Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mowdy Ranch Mustang Run

 Super duper early June 10, BfkaM and I drove to rural Coalgate (pardon the redundancy) to run the Mowdy Ranch Mustang Run. Early June is a tough time for Oklahoma runners. It could be a semi-cool day, or it could be the hottest day so far in the year. Any rise in temps at all can lay you low--not being acclimated to the dreaded H&H. Last year I attempted the 50K here, and by noon, it was well into the 90s, and I wisely stopped at the marathon distance. This year, remembering my struggle, I entered the half marathon and looked forward to finishing with a smile on my face, eating great post-race food and drinking a couple of cold beers.

The full and 50K started at 5:30, but our start was well after sun-up and was pleasant albeit a little humid. A good crowd thundered off down the trail like it was a race or something while I assumed my place in the back of the pack under the pretense of taking pictures.

Some of the routes were tractor roads, while at least half of it was winding single track. It was through this section early in the race where last year we witnessed a huge heard of wild horses running free--enjoying watching us as much as we enjoyed seeing them.

The course has a series of trails north of the start/finish that makes up around 7 miles of the course. The south end has another 6 miles or so.  Full marathoners do it all twice, while 50Kers get to do the north loop a third time. Copperhead Road is where the north trailz get interesting.
It's narrow that starts out flat and increases to a slow climb, winds around a creek, and finally hairpin turns right up a steep grade into a boulder-strewn labyrinth that begs you to slow down and breathe in the view.

 I never felt a wave of insanity coming over me, but apparently, BfkaM did.

I took several pictures along the way, but few turned out. My phone was pretty fogged up in my pocket.
 I skipped the aid at the start/finish--it was not really an official aid station I assumed because you would probably cross the mat and screw up the timing results. I think that happened a LOT since in updating the Oklahoma Dirt Trail Series, I noticed a lot of people who finished two different distances.

The first aid stop on the south loop also served as the last aid stop there. I loaded up on watermelon, ate a few chips, and then trotted on.

BfkaM and Ihd stayed together for most of the way. But at mile 8.5578 I had to stop to answer a call of nature and Mr. Drummond kept on trucking. I tried to keep a steady pace, but my efforts seemed off this day. Soon, however, I caught up, and strangely my energy was surging. I picked up the pace and tried to maintain s decent run or the final 4 miles or so.

Buzzing around this lake, I smelled the barn. I decided to try to pass anyone I could--maybe end up in the middle of the pack.The final mile or so is pretty much out in the open and is a steady uphill. Uphills are my candy and I just kept reeling them in. When I saw the finish line a quarter mile ahead, I gave up on trying to catch a group that was just nearing the arch and managed a 3:27:58 finish.

I got my medal, my bbq, beer,  and I  don't know how many slices of cold watermelon.

 Chrissy ran the half and just buried me. Laura ran the 10K and was all grins. Everyone eems to LOVE this race.

 Cameron and Brandon notch u another marathon finish to their credit. I think it's past their nap time.

This is a race that I'll come back to do every year. The support is great. The aid stations good, the course amazing, and when they run, the ponies really put on a show.

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