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Brazos Bend 50-Mile: Gators! 100th Marathon & a New PR

By June 5, 2017 No Comments



“We all know sometimes life’s hates and troubles
Can make you wish you were born in another time and space
But you can bet you life times that and twice its double
That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed “

— “As”, Stevie Wonder

I love this race for all kinds of reasons:  beautiful setting, simple logistics, great event organization and fabulous aid station volunteers.  The race director, Rob Goyen, puts his heart & soul into this race — setup, course markings, finish details are handled beautifully. But the part that gets me? Rob literally waits at the finish the WHOLE day to greet every single runner with a huge smile, medal, high five & a hug at the finish.  From first to last — that’s 17 high-energy hours. Heart and soul.

Event includes races of 50 miles, 50K, 25K, 10K & 5K using different parts of the same course. Sounds confusing, but routes are clearly marked & it is almost impossible to get lost – even for me.

This was my 2nd time at Brazos 50 & my 100th(!) race at marathon-or-greater distance (counting the 17 from Ironman triathlons).  A personal landmark of sorts. And the place is magical – bullfrogs, alligators, herons, alligators, snakes, alligators.  Did I mention the alligators? So many reasons I was happy to be there.

And the race did not disappoint. Conditions were difficult (heat! humidity!) but the first 25 or so miles went by quickly.  Heading in to the back half of the race, I had one of those moments – a deep and complete knowing that, for whatever reason, I was right where I was supposed to be – 30-sh miles in with hours to go, covered in dirt-sweat-dust, more than a little terrified about the alligators. And it was … perfect.

20 miles in! gators, bullfrogs, clouds o’ pollen, & I’ve peed on my socks. Twice.

Hit a rough patch with nutrition around mile 39 – & had to laugh when I literally said to myself, “ok, no food for you!” in my best Soup Nazi voice. (see? even when things go wrong, I can still entertain myself.) So I hiked a bit, drank a whole bottle of TriFuel & bit of Coke. Did a run/hike combo for the next 6 miles or so until I had recovered enough to get back to a steady pace.

And finished it! – an hour faster than last year’s race & a new overall 50-mile PR by almost 20 minutes.  Happy.

Happy finisher!


Race Notes

What worked well:

  • Organization – drop bag was my Victory bag! So I was well organized, zero wasted time when came thru each loop to pick up nutrition, drop off headlight, etc.  I really love this bag.

    Victory Drop Bag

  • Pacing – solid & steady, mostly.  Struggled miles 39-45-ish in the heat + stomach revolt, but legs generally felt good.
  • Nutrition – TriFuel in both Salomon front bottles.  Picked up PB squares & some watermelon at aid stations (kept moving while I ate).  2 cups of Coke in late stages when stomach was NOT happy.
  • Feet – wore new Altras (Torins – road shoes – but worked fine) and Trail Toes.  Zero blisters.
  • Clothes – avoided chafe disaster from last year!  Nike tank, RunRabbit shorts, Salomon pack w Lucy ribbons.  Arm warmers to start which I dropped off after the first loop when temps heated up.
  • Power hiking – have been working on fast hiking for upcoming stage races, so I used the 39-45 miles as an opportunity to practice a fast hike during portions when my stomach rebelled.  Worked beautifully.
  • Electronics – saved my iPod until mile 25. The music was a nice boost!

Not so well:

  • Nutrition in the heat – went to pure TriFuel & a little Coke until I could recover. Would be helpful to find a solid food that also works in hot/stressful conditions.  Need to do more testing.
  • After care – would have been better to get into dry clothes sooner! & get my recovery shake in, instead of socializing. Warm clothes & calories sooner would have helped with recovery. Lesson learned.







Author Isabelle

Endurance athlete, writer, Chief Dog Smoocher

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