Messin' with Texas
We slept in Friday (me more so than Gene), did some food and other
race supplies shopping, then went to Hunstville State Park for
packet pick-up. The first sign we saw after entering the park was
"Beware of Alligators," which led to a picture and some "Gatorbait
jokes" (as opposed to the Cougarbait jokes we have at home). After
the usual packet pick-up and pre-race meal routine, we headed back
to the hotel to get our last minute stuff together and watched the
classic movie "Knight's Tale," you know, just to get us in the
Race morning was a bit chilly, but exciting. I watched Fatboy and
the rest of the 100 milers start their long adventure, then began
my pre-race stuff. As I was shooting for somewhere from 6:30-6:59
(the course record was 7:00:09), I decided to even do a little 2
mile warm-up jog.
Soon enough, we were off. The 50 miler consists of 3 16.67 mile
loops, run on single track and jeep roads. I liked this, as it allowed
me to memorize the course for the 2nd and 3rd laps, yet wasn't so
repetitive that it was boring. And the few out-and-backs were nice
so we could greet other runners, and see how close the competition
was. I was expecting the course to be very smooth and non-technical,
so I was pleasantly surprised by the "root section" on each
Roots aside, Rocky is
a very fast and runable course (I didn't walk a step). I decided
for my first two laps to carry two bottles so I would only have to
re-fill stop at the end of each lap to re-fill. The first lap went
pretty much as planned; I caught Fatboy with a couple miles to go
(the 100 milers were running 5 20 mile laps), and finished the lap
in 2:08 (I had planned on a 2:10).
After a quick bottle re-fill and flask change, I was off for lap 2.
Things went well through the marathon (3:22) and 50k (3:58), with
the last couple of miles on lap 2 a bit of a slog, and I finished
with a 2:14 split. I dropped one bottle and my gel flask for the
last lap to go light and fast, but that apparently didn't help.
The first half of that lap were the toughest for me - a bit of
puking, and just wanting to be done with 16+ miles still to go.
With 10 miles to go, I put some magic juice (Coke) in my bottle and
within a mile, I was feeling good again. I was able to pick it up
again the last 5 miles and finish with a total time of 6:49:19 (the
2:26 lap split kinda hurt). This was both a personal record and
course record, so I was pretty happy.
My day wasn't quite done yet, though, as I still had 20 more miles
of running with Fatboy. A friend and fellow Quadzilla finisher
(Tahoe Triple and Bizz Johnson Marathon) and Marathon Maniac Sam
Thompson was nice enough to volunteer to drive from Dallas to help
crew me and pace Gene, plus bring camping gear for me so I could
get some rest before my pacing duties. I ate and drank quite a
bit, then laid down for a couple of hours of nice relaxing (no
sleep, though). Then shortly before 9 p.m. (7 hours after
finishing the 50), Gene and I were off for his final 20. We needed
to run it in right around 5 hours for him to get a sub-20. After a
slight bout of him dry-heaving at the start of the lap, we were
off. Gene held together great and even passed a couple guys,
finishing in a fantastic 19:47 for 11th place.
Anyway, SLUT had a pretty good little weekend in Texas. Joe and his gang
definitely put on a great show; course, aid stations, course markings,
food, awards, friendly Texas hospitality - it was all wonderful! I'll
be back again, but I'll have to decide if I want to double my fun.