Saturday, October 24, 2015

Palo Duro 50K !!!

Yahoo!  Numero #22 Ultramarathon is done for 100 by 100!

While visiting our daughter Abby in Lubbock, Texas,  Lori and I decided that running Palo Duro 50K would fit in nicely since we were visiting Abby on the same weekend.  I signed up for the race only a few weeks ago and made plans.  Palo Duro is a really beautiful canyon in the panhandle of Texas, near Amarillo.  One would never know this canyon exists too!

We picked up Abby on Friday, October 16 in Lubbock and drove 1 1/2 hours up to Canyon, Texas to pick up my race packet and stay the night.  It was great to have Abby there and we had many things to go over and talk about since she is getting her masters in O.T. at Texas Tech.  We had a great dinner at a Thai restaurant in Canyon.

Race day came the next day and I was ready and off by 7 am!  It was still quite dark for the start but nice and cool.  I'm glad I had my headlamp.  50K runners had to take a short 6 mile loop back to the start and then 2 big loops of 12.5 miles or so - all loops coming back to the start.  This was quite convenient for runners to have their drop bags right there at the start!

I got in with a bunch of runners right from the start on single track trail, and made our way nice and slowly for the first 3 miles or so.  This group managed to guide everyone off the trail for a short bit, but we managed to go back and find our mistake quickly.  It was still dark when I made a tumble in the dirt and hit my elbow on a bunch of rocks.  I didn't notice but my sunglasses fell off my head here and didn't notice it until I was well down the trail.  I said to myself,  I'll have 2 more chances of finding them on the return trips, so hopefully someone won't pick them up.  No biggie.

On the second lap I tried in vain to locate the sunglasses at the spot I thought they would be in.  I was unsuccessful since it was still dark when I lost them, I just had an idea of where in the first three miles of the trail they would be, that's it.  Now the sun is up and I'm squinting at everything since it was now really bright!  I tried to forget about it and managed to spark up a few conversations with the fellow runners around me.  I met a really nice guy named Mark who told me that this was his first Ultramarathon!  I was so excited for him!  We talked a lot in that big lap about running and races.  I was impressed at how great he was doing by running the flats and downhills and walking the hills.  Exactly what you should do when you first start out running Ultras.  I was really impressed by his walking - he was keeping up with me running by walking!  I was a little worried that my legs were actually getting kind of tired now.  On this lap Lori and Abby met me at an aid station and also met Mark at the same time!  It's always fantastic to see Lori and Abby supporting me at aid stations.  It gives me a tremendous boost!  Thanks you two!  You're awesome!

On the third lap Mark and I saw each other from time to time, but only shared minimal conversations and high fives and "way to goes".  I was again unsuccessful trying to find my sunglasses and decided that I must have fallen where we all went off trail for a short bit.  That's all I could think of.  That's why I'm not finding them.  The third lap was not only really bright  and sunny but also pretty hot.  Thank God they had watered down ice towels for runners to wipe their heads with!  What a nice treat that was!  I kept mine wrapped in my visor the rest of the race.  On this lap I finally got into my usual rhythm of running/hiking and the body finally accepted the pace I was subjecting it to!  With 2 1/2 miles to go I decided that I would try running it all to the finish.  I did pretty good at that and only had to walk up a few very short inclines.  Then, I saw them........

.....the small group of aid station partiers with pre-made margaritas....  I have never wanted to introduce ALCOHOL ever in my ultras but these guys, I just could not refuse a small little thimble full of pre-made margarita!  These guys were madly partying down and I just had to accept their offer.  They were pretty funny!  I said, what the heck, there's 2 miles to go, what's the big deal!  I quickly downed the shot full and thanked them and I was off.  About a half mile from there I actually started to get a hangover and a headache!  I quickly drank what was left over in my water bottle and felt better soon.  What did I learn?  Never introduce alcohol while running 31 miles in the hot desert!

At the finish again were Lori and Abby cheering me in - along with many other people who support their runners.  What a feeling that is - being cheered on by people whom you don't even know!  Wow, what a feeling!  At the finish line I did my "navigational technique" look and called it good!  I managed to bring it in at a time of 7:01 - which is my second best time for a 50K!  Not too shabby.  Mark came through only 8 minutes later too!  He did great and I was pretty proud of him too - so was he and his wife!  We talked for awhile and to the time keepers and decided to take off and get an early lunch/dinner.  A good time was had by all!

Here are some pictures of the canyon and us after the race!  Thanks for your support again!

$100.00 Donated on 10/24/15

 This is the face of the pain and the joy of finishing an ultra marathon!
 Abby and I at the finish
 The friend Mark who finished his first ultra marathon!
 Lori and I

 Lori running by the Palo Duro creek