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Brazos Bend 100

December 8, 2018

Signs everywhere...
Do not feed or molest the alligators.   
Do not feed or annoy the alligators.  
Stay out of the water, alligators present.
Stay out of the water, water was everywhere on the course.  How do you stay out of the water to avoid alligators? I was looking for them, those beady eyes in the night, nothing, just a blow up alligator someone stashed in the woods.   Dang, made for interesting imagining.

Race director F bombed maybe 100 times during the race briefing.  He was trying to warn us about the course and how to take care of ourselves when it got cold at night.   Nice guy, cared about runners but that is one potty mouth.

Why do I do these things?  Well Sabrina has a new quote for her business and I think it fits.  Be curious about what you can accomplish or what your body is capable of, something like that.  Hmmm.  This was my sixth 100 or more mile race for 2018.  I wondered how the body would hold up.  It did fine and my positive mind did even better.  Let’s be honest the conditions of the trail were awful and I saw many runners just give up.  Either I am stubbon, which is a distinct possibility or I have trained my mind as well as my body to support me in efforts of this nature.  Hanging around with miss positive Sabrina didn’t hurt either.

Brazos Bend is six fast loops on a flat course and under normal conditions it could be the fastest hundred course out there.  Six loops, you get to look forward to some spots on the course and dread others.  I liked the long out and back because you could see the other runners and encourage each other.  

The mud was quite thick and would stick to your shoes.  It felt like I was running with heavy boots on at times.  I tried to scrape it off but it wouldn’t leave my shoes until I ran some more or waded into the next puddle mire. There was one slip and slide muddy section early in the loop that really tested your core strength and hip strength just to stay vertical.  I saw a couple people bite it in this section.  Thank gosh for my core work lately it really helped me stay vertical.

After the mud slip and slide section you got to run around and along some water sections and an alligator lake. The wind was quite strong on this section and it would get stronger and colder throughout the night.  During the day I looked forward to this section as it was beautiful and the alligator signs were entertaining.  As night wore on I had to convince myself to run faster to stay warm in this section.

We then ran near the start finish and there were a lot of people cheering us on but it was right before the dreaded floatie section.  I think I asked them if they had any blow up toys and they laughed as I didn’t call them floaties.  You say weird things after running for many hours.

The floatie section
I hated the swamp section.  When we first entered this section on the first lap a runner said don’t forget your floaties hence it became the floatie section.  For 1.5 to 2 miles you were in ankle deep water or mud, every 100 yards or so you would get a 50 yard reprieve only to be subjected to another section of mud or water.  You could try to run on the sides to avoid the water but after so many other runners ran on the sides the mud was worse, more slippery so we began running right through the middle of the puddles or lakes.  Yuck, I hated this section. On the fifth time I cussed this section out.  Little did I know on the sixth and final time through it would get revenge and chill my feet so I had to run fast to warm up. 

Mashed potatoes seemed to fuel me well, except the first batch where I took a spoonful too fast and it burned all the way down.  That hurt.  I schooled myself to take smaller bites and not to inhale them so fast.  They had pecan and pumpkin pie at the aid stations.  Yum.

On the last last loop I planned to switch to my puffy coat instead I kept on the fleece.  Mistake.  It got windy all over the course and it was cold.  I probably ran more on the last loop just to stay warm.  That kind of sucked a little, live and learn.  

16.8 mile loops times 6
Dark for first half of first loop, ran through all the puddles not knowing what to expect just that it was wet and raining for the first three hours of the race.
Second and third loop with Sabrina near by, we crushed the first 50 in 10:36.
At 50 miles I took about twenty minutes to change socks which is double the time it usually takes because of all the dirt on my feet.  Lots of grit and I knew this would cause problems later if I didn’t deal with it now.   I also changed to capries knowing it would get cold, put on fleece coat and buffs for the night.  Sabrina asked why bother with my socks. They were just going to get wet and muddy again.  Sure enough within minutes of leaving the aid station with dry socks they were soaked because of puddles and mud.  But I know from previous races that a little preventative maintenance goes a long way.

Lost new soft flask
Be careful to fully put your flask in the pocket holder of the pack.  Apparently I didn’t and lost one of my brand new soft flasks.  Those are expensive and I looked for it as I lost it on the out and back section.  No  I didn’t find it so a lousy Gatorade bottle with water in it became my friend.

Usually I may or may not get a wee blister, this race I got a two inch long alien blister on the ball of my foot due to water logged feet for 25 hours 
I knew there was something going on with my foot about 60 miles in and I considered stopping and checking it out but knowing how long it would take to clean my feet and realizing no amount of tincture of benzoin would make any tape stick in this mud fest, it wasn’t likely I could do anything with my foot.  So I just ran on it.  Brenda enjoyed taking pictures of my new friend.  As blisters go, it was impressive.

My husband was tracking me and shared that I started in 78th place out of 140 started of the 208 who entered. So almost a third of the people entered just didn’t show up.  I guess after seven inches of rain the day before they knew what a mess the trail would be.  Finished in 34th place out of 85 finishers. 7th woman and second in the old lady division, 50 and over, cool.

I have a strategy that has worked before and it worked again.  I don’t bring crew or pacers to these races.  I bring a friend, this time Brenda, who will drop me off and wish me luck and I tell my friend not to pick me up until I’m done.  This works well as there is no place to go but to run all a day and all night until you are finished.  Although in the middle of the night I was a little jealous of those runners with their pacers.  I might have to try that sometime.

Brazos Bend was fun but likely won’t risk my luck by going back as maybe those gators would be out and about next time...waiting to be molested.

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