Rocky Raccoon 100k 2019

Rocky Raccoon 100k, Huntsville State Park, Huntsville, Texas

I’ve come back Texas, taking you by the horns, or roots or something…There weren’t many rocks. The whole goal of this race was to really PR and go all out, but I met up with some stumbling blocks along the way. I had this race in my head since doing Habanero, and took a tour of the state park a bit while I was visiting Texas back then, and it seemed real friendly to me. I knew with Cloudsplitter 100, I wasn’t sure if I would recover from injury in time to put in the training. I recovered and started training for it back in December.

The first training race was supposed to be on New Years’ Eve, the Run Your Past off, my first official DNS. Why? Because the winter storm that hit at 2pm that day covering us in wet snow that was incredible treacherous to drive in (being an over 2 hour drive north). So I opted for a snow run with my friend Lori that evening, it was still quite magical, but not the miles I was expecting. I’m still sad I couldn’t make it but maybe that was for good reason…

The next week, I was able to head down to Texas for Bandera, another Tejas Trails race (the same who put on Rocky) to help out Team BU and pace Rebecca from Team BU in her first 100k. IMG_20190105_181845 She didn’t end up wanting pacing until the last 20 miles, not a big deal for me, I got plenty of time on feet helping out at aid stations and covering the race for our runners out there. It was a cool adventure being able to pace Rebecca that evening and gave me perspective on what others were experiencing. It was my first ever pacing experiencing and I loved it. However, after we finished, I headed back to the room and showered (wee hours of the am), and as soon as I turned off the water, I basically started feeling chilled to the bone. The room was cold (it was a cabin/camp style room), and I started shivering violently and never warmed up. I tried to sleep for a few hours but in the end, got nothing and my health declined quite steeply afterwards. Not being able to get the back to back runs or long weekends I needed for Rocky was discouraging for sure. But now here’s the icing on the cake.

Last possible week of training, I ended up figuring out I have a diagnosed adverse immune system response to the cold. Cue the polar vortex. Y’all know I am in Wisconsin, and y’all know it got down to almost -30°F and in the -50s for wind chills. Going outside was absolutely not an option considering even 30°F above zero was giving me symptoms like low body temperature (recorded at 94°F, kinda scary, after only being outside for an hour or so), always needing to sleep after being out in the cold and getting sleepy when outside in the cold, developing rashes on my skin that would remain for hours even after a hot shower, and deteriorating muscle coordination no matter how hard I pushed. My training was basically ruined haha. Yes, haha.

I wasn’t set up well at all. The redeemer was the forecasted temperatures, it looked like minimal temps of mid 50s and max close to 70. 51912036_783294005344569_2927129544911486976_n Maybe some rain, who knows. So I packed up and headed out with a plan. My main plan being so undertrained was to do a 4 minute run, one minute walk interval for at least the first 50k and see what would happen and going by feel after that. More on that to come for sure, as I never do intervals. We, Rich and I, arrive in Houston almost at midnight on Friday. We go and sleep some, and take off to packet pickup, all thanks to our good friend Garner. The Huntsville State park was just as I remembered, but a whole bunch cooler. Pretty sure it was near 100°F last time we were there, and it was reaching the upper 60s that day. The Lodge was easily found and getting there early was rewarded by getting in and out pretty fast. I picked up a nice premium race swag hoodie (worth it), and my bib and dropped off my drop bag which contained my back up headlamp, 2-3 gels, wet wipes, backup antichafe 2Toms, backup salt, and backup shoes, that was basically it. 50898530_2329910913895968_4241914193512497152_n Everything else, so soda, Sunny D, extra gels, headlamp, batteries, socks, main salt, tailwind mix, and all my main antichafing stuff, jackets, was with Garner and Rich in the truck. The plan was for them to take the stuff around to various aid stations as I needed it. The lady at packet pickup warned me about possibly heat exhaustion for the next day because it was going to be so warm, little does she know…

Afterwards, we headed to Houston where we would play some dance games and eat dinner with the local dance game community there and have some evening fun. Fun was had, and we headed back to sleep. I managed to get in bed around 11pm I think, and actually slept some.

We decided also to leave about 1 hour and 20 minutes before the race, seeing as it would take us 20 minutes to drive there, versus getting there way before the 100 mile start and just lounging around. How does this always come back to bite me when I value sleep so much?? Rich and I shared a bed at Garner’s grandparents house, just across the “way” (walking distance). I got up at 5:25am, with a race start at 7am. I was ready to go but couldn’t get in touch with Garner (staying at his house and he was supposed to come get us). I started to get nervous waiting for him, so we headed out to see what was up. He was sleeps. So we woke him and out we went in a fit of speed to try and get to the race start. We were mainly super concerned about getting stuck in traffic at the entrance to the park. I’ve basically had some bad race starts due to getting into a start park before. But I figured one of two things would happen…

1. there would be a ton of traffic and we’d be late.

2. there wouldn’t be any traffic because the 100 miler started an hour before and there weren’t as many in the 100k.

It was luckily option 2. We freaked though because we thought we couldn’t park close to the starting line, so we took the first spot we saw which was actually at the first aid station! (Come to find later anyway.) Since this was the first year for the 100k, no one was sure what the situation was going to be. So we walked briskly to the start/finish at the Lodge, called Dogwood aid station. It was about a mile or a little less, but by walking we realized we could have parked closer. Knowledge is power! But what a nice warm up right?! We talked to Garner’s dad at the start, who was volunteering all weekend (bless him), he loves that race, and it’s so heart warming seeing locals get excited about something they don’t even do and help out in it.

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Nice memes, nice laughs. Saw this car entering the park for packet pickup.

The sky was beginning to brighten which was putting me a little on edge because I knew it was supposed to be mainly cloudy with a 40% chance of rain that day, all day, and didn’t know if the clouds would make it too dark to see the trail without a headlamp. The 100 milers absolutely had to have a headlamp for the first hour. Sunrise was at 7:13am, but you can usually see quite well a little before sunrise, and the race started at 7am. Rich seemed a bit out of it, but he usually was cause early morning aren’t the best for either of us. I positioned myself in the back of the starting area since I planned to go out slow anyway.

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I met a sweet older lady there, as her crew tried to talk her out of wearing her hoodie cause she would overheat later. I told her I was from Wisconsin as I agreed with her crew, and that she’d be ok without it. Again, I don’t remember how we started, I’m sure there was a countdown. One of these days I will pay attention. I waded through the crowds away from Rich and Garner towards the starting arch and timing mats, barely getting my GPS watch set up with a signal in time to start! I really wasn’t too stressed about this, maybe it was because I knew I was so undertrained that it was going to be what it was. Not too sure. Away we went!

Or so I thought. Hah. No one was running.

I walked a good 0.25 mile before anyone ran and before I had a chance to move around anyone on the trail. I talked to a bunch of people around me and everyone seemed real chill and friendly. I ran about a mile before I began the run-walk intervals. The ground was surprisingly dry. Right up until it wasn’t. The trail was mostly rooty dry soil covered in a bed of thick pine needles, crossing mountain bike wooden slate bridges, but there were select places where the trail turned into a swamp. Ankle deep shoe-sucking black mud filled in with water where runners had been before. There were some “alternate” paths mapped around these areas, but not all was truly avoidable. People were throwing thick sticks down in the mud to walk across as make-shift bridges to the best of their ability. I would say these sections made up about 10-15% of the entire 25 mile course. So while I’m at it, let me break down the course.

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This notebook has just about met its timely end. Been through Zion, Habanero, and Cloudsplitter. Now this! These were my two paces to be between.

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My custom “map” of the course. This seriously helps me understand it and how to plan for the race.

The course all started at the Start/Finish area, called Dogwood, although I heard absolutely not one soul call it that. They would say the end of the loop, or the lodge area. There was an aid station here along with port-o-potties and drop bags and tents people were using as home base. Next, almost 4 miles down the trail, you would come to Nature Center. You could park right next to this one, as it was almost a little shelter area in the park. From there, you followed the trail to a T intersection and turn left here to head up to the Gate aid station. From Nature Center to Gate was about 3 miles. Once at Gate you did an about face and headed to what I like to call Hecknation aid station, although there is a dam there so you get the idea. This aid station was sort of dead middle of the loop and you hit it twice, as it had my drop bag. It was about 3 miles from Gate to there. Once there, you headed out to Far Side aid station, 4.3ish miles away, so 8.5 miles round trip. Far Side had water and gels, nothing else.

From Far Side you went back to Hecknation and then back to the T intersection taking a left to return back to Nature, another 3 miles. Nature Center to the start/finish, another almost 4 miles, and whamo, you got a 25 mile loop. Do this twice, and on your third time, for the 100k, you went 6 miles out and 6 miles back the same way you’d do a loop out to Gate, but not quite reaching Gate.

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Back to the race. While doing these 4-1 run-walk intervals, I managed to keep a 12:30-13:30 min/mi pace. I kept purpose in my walk breaks for the most part, and kept the running to an easy pace. I enjoyed the pine trails and even got a peek of sunlight at one point! I was just in awe about not having a coat on. My nutrition plan was simple: I had a bag of tailwind mix with BCAAs for every two aid stations, one gel before every aid station, and consuming soda every aid station and whatever fruit looked good with hope of the famed Tejas Trails Mashed potatoes and ramen soup thing. Well that went downhill quickly. I made it to Nature Center aid station with 7 minutes to spare ahead of schedule, and let my crew know a few minutes beforehand. I don’t see them there upon arrival. Hmm. I eat a few oranges, get my trail cup out and have some soda, and am off. While crossing the only road we crossed in the park, I saw Garner driving away with Rich. I yelled out to them, hands up in the air, having no idea what was going on. This seems like deja vu… this has happened before. I’m cursed. Never a crew for me at the first aid station. I carry on. But before I do….”that at least looked really cool.” I took a nose dive tripping on one of the wood plank bridges scarping and bruising my left knee (hey my left knee needs all the help it can get, boo), and skidded into the wood itself, avoiding falling off the bridge at least! Ouch. 2nd ever “trail” fall, wasn’t even on the trail, smh.

The section out to the T intersection was quite rooty and probably one of the more technical areas, with a few hills and winding single track. If there were a rock, it would be here. But there wasn’t. Just more roots.

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The big hill near the start/finish.

Upon reaching the trail to Gate, the texture of the trail changed. This was more like a wide gravel service road for cars, but no rocks. Insert crying laughing emoji face here. The dirt was pale brown, and the puddles here were numerous and spanned the entire length of the road. No real way around these because of the pitch of the sides of the road up into trees. I power hiked a little here to save myself, not knowing how long this longer uphill section would be. It was pretty long, as my times were slower here, I knew I could make some of it up when I turned around and went the other way. I went back down the hill one I found out my crew was not there again and headed off to Hecknation aid station. I figured it would be a party there and it would be easily accessible.

I messaged the boys in the group chat asking what was going on? I was actually needing to know at this point. I kept turning my phone airplane mode on to save battery through the race, so I received messages when I needed them. Rich apparently had been throwing up all morning and Garner took him back to his house. I carried on. The path to Hecknation aid station was a pretty quick one mentally anyway compared to the rest. There was a creek bed, a sugar sand golf course like ball trap section (it was not a golf course, just reminds me of it), and half of it was down a long steady hill coming down from Gate. Once arriving at Hecknation, I decided to do some prevention for my feet. I grabbed my drop bag and applied 2Toms. One person there was like, “isn’t it too early for you to be having foot issues?” No, I wasn’t having issues, but if I kept going like I was, I would. I prepped my feet before the race for a dry course, not a wet one, and the course got wetter, so it was time to adjust. I ignored the stab at my planning from the onlooker, grab the spare gels and headed out again. 17 min/mi here, not too bad considering I had taken my shoes and socks completely off with the trail gaiters attached too. Moving out of Hecknation, I ran off towards Far Side. This is where I met a ton of friendly faces from the Altra Red Team doing the 100 miler, both laps even! This is where I first encountered the two girls from Alabama.

The two girls were very nice, one was experienced, making light of her first 100 miler, the Vermont 100, and telling me the story of the girl behind her she was running “with”, helping her get a good time for the 100k. I ran a bit with her and chatted. But decided I needed to stick with my intervals and wished them luck. They had previously DNF’d a race in Oregon along the coast, which I think was their first attempt to get her a 100k, and this was the redemption. The leader of the two understood, and I let her pass. Little did I know we would yo-yo the entire race.

This section was the longest, at over 4 miles, but honestly didn’t seem that way with all the hills in this particular section and swirling through the trees.

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Photo from between Far Side and Hecknation.

I don’t remember this section being muddy at all, and was one of my favorite sections. I had a little panic moment around mile 14, when my watch beeped, and I clearly thought that meant that the loop was going to be OVER 26 miles, especially when I hadn’t reached the Far Side aid station yet. I arrived and stupidly asked for soda, when they only had water and tailwind…I even knew that. I spent little time here, and turn around and headed back to Hecknation. Just outside of the aid station, I realized that it wasn’t going to be over 25 miles because we didn’t go back to Gate. Whew! Crisis avoided. It was at this point my watch was almost a full mile behind and my pace was probably listed as slower than I was actually going.

I headed back without much happening, and it was pretty monotonous and uneventful. I managed to get back to the start/finish, mile 25, in 5 hours and 30 minutes by taking it easy. Time to turn around and do it again. I looked around for my crew, none to be found, and took the opportunity to take a potty break. I expected more out of this, and waited around a bit I admit, but nothing came of it. I gave up and went back out on course. This didn’t come back to bite me at least. It was mildly lonely being by myself at the turn around for the 2nd lap out. I headed back out on the trail towards Nature Center. The sun peeked out and I felt happy.

I was getting kind of tired of doing intervals so I decided to switch it up to heart rate. And this is where I started to slow down. Not sure messing with what’s not broken messed things up, or if I let fatigue catch up with me, but my pace slowed about 1-2 minutes per mile by using heart rate versus the intervals (which understandably pushed me harder). I stuck with the heart rate until I made it to Gate again. 52262034_2079618442126321_6959865843127681024_n Crawling up this hill again sucked life out of me for whatever reason and I started hitting a wall a little past the 50k mark. I took a few pictures heading up to Gate, which I SWEAR were not there before, centered around Queen’s Freddie Mercury. Some of the volunteers recognized me and I told them about my story with my crew and pacer. I tried the porta again, no luck. I was feeling sore all over my thighs and IT band area was tight tight tight. Luckily the aid station headed by the Dallas Dirt Runners (or DDR, heh) had a stick to massage with. I used it while one of their volunteers got me a butter knife looking object to really get in, and I respectfully declines and ran off haha.

I returned to Hecknation, around mile 34, and grabbed my headlamp. Some fans, as I called them, they just sat around watching and hanging out without helping, mentioned I wouldn’t need it. It was 3pm, sunset was at 5:59pm. I would rather carry the headlamp and have the weight and not need it than not have it on me and end up needing it. As I was heading out, I posted a little something for everyone on instagram, and one of the runners coming toward me yelled at me I needed to get off the phone girl, kind of rudely.

I started feeling the water logging of the skin on my feet at this point, as I was happening to splash my way as quick as I could through the mud puddles (this prevented water from soaking through too quickly). Some time heading back to Far Side, I heard a loud blood curdling scream. Our immediate thoughts (two other runners around me) were alligators. We never found out. And that’s perfectly ok. I was going through a massive low, although mentally I was pretty intact the whole time. I was waning on calories every aid station now and could feel my body burning itself down. I took what I could from the aid stations, but it just wasn’t enough. I had never heard of the gels they were offering so late in a long race, I wasn’t willing to take that chance and have huge GI upset and potentially take me down even though the only thing I’ve ever had issues with in a race is flat out ramen broth noodles. I was forcing my pace, and by mile 38 I was defeated adding another minute per mile to my pace. 2nd lap coming back from Far Side, I wondered where all these hills came from?! I don’t remember these…

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Thanks UltraRunningMemes.

When I returned to Hecknation aid station, I found out I was chafing pretty badly under my right arm, and saw the little nurse lady there had some 2Toms. I asked for a bit. She thought I needed more calories and wanted me to stay for longer. I did not. I just wanted the 2Toms and leave. She kept me there for an additional 5 minutes or so, which kind of irked me, well irked me a lot. I had a mission and I was slowing down significantly. This lead to one of my longest miles at mile 44 or so. I left as soon as I could. Everyone else had mentioned I looked great. I headed back to the start/finish to get off of lap 2.DCIM100GOPRO

I managed to make it all the way to Nature Center before needing my headlamp, I was pretty proud of that timing! I was still on pace for faster than my A goal, but honestly deep down I had passed that off as “not gonna happen” already based on my constant deterioration and my situation that I did not have access to more calories to help me out. I was beyond help. I managed to get back to the start/finish again, mile 50, finishing the second lap in 6 some hours, slower than my first. On my way back to the start/finish from Hecknation, I started counting the women I saw on course passing me in the opposite direction, curious as to how many were in front of me. I counted 7 by the time I returned to the start/finish for lap 2. I headed over to the aid station part and checked to see if there was a place for live results. There was. I clicked on the iPad and found out I was indeed in 8th place for females. The fire in my eyes sparked and I got my butt out of there heading out on my final 12 mile out and back “loop”.

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Fanciest Port-o-potty you will ever find. Scented candles! Although, I thought I would set the whole start/finish area on fire, my coordination was so poor!

On my way to Nature Center, it was very dark, and everything changed. Everyone’s headlamps seemed so much brighter than mine on the ground. I only had my secondary headlamp and it was what it was. Soon after, about 1.5 miles from the start, the back side of my knee where the two tendons run up and down there felt like they were bleeding internally. It was uncomfortable, but not injured, and was only for a few strides at a time. I had no idea what it was or what was causing it. I tried walking it off, and power hiking, but this proved to be no change to the sensation. I took shorter strides running, this seemed to work better. I decided to ask for pain meds at the aid station, since I had been offered them before. To my surprised, Garner was waiting for me at the Nature Center. He brought me my headlamp and Sprite. I chugged it and talked about the plan. Rich was still sleeping at his house, and Garner said he was going to go get him and bring him back to see me at Nature Center. Judging my pace (as slow as it was), it was not enough time to go get him and catch me back at the Nature Center. I took the rest of my gels (4 I think) and headed out. About 1 mile later, the pain in the back of my knee subsided randomly and I pushed hard to maintain 8th place. I kept running, no more intervals. The shortened strides had the roots biting at my feet. It was very difficult to maneuver now. My quads were VERY unhappy and sore, making going up difficult….

Cue the hill going up to Gate. Even though I did not have to go all the way to Gate, we did have to go most of the way. I was constantly looking for the two other girls who were around my pace to make sure I didn’t get passed at an aid station. I didn’t find them before the turn around. At the turn around, I saw them, they were about 1-2 minutes behind me at most. I cranked up the pace. I hurt. My feet were macerated and didn’t want to have anything to do with touching the ground.

I knew if I were to get top 10, I would have to press forward as fast as I could for the last 6 miles. My pace was a miserable 16-17 minute mile even while running the whole time. At some point, I got passed by another girl I had not seen. She seemed good to go. I respectfully let that not get to me. If you manage to pass me now, you deserve your place. This was in part by the small crisis I created.

What did I do? Jealous again, and this has happened at every night run I’ve had to endure, my headlamp was dimming, and just not as bright as others out on the trail. I was carrying the backup headlamp, cheaper and technically lower lumen (brightness) than my primary headlamp, in my hand. I managed to press too hard and set it into red light mode, which was not bright, nor helpful. I spent the better part of a mile messing with it trying to get it back to white light so I could see. Eventually, no idea how, I got it back by a series of complicated and forgettable motions of button mashing and holding for 3-5 seconds. Sounds like learning how to swing dance, but harder.

I arrived back at Nature Center, beaten up quite a bit. I had rolled my right ankle pretty badly at some point…maybe mile 45? But this is now mile 57 or so. I was feeling everything as I moved faster than my body wanted. I did not see Garner or Rich at Nature Center. I chugged a soda, and took off within the minute, fearing I would lose my place to the other two girls. I passed many people, in both directions, and would muster my best “good work” or “good job” to everyone, like I had been all race. But once night fell, they became whispers from others if you got a response back at all. Night silences, and night slows. Almost every single runner was walking.

I went off in the dark running my best little shuffle run. I got lots of praise from the 100 miler runners heading out on their 3rd lap just for running. I felt like every 100 miler runner looked better than me, enjoying their evening stroll in the woods. They had 3 more laps of this stuff, and I pitied them for it. I felt like if I were doing the 100 miler, I would be in real bad shape right now for that. I kept looking back at the headlamps to see if anyone was close to me. Several caught me when I saw them, but they were fast 100 miler races. One guy passed me running then slowed to a power hike and was beating my run with his power hike (to be fair, he was also almost a good foot taller than me). The frogs and nightlife were singing from the nearby lake. The humidity was surrounding my skin like a light silk sheet. It was comforting that I was not cold this entire time.

About 1.5 mile from the finish, I started watching my watch. Even if my miles were off, my total time was not. I saw I had about 20 some minutes left before the 16 hour total time mark. I started asking every passing runner how long they thought it was to the start/finish (those that were coming from there with their new pacer, who were almost always more coherent). I kept getting “1 mile”. Just one mile. It started to sprinkle through the trees. I knew there was a chance of rain, and I felt totally blessed it had not started. I had so many goals now…

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Trying to run as much as possible near the end!

– Beat the rain

– Beat those two girls for a top 10 female finished

– And beat 16 hours. I could do this…I just had to keep running…

I encountered the last hill, probably the longest and largest on course. I had previously been walking up it with the exception of coming out on the first lap, but I knew if I were to keep my distance between me and the others, I had to keep running. I had studied what the other girls’ choices were and managed to find out their skills by watching them previously on course, and they would run uphill. This was no time for a break. I charged the hill, which was probably like 0.4 mile in length. I knew at the top I’d get to come down and it was then only 0.5 mile to the finish line itself.

I was breathing hard. I was pushing so hard now. I managed to drop my pace back down in the 14-15 minute mile range, I was gunning for that #15 in my race result. Sub 16 hours. I had so little time and no time for error. Then I was crushed.

Out from under my right foot, my skin exploded from where it had been macerated with hot burning liquid and opened wounds let the salt roll in. This happened at Habanero but on a lesser scale here. I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do. I held in my scream and put my head down and pressed onward, I could see the finish chute now. It hurt so bad. I held nothing back and could see the clock. Still sub 16. I passed by all the tents setup as people cheered me on. Garner came out of nowhere, and ran along side me pumping me up for the finish. I mustered up my best stance and crossed that finish line as the rain started to pick up more. I cried. I was tired and hurting. I was done, I came and accomplished what I had set out to do and more despite everything that was going against me.

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Rich was waiting, and I felt so bad he was feeling bad. I had so little control over my emotions. I was so focused on the goal. A lady volunteer at the finish asked if I was done done. I told her yes through my sobs. She apparently took my timing chip (I do not remember this), and said politely, hold on a second, you’ve got an award coming! Little did I know, I had also held first place in my age group. I had finished 9th overall female. I was so happy, and the pain included made me ultra confused, pun intended. I finished in 15 hours and 56 minutes, 3 hours and 14 minutes faster than my PR.

Overall the trail was super well marked and easy to navigate. I can’t believe some guy ran past Gate up towards a highway at mile 6.5! Even at night, it was pretty good. A bunch of people complained it was cold, and one DNF was from being too cold. I never got cold during the race at all, but I also never stopped for any length of time. I was disappointed I finished too early to miss out on the evening aid station food, I know Tejas Trails puts out good stuff.

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Buckle. Shoutout to Rebecca from Team BU.

It was a very interesting experience to have almost everything you planned for your race to basically get up-heaved and tossed around. I never turn down a challenge, especially when it’s no ones fault. It was my first long ultra without a pacer, my first one without a crew. It was basically done solo with the exception of being given Sprite at mile 54 and using some of what the aid stations had. I learned a lot about training too and what should go into it. I do have a lot of confidence in getting things done no matter what the situation, and I take pride in that.

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Before the shower post race.

Out of 350 some starters for the 100 mile run, 150 DNF’d. Out of 100 some 100k runners, 25 some DNF’d. Both of those ratios were high. I thought the trail was kind to me at least. The mud made things really tricky, and if I had stopped to fix my feet (which I could have avoided all foot issues given I fixed them), I would have surely lost my position in the race. I was pretty hype too to learn I made top 30 finishers counting the elite runners and men and women both. A lot of people seemed to have found the course hard. I would love to know more how people felt after the fact and hope I can find other race reports for the same day. Big shoutouts to Altra peeps at the race for being so friendly and encouraging and smiling even though we had never met; wearing the Altra apparel helped (I had my red team buff on my head the whole time). I wore my Inknburn tiger tech and Altra Lone Peaks the entire race. No blisters from shoe choice! I also wore my Orange Mud Hydration pack, I’ve been using for so long now. I was a little disappointed in my headlamp and have always been, as it hasn’t really worked appropriately since I bought it brand new. I’ll probably call the company up and see what’s up. Also shoutouts to Garner and his family for being so welcoming. You helped out so much.

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Get yourself some solid friends who will enjoy food with you. Post race celebration meal at BJs.

And some of the interesting information I heard post race…

I heard someone dropped out because they were too cold, and this is a first for me, that someone was colder than I was in a race situation. A couple of fall DNFs from what I heard, and that the course this year was particularly challenging and difficult due to the mud that wouldn’t let your feet dry out before hitting mud again, and the humidity (about 97% I’d like to say most of the race). Apparently the most difficult section according to others was to Far Side. I disagree, but I understand this section was much rooty-er, and had more hills. I thought the course was fantastic for a PR and was kept in really good shape despite all the rain Texas has been having recently.

My next adventure is pacing again, this time for my good friend and fellow pacer, Sonja out in Antelope Canyon. Hoping for warm weather that will satisfy us both. After that, I am heading back to Virginia to train for the Blue Ridge Double Marathon hoping to hit up some friendly local races while I’m there too for fun and good training. See y’all on the flip side.