Brazos Bend 50 Mile Trail Race Report
I ran the Brazos Bend 50 Mile Trail Race yesterday! Last year, I ran my first 50 mile race on the same course.
Course Notes: Soon after starting the race, I was stopped in my tracks by a herd of 10 or so wild hogs who ran across the trail. At the same time, coming the other direction was Caroline Boller who ran the fastest national 50 mile time yesterday in 5:48:01.
Running with Mark and Jessica made the first loop go by quickly. Later, I actually backtracked on the course to see two alligators (am I crazy, or what?), but I'm glad that two runners, Charlie and Ashley, pointed them out to me. There was a girl with them on a bike that kept me company and encouraged me by telling me I was keeping a good pace.
The 50 mile race was three loops that went through the start/finish line twice during the race so I was able to stop at my drop bag twice. There were a few rocks and some tacky mud that you could mostly avoid by running on the grass beside the dirt trail. We ran by lakes and marshes and through the woods. There were a couple of very short hills, but the the course was mostly flat.
Would I Ever Cross the Finish Line? In order to get a 50 mile PR and a course PR, I needed to beat 12:12. My pace goal was 12 minute miles, but I ran a little faster than that at first (about 11 minute miles) because it felt incredibly easy in the cool weather. Towards the end, I had to walk a bit, but my husband was watching the real-time results online and I was surprised to later learn that I was actually doing better relative to the other runners towards the end than I did at the beginning.
Just before hitting mile 49, I fell in the gravel, but I only had minor scrapes. In my last race, the Pass Mountain 50K on November 12, I fell at about mile 1 so this was sort of an improvement. Many runners stopped to make sure that I was okay. I don't remember for sure, but maybe I tripped while getting a drink.
Maybe half a block before the finish line, I felt like I didn't even have the energy to cross it, but just as I did, I felt someone holding me up because I was falling. That's never happened before. I'm so grateful to that stranger for being there at just the right time.
They sat me down. The race director and a doctor asked me about the last time I had eaten. They were okay about my fueling because I had been eating and drinking until the end. The doctor told me to get into dry clothes and to eat. He walked me to my car and by then, I was fine.
Getting There: The race took place at Brazos Bend State Park, Texas, which is near Houston and only about an hour from my home. With a 7am race start, I left home at 5am.
|How could I forget to take photos at the race?! Taken when I drove home.|
Packet Pick-up and Parking: On the morning of the race, there was easy-peasy parking close to the start and a restroom. There was no line for packet pick-up.
Swag Bag: Instead of a Christmas themed race shirt that I could only wear seasonally, I chose a buff and a water bottle.
Weather/Clothes: It was mostly cloudy and cool at about 35-55 degrees during the race so I wore a jacket, gloves and capris beneath my skirt just before the race to keep me warm. During the race, I wore the skirt and a short sleeved shirt and also a long sleeved shirt for part of the race.
Fuel Pre-race: Waffles and coffee 3 hours before start and 1 GU gel just before the start.
Fuel During the Race: The pre-race plan was to take GU gels about every 45 minutes. I ate two GU gels from home, but when I saw the aid stations, I decided their food looked best. At mile 20, I ate pecan pie and at mile 30, I ate a brownie. Other favorites: peanut M&M's (made it to mile 44 because of my 3 piece M&M reward for running a half mile without stopping when my mind was screaming, "Stop!"), huckleberry and espresso Hammer gels. In the second half, my bottle was full of Hammer Heed and I picked up Coke cups and ate Ritz crackers and potato chips. I had a salt tab at mile 25 and 40 maybe, but I don't know if that helped.
- Skirt Sports skirt with 5 pockets to hold my gels and any aid station food that I didn't eat right away.
- Cabella's XPG performance shirt that wicks moisture
- Mizuno Kazan trail shoes
- Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Watch: the battery lasted the entire race so I didn't need to wear two watches after all!
- Nathan handheld water bottle with non-leaking lid off my Camelbak bottle
- Time: 9:55:03
- 11:54 average min/mile pace
- 4th in the 50+ year old women
- 17th out of 69 women
- 40th out of 141 participants
My Favorite Things about the Race: The other runners were so encouraging with their smiles and kind words. The aid station volunteers were great with pep talks and next aid station distances. After the race, they warmed me up with a quesadilla, ramen, coffee and even wrapped me in a blanket. I don't know how many times the race director, Rob Goyen, high fived me during the race!
I ran my first and only other 50 mile race in April of 2015 on the same course. I ran that warm 50 mile race in 12:12. My big goal for this race was to get a course PR and I got it by completing the race in 9:55! I'm a little sore, but I'm, oh, so happy about completing my second 50 mile race, my PR of 2 hours 17 minutes and my sub 10 hour time!