Brazos Bend 25k Recap
I ran the Brazos Bend 25k on Saturday, April 8. The 25k was one of multiple races on that day which included a 50-mile, 50k, and 10k.
I was able to pick up my packet in Houston a couple of days before, it was super easy-breezy. On race day eve I ventured to a new Italian eatery and got some pasta with fried eggplant and ricotta cheese, I enjoyed my dinner on the deck – it was perfect, chamber of commerce weather!
Once home, I prepped my things for the morning and headed to bed early… wake-up time was going to be early!
On race day morning the alarm went off at 3:00 am, I drank some warm lemon water and made my toast/almond butter/banana. Before I knew it, it was time to shower and get dressed. I made a matcha-maca latte for the road and was out the door by 5:00 am. The park was about 90 minutes away from the house and I wanted to get there an hour early as suggested by the race director.
The race started and ended near the pavilion at Elm Lake in the Brazos Bend State Park. Parking was .3 miles away from the start, they had a shuttle running to ferry people to and from the start. Near the pavilion was a line of port-a-cans, which seemed plentiful for this race (I didn’t have to wait in line), but what I later discovered was a real restroom not far away. There wasn’t a gear check at the start/finish…what you did was bring a chair and just leave your stuff on the chair, so that’s what I did… it was nice having a chair to sit in after the race.
Weather conditions that morning near perfect… temp at the start was 55 and a bit on the humid side (as is the case with mornings in Houston), the skies were clear and blue. As the day wore on, it did get warm out… but not too terribly so.
After a course briefing, which included a discussion about alligators, the race began promptly at 7:30 on a course that ran through the Brazos Bend State Park. The park is known for it’s population of alligators. The 25k was a single loop and on a mixture of surfaces… dirt, gravel, crushed rock and a little asphalt. It was very scenic and well marked.
There weren’t any spectators on the course, but plenty of park visitors who gave us a shout. As we did the out and backs, and the 50-mile/50k runners did their multiple loops, there was plenty of cheering on from my fellow runners.
There were 4 aid stations along the course, all manned with some enthusiastic volunteers. These were aid stations unlike anything that I have ever seen. They were full of anything that you would ever imagine craving on a long run. Also, the race is cup-less, so I carried my handheld with some Nuun in it to begin with, but just kept adding water. I took my Huma gels as I had practiced in training and ate some pretzels (that I finally got a chance to practice with). I even went a little off the reservation and indulged in some pickles and watermelon at the aid stations.
My finish time was 3:00:23. I really didn’t have a strategy going in… just run easy and take some walking breaks as needed. Initially, I was trying to take a break only at the aid stations, but after the first one I started taking walking breaks at every 2 miles.
At the finish, they handed out the finishers medals… and high 5’s!
There was plenty of water and Gatoritas (Gatorade blended with ice) to go around. I got changed into my Oofos and made my recovery drink and walked around for a bit. There was an Altra booth there, which I was happy to see, as I wanted to check out the new Escalante in person. I got to wear them for a good while and walk around in them… it took everything I had not to walk on to my car, they were so comfortable!
There was a food truck there serving breakfast tacos, burritos, and bowls. I got a breakfast bowl with scrambled eggs, potatoes, spinach, cheese, and hot salsa.
The racing festivities were put on by Trail Racing Over Texas. It really was a fun party atmosphere… I had such an enjoyable time. If you get a chance to run one of their races, you definitely should!
I made a few goals prior to the race weekend– let’s see how I did in the first race of the weekend:
- Have fun!! This is the most important goal… I mean seriously, why do it if it isn’t fun? Met – had an absolute blast.
- Run smart… listen to my body… don’t be afraid to take walking water breaks and slow it down if necessary. 28+ miles is a lot over 2 days. Check – adjusted how far I wanted to run before a walking break based on how I was feeling.
- Don’t get eaten by an alligator. There are a ton of gators at the park… someone ran the 10k course yesterday and counted 14 gators. I need to pay attention and be sure not to fall! I’m still here! I only saw one alligator after I was finished running and it was in the lake.
- Meet up with my fellow Amstel XLight ambassadors. My entry to the Vintage Park Half Marathon was comped due to my relationship with Amstel XLight (the race sponsor). Plus there was another Amstel Xlight ambassador running the Brazos Bend 50. I did see the one fellow ambassador who was running the 50k, I gave him a shout on the course.
- Recover well … foam roll, refuel, etc. I brought my stick and rolled out my calves after my run, and made sure to do a thorough rolling once I got home.
The Brazos Bend 50 is a great race. There are a variety of distances to choose from. It is very well supported. The atmosphere and vibe is definitely different than road races… I really enjoyed it. I would definitely include it on my race calendar again, and can’t wait to run another TROT race.