Well, yet another ULTRA run has come and gone and it is time to get my recap on! This past weekend I made the trek down to Brazos Bend State Park for a 50k trail run!! Returning to the trails after doing lots of pavement running is always so soothing to my body, mind and spirit. Often times I truly just enjoy going out there to rejuvenate and refresh. It is also always great to run into so many trail running buds that I know and love from years past.
This time around at Brazos I decided on running the 31 mile race. I’ve been out to this particular trail before, to run the 100 miler which was a phenomenal experience. It’s a VERY flat course, and fast for those who enjoy actually racing and PR’ing a trail experience. But it is also amazingly beautiful, surrounded by lots of bodies of water and awesome wildlife. I mean if you are really lucky you may even cross paths with a GATOR or two! I did glance over and see one swimming around in the water. But since the state park was crowded they weren’t that excited about being out and about.
My race started around 7 AM which gave me and my supportive friend plenty of time to make our way out to the park. We got in to town Friday pretty late and stayed in a hotel, then the next morning headed over to the park where we actually got great parking. The gun went right off at 7 AM and we were off into the woods for the day.
Going into this race, with very little mileage under my belt (but a CRAP ton of cross training teaching at Life Time) I knew this was not going to be my best performance of the year. But getting the ‘time on my feet’ was going to be crucial especially going into racing the Hachie 50 miler at the end of April. Since Hachie pushed their race up a few weeks I knew the 50k would be a great benchmark. I love BB50 too because just like Hachie, it’s flat, fast and a looped course. We did 2 loops of over 15.5 miles which worked out great for me mentally. Also, going into this run I decided not to hardcore track myself on my GPS. I TRULY wanted to run by feel, and assess my body by feel along the way. It also helped me to not be so ‘in my head’ like I usually am about things the entire time.
Loop 1 went wonderful, for the most part it was nice and cool since temps started out at 40 something degrees and gradually went up as the day went on. I made sure to stay on point with my hydration, taking in mostly electrolytes, water, fruit gummies and pickles. I kind of forgot how much I do love pickles during a trail run. Hits the dang spot every time.
The 2nd loop was where things super GOT REAL. The weather got pretty balmy, topping out at around 80 degrees by mid day. The back half of this run had NO SHADE whatsoever, which made for a fun jaunt out and back down a reallllly long part of the trail with no aid stations in sight. It was kind of like a mirage, you would look up and think you saw that the end was near….but nope…another long stretch. I was also starting to get a little crampy at the end so it was a lot of death marching around mile 25 or so. One of the ladies at the aid station (a fellow ultra/100 mile runner as well) ended up giving me a pep talk that I truly needed and it got me to where I needed to go. I got over the marathon mark and actually started to feel a LOT better.
After that (more trucking along) I just kept on with my relentless forward motion mindset, not really feeling all that great but just in general feeling the love and SUPPORT the entire way along the route.
Every time I would start to feel blah or just alone in general, I would see someone on the trails who would provide encouragement. It is amazing to me how the trail community just embraces everyone. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been out of the game. Or how many awards you’ve won over the years. It is just a community, a family, that looks out for one another every step of the way.
And that, I’ll never forget and I will always have gratitude for.
Thank you, Brazos Bend for a beautiful time out on the trails, knocking out yet another ultra and giving me a stepping stone for what is to come.
Results can be found here.
How was your weekend? Feel free to share what you love the most about the (trail/road/running) community!