Ultra #6 – Pedernales Falls 60k (6/27-28/15)

[BEGIN BACKDATED RACE REPORT FOR JUNE 27-28, 2015:

Ultramarathon #6, First 60k, Overall marathon+ race #18
Race: Pedernales Falls 60k – Capt’n Karls night time trail series
Date: 6/27-28/15
Location: Pedernales Fall State Park, near Johnson City, TX

It had been only two weeks after the Rock ‘n Roll Seattle Marathon on 6/13/15, AND that 14 mile Power hike and run down Mt. Rainier trails two days after the marathon. This was definitely a “last minute” thing.

One of my running friends that I had been training with earlier this season (fall of 2014), Kate, was running this race. In fact, it was my other friend… good ol’ Alex Baca, who told me that she was running this one, when I told him I was going for one of these Capt’n Karls races.download.jpg

Apparently, these races have been around for a number of years and was sponsored by this group called Traverse Running. They’re a series of SUMMER… yes SUMMER time trail races held northwest of Austin/San Antonio, and they’re all at NIGHT – starting at 7pm with a cutoff time of 7am. I first noticed them in 2013 after my first year of running/racing, and had always wondered how those are like.

So I signed up… just a few days before the race. Lol.

From San Antonio, it was about an hour and a half close to 2 hours driving, and Kate was riding with me at the moment. It had been raining immensely during the days prior to the race, and surely.. it started pouring down on us while I was going through those roller coaster hills on US 281…

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But we got there safely, and the rain had stopped.

It felt weird to get to the race site and packet pickup at 5pm… As far as temperaturewise… it was actually in the high 70’s and not the dreaded 90’s or 100’s, although it was pretty humid. It was beginning to drizzle a little bit prior to starting.

The race director made a comment about the duck pond being flooded or something… and… something about the water moccasins… and I was like, eh, we’ll see… Until…

Holy crap! It was knee deep water… and there was absolutely NO WAY around it!!

Well, less than half a mile into the race, all of us were walking around in muddy filthy shoes. Welcome to trail running… -_-  lol

Thankfully, the clouds cleared up a bit after we begin a little climbing into the switchbacks, and we were able to catch a beautiful sunset that evening. After the first aid station (Polly’s Corral), there was then a seven-mile stretch to the next actual one at Wolf Mountain! There was a water-only aid in between after mile 4, but even that seemed so long… There were quite a number of switchbacks and climbs during this segment, and lots of rocky spots…

From the Wolf Mountain aid station, it would be another 3-4 miles before we headed back to Polly’s Corral, where the course became two-way traffic again for the rest of the way back to the start… There were some parts that were slick, but for the most part, it was runnable/hikeable.

The aid stations were amazingly stocked. My favorite thing during this hot and humid weather became… watermelon!!

It was about 4 hours and 45 minutes or so after I finished the first loop. This would equate to a 30k. As I stepped out into the second loop, things got a lot more lonelier..

So there was this lady in front of me who was waiting someone to cross that dreaded duck pond with her… after all the race director mentioned “Water Moccassins”… I guess she didn’t want to be killed alone.. hahaha!!

This person became my running buddy for a few miles leading up back to the first aid station. Then, I picked up another person along the way and us 3 started powerhiking through that 7-mile stretch between Polly’s Corral and Wolf Mountain. We kept up a good pace of 15 minute-miles…

There were some climbs and some loose rocks, but supposedly not as bad or steep as some of the other Capt’n Karls races, I heard. I didn’t sign up for the other 3 in the series this year… but perhaps one day I would…

After leaving the Wolf Mountain aid station, I was getting really sleepy, as it has now been around 2:30-3AM in the morning. The weather rather bearable, and temperatures were in the low 70’s, and the moon was out in its fullness making a slight illumination to my path ahead. Having never been to this park before, I could only imagine how the park would look like during the day… Amidst all the waterfalls, the escarpments made of limestone, and the scenery of the trails… all but nothing but darkness in front of me.

As the trail converged with the outbound section, I saw the Polly’s Corral aid station at sight. I had the sigh of relief that it was almost over, but not quite yet…

The last few miles seemed a little long, and the terrain changed a bit from rocky to muddy… that’s when I knew that the duck pond was near, but surely, I ain’t going thru that again!

I finished just under 10 hours, and at this time Kate was already done (she finished in like 7 hours and something and won second or third in her age group… amazing lol).

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Well, this was an interesting experience. While I didn’t get to do a 100 miler this year, I surely had the experience of doing a trail race at night. There was a big mental thing to it and being able to push yourself for 37.5 miles for almost 10 hours.

But it certainly was a good feeling to have after finishing, and to watch the sun rise on the horizon.

 

To top it off… I was already planning on going down to Corpus Christi that Sunday on 6/28/15 (yes… that very same morning after Pedernales Falls) to encourage our sister church down there for their first ever Sunday worship service!! Corpus Christi was already a 2-hour drive from San Antonio, and it didn’t help that I am even an hour further away being in Johnson City – and on my way there, I ended up getting a speeding ticket in Bulverde 😦 But thank God, I still made it there in time for service to begin…

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Thankfully my friend Angie from church came down, for she helped drive us back from Corpus Christi back to San Antonio, according to her I knocked the freakin’ OUT on the way back (after a night as an insomniac)…

Next comes the dreaded AP/CP boards in October… I have decided that I will not be doing any more races to prepare for the boards.

— END OF BACKDATED RACE REPORT]

———————————————————————

Today’s date March 21, 2017. And I thought I was nuts back then for pulling an all nighter 60k race… little did I know that the following year (2016), I would go back and attempt ALL FOUR Capt’n Karls races and got the belt buckle, which today I still wear 😀 The weather in 2016 at Pedernales Falls was definitely a lot worse… so in comparison, I can’t complain about 2015!

This race marked the end of the 2014-15 race season. The times to follow would be some dark times in my life, where I was so absorbed in studying for the AP/CP boards, leaving my body in shock, and on autopilot-panic mode all the time. It was scary, and there were some times which I felt hopeless and even felt like dying inside, and the trails and tribulations I went through in obtaining my Texas Medical License.

But God is good. He was with me that whole summer, though I felt like I had been falling away some during that time. I praise Him through the storms of life. It was through these storms that I was able to reconciliate to a great deal with my parents and have them witness me running the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, with my group of Maniac folks, later in November of 2015, where I met a lot of cool people just as in Seattle. That was almost a year and a half ago, but I remember that race and the days preceding it with intense passion.

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