Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bandera Bust and Ontario Beauty

-Report on Bandera Bust-
Mark and Marcus Allen in Austin

The awesome thing about racing in Texas Hill Country is that I have an awesome close friend, Mark,  who lives in Austin that is excited to come along for the racing adventure.  This year, my massage therapist, Marcus Allen, also joined me to support as a friend and as my massage therapist for the trip to Hill Country.  Lastly, another friend, Mike, who happend to be at his dad's ranch in Boerne also joined the party.  So all in all, I had a great crew of friends to make the trip a party.
The Bandera 100K was a failure for me.  I have been a bit in the dumps all week both consciously and sub-consciously.  Starting at round an hour into the race and until now, 6 days later, I have considered and pondered over why I wasn't anywhere close to par on race day.  Here are the top candiadtes in no certain order:

-A little bit too "authentic" Mexican fare the night before, resulting in 5 bowel movements (2 just before the race) before the 3hr point in the race
-Having cold symptoms (never terrible) for about 2 weeks before the race on and off
-Nick Clark's 6hr, 7K of climbing, snowy trailed 50K only 7 days after TNF50
-Too much volume/intensity with two 100+ mile weeks before my week and a half taper
-The whole mix of my deployment, training, racing TNF50, Nick's 50K, Canada, etc...

So how did it go down?  Sleep was "average" for night before the race camping... on and off, not great.  I woke up feeling pretty good, ate a normal pre race breakfast, hydrated, etc...  At the start I felt good.  I enjoyed saying hello to Nick Clark and a few others.  A few minutes into the race things were checking out and going as planned. 

The plan was to go out conservative, comfortable and aerobic.  After an hour or so, I would then keep pace and start passing the "first half heros", or as my coach called it "seperating the pretenders from the contenders".  I was a bit surpirsed, but very happy to be running with Dave Mackey a few miles into the race.  We discussed race strategy and his was that he had to go out conservative at this point in with his current training situation, vice racing hard up front. Needless to say, Dave's approach went well! 

I would end up running just in front of, behind and with Dave for a while over the first few hours.  The flux in proximity to Dave was due to the 3 pit stops for bowell movements and then up and downs in how I felt.  At about an hour and a half, I could tell my legs were flat and just overall tired feeling.  My energy levels seemed OK, but I'm sure they corelated to how the legs were performing to some degree.  Through 2 hours I was on track and not having issues drinking water or taking my EFS every 30 minutes, but discouragement due to my flat legs started to really sink in. 

I tired to fight the mental lows and convince my legs that it was just a temporary "funk".  At one point, and the last point, I felt really good I caught Yassine, Dave and Terranova and then put 10 seconds on them, but that was short lived.  Dave and Yassine, who was wonderfuly kind and talkative, finally broke away from Terranova and I by around a minute or two. 

Terranova and I would switch lead a couple of times around 2:30 into the race.  I started to really fall into a mental low and became frustrated that for the first time in a 50 mile race and now a 100K, I was feeling mentally and physically like crap for an extended period of time in the first half.  I fought hard to remember Geoff Roes' race report from UROC where he went through some horrible lows, slowed, got passed, but then came out of it and won.  At 3hrs, I was still in the dumps and not only did my legs feel horribly flat, they started to catch small rocks.  My stride then started to shorten both on the ups and down and then I found myself doing the bow legged hobble which only comes out when I am at the end of a race or particularly tough long run.

While the idea had already crossed the mind a few times during low points starting at 1:30, dropping out was the only thing I was thining about from about 2:45 on.  What would I say to Marcus, my wife Maggie, should I man up and make it my mission to just finish regardless?  I crossed a threshold where I knew my body was going to slow down to the point where walking and stumbling along would be more often than not at probably somwhere around 5hrs or 6hrs at the latest.  The last straw was thinking about my 3 awesome friends waiting around an extra 2 or 3 hours later than I told them I would finish in and screwing our evening plans of seeing Mike's ranch in Boerne and then returning to Austin for some dinner and an evening out. 

High Falls
I decided I wanted to be in front of Terranova at the end of the first 50K loop and my drop point.  This carrot kept me going and I had to honestly race and push myself to stay in front of him.  Besides hearing Terranova a few times from 3hrs to 4hrs, I felt very lonely and misserable.  I knew I was going to drop and the body only got worse.  Just before the 50K I saw that I wasn't that far away at all from what would be 2nd Dave Mackey (2 minutes) through 5th Nick Clark(90 seconds) and 6th place, Terranova, was behind me.  Dave Mackey yelled to me encouragement and it hurt.  I hate letting firends down who believe in me.      
Canadian Winter Fun

Running into the 50K turn around I hated seeing Marcus with my EFS liquid shot bottle.  I didn't want to drop and confront him.  I looped around, crossed the mat and stopped where Marcus was standing.  My biggest fan and supporter was shocked and the akwardness was unberable.  Marcus did what he should have, "are you sure", "want to think about it" etc..  Life sucked.  I wasn't delirious, broken, injured (would have been nice in a way) but I was doing the logical thing, I was not at all ready to run my race, come close to my goals and furthermore, able to finish this race in under 10hrs.  Why whallow in the missery?  My goals never inluded finishing a 100k no matter what the cost.  My goals were to run fast, race, compete, win, be in the top 3, have a good experience, there were not, finish a 100k. 

So there I sat, 4:02 at 50K... done.  I wanted to and would have stuck around to support my friends and fellow racers, but I considered the 3 friends who went way out of there way to hang out with me.  My firends were here to see me... Marcus was the only one who has an interest in or is a runner and his interest at Bandera was primarily me.  The right thing to do in the situation was for us to take off, see the ranch and enjoy each other's company in Austin, not stay another 5hrs so I could see the race and hang with friends they don't know at a sport they don't follow or participate in.  So we took off and we had a great time that afternoon and evening.

The front and rear props are motor powered....
Congrats to Tim Olson, Dave Mackey, Joe Uhan, Dylan Bowman, Paul Terranova Yassine and everyone else for a race well done. 
 Driving back to Boulder from the airport, I felt very excited to just spend quality time running for pleasure in the mountains.  Training during my deployment sucked and then from mid November to January it has been very focused, stressfull and overall rushed feeling.  A training restart is much needed. 

Here is Felix's first solo sledding adventure (Mom has dibs on the first sledding overall) at 11 months old.  He sure is adventurous.  There were a few out takes... good thing mom wasn't there.  :)


  1. Assume Ontario was just a visit or are you stationed here for a bit? We live about a half hour from CFB Kingston and CFB Trenton if you're ever in the area and want a tour of the trails.

  2. Jason, very sorry to hear the race didn't go as plan. Sounds like it was just "one of those days" and Bandera is not a particularly fun course if the body isn't feeling well. The rocks really take their toll on the 2d loop. Rest up and look forward to seeing you have a great 2012. May want to scratch Mex food as a prerace meal.:-)

  3. Hi Derrick,

    I was in Bracebridge/Muskoka (2hrs north of Toronto) for 2 weeks over Christmas. Maggie's, my wife, parents and her sister live there. I do enjoy exploring around "cottage country". Algonquin is awesome too.

    Yeah, Bandera is a challenging course indeed, but I love it that way! I will scratch authentic mex from the pre race routine indeed.

  4. Yes, Algonquin is a bit of paradise. Haliburton 100 is a beautiful 100miler on the tip of Algonquin Park.

  5. Jason-

    Sorry that the race didn't go well. "Sometimes you eat The Bear...". Was that you that I passed at the top of Boyle's Bump on the first go-'round?

    Rest up and we'll see you around, hopefully in '12!

  6. Jason, way to keep positive after a tough race. Looks like your heads in a good spot and you are doing what you need to do, getting up into the mountains to get refreshed. Hope to see ya when I come out to CO in May.

  7. Derrick, I would love to do the Haliburton 100, but race schedules only allow so many races.

    Joe, congrats on a killer run at Bandera my friend! I think we will see each other in '12 for sure.

    Thanks Jacob. Rough go indeed in TX, now I have been dealing with a nasty cold but the timing is for once "OK". Email/call me with details on May, I'd love to see you. Are you doing Nick's 50 in Fort Collins?

  8. Yeah, planning on it. Be great to hang out that weekend.