Palo Duro 50K (30 mile) Trail Run

I ran my first 50K trail run this past weekend. It is the longest run that I have done in my life.  I ran from 7 AM in the morning until 2:44 PM. My total time on the course was 6 hours and 44 minutes.

The run started in the dark.  I was really excited to do this run.  My friend Stephanie had told me that this trail run was really cool.  When we started out of the starting gate it took about a quarter of a mile before we could all start running.  It was a congested group of runners with flashlights and head lamps shuffling along down a path that got narrower and narrower until it was single track.  For a few seconds I felt like I was in the crowed exiting ACL on Sunday night.

As we ran through the early pre-dawn I was in awe of how the colors of the canyon walls started to slowly fill with color.  I was running with a green flashlight and I felt like Flash the Green Lantern as I hopped and danced over an occasional rock on the red dirt trail. I only hoped to have this much energy at mile 25.

I ran the first six mile loop without any effort.  I was amazed that I had just completed a 10K and did not break a sweat.  The conditions for the run were just perfect.  It was not too hot or too cold and the sky was clear.  The trail was moist from several inches of rainfall.  There were some muddy spots but I did not get any mud on my shoes during the run.

There many signs along the trail.  One of the ones that I really got was

Adversity does not build character, Adversity reveals character



I got loopy at about mile 25.  I felt my feet hurting and I started to walk up really low hills.  I felt like stopping.  I kept running towards my last visit to the los locos senoras aid station.  My first trip through I did not stop to appreciate the disco music.  After I ran the down and back loop as I approached the aid station the third time I heard the music and I told myself to lighten up and I started to dance my way into the aid station.  One thing that I started to realize as I ran was that it is really easy to focus on what is wrong with your tired body, but it takes a good positive attitude to keep running.



I was about three miles from the finish when I met a girl that was walking in the opposite direction away from the finish.  I recognized her because I had passed her earlier because she had run the 20k.  She told me that I was almost finished and that there was only one mile to go.  I knew that this was not true, but I made my body believe it.  I knew that I was about 2 miles from the finish but I decided that I would run really fast until I crossed the finish line.  I remembered the speed training that I had done in August with RunTex and how I ran from mile zero to the Barton Creek Bridge and back really fast.  I thought that this would be a chance to do a stress run so I started to build up my speed.

I finished the race strong, but I was really tired when I sat down.  I was really inspired to cheer on all of the 50 mile runners as they passed by as I watched.  It took me a half an hour to get my shoes and socks off.  My leg muscles were almost cramping.  I was glad that they held out for the 30 miles.

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