There are many perks to being a runner in Texas. The weather is not one. Not at all. I kinda hate Texas weather a lot. Blah. Now that that’s out on the table, I’ll move on.
Right now I am building a base. Just enjoying training and running and getting ready for Cactus Rose 50 miler on October 25th and then Bandera 100k in January. As such, racing shorter things as training runs while building up miles (slowly) is what the summer is about for me. Having fun and RUNNING!!! My favorite. 🙂 Honestly, I could train year round and rarely race and be one happy lady. But I do enjoy racing. I especially enjoy trail racing. I enjoy hills, dirt, rocks, roots, wildlife and the fun people that are drawn to these races. Muleshoe was no exception to any of those things. This course: pretty much two 15k loops full of mixed terrain, all trail. Lots of twisty funny.
It was a cool evening for Texas in July. The humidity was high though, and that’s worse then heat to me. Still, I tried to stay positive and focus on the gift of sub 95* for the start. Very rear! In fact, this was definitely the best weather I’ve seen at any Capt’n Karl’s race ever. So I toed the line at 7:15pm, happy to be running a little race on beautiful trails with fun people in weather that could have been worse. The humidity was over 60% and on the rise, but at least it wasn’t hot, right? My pre-race plan was to go out just a little hard (like what I would think felt like 20k pace) and then slow down into a comfy pace (50k pace) for a bit. With the idea of picking it back up towards the end of the 30k. The first few miles played out just like that. I felt comfortable, but I knew I wouldn’t run that pace for the whole race. When we hit the first aid-station at about 4miles, I stopped for food and electrolytes, ready to settle into a comfy pace, and a pack of 4 or 5 guys flew past me. No stopping for them. Sticking with my plan, I didn’t try to catch them back. That wasn’t hard, because my shoes were starting to slosh with sweat and I was scared I might have over run (first mile was 6:40ish, second low low 7s and I was having a hard time getting myself to drop the pace to closer to the expected high 7 minute miles). I focused on feeling comfortable and ignored my pace. I finished the first loop in about 1:14, feeling great.
Shortly before reaching the first aid-station on loop 2 (about mile 11.5) I decided to turn on my head lamp. Well, I wanted to turn it on. I kept pressing the button, but the head lamp kept turning itself off. Boo. Maybe I had sweated it to death by wearing it wrapped around my wrist the first lap? Not sure, but my head lamp wasn’t going to be of any use. I left it at the first aid-station, feeling apprehensive. The hand held light I was using was one I had never used before. It was a low cost light I had purchased on the way to the race (my super nice handheld was swiped from an aid-station back in April and I didn’t have another). It was a rechargeable light with a USB. Thing is, I hadn’t charged it…but it turned on. Setting it on low, I knew this light had to do. If it failed, I would resort to the glowing screen of my GPS to get me threw. And that would mean walking, because of how thick the trees are for so much of this course and how technical parts are. I was pretty upset that I now had no headlight. I really need two lights in the dark to run well. I said a prayer and hoped I would get to run! In the end, the little light held out. 😀 But before the end…
I had a ton of fun. Honestly, 100% of what I felt was fun. So take that into account when you read the rest. It’s going to sound like complaining to some. But really, truly, it’s just what happened for me on this day. Still was fun!! Even if I didn’t want those things to happen, they added to the enjoyment of this run. And serve as a growing experience for my future.
I wasn’t drinking quite enough water. No leg cramps at all, but I was so so so thirsty! I would down water in the aid-station and refill my bottle before leaving and STILL be thirsty. Doing the math, I do actually drink more water when I do my tempo runs then I did in this race. Opps. Next time I will do better. But It is hard in this weather, big hard. I will also try to think less during races. I must have done the math for ounces per mile and ounces per hour and figured I was actually under drinking 5 times during the last 6 miles of this 30k.
I got in enough calories, but I was wishing to drink them instead of eat them. Given the heat and humidity, drinking calories would have been smarter. Throw in the fact that I had a hand held flash light in one hand and a water bottle in the other, juggling things around to eat on technical trail sections was a silly challenge I didn’t need to give myself. Every time I had to go back and pick up my pack of food, I was like, “Dang, Anie! Put cals in the water next time!!” Maybe I learned this for real now. 😉
From the start of the race my butt hurt. I have been building my miles since April. I won’t tapper until October. Last week I ran a sold 93 miles, and while I’m feeling absolutely great, certain muscle groups are absolutely tired. This actually made me happy!! Because I felt great all race long. Tired and far from fresh, but I wasn’t sore the next day. I know that when I taper, things will get even better. Yay!!!
Just past mile 15, on a technical down hill section, I turned a tight corner and hit a tree with my GPS. The Garmin went flying over a little ledge and I couldn’t see it. I paused for about 1.5 seconds, debating leaving the watch. I love my Garmin like some girls love diamonds, Coach or Givenchy. I was really upset at the thought of it being broken or gone forever, but I didn’t want to stop during the last miles of a race. And I REALLY didn’t want to hike down a little cliff, into over growth (snakes!!) to search for what was now a broken Garmin. But down I went. Finding the watch took maybe 1 minute. Thank goodness my Garmin is orange! I hiked back up the little cliff, doing my best to just run and not think, holding my water bottle and Garmin in one hand, food and light in the other.
When I got to the next (and last) aid-station, I noticed that the watch part of the Garmin was still going and looked fine. The band had broken when I hit the tree because the metal piece (hidden inside the plastic band) bent, causing the band to disconnect on one side from the Garmin face. I drunk water and Coke and headed for the finish line feeling quite happy about my only half broken treasure.
Soon, the race was over. I finished in 2:34:38, first female and 3rd finisher. Course record. 😉
All in all, I feel quite happy with this race. It’s easy for me to speculate about what no headlamp did to my time, because I have bad depth perception in the dark and had to slow down due to that… but really it doesn’t matter. Because I learned a lot and had a blast. Things always happen in a race. It’s just a matter of what. Being able to take what comes and see the whole thing as racing and running fun is what keeps it all worth doing. Extra challenges, extra learning, extra fun.