Monday, October 17, 2011

Palo Duro 50 Mile - 2011

I drove down Friday afternoon with Neil and Edgar. We got to the park around 8 PM and the gates were closed. So we camped outside the park in a little side camp ground. We got up at 5:30, broke camp and drove into the park. By the time we got parked it was 6:30 so we only had 30 min till the race starts. We picked up our packets, got out bags setup at bag drop and got to the starting line right as the race started. In such a rush I didn’t have a t-shirt with me so I had to run in the race shirt. At the start it was 50 degrees.

Miles 1-3 10:56 Ave. We started out on a single track trail so we got caught in traffic. Probably a good thing as it felt super easy. It was dark for the first 4 miles. At about mile 3.4 we hit the first aid station and the 50K runners split off from us and we had room to move.

Miles 4-6 9:39 Ave. I felt good and no more traffic from 1st and 2nd aid station. I took my first gel at mile 6. The mile 6 aid station would yell when they would see anyone and you could hear them from a mile away.

Miles 7-9 10:21 Ave. The sun had come up enough to turn the light off. Right before the mile 9 aid station I tripped on a rock sticking out of the ground and I went down. This was right before we had to go down the stairs. For the rest of the race every time I passed someone they would comment because my shirt was dirty. They would ask if I went down. I didn’t understand this question. It’s a trail race of course I went down. If you don’t go down then you aren’t running hard enough.

Miles 10-12.5 9:36 Ave. This is the most runnable section of the course. I picked it up here and the overall female winner caught me here and we would go back and forth over the next 2 loops.

First Loop 2:07

Miles 13-15 10:05 Ave. I had planned to slow down a little each loop as the temps rise. I was planning on 11 min pace on this loop so I am very happy with this pace. I am starting to pass some of the 50K runners as they ran a 6 mile loop first.

Miles 16-18 10:06 Ave. Still happy with how I feel and my pace. We are running in more sun but the temps are still OK.

Miles 19-21 10:40 Ave. I keep stopping at each aid station and grab a couple of items to eat. I am still doing 2 gels per loop.

Miles 22-25 9:52 Ave. Again the last section is the most runnable. Good pace and the overall female winner is pushing me a little from behind. Every time she passes me as I stop at an aid station I figure she is either going to leave me or she is going to wear out and I will catch her. It is always a little push for me to beat the overall female winner.

Second Loop 2:09 - 4:16 Overall

Miles 26-28 11:32 Ave. It is all out hot now. I hope to hold 11:30 pace on this loop. Good luck as I can feel I am starting to cook. The legs still have plenty left in them.

Miles 29-31 11:36 Ave. I am holding on and pouring water on my head at each aid station. I am taking one Endurolyte every hour. My handheld lasted 15 miles before I had to refill it the first time. I am refilling it at each water stop now. I have it filled with Gatorade and ice.

Miles 32-34 12:02 Ave. I slowed down a little at this point. This is where the 50K sounds like a good idea. It would be nice to be sitting around with a burger and a beer right now.

Miles 35-37.5 11:40 Ave. A little better here but this is the easy section with a little bit of shade. I did catch back up with the overall female and passed her for the last time. As I finished the third loop I felt good and I knew if I ran smart a sub 10 hr. was mine. I figured a sub 10 was a tough goal for me all along. I figured I was more likely to run sub 11. Enough for a Western States qualifier.

Third Loop 2:26 - 6:42 Overall

Miles 38-40 11:37 Ave. My goal this loop is to run sub 13 min pace and even if I run 15 min I will still hit my goal. I find it is hard to make it 3+ miles between aid stations with my one handheld.

Miles 41-43 13:11 Ave. Drinking all I can at aid stations to get me from one to the next.

Miles 44-46 13:24 Ave. At some point I am doing all the funny math in my head and thinking I can go sub 9:20 for the race but after the last 6 miles it looks out of the question. But it looks like I have a shot at sub 9:30 if I hold it together. The last mile here I am being chased down by a guy in a red shirt. He is closing fast and all bets are off once my ego joins the race.

Miles 47-50 10:15 Ave. So I hit the last aid station behind a guy in a black shirt and the red shirt guy comes in behind me. We all go thru the shower to cool down and both of these guys get out of the aid station right in front of me. Black shirt goes easy but red shirt guy is moving and has a pacer wearing jeans. I get behind red shirt guy and see if I can hold on. Once I get going I feel like I can redline at this point and figure if a fly by him with 3+ miles to go he will either go with me and blow up. I figure if all else fails if I can stay close I can out kick him the last ¼ mile which is on the street. After a ½ mile I dropped him and got out of his site so he wouldn’t chase. I kept pushing the whole way to see what I could do.

Fourth Loop 2:37 - 9:19 Overall

Total - 9:19:12
I finished 3rd Masters and 10th overall.

This race went much better than I expected. This was supposed to be a training run for Cactus Rose 50. After how well this went I will probably skip Cactus Rose and work on my speed for some shorter road races. I am still sore 2 days later but that is what they call DOMS. I think my lower mileage training for Lakefront caused my legs to be a little undertrained for this distance. Edgar, Neil and I had a great time. Edgar ran 7:43 and third overall and Neil ran 10:0x and finished with a beer in his hand. That would have made my run better. We drove back that night and I will be back next year. I am still learning not to race Ultras and just enjoy them. I will let the time and place sort itself out. My real talent still probably lies on the road but time will tell. I am still a little scared of running 100 miles.


  1. Thanks for this, Nick, this was my dinner reading tonight. Unbelievably impressed you could do this just 2 weeks after Lakefront. Great job!

  2. Congratulations on your race! I love the term "redline", don't know why.

  3. Awesome report & race! I came to your blog to read your WS100 report and decided to start with this one. Will you do PDTR again this year? I'm doing the 20k and then CR100 the following weekend.