Yes, let the fun begin!! The 2012 Nueces50-miler marks the first of several train-up races in the run up to this summer’s adventure: The Grand Slam to Kona. I went into it with modest expectations for myself while knowing full well that significant talent would show up for the USATF 50mile Trail National Championships. I was not disappointed! Why the modest expectations? It was my first time out to the www.campeagle.org course inRockspring,TX. That is one beautiful drive out there, now I know why so many folks head out to the Texas Hill Country for hunting, camping, adventure, etc. My training has been intentionally steady (and for some, light) to take into account that I already have my first 100km trail race (2012 Bandera), and two 3-hr marathon pacing efforts (Houston and Austin) under my belt; it’s going to be a LONG summer, and I’ve learned that it pays to be patient.
On to race day…after a fantastic pre-race dinner at the CampEagledining hall and a great night sleep in old-school bunk beds and my Army sleeping bag, it was time to toe the line at 6am. Headlamp donned, I found myself in a nice pack led by eventual winner Jordan McDougal, Jason Bryant, Dan Vega, and Steven Moore, while eventual 2nd place finisher Dave James darted out to the quick lead. We rolled through the first aid station “Texas” as the sun was rising so I quickly exchanged my headlamp and handheld bottle with a fresh bottle from my wife and sherpa Meredith (thanks babe!!). In the later half of the first loop,Jordan took off in hot pursuit of Dave. The rest of the chase pack finishedLoop 1 of 3 at about the 2:10 mark, about 5 minutes quicker than I thought we would. All systems go….
Loop2 found me sitting 2nd wheel behind Dan and Jason, as Jason gradually tightened the screws on us. We made it to the 26 mile mark aid station “Wall” in about the same splits asLoop 1. By this point, Dan and Steven had been spit out the back and I was about to do the same thing as Jason continued to run really strong and smooth. MyLoop 2 split was about 2:15. Meredith was totally ready for me with a cup of trail mix, M&Ms, pringles, and some cold coke. She knew I had to quickly bank some energy to make up for the hot pace on Loop 1 and half ofLoop 2. Time to grind it out…
Loop 3 was all about working through this challenge, securing 4th place and taking a run at 3rd if the opportunity presented itself (prize money went 3 deep), and being thankful for the opportunity to run hard, represent my sponsors, and have fun. Meredith surprised me at aid station “Texas” 5 miles later with a 4 to 5 month old gel flask half filled with gel!!! (In an odd twist of fate, I had encouraged her to pack it in the cooler the day before as I was tired of looking at it in the fridge. It was leftover gel from one of her training rides prior to Ironman Cozumel in November 2011) Who was I to refuse!!!??? The gel was cold and I gladly sucked it down. Four miles later Meredith gave me a quarter cheese quesadilla and had my second handheld bottle filled with icy Mountain Dew at the “Wall” aid station, YUM!!! On to business, trying to crack 7 hours…
But it was not to be. So far, I have 50-mile times of 7:02 (2011 Hells Hills) and a 7:09 at 2011 Mountain Masochist, and now a 7:06 at 2012 Nueces. 20 minutes behind 3rd and a whopping 36 minutes behindJordan, but a solid effort for early season. After scarfing down a Honey Milk recovery drink (thanks Dan!), the top 6 men made their way down to the beautifulNuecesRiver for a jump in the cold river, a soak of the legs and the obligatory post-race chatter/trash talk. Famished, I scarfed down half a Subway tuna sub leftover from Friday, took a hot shower, and returned to the finish line to cheer on the other finishers, stretch, and soak up some of the gorgeous sunshine that afternoon.
Great trip back to Austin as we hit the Dairy Queen in Kerrvillefor the pre-race dessert that I missed on Friday on the way in (2 for 1 ice cream sandwiches!). That weekend I had Race Director Joe Prusaitis sign my trail work reports (thanks Joe!) from earlier in the year for my WS100, VT100, and Wasatch100 applications. They will get mailed on Monday. One step closer to June 23rd!!!! On to recovery, and putting in some solid work during the month of March.
(photos courtesy of Rick Kent and Enduro photo! Thank you so much for the great shots)
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot