Trailrunning race Tips
by 10k Tony · October 13, 2011
A few of us know the details of the trails at Hill country State Natural area in Bandera, TX and the races held there. But none can explain them better, and in more detail, with what’s required to have a good run out there, like Chris Russell. Following is the first of Chris’ tips on running at Bandera. The Cactus Rose races in particular.
As someone who has done Cactus Rose 3 times (and some would say foolishly so) with a variety of success (one slow finish, one DNF and one fast for me finish) and because we have several people doing Cactus for the first time I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned over the years. Rather than send one massively long email with all the lessons, instead every 2-3 days I will be sending out a different Cactus Rose tip to discuss. While some of the tips apply to any ultra these are geared towards Cactus.
Today’s tip – Take the Friday off before race. If you can’t then at least take the afternoon off. This may be the best thing you can do to ensure you have a good race. There are several reasons for taking the day off.
– The race starts at 5a. Due to the early start, adrenaline and worry it is unlikely that you will get a good night sleep. Consequently it is vital to get a good night sleepThursday night and if you don’t have to go to work then you can sleep in and get a full night’s rest. If you get a bad night sleep Thursday and Friday then it will be a long day.
– Because Cactus Rose is largely a self supported race (Joe does provide water) preparing drop bags (I will cover ideas on what to put in drop bag in future email) can be time consuming. Taking Friday off gives you time to make that extra trip to Academy, HEB and get your drop bags fully stocked and organized.
– You can attend the pre race briefing Fri afternoon. I always like to go up that afternoon and attend the pre race briefing. Even though I know the course it always seems that there is a new nuance. Additionally, every year Joe has changed entrance/exit into Crossroads Aid Station and I like to familiarize myself with it. I also use that time to drop off my drop bags (so I don’t have to do it at 4a the next morning). Finally, it is a lot of fun meeting and talking to other runners. It really helps me get excited about the race and builds the sense of camraderie when I see them on the course. I always spend Friday night at Bandera but even if you prefer your own bed it is stilll worth your time to drive up Fri afternoon, attend briefing, drop off drop bags etc.
– Finally, taking Fri off really lets you get focused on the race, leave work behind and will allow you to start the race in a calm and less than frazzled frame of mind. Last year I did not take the day off before Bandera 100k. I ended up having to stay late at work. I ran my Academy/HEB errands after work and didn’t get home until close to 10p. And I still had to pack my drop bags. Make a long story short, I slept very little, felt unprepared when I got to race and was low on energy all day. Based on how my training runs had been going I should have been able to break 14 hrs no problem. But because of showing up to the race tired and frazzled it just wasn’t going to happen.
Bottom line is everyone has been training hard so don’t risk having a bad race by working all day Friday if you can avoid it.
Next tip in the series will be on Cactus Rose Aid stations.