50-mile race in a park where alligators run-swim-roar in the wild? Oh yes, please.
Brazos Bend 50 was incredible! Yes, I was afraid – a lot afraid– but running a path with egrets, bullfrogs, alligators (!), turtles for 50 miles was one of the most magical experiences in my lifetime.
Race is super-well organized with fully-stocked aid stations, a course so well-marked even I can’t get lost (amazing), and an RD who puts his heart and soul into the experience. And it shows.
In the pre-race meeting, RD Rob Goyen gave instructions on “gator incident avoidance”. I listened v-e-r-y carefully.
Weather on race day was extreme high humidity with chance of storms. Due to a massive oversight, I neglected to bring compression shorts (if you’re a runner, I can hear you wincing.) Combo of intermittent showers, salt/sweat, & sticky nylon — I ended up with the worst inner thigh chafe of my life. The good news? I won’t make that mistake again. Ever.
The race started at 6:00 a.m., so it was still quite dark. That feeling of running through early dark paths and hearing the alligators roar? hard to describe.
My running pace wasn’t fast, but was mostly steady – though some significant slowing in third loop due to holy hell chafe (!). Nutrition was solid with TriFuel & occasional pieces of fruit from the aid stations.
I could tell I was not quite fully recovered from running Hells Hills 50K 2 weeks before (but no injuries –yay!) so didn’t push the pace.
Thankful for the chance to run with old friends, make new ones, and to remember — deep in my bones — why it is I like to run that far.
That part about the RD putting his heart into the race? He stood at the finish line — the entire day — to greet every single runner and hand him or her the finisher’s medal with a high five, hug, & “well done”.
What Worked Well
- Race organization, aid stations, RD = super well-organized + fabulous
- Logistics = easy peasy, non-eventful packet pickup, lots of parking spaces, clear directions
- Nutrition – TriFuel
- Gators – the real kind
- Headlight – Black Diamond Spot with new batteries
Not So Well
- Running shorts – chafe-chafe-chafe-chafe
- Speed – a bit slow
- Day-before nutrition – too busy to eat the day before race, could have used the calories!
- Recovery from 50K – races were intentionally booked close together for training — and I felt it.
So that makes 4 ultras + a marathon in last 4 months. It’s been very fun! & a lot of work. Time to settle into Iceland training.