So, I recklessly signed up for The Falls and The Shoe before I had even completed Ink’s Lake. The reason I say it was reckless? I might be doing a lot better at these 30k events if I would TRAIN for them. LOL
I tried to sleep late on Saturday morning so I would not get sleepy on the trail after dark and do a face plant. I ended up getting up at about 7:30. That would just have to do. Got up, got dressed and had to drive to Sugarland to pick up some raw dairy from a wonderful farmer, I bought the fresh heavy cream, fresh yogurt, and fresh butter, then headed back home to finish packing the car for the night race.
I think I left home at about 1:30, and then realized I had forgotten my Heed. I was not too far from home, so I went back to get it, and forgot the sleeping bag I was intending to bring. Oh, well, I would just have to nap in my chair after the race was over. For some reason, I keep thinking it takes me 2 hours to drive to Austin, but when I am headed just into town on 71, I get to the airport in about 1:35. Good! I picked up Deborah at her hotel; we put her stuff in the car and headed west toward Pedernales Falls. It is not a bad drive, and we made it to the park early enough to get our stuff settled and rest a while before the planned 7:15 start of the 30k. There was one lone tree, and runners were gathered around it like cows on a hot day, looking for the one place that was shaded in the pasture! We listened to the briefing for the 60k runners as we were following the same course as they were. They started at 7:00.
The race started on time, and we were off on the dusty trail. I knew I would have sinus trouble all night because it was soooo dry out there. We still have not had a drop of rain and the river was completely dry. Anyway, I was trying out my newest fueling recipe. Egg white protein mixed with hammer gel and a little coconut oil. It didn’t cause any stomach problems at all. I wore my camel back for hydration in this race because the aid stations were not evenly spaced on the course. The biggest problem with the camel back is that I have had a neck/shoulder problem for a while, and when my body found out I would be using the camel back, it rebelled and the shoulder pain flared up. Oh well… pain is relative to what we are willing to endure in order to spend the night on the trails with 300 or so other crazy folk! I was, however, glad to have that camel back, especially when I was able to keep it filled with ice (thanks volunteers!), it helped keep me cool!
I started out running a little when I could. I heard that this was a little less difficult than Ink’s Lake, but for someone who does a little running and a lot of walking, it was just as difficult. The loose rocks on the steep inclines were a challenge for me. I was having a great time anyway, and I didn’t really get too hot to be uncomfortable. At times, there was a nice breeze! The aid stations were just as we were told they would be… cold water at the first one, then a full service aid station at the second one (we re-visited it for the 3rd stop), then cold water only at the last one.
I started to have leg cramps again about 12 miles in. I don’t know what is causing this… maybe I am taking too much electrolyte instead of not enough. Since I don’t eat ANY salt in my regular diet, I kind of think I am over doing it on the Endurolytes. I have one more race to test this out, The Shoe. Anyway, the cramps were so severe at one point, my whole left leg seized up and I could not take a single step. I stretched for a few minutes, and am happy to report that things started moving normally again. The cramps at this race were not nearly as bad as they had been 3 weeks ago, so it was an improvement. I only had the same problem one more time and it was caused by my tripping and almost falling. When I caught myself, the left leg cramped up from the knee down. I had to massage the calf muscle pretty vigorously to get moving again. I don’t remember much about the course except for the rock staircase down to the river bed! When we broke through the trail and I saw the view, I said, “This is freakin’ awesome!!!” I do remember seeing a couple of those small but deadly scorpions skittering across the trail, and am happy to report, no tarantulas!
The lights of the finish line were a welcome sight and I was happy to receive my medal, and go sit down and have my recovery drink! Hammer citrus Recoverite and some Fage Total classic yogurt shaken together with a small can of pineapple juice. Sadly, they were out of hamburgers, but no worries! I enjoyed sitting out there under the stars for a while listening to the cheering as the 60k runners finished the race. I saw numerous shooting stars! Out there away from all the light pollution of the city, the sky is just spectacular! I think Deborah and I started back for Austin at about 3:30 in the morning, and I was jonesing for some protein. I dropped Deborah off at her hotel and found the closest Denny’s. 3 eggs over easy, 2 pieces of bacon and 1 tiny sausage link would just have to carry me home. I think I made it home at about 6:30 am.
Anyway, thanks again to the folks from Tejas Trails. They do not disappoint!