The Brazos Bend 100!!
This run was hosted by Trail Racing Over Texas, with distances ranging from half marathon to 100 miles. I chose to do the full marathon since i’ve never completed one officially before.
I had been planning to run the full marathon in Long Beach, CA for my 30th birthday, but life got in the way. Eventually a lot of life got in the way, and i had 2 kids. I have some other fitness/challenge related goals I wanted to do, and this was sort of in the way of the others… so i signed up for this run with 22 weeks to train.
I had 22 weeks to run a 20 week program, and honestly, that felt pretty reasonable to me. It accounted for 2 weeks of being sick, a good time to build up mileage, and a proper taper down at the end.
Training was surprisingly consistent for working in a relatively demanding field, while having 2 young children. I just found myself falling asleep rocking my daughter every night, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I always run at the same time, between 6-6:30am. The temperature had been consistently in the 40s-50s with a few outlier days in the 30s or 70s. My longest run during training was 20 miles, and I clocked that run in 3:25. My overall pace average was 10:15. My goal was consistency, not speed, and I stayed within 15 seconds of the pace i wanted to run for the marathon. Prior to attemping this distance, my runs were all in the mid 9 minute time.
Unfortunately, towards the last month of training, I started getting a toothache. It got pretty bad over the course of a week, and I had to stop running. I couldn’t lean over, or jar my head, or i would be in pretty intense pain. I scheduled a dentist appointment for a week or so out, and crossed my fingers.
Lo and behold, I had a sinus infection, not a tooth ache (thank God!). But unfortunately, even with antibiotics, I was still unable to run for 2 more weeks. So I missed my entire peak week, and part of my taper. Not being physically active for 3 weeks of a 20 week program right before a race is not a good way to enter. I still knew I could finish, but I was sad I would not be able to showcase my best effort.
The weather on the day of the race turned out to be drastically different than my training weather. The day started with 99% humidity in the low 70s. Already significantly hotter/harder to cool off than my training had been. I started off a little too fast, which is pretty typical, with an 8 minute mile, but quickly slowed my pace to about 10 minute miles.
Before long I was completely drenched. My heart rate was in the 180s, i was burning double or triple the calories i expected, and i was having trouble staying hydrated. I burned through all my planned salt stick chewables, and started drinking pickle juice/eating salty snacks. As it turns out, the food options at a trail race/ultra are infinitely better than a road race. I had the best peanut butter sandwich of my life. On my second time through that aid station, I asked about the bread, which i expected was some amazing gourmet bread. It was walmart white bread ha ha ha ha ha!
Overall, I would say i absolutely loved the run. I wasn’t sure what happened to me, i think i ran too low on calories or something. I think around mile 22 I stopped being able to run for more than 60-90 seconds at a time. I just had no energy whatsoever.
Eat more, eat often
Since i run in Texas, try to expect unexpected weather conditions
It’s ok to slow down and take pictures, enjoy your run
Trail races > road races
An ultramarathon is easily within reach…
I will almost certainly start a 50k or 50mi program in a few months. I want to focus on some strength training for a few months before i go back into serious running.