Well, running a 100-miler with an unhealed injury seems to be an almost certain recipe for a DNF. Ask Willie Lambert or me. We both went to Texas with a bum right foot and a severe lack of training for the past month, and it got the better of us. I dropped after 40 miles, and he dropped at 60. It was the right decision not to keep running (which would have done some real damage). We will both heal and live to train and race another day.
So I’m 6 for 7 consecutive attempts at Rocky. Not bad, given a “normal” 70% finish rate. So I’m still ahead of the odds. But in my mind, it just makes this year’s Rocky a 40-mile social training run. Last year’s painful debacle was different. Even though it was the most painful 100-miler that I’ve ever experienced (to date), I knew that I wasn’t doing any damage that would’ve kept me from running for very long. That’s why I persevered.
The rest of the Trail Nerd contingent did well, both veterans and beginners alike. We had five Century Consciousness Expansion Contenders, chomping at the bit and ready to plunge into the ethereal heights of triple-digit mileage mayhem. Four of them made it: Coleen Voeks, Nick Lang, Darin Schneidewind, and Danny Miller. And John Flagler made it to mile 82. Darin had never raced further than 50-kilometers, although he took third overall in that same 50K in October. He finished in great spirits in a time of 24:23. Danny Miller found out that 100-milers are a completely different animal than other races. He had the help of pacer James Barker the last 37 miles, and finished in 24:38. Coleen was probably the best-prepared newbie amongst all of them. Her disciplined and relentless training plan helped her to finish in great shape. She almost out-ran her pacer (Christie) the last couple of miles, trying to break 25 hours by running the last few miles at an 8-minute-per-mile pace. She almost did it…she finished in 25 hours and 26 seconds. Her decision to back-off slightly during the (unseasonal) heat of the day was a wise one. Debbie Webster had paced her earlier in the night, too. Nick hit it hard during the heat of the day and may have paid for it later. He had some “allergy issues” as well, and had a hard time seeing the course through almost-swollen-shut eyes. Laurie Euler kept him company and helped push him the last 20 miles of his first hundred. We also had Lee Crane, who finished his first fifty on the 50-mile course.
Rick Cook, Darin Schneidewind, and Gabe Bevan at the Pre-Race Briefing
Laurie and Nick
The veterans (other than Willie or me) did okay, too. Gabe Bevan smoked the course for 60 miles and was in 4th place for a while, until his back started giving him issues. Rick Mayo helped pace him through the rough spots. He finished in a very respectable 20:57. Rick Mayo paced him. Our chief Tejas Trail Nerd (Rick Cook) was not far behind Gabe, at 21 hours and change. He ran under an alias; a young woman’s name that had died of cancer last year, because that’s what Real Trail Nerds do. Gary Henry, back to heap revenge on a certain unsuspecting Texas Raccoon, finished with the help of Tony Clark, who paced him the last 40 miles. Tony survived Gary’s constant onslaught of random singing, poetic verbalizations, and linguistic lamentations.
Gary Henry dug deep for this one!
My son, Matt was a constant source of entertainment and also cooked some mean fajitas. The Trail Nerd rented shelters…we had three of them strategically located just a stone’s throw from the start/finish line, and just a little way away from the campground’s showers. Previous RR100 winner and super-100-veteran, Raul Flores was also on-call to help with advice for the team.
Matt's Fajita Fixin's
This race is a top-notch way to break into the triple digits for the first time. That’s why I keep coming back and I always bring others with me. The volunteers are wonderful. The food and support system is exceptional. And the race direction is flawlessly efficient. Joe Prusaitis certainly knows how to put on a quality event! Those of us that stuck around for the award ceremony brought home a special Texas Trinket for being one of the most interesting out-of-town groups.
People at the race couldn’t help but notice the Trail Nerds. We are now a Tribal Movement to be reckoned with! We’re like a well-meaning virus, spreading our message of camaraderie and infecting others with our fun-loving spirit.
By the way, I got a special "Pain in the Ass Award" for bitching about my foot during the race. Look for this award to get passed on to the next whiner.
And I want to thank everybody that donated to the American Cancer Society in my name. I made 95% of my goal prior to the race. It's one of the reasons that I ran with a screwed-up foot.
Debbie Webster and Coleen
Matt is cooking
Tejas Trail Nerds Rick Cook and Dawn
Willie and Rick
Pain in the Ass Award