Usually I start these things with some failed sarcastic joke and end them by thanking the race director, organizer and volunteers. Today, we give thanks first.
On Saturday morning temps at the Hill Country State Natural Area outside Bandera were below freezing. Freezing rain and ice covered the ground, tarps and cars. The temperature rose little over the course of the day, and I assume it dropped once the sun went down. The cut off time for the 100k is 24 hours, meaning volunteers spent all night in the cold cooking food and warming soup for the runners. Thank you for being out there. With out you all (or should I say ya’ll) I’d likely be shivering under some ice covered cactus, swearing I was never going to run again. Thanks to Joe Prusaitis, Tejas Trails, and all those who worked hard organizing and executing this great event.
Now here’s what happened out there. The first 5 miles were pretty slow and cautious as no one wanted to risk an early spill on the icy rock. Once we got out on the smoother sections the group split up quickly. Paul Terranova and I ran together, off and on, for the next 30 miles or so, chatting shoes and GU flavors. Neither of us was in any hurry to push the pace. By the second loop the rain and foot traffic from the 50k and 25k, as well as the other 100k’ers had turned the Texas dirt into a thick muddy paste that stuck to anything it touched. Within minutes my shoes and back of legs were fully coated in mud, pebbles, and sand. The slop made running on the “easy” sections of the course very challenging. I tried to stop and scrape the sludge off a few times but the process was a waste of time. I started looking forward to the last 15 miles, where the mudfest gives way to rockier trails with less shoe coating mud. The last 5-10 miles flew by. Cold temps made eating and drinking easy. Usually the body has to work hard to cool itself down and blood goes to the extremities, I’m guessing with less cooling work to do my stomach was able to digest much better.