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The Duel Trail Race

Bandera 100 km Trail Run 2010 Race Report

You will be personally challenged at some point during an ultra, you just don’t know when.

Bandera-trail-run-bib-numbe

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of joining 600+ athletes at the Bandera trail run located just a short drive northwest of San Antonio on the varied terrain at the Hill Country Natural Area. The race had 100 km, 50 km, and 25 km pain/pleasure distances to choose from.

This would be my first 100 km attempt and an opportunity to test out pacing, gear, and nutrition prior to Rocky Raccoon 100 in another four weeks.

Arrival at HCEL

On Friday afternoon, the entire family arrived at the Hill Country Equestrian Lodge located 10 miles outside of the rustic small town of Bandera, Texas. This would be my family’s race headquarters for the next three days.

This was our first visit down to the area and the location was perfect for us. Our cozy little cabin was right next to the Hill Country Natural Area which hosted the Bandera trail run so it was extremely convenient for Wendy and Griffin to come out and cheer on us runners as well as eat, nap, and get out of the elements whenever they desired.

HCEL-cabin-suiteHCEL-suite-bedroom

Race Day

Bandera-100-km-trail-run-stA balmy 10F (per weather.com) kept many runners bunkered in their cars until a few minutes before the 7:30 am start. With five minutes to go, I jumped out of the car with my drop bags, gave Wendy and Griffin a kiss, and then scrambled a bit to get ready to run.

The first thought that came to my mind was, “Sh*t it’s cold.”

“5 seconds…4…3…2…1…Go!” – RD Joe Prusaitis

I am right behind the ninja.

I am right behind the female ninja.

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

The fast folks at the front took off running down the trail. I on the other hand, began a nice speed walk and started up a conversation with Dallas local Mike K. We continued to keep the banter at a high level and our pace remained conversation friendly until five or so minutes passed, then we too decided to get the feet moving a bit faster to get this two loop journey movin’.

100 km Loop Elevation Profile - Click to Enlarge.

100 km Loop Elevation Profile - Click to enlarge.

My strategy for the day was to put my Rocky Raccoon 100 mile pacing strategy to the test. This consisted of a 8 minute run / 2 minute walk cycle for a mere 62 miles. Although not the ideal course to test this strategy due to the climbs and technical nature of the course, I decided to do it anyways since it would be a simply way to hold myself back from running too hard and not able to recover in four weeks for Rocky.

The unique challenge with this course is that every climb and descent is complete covered with rocks of every size. From pebbles, boulders, to sheets of rock similar to stairs. Some were fixed, some loose. The truth is, if you aren’t paying attention, you will go down and it will hurt.

Most of the flatter areas had fairly solid footing on mostly single-track trail so that provided a bit of a mental break and a chance to turn up the speed. The first climb started within the first mile and brought us to the top of Sky Island. This was a special start to the day because the sun was climbing and it brought to life the low-lands below. Some of the lower areas had a white fog or haze blanketing itself. It was a view you would see in an oil painting. A great visual to begin this full day of running.

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

Over the first five miles it was up…rocks…down….rocks….run…up…rocks…down…rocks…run.

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

Do You Hear Something?

A bit of a surreal moment occurred around mile four. We are completely surrounded by rugged nature and remoteness but with a bit of attention you could hear music coming from somewhere…out there. We would eventually find out the music was actually coming from aid station #1 – Nachos (mile 5.60).

After heading out of Nachos, you work your way to the #8 trail which contains sections with a bit less than ideal running surface as this video highlights.

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

Chapas – mile 11.04

Bandera-Chapas-aid-station

The flatter section of the course began around the five mile mark and continued through aid station #2 Chapas (mile 11.04). Chapas was where I saw Wendy and Griffin for the first time. It was sooooo great to see them, it is almost hard to explain. Griffin was lovin the dirt, rocks, and trucks. He was in heaven. Wendy and I chatted a bit while I got rid of my jacket and tights. A quick kiss and I was back on the trail. What a rush it was to see them.

Bandera-chapas-2

bandera-chapas-Gbandera-chapas-3

The next five-ish flatter miles contained pleasant single track and some fire roads. It was a nice area to create leg turnover. I stuck to my run/walk cycle regardless of the nice flat section teasing me to continue running. I had to repeat to myself, “this is for Rocky, this is for Rocky.”

A body assessment 12+ miles into the race and my mind, body, and spirit felt great. A long day yet ahead but this was a good start. My nutrition plan for the day was HEED and Endurolytes from Hammer Nutrition. I also included Organic Food Bar – Protein until my stomach said otherwise. My stomach was happy so far.

Fun to Watch

Around mile 16 while running in an open field on a fire road, two women were running and running hard. I think they were running the 50 km race. They ran stride for stride. It was impressive to watch.

Cross Roads – mile 16.89 and 21.85

Shortly after this impressive display of fitness, I came upon the only water crossing on the course. It was maybe 10 meters across and had 1/2 inch to 4 inches of water flowing depending where you stepped. Well, I found the 4 inch sections. Both feet were completely wet. I felt like a true trail runner now until a quarter mile later when I came up on a trail running friend (Brad) and his feet were completely dry. Scratch ‘trail runner’, replace with ‘idiot’. Oh, well.

Brad and I chatted as we rolled into the Cross Roads aid station at mile 16.89. There was Wendy and Griffin again! Awesome. A short chat, kiss, and I was off. Griffin, well…more cars, trucks, rocks, sticks, and dirt. Happy as can be.

Runner falls on bottle while drinking during the running.

Bottle lodged in runner's mouth after a fall while running.

bandera-crossroads-2

Brad and I continued our journey out of Cross Roads. Brad was having some knee sensations and had to walk a bit in the flatter sections. We hung together for the next few miles until at mile 20 I had the honor of my own knee tweak.

Brad began to move on without me as this section contained two fair climbs (Three Sisters and Trail #6) in which he could glide the downhills and I was extremely cautious due to my left knee. I adjusted my pacing strategy to a 7 minute run /3 minute walk cycle. This helped a lot and let the knee recover a bit more. I was able to hit the run cycles without any discomfort but had to take the steep, rocky downhills a bit cautiously.

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

At mile 21.85 I entered the Cross Roads aid station again. This is one of the major aid stations you visit twice per loop. I refilled the bottles and a quick kiss as Wendy and Griffin were heading back to our little cabin for lunch and nap time.

bandera-crossroads-g

Three Rock Littered Climbs

I was off for 10-ish miles which contained three solid climbs (Lucky Peak, Cairn’s Climb, and Boyle’s Bump).

Working through each of the three climbs/descents caused me to chuckle after a while. Dude, there are rocks everywhere. Finally after descending Boyle’s Bump you are dumped out on a fire road that takes you back to the The Lodge (start/finish area).

I entered the aid-station, refilled my bottles, and tried to regroup myself for another loop. Within five minutes I was heading back out with a running time of 6:45:00.

Loop 2 – Race Against the Sun

Heading back out on the fire road is when the calculations began. How far can I get before it gets dark? My estimation was the Cross Roads (half-way) aid station if things went well. Time to get’r done!

Body assessment was still showing a thumbs up. Energy levels were still high, stomach was happy, and peeing every 1.5-2 hours. My legs still really felt strong.

I worked my way up and down Sky Island and Ice Cream Hill while executing my slightly revised pacing plan whenever possible.

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

Nachos and Chapas- mile 36.60 and 42.04

In and out of Nachos (mile 36.60) aid-station still feeling good. I just kept executing the plan. The process. The process.

Before long I arrived at Chapas (mile 42.04) where I grabbed my jacket from earlier in the morning and my new light (Petzl MYO XP) that I was going to try for the first time. I also tossed into my pack a spare smaller headlamp. Being light-less in the middle of nowhere was not something I was interested in experiencing at this time. The sun was still up so the MYO XP remained off but I would put my jacket on and take it off depending on what side of the smaller hills I was running. Sun side – jacket off. Shade side – jacket on. There was a noticeable difference.

A little ways outside of Chapas was where I took my only digger of the day. It was a slight, non-technical downhill section in which I snagged a rock and wouldn’t let it go. After an acrobatic tumble and body scan, I was back running. My hands took the brunt of the fall but my running gloves saved them.

Cross Roads – mile 47.89 and 52.85 – Lights Out and I Hear Voices

I was now back at the water crossing. This time, I actually looked a bit closer at where I stepped and made it across dry. Yeah, the brain is still working!

bandera-crossroads-night

Into Cross Roads (mile 47.89) I saw Wendy and Griffin the last time before the finish. I made it just before darkness set in. I put on another long sleeve tech shirt and grabbed some hand warmers to toss inside my gloves. Those hand warmers were nice!

bandera-trail-cross-2Bandera-crossroads-G-2

Leaving Cross Roads, my lights were ON, hand warmers kicking in but I still felt a bit cold so I decided to move to a 8/2 cycle for a while to see if I could keep my body temp up. I also will admit, I felt a bit anxious running in the dark, alone, on some technical terrain, with the cold starting to set into my bones. Let’s focus and get this done. Fortunately my stomach, energy levels, and legs (besides the downhills with my left knee) felt great.

The mental chatter begins.

I worked my way through the Three Sisters and #6 Trail climbs and got myself back to my final Cross Roads (mile 52.85) visit.

In the Cross Roads tent, heaters were cranked and temps were comforting. Outside the tent, the temp was now 26 F and I had 10 miles with 3 gnarly climbs in the dark, by myself, with the cold starting to get to me. I contemplated dropping.

Help! and a Final Opportunity to Drop

There was one other runner (Chris R.) in the tent changing shoes and he had a pacer with him. I sat next to them and asked if they cared if I tagged along. They said, “no problem.” I felt some relief but still anxious…and still contemplated dropping.

The three of us exited the cozy aid-station and headed back on the trail. My upper body was freezing as we power walked down the trail. I would try and pull my jacket collar over my mouth to feel a bit of additional heat. I held onto my hand warmers like life lines. The cold was cracking me.

Within a quarter mile, my right heal screamed. A blister about the size of a thumb print on the outside of my right heal broke open. My entire heal burned with every stride. I said nothing to the guys in front of me. Do I turn back and drop? I can hardly walk. It’s flippin’ cold and I can barely put pressure on my right foot. Turn back? Turn back? Three big climbs! Turn back?

Instead of listening to my mental chatter I focused on the two bodies in front of me. Chris, I imagine could talk for days straight and I found out, was very familiar with the trail, so I knew I was with good company as long as I could keep up. Just follow them. Follow them.

No Stopping Now – To the Finish

Within another 1/4 mile the screaming heal was completely manageable. I was ready to finish. I was back in the game but still cold.

The final three rock littered climbs were a different experience at night verses the day. During the day, you could look up and see the thousands of rocks waiting and laughing at you as you progressed. It was somewhat visually intimidating. At night, you simply focused on the five feet in front of you and kept climbing until the trail flattened out. Rock by rock, step by step. I actually enjoyed the final three climbs. If only we didn’t have to go down the other side.

Heading down was a tip-toeing through the tulips kind of experience. Chris and his pacer would disappear quickly on the descent and they weren’t even running. During the flatter sections, I would start running and chase the headlamps down to get back in their shadow.

Finally after descending Boyle’s Bump, I was back on the fire road and on my way to my first 100 km and FINISH with a time of 14:40:00. I was 45th/111 that finished (147 started the day). After receiving my first Buckle from Joe and giving big hugs and kisses to Wendy and Griffin, it was time to warm up. I was flippin’ cold.

Full Results

bandera-trail-run-buckle

What an experience!

Post race homemade stew with Griffin.

Post race homemade stew with Griffin.

Garmin Data

My Garmin Forerunner 305 had approximately 7200 feet of of gain/descend for the 100 km course. This included using an elevation correction tool to try and get a more accurate number.

Highlights and Lessons

  • Amazing volunteers and race organizers (Joe P. and company)! – What can I say besides they went HUGE. Thank you!
  • Family – It was extra special having Wendy and Griffin at the race. Whenever I saw them, my energy and spirits rose considerably. They inspired me!
  • Chris R. and his Pacer – Thanks for letting me tag along during those last 10 miles. I am forever grateful for your kindness and banter.
  • Consistent Energy – I had the most consistent energy levels I have ever had in an ultra endurance event.
  • Petzl MYO XP – The Petzl MYO XP highlighted the technical rocky sections with ease. I didn’t even use the highest light setting.
  • Trail Shoes – My feet were fairly unaffected by the rocks. I think this was due to wearing trail shoes (Montrail Mountain Masochist). From my past years of running on the trails with road shoes, I know I would have felt much more discomfort at the end of the 62 mile day on this terrain. I am sold.
  • injinji socks – My toes were happy as can be. No blisters. I do have to address the outside heal area where a blister did occur on each foot.
  • Going mental – I need more mental techniques to get out of the funk.
  • More Clothing Options – It would be nice to have more clothing options in my drop bags at the end of the day especially if temps are supposed to be cold. I think a warm core would have helped a lot when I hit my mental wall.
  • Blisters – Need to consider taking care of them when I feel the burn and before they start screaming. I had a blister on the outside of each heal. No other blisters.

Congrats to everyone that decided to play on the trails Saturday.

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com



About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

13 Responses to “Bandera 100 km Trail Run 2010 Race Report”

  1. on 14 Jan 2010 at 9:34 am Jason

    David,

    Nice report. Good job for hanging in there. Rest up and see you in Huntsville.

  2. on 14 Jan 2010 at 9:53 am steph

    Great report – Nice job on the race……Can’t wait to hear all about your successes at Rocky!!!

  3. on 14 Jan 2010 at 1:59 pm David P

    Way to go, Dave! Awesome achievement!

  4. on 14 Jan 2010 at 2:08 pm David Hanenburg

    Jason – Thanks man! Congrats to you as well.

    Thanks Steph! Rocky shall be a special challenge. Time to get that space between-the-ears ready.

    Thanks DP!

  5. on 14 Jan 2010 at 2:36 pm Mike Krejci

    You are going to tear it up at Rocky! Bandera is an animal and you passed that test incredibly well. Congrats, Dave!

  6. on 14 Jan 2010 at 4:16 pm David Hanenburg

    Thanks Mike! Way to be tough for a loop+. Digestive issues are no fun. I look forward to to seeing you out at Rocky!

  7. on 14 Jan 2010 at 7:15 pm Derek

    Great job in tough conditions now on to Rocky. I think you will do great. Enjoy the rest and see you next month.

  8. on 14 Jan 2010 at 8:41 pm David Hanenburg

    Derek – Thanks bro! It will be interesting to see how my body responds to the Bandera-Rocky double. See ya in a little over three weeks! Yikes. :)

  9. on 15 Jan 2010 at 8:28 pm Julianne

    Great report David! And congratulations. You did outstanding. Really well paced and well run.

    Julianne

  10. on 16 Jan 2010 at 2:00 pm David Hanenburg

    Thanks Julianne. I am grateful for the mind-body-spirit cooperation throughout the day. :)

  11. on 02 Feb 2010 at 8:54 am Mark

    Great race and report David. I actually ran with Chris R for a few miles at Cactus Rose – he’s a great guy. See you in Huntsville.

  12. on 02 Feb 2010 at 9:30 am David Hanenburg

    Mark – Thanks! It was really a fun day. Chris is definitely a great guy. Within moments of meeting, you just know. I think he is going to be crewing out at Rocky as well.

    Safe travels to the race. See ya on the trail.

  13. […] is that every climb and descent is complete covered with rocks of every size… Full report at EnduranceBuzz.com Written by David Hanenburg VN:F [1.1.7_509]please wait…Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes […]

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