I signed up for Box of Rox kinda on a whim as a prep race for a 50k in New Mexico in 3 weeks. I looked at it as that and the opportunity to do a marathon length race. Nobody had a course profile other than word of mouth. Comparatively speaking I'd heard it was easier than Possum Kingdom where I'd completed a 55k last month. I thought ok- I got this deal done!
Saturday am upon arriving it was like 55 and just perfect for running long. I had a fear of going out too fast so I find the back of the pack and when the race starts I just stayed near the back but kept the main group in sight. The .1st aid station was 2 miles away and just a dirt road to it and I got there in like 17min. That's faster than what I wanted but it was cool so I passed it and worked on getting to mile 5 to get water. Well great plan but mile 2 to 5 is like being dropped on Mars or the Moon. I found out fast why the name Box of Rox! It was a huge open dome with nothing but boulders to scamper(crawl) up and down on. Well this continued off and on til mile 11. It was a beating but by skipping 2 aid stations I got in at the 1/2 way mark in 3:10. I was just thrilled! I thought I'd be done in 6:30 easy!
Loop 2- I headed out and when I hit the dome it was getting hot. Quickly I realized that skipping water stops was a huge mistake. Mile 18 aid station and I just wasn't feeling it but one of the volunteers had a little "come to Jesus" meeting with me and got me back going. Just as I was leaving a friend- Ritu came in and seeing a familiar face gave me strength to get to 21. Mile 21 I was just toast and considered dropping but they were playing the same song over n over and I knew I couldn't stay there. The next aid was 24.5 and that was tough. I tried gu's and more salt tabs but I couldn't keep anything down and soon it was just dry heaves and I was soon out of water. I think about a mile from my next water stop a bike rider showed up from nowhere and gave me water and he stayed near me til I got to the station. It was almost surreal. He told me his name but I was out if it and pretty much delirious. I tried having a seat and was having bladder issues by now. I was just done and didn't care. The volunteer there asked if he could pour some water on me to cool my core. Well I wasn't in much shape to argue and after he dumped 2 Gott's of water on me I felt like a new man!! Crap I shoulda done that 7 miles before! I had 40min with 1.7 miles to go and the volunteer told me to walk. I walked awhile then sprint then walk. Back and forth til I saw the finish then I rolled as fast as I could. My time was terrible and I took a beating but hey- couch to a marathon in 3 1/2 months- I'm ok with it.
Lessons learned- hydrate early and often. To save weight I started without water and only used my handheld the entire race. I had my hydration vest to carry salt tabs, etc. Costly mistake!! By the time I saw I was in trouble it was too late to quickly recover. Next mistake- ignore the pack and run like I train. I watch my splits and slow down when I need to. Overall it was a great experience and 24hrs later it's going to be a must do for me. Next year will be smoother! Now it's rest, recuperate and work on my core before going to the mountains over Memorial weekend to take a beating but complete another milestone! I have so many friends to support and guide me and they are what keeps me lacing up my shoes! Thanks guys and girls!