Summer 2015 & Habanero Hundred Relay
Summer 2015 was quite low key for me this year, which I knew it would be based on my school responsibilities. That is not to say that the summer was not interesting. I started off what I consider to be summer; the beginning of May, in Seattle with Apryle. After our two week visit, I flew back to Austin and immediately moved to my new home in Giddings, Texas to begin my first clinical rotation. I stayed in the town for three months, making periotic trips to Austin and going on other weekend adventures from time to time.
After my internship at Giddings Physical Therapy ended, Apryle and I made a trip to Guadalupe National Park and enjoyed a week together in the Chihuahuan Desert. After the brief visit, it was time for me to get back to work on my second internship in Columbus, Texas, a town that was 45 miles southeast of Giddings. This meant I had an hour commute each day, making for a long month of July. The only consolation was that July meant the Tour de France on television and the Hardrock 100 on irunfar’s livefeed. This allowed me to live vicariously through other endurance athletes and take my mind off of my current situation.
In August, I moved to Columbus, thanks to a very nice family (The Richters), who kindly allowed me to stay at there residence during the latter half of my second internship. Fortunately, the month of August was quite busy for me, making it go by quickly.
The first weekend, I made the trip to Galveston Beach meet up with Brian Campbell where we were able to get in a run and catch some waves. The next week, I flew from Houston International Airport to Detroit Airport, en route to Tiffin, Ohio, for the wedding ceremony of my good friends Craig and Emily. This was a great weekend, I had the honor to be a groomsman in their wedding, was able to celebrate my dad’s retirement after 40 years of service to the Tiffin City Schools system, and visit with family and friends that I had not seen in half a year.
As always, mom had the garden beds looking beautiful and full, and as my greatest mentor in all things horticulture, she and I remembered back to all the countless hours we spent cultivating the yard. In addition to swimming and gardening, dad put in some miles on the bike while I ran along side, just like old times. After a visit that was far too short, I flew back to Houston and made the drive back to Columbus to finish up the last few weeks of internship II. Fortunately the third week of August was the Habanero Hundred relay; which made it a little less depressing to leave my family behind again.
After an extremely hot summer of training, I was well prepared for the race. I typically ran around 5:30pm each day when temperatures soared above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I often drank 2 20 ounce handheld bottles per run in the exposed country roads of Colorado County. I typically held between 7:20-7:40 pace for most of my runs, but they were all on flat road, the gapping hole in my training was the absence of trails. It is difficult to call myself a trail runner anymore when 99% of my runs this summer were on an asphalt surface, but I worked with what I had.
Two days before the race, Columbus finally got some much needed rain and with it, a bit of a cold spell. I put in a slight taper; instead of running 10 miles the last two days before the race I ran 7 and 8 miles and explored the historic northeast portion of Columbus. Even put in some miles on the Old Spanish Trail, which was the first all-weather transcontinental highway to span the United states, from St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California.
Back to the Habanero Hundred, the relay team was formed by team TROT runners Jeff Ball and Tracie Akerhielm who got Anthony Jacobs, Ben Drezek, and myself on board for the August hundred miler back in May, shortly after the Horseshoe 50K. With a team of five established trail/ultrarunners, I think we all had high expectations for the race. Although, with Anthony running the Captain Karls series, Ben holding down a busy triathlon training schedule and Jeff and Tracie’s running a 50K the next weekend in Morin County California, the relay was not the highest priority. Fortunately, the other ambitions did not stop them from putting in a tremendous effort.
Once again Rob and Rachel Goyen put on an amazing and challenging race. Not sure that anyone else in Texas has ever had the audacity to put on a 100 mile race in the summer heat of south central Texas, but fortunately Rob and Rachel did and they executed the race flawlessly. Great aid-station support, plenty of ice and water, and a generally fun and friendly atmosphere. Not to mention the race was set in the beautiful 1,016.7 acre Post Oak Savannah of Buescher State Park.
Because I am not sure that this post is long enough already, allow me to delve into a lesson in ecology. Buescher State Park is located within a unique woodland environment known as the Lost Pines ecosystem. This area is unique because it contains a stand of Loblolly pines that are completely isolated from those found in east Texas. Additionally, this is the furthest west that these pines are found.
According to pollen records, the pines have survived for over 18,000 years in this area, only slightly longer than it would have taken me to finish this race solo. As many of the runners can attest, the soil is quite sandy and gravely, but beneath it is a water retaining clay. The soil mixture along with the pines adaptation to survive on 30% less water than eastern loblollies, have allowed the trees to flourish in this area.
I digress, back to the race, starting at high noon, our team took to the front early lead by our first runner Jeff Ball, who passed off the baton to Anthony Jacobs, who relinquished his time on the trail to Tracie Akerhielm, who handed off to me who then tagged in our fifth leg Ben Drezek. Without trying to think of any new transition phrases, our order changed up a bit in the next nine laps: Jeff, myself, Anthony, Tracie, Ben, Jeff, Anthony, Tracie, and myself.
The race went well for me, I was sure to hydrate well and keep eating a little between each leg. The heat was not a problem and much to my surprise I rather enjoyed running the trail at night. The headlamp and bellylamp illuminated the trail well, forget everything you were told about exterior illumination (Christmas Vacation reference) and try this technique. Because my watch broke I am forced to refer back to the timing system and race photographs that show the clock at the finish area to determine my times, thus accuracy might be off. However, I believe my times go something like: 48:16, 51:30, and 53:50. The important thing is that overall we went 12:33:30 and set the bar high for future Habanero Hundred Relays. Additionally, we accomplished an unspoken goal of not losing to Ian Sharman’s American 100 mile trail record of 12:48.
At any rate, thank you to all my teammates, you made it an enjoyable day! Thanks to Rob and Rachel Goyen for putting together another memorable event! Thanks to all the volunteers who made the race possible. Thanks to the my mother, father, future mother and father in-law and Apryle for their support of my running. Also thanks to anyone reading that has made it through the whole blog post to this point!
For those of you that enjoy statistics…
SUMMER RUNNING LOG
10 to 16
17 to 23
24 to 30
31 to 6
7 to 13
14 to 20
21 to 27
28 to 4
5 to 11
12 to 18
19 to 25
26 to 1
2 to 8
9 to 15
16 to 22
23 to 29
- Four 10-12 milers at Moonshadow off Travis Country Circle both solo and with Anthony Jacobs throughout the summer. I was unable to log very many trail miles so I took advantage of any opportunity to leave the pavement behind.
- Couple of solid runs on the Bull Creek trails, and Barton Creek trails from the Hill of Life on my occasional trip back to Austin. Most notably a 11 miler during the heat of the day in late July with Anthony Jacobs, Ryan Hess and Seth West.
- Several jaunts on the Slaughter Creek trails back in my former trail running territory. Most of the terrain in flat, but it was quite nice to feel the gravel and dirt underfoot.
- A trail run around Brazoria and San Bernard National Wildlife Refuges
- Several laps up and down the stone driveway of Richter Road while living in Columbus gave me a break from the pavement in early August. However it took about 6 laps to equal 10 miles, making this route somewhat monotonous, even for me.
- 1500 meter swim at Circle C Pool in Austin with Apryle followed by a 250 meter swim the next day.
- 250 meters on two separate days back home at my parents pool in Tiffin, Ohio. I’m not much of a swimmer but I enjoy logging a few laps here and there when I am able.
- 12.00 mile bike at the Veloway in Austin on a weekend trip back. The old Ironhorse could use some repairs, but with some duct tape applied to the wheels and a little air in the tires I was good to go.
- 38.50 mile bike with my good friend from college Nathan “Coe” Nemire. On a trip back to Tiffin for my good friends Craig and Emily’s wedding, I was lucky enough to catch up with Coe as well. Coe has two very nice bicycles, so I was fortunate enough to hop in the saddle of a carbon fiber bike that he let me borrow. The bike was not quite good enough to make up for my lack of cycling prowess, so Coe had to hold back a bit, but it was a great ride down memory lane. Reminiscing of the college running days on the country roads around Eden Township that I know so well.