Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bandera 50K Race Report - Better to Burn Out than Fade Away

I was climbing Lucky Hill. My memory served that I only had about 2.5 miles left when I got done with Lucky…and I was singing the lyrics to the Neil Young song…” It's better to burn out than to fade away.” It seems that was what had happened in the last 5 miles…I was trying to finish in….hey, wait! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Marshall King and I had checked into headquarters at the lodge in Bandera state natural Area…and unadulterated Texas Hill Country with all it beauty and brutality. First…this is my favorite race…period. I love the Texas feel…the complete brutality of it…the unpredictable weather, the race director…the intense technicality of it with all the rocks in insane climbs…the sotol cactus that slice your legs up to ribbons…I love the people…the aid stations…the intensity…I love how it will take some people 24 hours to finish the 100K…and how the race director allows for that!

I was to run the 50K (31 miles)…meeting up with friends…I saw Olga…she would be running the Lodge Aid Station catering to the 100K (62 miles) runners. She asked which one I was running…and after my response, called me out for not going long. If she knew how much I struggled on the decision for running the 50K instead of the 100K…she would have poured more salt into the wound. That is why ultra runners kill to have her in their corner during a long race. We laughed bit before we headed out to the start line. Meeting up with some other North Texas Trail Runners, Jennifer Kimble, Marlee Clark, Sonia Burdett and Marshall King…the race was on sharply at 0730.

Olga...Dave Carder called her an Ultra runners angel in a tough race...and a great ultra runner in her own right.

In my mind you break up the 50K into 3 parts…first, second, and third ten mile increments.

First Third

As the profile shows…this is the toughest part of the race…you have about ½ mile to get loose before climbing commences…and the descending…you count the climbs, not the miles…there will be 4….and for the first 10 miles I am right there pacing Jennifer…not ever dropping too far back…and Marlee was on my six…Sonia and Marshall…I had no clue where they were…and when it was all said and done…They all owned that race…but that is their story to tell.

Second Third

Coming into the Nachos aid station at mile 10…I was alone…and feeling good about the time it took to drop the first ten miles in my knap sack. I grabbed a waffle with peanut butter on it….and was out…30 seconds at the aid station…and most of that was to crack a joke…here is where your pace quickens…you run the course…there are a few climbs…and always rocks…at mile 18 on a flat part I trip and fall…hard…and for the next 5 minutes….gather myself and assess the damage…the right knee had come down hard on a rock and the blood begin to drip down….other than that….all systems were still a go…and onward we go.

Last Third

I coming rolling into the Cross Road Aid Station…filling my hydration pack and grabbing some Oreo cookies…sugar…I wanted sugar….less than 45 seconds there…you’re wondering why I am was so astute on how long I stayed in an aid stations? Part of my pre race goal was to never linger…in Ultra Terms…”Don’t make love to the aid station!”

And so I was off to finish the last 10 miles…it was just 3 miles back I was calculating splits…only other time I ran this race I completed it in 7 hours 6 minutes. My goal today at the start was to finish under 7 hours. Coming into the race, felt just a tad under trained in mileage but was running stronger than I ever had. So at mile 17 or so I was doing some ultramarathon pacing math…and thinking…there is a small chance to run this thing in 6 hours and 30 minutes. I was optimistic…even knowing that 3 Sisters and Lucky Peak were still in my future…but hey…I was feeling strong….running well when I left Cross Roads for the first time at mile 20. Three Sisters…mile 23 or so….and up we go…the pace begin to drop off….I had forgotten that these 3 sisters were women of ill repute….and descending…hard….hard as I could go….but not hard enough….back through Cross Roads the second time at about mile 26…staying just long enough to slam some chicken noodle soup and to crack another joke…I overheard one of the sweet ladies utter something about “he is crazy.” Ma’am…that was confirmed when you sign up for this race. My pace had lessen and a 6:30 finish was to be nearly impossible…and then the lyrics…”better to burn out than fade away”…yep, I may have burned that candle a little hot…but I don’t think I would have changed a thing about how I had raced the first 26 miles...up Lucky peak…thankful for all the squat super sets I did in the weight room…and then down…down….it’s all downhill….from there…well nearly….running…running…the last mile in about 9 minutes…finish….6 hours 45 minutes…the official results are not in but that should put me in the first half of runners.

post race pic

I sat down when it was over and began assessing how I felt…looking at the cuts and bruises on the legs...and thinking about what would I have changed if running the 100K. The body was beaten and I was contemplating what it would take for the 100. That was a good sign…usually after a hard race, I don’t ever think about any more pain induced races till I have recovered…but not today…today I was already thinking about next year…about the 100K. This race is always within a week of my birthday…and therefore a celebration…that I ain’t in a pine box yet…pushing up daisies from the underside…so let’s see…62 miles at my favorite course…let’s go have a birthday party in Bandera next year…you are all invited…remember if you’re not bleeding at the end it doesn’t count. PRESS ON!

* all the trail pics were taken by race director Joe Prusaitis.


Julie said...

I'm glad your fall wasn't too bad and you could finish the race. Great job as usual and great time. Congrats Dave!! Will we see you at Cross Timbers this year?

Dave said...

Way to do Dave everywhere proud! Cannot wait to do the 2012 edition with you. Happy early birthday!

Derek said...

Nice job and I think I might just make that trip to Bandera next year. First I got a score to settle in Huntsville!

olga said...

And I was about to comment what great pictures of the course you took, just awesome representation - you STOLE THEM! Ha! Happy birthday, Dave, it was wonderful to have finally met you and make fun of you in person - and you do know that no matter what distance you go (yes, even sissy 25k as I scolded a few other friends of mine), as long as your sport of choice is not sitting in front of TV with a bag of chips every single free minute - you are my man (or woman)! Congrats, and I hope to see you soon again, when I am not too busy trying to kill those poor souls with my Soviet sarcasm and loving shoving on their backs:)

Marshall said...

Good stuff, Dave, as always. You had a great race. I had a great weekend at Bandera with you. Let's do it again next year, maybe a little bit longer. I'm planning to be there.

Clive said...

Dave, I hope to be there to celebrate your insanity (a very relative term....) with you next year. BTW, I had a similar thought to Olga's...what the heck were you doing taking pictures along the way when you're trying to PR on the course...and then noticed you'd "borrowed" them from Joe.

ThaMessenjah said...

You might have another person running the 100k with you next year. I'm already starting the planning process :)

ThaMessenjah said...

I realized after I posted my comment, my screen name pops up. This is Brad from the wintery wonderland that is Iowa

Big Daddy Diesel said...

The fall adds to the Legend of which you are, congrats

Steven said...

I agree with what you said about it being like three seperate parts of one race. Thanks for the great report.

Missy said...

And you want me to do what?! Insane, fun, but insane. No hanging out at the race buffet, forge on, I'm with you.

Looks like a little slice of hell...I mean that in the nicest kind of way.

Mama C said...

great race report. definitely have your blog bookmarked for future enjoyment. I will be back next year for sure - I need to get back at those Three Sisters!

Congrats on a great performance!

Lynn B said...


Very nice job on one of the tougher courses out there. It helps that your head is as hard as the rocks there... "where rocks go to die" is how that place is described... the sotol is just a bonus., that's a real slice of Hell...

Lynn B

DavidH said...

Great job bro! Also great to see you briefly post race...already talking about the 100km. :)

I may join in on the party next year! :)

Happy Running.