While on a recovery run two weeks after running the Jemez 50K in New Mexico, I got suckered in to another 50K. I was registered for the 25K. Then John said he was thinking about the 50K but wondered who might carpool to the race with him. I said, "Hey I'll run it with ya!"
Waking up at 3 AM to drive the 100 miles for the 6 AM start was not something I was looking forward to. But the drive is not too bad after getting off the Interstate in San Marcos, and John is good company. We laughed and talked about Hank, the Helotes Bicycle shop owner for most of the hour and a half! Not many people you can talk and laugh about for that long. Hank is a character, very knowledgeable and a great guy who really loves what he does.
We arrived at Rocky Hill Ranch just outside of Smithville,Tx at about 5:30 AM. Enough time to prepare our gear and hit the port-o-potty. I parked a few yards away from the start so we could access our ice chest after the first of two loops. At check in (at the honky tonk like saloon) we were greeted by Robert Heynen and race director Joe Prusaitus who referred to us as the "San Antonio connection".
Hells Hills was a make up for the previously canceled Rocky Hill Ranch trail race. Joe was putting this race on free of registration fees! No shirt and only water at the aid stations.
6 AM, and 48 runners were off. The course is almost all dirt single track, some rocks, winding and weaving through tall pine trees for the most part. there are many short up and downs with sharp turns. This is a change to what we are used too. Very nice course with plenty of shade though. At one point we do run through an open cow pasture with grazing cows and bulls!
I started nice and easy but accelerated to catch up with Diana Heynen who had about 6 runners following her and just chatting away. John and I talked to her some about Jemez and up coming races. After the first aid station we parted ways. I had started the race with only one hand held and decided not to take my camel back. This worked well for the first loop. I munched on baked sweet potatoes and power bar gel blasts carried in my waist pack.
At the completion of the first loop I hit the ice chest at the truck and drank an ensure, ate half a chicken/cheese tortilla wrap and packed some quesadillas in my waist pack. I also drank a 16 oz bottle of water, re-filled my hand held with water and ULTRA endurance drink. I decided to take an extra bottle of water in the other hand just in case. Boy was I glad I did! I refilled this bottle and my hand held at every aid station on the second loop.
The heat was starting to take it's toll on me. I was also taking in 2 succeed electrolyte capsules every hour. The shady trail helped but the heat was still very much a factor in slowing me down. I don't know the exact temperature but I know it was in the 90's by 11:00 AM. My stomach was giving me problems at about this time. I was forced to walk slowly when it was really upset. Then after the last aid station with about 5 miles to go my right ankle/foot was aching so much it hurt to even jog slowly, especially on rocks. This pain in my foot is due to an old injury. I limped in at 6:42 and change.
I went back to the truck, showered with water I brought in gallon jugs, changed my shirt/shorts, grabbed a beer (Shiner Bock) and sat on the Honky Tonk's porch to wait for John while visiting with other runners.
Man, I love these trail runs.