Ultra #3 – Wild Hare 50k – 11/22/14

[BEGIN BACKDATED RACE REPORT:

Ultra #3 / Overall #12
Wild Hare (Tejas Trails) 50k
Bluff Creek Ranch
Warda, TX
11/22/14

This was the first of the race series in training for the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler to come in January. My longest trail long run had been nearly 22 miles total up this point, preceded by a 9 miler. Wild Hare is 1 week after the Harlingen Half marathon (13.1 miles).

On a totally unrelated note, this is the first marathon/ultra race that I have done after getting baptized as a (true) disciple of Jesus (on 11/5/14).

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Had to get a picture with Joe Prusaitis the race director of Tejas trails the night before at packet pickup lol…

This was my third ultra and second 50k and second trail race (both of the previous ones had been done at Hell’s Hills in 2013 and 2014), and the race consisted 4 loops of 7.7 miles total for the 50k (6.5 loops for the 50 miler!! LOL). Some of the trails resembled Hell’s Hills, but others were more flat and runnable. This course may have been one designed for speed, and it was certainly what I was aiming for… BUT…

The weather, on the other hand, was less than ideal for race day and the day before. It had been raining hard the previous days, which means anywhere there is dirt, there is bound to be muddy…

At least in the morning of the race, the weather was partly cloudy with only a drizzle. The race started off with everyone lining up on single trail tracks, going around and around switchback after switchback. It was only about 3 1/2 miles until the first aid station… easy right?

After leaving the first aid station, we encountered a minor hill and areas of relatively “flat peaceful”…

Pictures don’t do justice.. but there’s a portion of the trail called “Gas Pass” that we would enter, with an initial descent in elevation in a roller-coaster like fashion. Trust me, it’s more impressive than the way it looks here!

Ugh.. there was one uphill segment of the trail that looked like it was at one point packed dirt… but now with all this rain, it became a slippery mud slide – for every step you take forward you take a half a step back… speaking about efficiency… one might as well throw the words “PR” down the toilet today…

There was also one part of the trail that had relatively little grip and was very steep – short but steep. And… of course I fell!

Here’s some more snapshots of the conditions of the trail as we cleared some forest paths and returned near the start/finish area. Mush…

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On my third loop, I changed shoes into Hokas (because my feet were feeling it…) and encountered some people from the Rio Grande Valley who did the 25k…

And then there was a torrential downpour that began… the third lap wasn’t easy, and I don’t remember how I actually made it through…

Remember that uphill segment after the first aid station…? Yeah… that’s how it looks now. In fact, Joe (the race director) had to abbreviate the course and use ropes for people to grip on because it was so treacherous. There was one part of the trail that is just nothing but dirt and escarpment… so when it was wet… without some form of railing we could easily slip down!!

On the fourth loop after the last aid station, I met another fellow Marathon Maniac whom I actually had a conversation with (#3525, Erin). I decided to stay with her for a bit to keep pace, although she was a little slower than me. I was like, how many marathons have you done? And she was like 30 or 40 total. Daaaang…

But it helps to have someone help you enjoy the moment… The rain persisted, and at anywhere there were any ups and downs, it was like a mud obstacle course… So much fun but yet it was so challenging and adrenaline pumping…

So both Erin and I finished in slightly over 7 hours, which is not shabby for THIS kind of weather… Unfortunately, my left foot bothered me more and more and reminded me of 2013.

One word… MUD.

The end.

END OF BACKDATED RACE REPORT – 5/21/17]

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