While I’ve run multiple 50K’s, a handful of 50 Milers and one 100K, The Brazos Bend 100 Marathon was only my second Marathon ever. My first race at the distance took place at this exact race in 2014 where I ran alone for the majority of the race, fell apart in the closing miles and finished in just over 3 hours at 3:00:16. Going into the race this year, my goal was to hopefully run sub 3 hours and take the win if this played out to plan.
The field was full of fast competitors and friends including my Team Trail Racing Over Texas team mates Daniel Bucci, Peter Muessig, and Jeff Miller. My last race was Franklin Mountains 50K back on November 14th and since then I hadn’t done any training of note. On top of that I was coming off of being out of the state for a week for work and putting in weird hours that had my body feeling off and ill prepared for the task at hand come race morning.
I tried to put away any self doubt and negative thinking as I toed the line. When the race started, my body responded to the adrenaline and race atmosphere and I took off. I covered the first mile in 6:05 and turned around, seeing no trace of any other runners. I slipped into a rhythm and clocked off consistent miles (6:08-6:31) until I hit mile 21 at which point it felt like someone had turned the imaginary switch that controls my legs to off. My lack of recent training finally caught up. I immediately hit the wall and my pace fell to around 7 minutes per mile. I gritted the pain and closed as best as I could. I finished first by a margin of 11 minutes in a time of 2:50:28, as I could see the seconds tick off to just missing breaking 2:50. I am extremely pleased with my performance as I had no expectations beyond breaking 3 hours when I started the race. Running the time I did on unprepared legs and no speed training in months prior gives me great confidence going into 2016 as I begin to get back into hard training.
After finishing my race, I was able to watch many amazing performances in all of the other distances from my Trail Racing Over Texas Team members. I saw Cal (1:15:36) and Tracie (1:33:28, despite running with a case of bronchitis) place first Male/Female in the Half Marathon, Daniel take third in the Marathon (3:18:37, despite not feeling well), and Maggie Guterl take fourth overall and first female in the 100 Miler (17:21:14). I also got a chance to catch up with some other friends including Mark Henn, Lauren Ross and Gia Madole). On top of that, I was able to help pace Anthony Jacobs for 7 miles during his 100 Mile race. He went on to win the event in an impressive time of 15:41:19 (big congratulations)!
I was very impressed with all of those runners in the longer distances. For the Marathon, Half Marathon and most of the 50 Mile runners, the course was in fairly good condition. I only encountered about 4-6 miles of wet/muddy conditions on course in my race that caused me to slow my pace. On the other hand, those who were still on the course later in the day experienced strong rain storms and heavy wind that wreaked havoc on the trail, turning many sections to mud pits.
I would also like to recognize the tremendous volunteers and staff that made this race possible. I would especially like to thank John Stasulli aka The Grinch who managed the main aid station like a professional and even helped pace a runner to a buckle. Edward Sanchez and Jeremy Hanson held down the fort in helping make the race come to life with all of their behind the scenes work as well as their race day support. Finally, Race Directors Rob Goyen and Rachel Goyen always put on excellent productions and this event was no exception. If you have never run a Trail Racing Over Texas race, you are missing out. Come join them at their next event, Horseshoe Trail Run 50K/25K/10K/5K. I’ll be running the 25K in preparation for my first goal race of 2016, Rocky Raccoon 50 Miler.
- Shoes: Altra One2
- Hydration: Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated 18oz Bottle
- Sunglasses: Julbo Dust
- Buff and Jersey: Trail Racing Over Texas