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Brazos Bend 50-Mile or Me & My Gator

By May 5, 2016 No Comments


Cover photo - Brazos Bend - Trail Racing Over Texas

Cover photo – Brazos Bend – Trail Racing Over Texas

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.

"When you go past an alligator..."

Pre-race meeting: “When you go past an alligator…”

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.

Gator selfie!

Gator selfie!

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.

Happy runner

Happy runner

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.

I meet the coolest people! (Yes, he pulled the tire for whole 50 miles.)

I meet the coolest people! (Yes, he pulled the tire for whole 50 miles.)








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”.

Happy finisher!

Happy finisher!

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.
Race shirt & medal -- with gator!

Race shirt & medal — with gator!

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.


Author Isabelle

Endurance athlete, writer, Chief Dog Smoocher

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