On April 7th, I ran my very first 50k at Brazos Bend 50. The event was a Trail Racing Over Texas race located at Brazos Bend State Park outside of Needville, TX. This is my Brazos Bend 50k recap.
I had gone into Houston after work to pick up my race packet ahead of time... along with my bib and race shirt, they also had bonus swag, for this race it was Altra Gaiters. Race day-eve brought me a little visitor.... yup, Aunt Flo decided to come for a stay. This definitely put a little twist in my plans. I took off work a little early so that I could get dinner at a reasonable hour, my clothes laid out, and to bed early. My race-day eve fueling was my lucky veggie burger and sweet potato fries at Bella Green.
After some thought I decided to wear my hydration vest to carry necessary supplies instead of my handheld. Once I got home, I laid out my clothes, got my supplies ready and headed to bed. My wake-up call was 3am!
It was tough figuring out what to wear. The forecast called for light rain and a cold front. I opted for a tank and capris.
I was up bright and early! Unfortunately, I woke up with some monster cramps and feeling awfully bloated. I popped some ibuprofen for the cramps and started to get ready. My pre-race breakfast consisted of half an english muffin with a little almond butter and a banana. I prepared a cup of coffee for the road.
I was on the road at 4:30 for the 90 minute drive out to Needville. The pre-race emails stressed getting to the park an hour before race time. I arrived in plenty of time and caught the shuttle to where the race would begin. Once at the race location, I headed to the bathroom and took care of some business. I dropped my bag at the TROT ambassador tent, and visited with the other ambassadors that were there until race time.
Brazos Bend 50k Recap
I headed for the start line about 5 minutes before the race began. Rob, the race director caught me and gave me a hug, it was good to see another friendly face as I was just not feeling so great.
At 10 seconds to 7am, the countdown begun and we were off running right on time. Dawn had just broken, and it was sprinkling a bit. The temp was 73 and humidity had to be near 100%. It had been raining so there were some muddy patches (but not too many).
I started with a strategy of running .9 miles/walking .1 mile. As I ran along the first out and back, which was also the muddy part of the trail, I was happy to see those ahead of me on the other side. We then continued running the trails around a few of the parks lakes. I was on active alert to see some alligators.
At the first aide station, I popped in to use the bathroom and heard a woman say she wished the humidity would go away. I had hoped that too, but was hoping that it would stay warmish during most of the race. I hit the aid station for some ice water and a few chips and pickles and continued my race. It was shortly after this that the wind turned to the north and really picked up. The temperatures started dropping.
Before I knew it, I was heading towards the back end of the trail. This section is a tough one, mostly mentally. There's an aide station at the beginning of the long out and back and an aide station right before you turn around. At the turn around I adjusted my intervals to run .5/walk .5. I started having a little tightness in my calf.
There were tons of TROT ambassadors at this event, running various distances. It was fun to see people that I knew on the trail and give high-fives, hugs and words of encouragement. The trail running community feeling was very strong at this race.
I finished the first loop at 3:38 and stopped off at my bag and downed some more ibuprofen, then continued on my way for my 2nd and final loop. This loop I kept the run .5/walk .5 intervals. It didn't seem to take very long before I made it to the aide station. I asked the volunteers if they could just give me a piece of bread with peanut butter... as I was going to make a peanut butter and pickle sandwich... they did me one better and made it for me.
I continued walking and eating half the sandwich, and save the other for later. The weather was really getting to me, it was continuing to get colder and the winds were gusting up to 30 MPH. As I headed to the back end, that was one benefit of that long out and back, was the trees were blocking a lot of the wind.
Once I hit that out and back, I realized that I was almost done and likely to finish my first 50k! I hit the final aide station and they had just cooked up fresh grilled cheese sandwiches. I don't know if it was the cold or if I was that hungry but that was the best grilled cheese I had tasted.
After a few more miles, the finish line was in sight... I was thrilled to run over the finish line! My finish time was 7:58:57.
At the finish, I learned that there had been a mistake and they had run out of medals for the 50k. Someone would be back from their warehouse with an alternative medal. I stuck around for the medal, I had plenty to do... visit the Altra booth, order my finisher vest, visit with friends. I was really kicking myself for not bringing a warm jacket.
The day after the race, all runners that were affected by the medal mixup received an email from the race director apologizing for the mixup and offering to send the correct medal to us, and a free race to experience a finish the way it should be.
Goals for Brazos Bend 50k
As with most races, I made a few goals... let's see how I did against them.
- Finish. Since this is my first 50k, and my training hasn't been where I want it to be, I'm just shooting for a finish. Success!
- Don't get eaten by a gator. Goal met!
- Run when I can, but don't be afraid to walk as needed. Started out with a run/walk interval and adjusted as I needed to based on how I was feeling.
- Fuel early and often. Met... those aide station buffets were my friend.
- Have fun!! I really had a blast!
Given my state of training (which was lacking), and the cramping/bloating that I was feeling that morning, coupled with multiple bathroom stops, I was very pleased with the way I ran this race.
Brazos Bend 50 is a great race. There are several distances to choose from: 5k, 10k, 25k, 50k, 50 mile, 100k (new this year). The trails at Brazos are flat and easy... they are perfect for someone just beginning to get into trail running. This event (like all the Trail Racing Over Texas events) are very well organized.
I'm linking up with HoHo Runs and Taking The Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap; and with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My no-guilt life for Tuesdays on the Run