To start off, I went into race weekend at Bandera 25K planning on running it at training effort along with pacing a friend in the 100K afterwards and doing a long run the next day to cap off a strong week of training. I’ve never run a race as “training.” I typically give everything I have in each event in which I participate. That wasn’t the case in the 2016 Bandera 25K.
I arrived at the race site on Friday after a long 5 hour drive and picked up my race bib and packet before jumping onto the trail for a quick shakeout run. Luckily, two of my co-workers were staying nearby and running the 50K and were gracious enough to allow me to crash there, thanks Matt Voltoline! Shortly after I headed over to the town of Bandera to grab some dinner and happened to run into Ace Gallegos. I met ace at the first ultra or trail race I ever ran, Captain Karl’s Muleshoe Bend Night 60K back in 2013. We caught up and talked running. He was running the 50K the next morning and looking to place in the top 10 (he ended up finishing 9th overall)!
The next morning, the 25K started at 7AM which was the same start time as the 50K and 100K distances. The unfortunate thing about the 25K is that those runners will do an extra 1.75 Mile loop before rejoining the course that the 50K runners take. Both races follow the same course until the 25K eventually splits off in the final few miles. This means that throughout the course of the 25K I had to maneuver around the entire field of 209 racers in the 50K with the exception of the first 3 runners who made it to the split before I did. It was both fun and a little dangerous running down the trail and attempting to pass lines of 5-10 runners on the rocky descents. I ran fairly hard for the first 10.5 Miles until I hit the Cross Roads Aid Station. That’s where I saw Rob Goyen, the owner and Race Director of Trail Racing Over Texas, lowered my effort level and put things into cruise control. I took the remaining climbs easy and walked most of them until I realized I would be close to being under 1:50 and decided to pick it up in the last mile which I closed in 6:03 to finish in 1:50:05. My “race” and subsequent runs were fueled by Tailwind, my go-to nutrition product for all race distances.
After a change of clothes and quick jog from the Start/Finish over to the Cross Roads Aid Station, I met up with Rob Goyen again to cheer on Jeremy Hanson who was running the 25K. Next, I gave encouragement to Anthony Jacobs (I’d be pacing him the last 10 Miles of his event) who was running in the USATF 100K National Championship race and currently in 16th at Mile 21.8. I had a good amount of time to hang out with Rob up until Anthony came back around Cross Roads Aid Station at Mile 52.85 and I jumped in.
Anthony was now 6th place male and 7th overall and on pace to finish with an extremely strong time. I did my best to run along with him and give him what mental help that I could. He cruised through those final 10 Miles all the way through the finish line where he finished with a time of 9:30:29. Anthony had a killer race and i’m glad that I could be a part of it in some capacity. I didn’t stay much longer as I had to make the drive out to Houston to run at Huntsville State Park the next morning, but Team TROT members Joshua Pauley, Matt Zmolek, Katie Graff, and Julie Koepke all had solid performances and represented our team extremely well.
The next morning, I was up bright and early to make the drive to run on the trails that I will race on come February 13th at Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile. I joined up with fellow Team TROT member Daniel Bucci for 20 strong miles. It was great to run with him since I don’t typically get to spend time on the trails with most of my teammates outside of competition. Our run capped off a very strong week of training for myself and I had a blast seeing so many friends over the weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing some of them again at my next race, the Trail Racing Over Texas Horseshoe Trail Run 50K on January 23rd at Jack Brooks State Park!
Gear: Nathan Handhelds, VictorySportDesign Bag, Altra One 2.0 Shoes, Feetures Socks, Julbo Sunglasses, Team Trail Racing Over Texas Uniform, and Tailwind Nutrition.