The weeks leading up the race I probably changed my mind 20 times whether or not to go down for the race. My legs were very fatigued, my runs weren't going as planned and gas/entry was going to be expensive. But I wanted to get in a longer run since it had been too long since i had gone much over 25 miles and plus i love a race's atmosphere, especially one with Tejas Trails familiar faces.
I decided to roll the dice and head down there not knowing how my legs would do. On the way down there i had to do some major mental preperations in attempt to get all the bad thoughts out of my head. the absolute worst thing you can ever do is start a race with negative attitude or doubt yourself because at the point when it starts hurting you'll give in much easier if you've already "planned on doing bad".
Not being negative, but i knew it would take a miracle for me to break my original goal of 5:45 so i focused on my last years time of 5:54. I knew my splits form last year and i thought they were consistent and solid so i kept those in my mind all race.
Last year - 1:29 (including the out-n-back), 1:24, 1:28, 1:33 - 5:54 total time
This year - 1:22, 1:31, 1:32, 1:34 - 5:59 total time
With the start being in the evening time my whole nutrition was off. My stomach hurt all day and i kept expecting it to go away before the race but it never did. ten minutes before the race i was unable to make any type of deposit in the port o potty so i knew at some point during the race it would hit me. joe yelled go and we took off for the initial .8 mi road out n back. i counted about 12-14 guys ahead of me which was fine because im not a fast runner and there are always ones who start out very fast. as soon as we got onto the trail i started to pass a couple of people. my stomach would shoot pain every now and then and i was bloated and full. not a good way to start. i had to force food the entire race. they tasted fine i was just very full. throughout the first loop i never looked at my watch but i could tell it was probably a hair too fast. toward the end of the loop i looked down and realized that i was about to run my first loop plus the out n back in a little over 1:20 i immediately told the guy i was running with to go ahead and i slowed down. my goal was to come in closer to 1:28ish. my stomach had some pain but i decided to skip the port o potties this go around. i grabbed my other hand held, ate some power bar gel blast and headed off for loop two with my headlamp.
i set out on loop two in a much more relaxed state. i told myself there are plenty of miles to feel bad and that i didn't want it to turn into a suffer fest. my stomach was still very bloated and full. but now i was ready to make that pit stop that i knew was coming. i looked around and there wasn't a single leaf to be seen. the only trees/plants out there are cedar and cacti. cedar irritates my skin so no telling what it would do down there. i started to grab some river rock to try and wipe with but then the pain slightly went away so i figured i would hold off for that one tree with leaves that didn't exist. loop two my legs felt good, my pace was relaxed, but man was it miserable trying to hold it til i got done with the loop. approaching the turn around i veered off toward the bathroom and people were yelling at me that i was going the wrong way. i guess after seeing my awkward sprint to the rest room they got the hint.
i set out for loop three feeling better but was disappointed to find that my stomach was still bloated and full. i won't bore you with any more from loop three. just basically ran at a relaxed pace which was close to loop two, ate when needed, drank when needed and passed a couple people. a pretty uneventful loop. my legs were feeling better and better though. i was expecting some pain at this point but it was actually the oposite it was getting more pleasurable to run.
i grabbed my last two pre-filled handhelds from my ice chest. took a look at my negra modelo that was waiting to be opened which was my motivation to hurry and finish. my watch said 4:25 gun time on it so i set out with a sub 6 goal. i had no clue what place i was in and i didn't care one bit. i knew it is what it is and as long as i push myself and don't give into walking that i wouldn't be disappointed. running every step was one rule i had with myself before the start. i set out just planning on making it in under six. i came up on stephen b. about two miles into the loop. as i passed him he informed me that i was now in the lead. i didn't realize that i passed that many people or that many people had dropped. i told him we were on the verge of a sub six to stick with me and we'll get it done. my game plan didn't change one bit. for some reason i wasn't in the fighting spirit or didn't have any sort of competetiveness in me that night. instead i paid attention to my splits at the aid and kenw i was cutting it close. i came to the final aid station with 22 minutes left to do the final 2.5 miles. i took it up a hair knowing i couldn't mess around. i told myself i needed to get to the start of "the loop" where all the tape is with at least 10 minutes. i missed it by a minute. i then told myself i needed 4 minutes from the road crossing. i hit it with 3 1/2 minutes. so i had to take it up to basically a sprint to come in at about 5:59:30ish.
i was very very happy with my legs this race. they never seemed to fade at all and i was able to hold pretty close to the same pace the final 3 loops. my stomach on the other hand sucked. it hurt before the start so i knew it wasn't heat related etc. it was just too full and something wasn't right.
All the volunteers were awesome like always. Joe and Brad did an excellent job like always. fun seeing everybody, and congrats to everyone who stuck it out at a pretty warm one!
i grabbed my chair and my negra modelo that i had been thinking about all day. there wasn't a ton of people hanging out so after 2 hours i called it quits and hit the road for a lonely 4 hour drive home on 281.