XTERRA Bluff Creek Ranch Trail Run

I signed up this race initially hoping it would be good speed work for the Cactus Rose 50 miler.  And if I planned on doing the Wild Hare again, I could check out the course again.  I had run the “Warda Cardiac” in 2009 (now the Wild Hare), which was my first ultra or marathon, so it was a bit fun to go back again.  In 2009, it had rained for a couple days and was pretty muddy, which was an interesting way to be broken in to 50k’s.  Well sure enough, returning to Bluff Creek Ranch this year, we get another deluge of rain.  It has barely rained at all the past few months, so the one day it decides to rain is the day I do a trail run.  Well, it is what it is, and it makes it that much more epic.

So as I said I was hoping this race would be good speed work training, but the Fates had other ideas.  I had tossed around the idea of finishing in 2:30 for 24k.  This goal was certainly reasonable for me if I had a good day or good weather; unfortunately I had neither!  I had probably 3-4 hours of sleep, felt sick the day before, and additionally I had run more the previous 4 weeks than I ever have.  And of course the rain which makes even easy courses such as these challenging.  In fact, I almost didn’t go since I felt kind of crappy, but decided to tough it out, since that what I normally do.

Arrived at the park where the monsoon quickly started, and was quite cold.  Initially had one tech shirt one, but that soon changed to two.  Brought in my umbrella to check in where another runner joked if I would be bringing that along? Actually not a bad idea but that made me realize I had a parka, which I have never used for 4 years, in my trunk.  So I tossed that on, which definitely helped keep the rain off. However after the first 2-3 miles, I was overheating so I dropped it off at the first chance (didn’t get it back… but can’t say I’m too upset since that’s the only time I’ve used it).  Oh yea, not even a half mile in, I went to lift up my left foot… but my shoe got stuck in the mud! Think that was a first for me but that gave me a good lesson to make sure your shoes are REAL tight in muddy conditions as these.

Well the miles trudged on but my heart rate was just gettin’ too high and I wasn’t even running hard.  Probably just a combination of all the events, but any chance of speedwork was out the window, so I just tried to sit back and enjoy the 15 miles.

The course seemed easier than I remember — not sure if that’s because I was only doing 2 laps, or I had gotten stronger or what.  But afterwards one of the race organizers told me they took out a section or two that was “too tough” due to the rain.  So, maybe that helped, but some extra matting/carpet in some areas definitely helped, along with my Asics Trail Sensors which seemed to give me much better traction than my Gel Nimbus, since I just finally got a pair of trail shoes.  Only a few spots that were bad, but mostly just alot of splashing around in puddles and mud for 15 miles., and actually one of the spots where I almost bit it a couple times was on concrete and not mud.

The rest of the race was rather unremarkable for me… I finally started getting warmed up and felt good around mile 12 or so but nevertheless I got 2nd in my age group finishing in a shade over 3 hours… but that loses some luster since there were only 2 of us! Hardly an impressive time but OK considering how crappy I felt most of the race.  Lots of hardware considering a small amount of runners, and a lot of people got a BOX of Gu and multiple t shirts; so it was well organized and nice swag. Well that concludes what may be an over-detailed report for only 24k… next race is cactus.

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One Response

  1. […] “Arrived at the park where the monsoon quickly started, and was quite cold.  Initially had one tech shirt one, but that soon changed to two.  Brought in my umbrella to check in where another runner joked if I would be bringing that along?” by ultra.tortoise @ A Trail Runner’s Running Blog […]

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