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Rock/Creek Race Team Member, Owen Bradley, Finishes Bandera 100k

Rock/Creek Race Team Member, Owen Bradley, starts his 2011 race calendar with a successful finish at the Bandera 100k in Bandera, TX. He finished 12th overall out of 129 finishers and 1st overall for his age group with a time of 10:34:57. With trail running legends like Roes, Mackey, Grossman, Bryant, and Olmstead, Owen shares his race experience in a report below. We look forward to a great running year with the Rock/Creek Race Team!


image010” They do not call Bandera Texas “Hill Country” for nothing. There are several relatively short steep hills that scatter the course, which is two loops of a 50k. The field of runners looked like an all- star game line up, with Roes, Mackey, Grossman, Bryant, and Olmstead. Eric Grossman did not show up, and Roes took the ‘stop short’ option and just ran 50k. It is worthy to note that his 50k time was much faster than any of the true 50k finishers. I had in my head that I would be able to gain some running wisdom from the greats during the run via casual conversation. Man, was I wrong. The all stars when out like a 10k and I found myself running solo. Not too long after mile two, the eventual overall female winner, Liza Howard, would pass me and I stayed with her and we ended up running most of the first 50k together. This helped pass the time and may have cost me in the end….

…My plan was to run the first 50k within the time range of 4:45 to 5:00 and then maintain, if not increase my pace slightly for the second half of the race, since all great races are run at negative splits. Even with trying to slow down during the last two miles of the first loop, I completed my first 50k, 4:30, which was a faster than I needed to go. I ate a banana at the turnaround and headed back out.

The next 22 miles would end up being a real gut check that took me to my limits and beyond. I started running with Norman Decelles, who was just returning to the scene after several stress factures. We conversed for the first couple of miles then he pressed ahead. At this point, I think I had one hour to spare to achieve my goal of running under ten hours. Then the leg fatigue began to set in (possibly due the sub four hour 50k four weeks earlier and the 39 mile training run the weekend after that). I ended up hitting the next aid station, about five miles from the 50k mark, in one hour. There was no crew access so Hannah (HP) could not be there to offer encouragement. So it was off the Chapas aid station at mile 42.

Those next 5.4 miles were super rough, plagued with walking and jogging. I arrived at the Chapas aid station beat down and wanting to bail. Part of this was due needing to eat something other than Hammer Gel and Endrolytes. HP wisely gave me two small quesadillas squares and some banana. I headed out knowing that if I could make it to Crossroads, HP would pace me for a five mile stretch that would then leave me with only 9 miles to the finish. This 5.85 mile stretch was another painful one. Not even my music could get me going, I got to where I would jog 10 minutes and walk 5. Toward the end of the leg I got to running again and arrived at Crossroads aid station at around 7:40. I had some more quesadillas and HP saddled up for a 4.9 mile trek. It was good to talk with someone and share in my mindset. We made a slow go of it, with trying to jog for 5 minutes at a time. I after a slow jaunt, I got back to the Crossroads aid station at exactly nine hours. I had only covered 22 miles in four hours and thirty minutes, wow! The same amount of time I ran the first 50k in.

I knew if I wanted to hit my adjusted goal of under 11 hours I was going to have to get busy. Fear was my new motivator. The next aid station was 4.2 miles away and I made up my mind that I was going to run the whole way. Success, I was able to run again. I arrived at 9:40 and grabbed a fresh package of strawberry GU chomps HP had left me and headed out without a headlight, since I was going to gamble with darkness to try and make me go faster. The last 4.25 miles to the finish had two of the largest hills on the course, nevertheless I was going to run all the way except for the two steep inclines. I got in a steady groove on the last stretch and went hard on the final downhill. My desire to finish resulted in me sprinting the last half of a mile, which in turn forced two cameramen off the trail and resulted in the blurry nightfall picture taken by HP, as I zipped to the finish in just under 10:35. ”


Simple Summary:
Overall Bandera was a good experience. The course is very well marked and is runnable, despite the large number of loose rocks. I was pleased with my performance, but I hit some rough patches from mile 31 to 53, then I get scared I was not going to break 11 hours and ran the last 9 miles hard. I ended up 12th overall and 1st in my age group. 10:34:57. Not bad, but I know I can run a 100k faster.

Event Summary:
-100k, 50k, and 25k events all starting at 7:30am.
-100k had 171 starters and 129 finisher (75%)
-100k runners got a nice Champion brand zippered hooded sweater shirt
-Silver belt buckle to all finisher in under 24 hours.
-Experienced race staff and aid station workers. Have been doing it for nine years.
-Clip timing (but not a chip start)
-Steep short climbs.
-Trails had plenty of loose rocks and cactus that left my legs torn up
-Town of Bandera (Population 957) has a true small town cowboy feel.
-USATF National Championship (which required an extra $30 USATF membership) which I did not partake in, since the money was only three people deep.

Owen’s Gear List for the 100k:
Clothing- As little as possible. Nike Men’s Dri-Fit Tempo shorts- 3 inch inseam
Gloves- Mizuno Breath thermo
Accessories- Small elastic waist belt to hold gels – by SPIbelt
Shoes- Brooks Cascadia trail shoes
Socks- Asics Trail Sensor Quarter Socks (foot specific design)
Water Bottle- Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus handheld bottle
Hydration- Mainly water with an occasional Nuun tablet
Electrolytes- Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes Pills, each hour
Nutrition- Hammer Gels, various flavors (mainly without caffeine) and Strawberry Gu Chomps with Caffeine, Bananas, Cheese Quesadillas,Pretzels