 -13ft 14:47 16:34 Mile 31 -302ft 21:51 16:49 Mile 32 52ft 13:32 16:34 Mile 33 121ft 12:34 25:01 Mile 34 -240ft 18:01 20:24 Mile 35 -68ft 12:43 19:29 Mile 36 25ft 13:29 14:58 Mile 37 40ft 13:15 15:18 Mile 38 29ft 14:03 15:51 Mile 39 -12ft 14:08 15:36 Mile 40 -40ft 14:47 14:39 Mile 41 36ft 13:29 16:05 Mile 42 -58ft 15:17 14:44 Mile 43 17ft 13:56 17:11 Mile 44 -12ft 13:33 21:58 Mile 45 180ft 11:35 17:43 Mile 46 -142ft 17:22 15:44 Mile 47 82ft 14:13 17:00 Mile 48 100ft 14:01 19:44 Mile 49 -22ft 15:53 23:51 Mile 50 168ft 11:28 19:06 Mile 51 23ft 14:50 19:23 Mile 52 15ft 13:32 21:17 Mile 53 6ft 16:00 19:02 Mile 54 -304ft 21:14 16:28 528 ft -1ft 11:52 12:20
Course: Bandera. 2 loops of 31 miles each. Over 6,000 feet of climbing. I lost a few miles on my Forerunner 305 because I put my Garmin charger (portable cell phone charger to make the battery last longer than 9 hours) in the wrong drop bag. But I got a lot more recorded than I thought I would. It rained all week as well as the night before so the course was super muddy. My Hoka's were caked with mud and it was like running with cement bricks on. I switched to my Peregrines for the second loop and they seemed to not grab as much mud. Although that could be because the course had dried out a little more by then and have nothing to do with the shoes at all.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %1-2
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5