Report by Sarah Brown
Another great run, huge thanks should go to RD Joe Prusatis, wife Joyce and all of fantastic staff and volunteers.
Heading into the race this year was certainly a dilemma. Initially I wanted to do the 100k again as I had such a fantastic time on it last year, but I wasn’t sure I had the training for it and also there was an adventure race 2 weeks later I had to focus on. So I settled on the 50k, after all it was a fun weekend and I would have more time to hang out with friends ! I was pretty happy with the decision, until one day, 3 weeks before the race I was out mountain biking with 2 of my adventure race teammates and had a pretty serious wreck. Lots of blood lost and surgery to fix things. But far, far worse was the Doctor’s order not to do any sport for 4, FOUR, weeks! I was going skiing in 10 days! So anyway I had a mellow ski trip, rested, ate well [skied a little] and soon felt 95% better. I toyed with doing the 25k, but thought I would wait until race day to decide. A couple of short ‘practice’ runs felt great so Saturday morning found me in the mist and fog with over 200 other friends and runners awaiting the 50k race start.
The start was low key as always, but we soon got off along the trail. I was running with Paul [on of my adv race teammates] and Celeste and soon caught up to Rebecca, a friend from Houston. The first section of the trail normally gives fantastic views as you climb to the top of the first hill, but today it was damp, foggy and the ground was very slick. We were making good time and having fun tho, not tripping on too many rocks and the sotol cactus didn’t seem as bad as last year.
The field soon spread out and we made our way around the back of Ice Cream Hill and thru the sotol. Rebecca ‘introduced’ me to a friend I had adv raced with about 5 years ago. It was good to catch up. As we came into the first aid station, Nachos, I was beginning to feel the effects of our rather fast early pace [Rebecca and Paul were both doing the 25k] and sent them on their way. Celeste caught me up and we carried on towards Chapas AS. I crashed pretty badly on this section. My friend Lisa [a Dr] had told me I should concentrate extra hard on my food intake, but that got rather forgotten in the fun of the first 6 miles. I paid for it badly and was really dragging. To compound things I was feeling some discomfort from my bike wreck and seriously considered quitting at Chapas as I didn’t want to aggravate my injury and jeopardize the adv race 2 weeks later. It is always a long haul heading into this AS and seemed even longer today, but it was helped by the sun breaking thru the clouds.
It was a relief to get to Chapas. Lisa was there and helped me change out of my tights, refuel and lube up. I am not sure if it was the physical help, or just seeing a friendly face, but I was feeling better already. I told her if I wasn’t back in 30 minutes I was going on. As I was heading out another adv race friend and sometime teammate came thru, so I headed out with Bobby and a couple of his friends. The banter and company, along with lots of fresh food really lifted my spirits, we ran along below the power lines, past the park entrance and several old and derelict farm buildings and soon into ‘the field’. This is my least favourite part of the course, but I was feeling so much better I didn’t really mind. At Crossroads AS I saw Celeste as she headed out just ahead of me. I made a conscious effort to eat lots and tried to drink a bit more and left the AS ahead of Bobby but walking and eating. I thought they would catch me up, as I had been leapfrogging many friends all day and I took a long walk to eat another sandwich and let it settle.
The inner loop was really warm and a good stretch to settle into my own rythmn. It was very peaceful too after running with different friends most of the day. A good contrast after the fun and games of earlier. I was feeling so much better by now, as I made the turn to come back over the Three Sisters I caught, Robert, a friend from Austin who I had seen several times so we chatted on the climbs. He was adamant we had to run the middle sister as there was a large group hiking, probably boy scouts and he said we HAD to run up and past them. On the last part of this section I caught up with Dave, Kelly and Celeste, we carried on back into Crossroads AS and I ate lots here before heading out again.
This last section, the back loop is my favourite part of the race. I was feeling good, making a mental note of when I had to next eat, remembering to drink and taking a few electrolytes as it was pretty warm now. Kelly, Celeste and I were having a good time, catching up and running well. The climbs were still rugged, but short and steep [as were the descents] the views were great. We were soon upon Last Chance AS, run by Letha and Julie. Lisa and Paul were meeting us here to run the last few miles to the finish. Kelly wanted to bring Archie [the dog] and we were all happy to just walk it in. It was such a nice day there was no rush to get it over with ! Several people passed us, but we were all having fun. The sun was shining, we were all stripped down to shorts [and sport bras !] and Archie was loving his walk. Joe had rebuilt the Cairns that marked this section of trail that he built for the race. There were some really funky rocks, all weather beaten and full of holes. Celeste had taken pictures of them last year and I even recognised a few. The views from the ridge above Ice Cream Hill and the Inner Loop were really stunning. It was a great way to end the race.
We were soon in, finishing up a great day. Time to stretch, drink and refuel [more of Sammy’s great cooking] and take advantage of the free massages on offer. The temperatures dropped as the sun went down. I packed up my tent and gear and waited to see Scott come in to win the 100k, before heading home.