Recently someone asked me what I had to prove after I signed up for Bandera 100k. I think I responded something about just to myself but I've really been contemplating what's driving me right now. I truly love going to the dark places mentally that I experience during an Ultra. The euphoric feeling I get after finishing a race is a high for me that I've never experienced but there is more to it than that. All my life I've never been good at finishing anything. Hobbies, Marriages,Fatherhood,etc. I feel amazing after I finish a run. Some run to win, set personal records,etc. I run for myself and to hopefully help others struggling. Yea I have personal goals. Tejas 300-finish Cactus,Bandera & Rocky was one. I faltered at Cactus but felt I needed a Bandera finish.
Friday I got Monte & Pompillo picked up and away we went to Bandera and to find our friend we were staying with. Saturday AM came early and we had grits waiting on us. I'm not a grits eater so they were great! Thanks John! I planned on running the race with another friend-Dale. If you run ultra's near Texas you may not know him but I know you have heard his Yeti calls during a race. Kinda makes you smile. At the start I bounce around the rear chatting with friends I only see at races and trying to listen for Dale. Sure enough I found him and we went to work on Loop 1-31 miles. There was ice on my truck that morning but the temps felt great. We hooked up with 2 of Dales friends- Kerri&Brittany and shared a few miles. At about mile 10 I left them at a aid station and just enjoyed the rocks,hills and just sticky mud between Chapas & Crossroads aid station. Crossroads I met a guy named Allen and we swapped stories til Last Chance aid station. He's ex USAF & works with vets now. Awesome guy! After Last Chance I was going up Cairn's Climb and ran into a older gentleman and hearing his ultra stories those 5 miles was cool. Everything from Barkley to Hardrock to the races he directs in New Mexico. Loop 1 was done in 9:15 and there was Pompillo waiting to get me fueled up and Dale with the girls ready to go.
Loop 2 started great. The girls dumped us on the 1st climb but we soon caught them right after dark when the rain started. Everyone took turns leading our train as Kerri made the train whistles. It was almost closer to a fun social event than a ultra until about mile 43. I was having a hard time keeping up and finally resigned myself to gutting it out alone. That lasted til the next aid station and Dale was waiting to push me. After Crossroads Aid we picked up a friend from Fort Worth,Ray, and the 5 of us battled on staying within earshot until Lucky's Peak. This little hill is relentless and the rocks just bite you. After that climb I was spent and the girls pushed on without us. The last 5 miles were dang tough. Id get to a low point, eat Gu's n be okay in a few minutes. The sticky mud turned to muddy soup and we gave up trying to dodge standing water. We rolled into the start line about 6am Sunday am. I was battered and bruised but on an emotional high of course!! 62 miles done and Joe P was handing out the buckles. What did I prove to myself? I can fight back everything that tells me to quit. Did I prove anything to anyone else? That's not even on my radar. My race- My pace.....
Short version- loop 1- cold,wet,rocks,hills,mud
loop 2-repeat but colder wetter & more sloppy mud