This year every warning that the race website listed came true. It rained the night before and during the race. The high was 74 with 100% humidity and at Midnight it was 43 and dropping. The mud stuck to the bottom of your shoes and didn't come off until you started to run on wet, slippery rocks. I spent little time admiring the beauty of the Hill Country and more time watching the trail beneath me.
The race went off at 7:30am with the RD having to say "GO" twice because we were all standing around talking about how hot it was going to be. The first sign of crazy things to come happened around mile 11 at the Chapas Aid Station. My calf started to act up, so I quickly eat 2 Advil. Then one of the workers made the comment that the Arctic Blast that was ripping through north of us would be here in about 4 hours. I'm so glad that I packed my cold weather gear. We went through most of the course and were only about 2.5 miles away from the turn around when the first blast of cold came in. I was still running without a shirt and was dripping wet from the heat and humidity.
Coming in to the Start/Finish turn around in 7:14, I ran to my car and grab some gear for the cold. I changed under the tarps and then a thunderstorm came crashing in. In all, it cost me about 30 minutes of time before I left for the second loop.
I was around mile 45 when I had to turn on my light and started thinking about all the climbing and descending I would have to do at night. As soon as the thought rolled out of my head my calf muscle started to flare up again.
After popping more Advil, I started running from glow stick to glow stick. I would run until I couldn’t see one in the distance and then walk. As soon as I saw the next one, I would start to run again.
About an hour had past when the pain stopped and then I started to race from aid station to aid station. Nothing really exciting happened from this point on, really I just kept running.
I can say that the Volunteers and the food were outstanding. At Last Chance Aid Station I changed my batteries, had a grilled cheese with ham sandwich and you could even get a shot of your favorite adult beverage.
The last leg in was my slowest but at this time I knew I would finish and just wanted to enjoy the run. I never felt bad or experienced any low points other than my calf. I even finished with some gas in the tank. Bandera is a true test in Ultra Running. My time according to my watch was 16:14:11.
I have less than 3 weeks to heal for Rocky Raccoon.
If you think Bandera is tough, here is what the RD has coming.http://www.tejastrails.com/CactusRose.html