Brazos Bend 100 was originally planned to be my first ultra marathon where I’d be running the 50 mile distance, which I had been training for but as we all know that sometimes things change and you have to compromise when it comes to having to run another distance or not running at all. Frankly, not running this race was not an option I wanted to consider. Due to work schedule and care for the boys, I had to change my distance to the marathon distance and I couldn’t start til the evening of the race.
The race location is about 2 hours or so from home. I left home at 4:30 p.m., traffic wasn’t too bad and I arrived to Brazos Bend State Park right at 6:30 p.m. Thankfully, Dawn was kind enough to pick up my race packet and set it aside in our tent for me to pick up once I arrived. I said hello to my fellow Strutters, geared up, made sure I had all my fuel, flashlights, extra batteries and a rain jacket since it was supposed to rain throughout the night. Once geared up, I went on the hunt of the race director to let him know when I’d be ready start. I had to let him when I was ready to start so that the timing guys would know what my start time was since I was starting later then the original start time (7:30 a.m.). I set out to start at 7 p.m. sharp but actually started just a little before 7.
Race 1st Half
Marathoners were to run two 13.46 mile loops and it was pitch black out! I started out at a comfortable pace just a little under 10:00/mi. I passed several of the 100 milers who were still out on the course, some on their second and third loops. The course was pretty muddy is areas and I couldn’t honestly tell you which path was or wasn’t other then the gravel trails I was on were sticky and it was like having cement blocks on the bottoms on my shoes while running through it. I hit the first aid station a little before mile 2 and thought, “damn that came up fast”. The weather was nice and cool so running was pleasant. The 6 mile aid station I went straight through as well because I didn’t want to waste time on unnecessary things but at the 10 mile aid station I had to stop for a quick second because someone was screaming my name and I had no idea who it was because for one, I didn’t recognize the voice and I didn’t recognize the person once I saw her face. I almost busted ass because it was so muddy and slippery at that aid station. Anyhow, the girl screaming my name was Christina Middleton who is part of our 100 miles in a month challenge group as well as she was participating in a virtual run that I had set up. So glad she caught my attention! The back side of the trail winded through some pine trees which lead to nothing but a long pit of mud…ugh. I had to slow my pace so much in order to prevent injuring myself with a fall or possibly twisting my ankle. As I neared the start line at 13.46 miles, Jeremy was waiting there cheering me on and I stopped to grab a little ginger ale and answer a couple questions for his GoPro video then I was well on my way.
I started my second loop just the same as I had my first. Nothing was different on this loop other then seeing a few of my Strutters doing their 100 miler. I ran into John and Ben on this loop, John was pacing Ben on what I believe was his third loop. I ran with them for about a mile and chatted then was on my way, before they knew it the light were keepig in sight up ahead was just a blur in the night. I passed up the 15 mile and stopped brifely at the 19 mile aid station for a PB&J sandwich on the go…it was more like a grab and go then stopping. I continued on and somehow got a little turned around and started down a wrong trail a little ways then turned around and got back on the right trail…it was bound to happen. It was dark as hell with nothing but a flashlight and arrows guiding my way and I didn’t dare look of to my left or right…eyes on the trail in front me at all times. The back stretch was so much worse this loop because it had started raining and it was more trampled then before. I walked this stretch til it was safe enough for me to run. A few miles from the finish I ran into Dawn, she was walking due to an ankle injury and said that Derrick was up ahead and to keep running and finish strong. I wished her good luck and was on my way. I also ran into a gentleman, Steve Monte who was running the 100 mile. He said that he had been dragging a twenty pound tire all day and wasn’t sure if he’d be able to make the cutoff to finish. Super nice guy. We parted ways a couple miles before the finish and I ran it in the rest of the way. Once I crossed the finish line, I was given my finisher’s medal and told that I still had plenty of time to do the 50 mile if I wanted. Had it not been for someone having to get up at 4:30 a.m. to go to work when I got back home I would have taken that offer. Official finish time 6:11:28, although not a PR it’s still a finish and a race I was thrilled to be able to run given the circumstances.
Everyone who was camping out waiting for the 100 milers to finish were all pretty much asleep so I gathered my things, washed the mudd off my shoes, said my goodbyes to the few people I saw and was on my way home.
I’ll be completing my 50 miler at Brazos Bend 50 on April 16, 2016. Will I see you there?