Sunday, March 22, 2009

3/22/2009 The Grasslands Race Report

I got home around 1145 this am, tired and ready to just sit. This weekend was really great! The race, for me, was kind of weird though. I got to the Bluebonnet Resort around noon on Friday and got checked in and got my tent set up. I was really close to the bathrooms, the showers, the pool, and the hot tub. So nice! After I got set up I headed to the hotel where they were having packet pickup. Teresa McCoul, the race director from Cross Timbers, was there handing out packets. It was really good to see her again. She would be running the half marathon. Laurie Underwood was also there. It's always nice to see her, she is so sweet! Anyway, after that I had an early supper at Chili's and then headed back to the resort. I relaxed in the hot tub and enjoyed the company of some of the other campers for a bit and then I headed to bed so I could make sure to get up early. I made it to the race start around 0615 so I had plenty of time to set up. I put my drop bag pretty close to the start and then found the coffee. They had Starbuck's!! A big plus! The race this year was headed up by a new RD, Kevin Boudreaux. He really did a fantastic job!! I got to meet up with Dave Elliott before we got started as well. Very nice to finally meet him in person! We started promptly at 0700. First things first, the 50 milers had to do a simple little out and back as a "distance corrector." It was about 4.8 miles and I finished it in about 47 minutes. I felt ok but my legs were just kind of fatigued. I picked up the pace to see if I could wake them up a little but it never really happened for me. Once back at the start we took off for Loop 1, the blue loop. About 13.5 miles, this loop was pretty uneventful. Several people got off course though! The course, I thought, was well marked but you did have to pay attention in a few areas, especially on that first loop. Two of my friends got a little off course at this point, Matt Crownover and Shanna Armstrong both. ha It did not, however, impede their race. Matt would go on to drop the hammer and take second overall! Fantastic race, Matt! Shanna would end up finishing about 22 minutes ahead of me. Anyway, my legs continued to feel fatigued and just didn't want to go. At the start of the second loop, the yellow one, which was 10.4 miles, I became very apathetic about the whole thing. Very strange for me. I absolutely could NOT force myself to run much. I just felt like crap and didn't want to do anything. I can only assume that since this was my third 50 miler in the last month and a half, it had finally taken somewhat of a toll on me. I guess that's understandable! So I continued to plod along and made it back around to the main headquarters again. I fueled up with an oatmeal creme pie and a chocolate Boost and headed out again. The third loop, or white one was the longest for me! It was 12.8 miles and it just seemed to drag on and on and on. Once I was about 5 miles from making it back around to the headquarters on the white loop Matt came up on me while running the last part of his last loop. I couldn't believe how far he had moved ahead of me! I finally started getting a little spring in my step thanks to some good music on my Ipod. I never listen to the damn thing but decided to later in the day because I was still so bummed out. I made it back to the start and again drank a Boost and ate an oatmeal creme pie. The last loop, the red one, was 8.9 miles. I was actually able to run most of this loop which helped make up a little lost time. I crossed the finish line at 10:37. Not a bad time, just not the best for me. Kevin was standing at the finish line with my buckle and a firm handshake. I really enjoyed watching him in action. He seemed to take a very active role in everything and made the race his own. I was really happy with everything.
So in was a really good race. I am still a little aggravated with the amount of apathy that I had but was glad to have forced myself to get it done. The last three races that I have done have been pretty technical and have kept my mind really engaged. This race, while beautiful and diverse scenery-wise, had no technical aspect to it at all. It was flat dirt trails and some areas with fairly deep sand. Each one of the loops had something different to offer though which was pretty cool. One loop boasted scrub trees and sand, while the next offered a gorgeous wooded area with cedar trees and fine dirt, then another was through some tall, waving, grassy fields. I was really surprised at the amount of soft, deep sand out there. I did not expect that. I think overall that the lack of any technical trails was what contributed to my lack of interest. I do, however, want people to know that the race was really, really well run though. The aid stations were top notch with friendly, helpful people and...........they had BROWNIES! Always one of my favorites! Kevin Boudreaux, again, did a really fantastic job running the whole thing! Thanks again to everyone that helped out!
And a big shout out to Dave who got his first 50 mile finish! Congrats, Dave on a job well done!
Matt, congrats on second place! Way to kick some trail!!
Ok, so 26 days until Rocky Hill Ranch! 4 down, 1 to go! Peace!


Dave said...

Mark, Congrats on a really good time at the Grasslands 50...even if you didn't give a crap.;-)

It was really cool for you being there to congratulate me on my 1st 50...what a great time I had. Your mugshot even made the blog...and then my daughter ask why is he the naked runner...on what fun.:-)

Anonymous said...

Way to go Mark!!!!

AnthonyP said...

You are a 50 mile machine ! Well done.

Rick Gaston said...

Interesting, Mark maybe you are tired deep down, mentally and physically. Like you said, it's starting to take it's toll. That's a lot of 50-milers in a short time frame. Well one more to go and you can rest for a bit. Way to gut this one out.