Gosh I'm not sure where to start... This was the 4th 60k to do in 75 days and a finish would mean a buckle for completing all of them. The previous 2 weekends I didn't run much. I ran quite a bit in between the previous races and after the last one I wound up with strep one weekend and the next I volunteered a double shift at Habanero Hundred. I went into the race still mentally drained but physically I felt great. This one is billed as the toughest one and the most popular one and both turned out true. As in 2 of the previous 3 races my buddy Dale agreed to go and work an aid station while I tried to finish out the series. He's been a godsend to me keeping me motivated and my head in the game. People like that are rare in one's life so must be treasured. We got down to Burnet,Tx where the race was and there were so many new faces than from the previous 3 races. I'm proud to say that the DFW area had a few runners as well as volunteers. Going into a race the faces of people you know always Gives me a smile. The course was set up in 3 12.44 loops. I had ran the course last year doing the Box of Rox marathon so I knew the challenges that awaited. Brad, the RD had the aid stations set up at 1.25, 3 -3.2 or so and then another 1.25 to the start/finish line. Basically a 1.25,3 5k's and a mile to complete a loop. Easy peasy!
The race started and I felt pretty awesome! I went out towards the rear of the field but not in the back. A friend told me I was going a little fast but it was cloudy and temps were ok. I use the 1st loop usually to check out the course and run as much as I can while it's still light. Everything was great and I got to Mile 8 where Dale was volunteering and refilled my nutrition for the next loop. After battling rocks and having to power hike some the trail turned into a smooth trail and my friend I was running with wanted to run so away we went. It was dark but I was seeing red spots on the ground. I knew I was getting behind on my hydration but we were set up to complete a 3 hour loop. It was all good until I stumbled on a rock and hit the ground. My knee was banged up and my head hit another rock I guess. It hurt like heck but I had to get up and start hiking to work out the kinks. I'm not real sure how far I hiked but I was real groggy and wanted to just lay down so I did. I laid there maybe 5 minutes and then my friend and a guy with us, Wayne helped me up. I had to walk it out...... I did for maybe .10 of a mile or so- I don't really remember. We were going up a hill and my knees were shaking and I knew I had to find a big rock to lean against and gather myself back up. I soon found the perfect place and told my friends I was just going to nap and I'd be ok. I sat there and tried eating a Gu but wanted to hurl really bad. I finally convinced Wayne to go on and save his race. My other friend wouldn't leave. She texted Dale and she stuck with me for 24 minutes. I FINALLY got her to go hoping she'd get some help and save her race as well. After she left I don't remember much other than just staring at the stars in the dark. It was beautiful. At some point a guy running the 30k stopped and shook me asking if I was ok. I dunno who it was or what all he said but I was able to get up and finally hurl. That felt so good! I started walking it out sucking on water. The more I walked the better I felt and was able to get back to the last aid and get my pack refilled and finish the loop.
Loop 2- I wanted to see where I was time wise and see if I could catch my friend. I hiked and jogged until I felt better. The aid stations were great checking on me and I assured them I was moving fine. Towards the end of loop 2 I finally caught my friend and I knew then that no matter what she was going to finish.
Loop 3- LOTSA power hiking! I broke down the course in my head and the time left to complete it and we went to work. At this point we both just wanted a finish. I needed it for a buckle and we got it done with like 7 minutes to spare. Crossing the pond dam and hearing people cheering us on felt great! As usual Pompillo was there waiting on me after he had crushed the course record. Thomas Orf it was great seeing you there as well! Chris Oles man you are a warrior! Julie- a lady that I ran the series off and on with, it was great seeing you with that buckle! Nancy & Bill- you guys inspire me so much and Robin we need to run together more!
Takeaways- man this was a tough series! I guess on this race I learned to never give up and value the ones that help you. My friend that almost threw her race away by staying with me for nearly 30 minutes at mile 9 gave me the inspiration to push on for 28 more miles. Knowing your pace and how fast you can get somewhere is so vital to finishing a race like this. Being slow but having a pretty good power hike saved me a couple of times during these 4 races. Never give up just because you feel bad. Your body and mind changes if you just keep pushing forward! These are lessons I'm taking with me to Mogollon Monster 100 in 27 days. The hay is in the barn and I'm going to rest my mind and just do maintence runs with the legs. Til next time, #RunStrong