A little background might help. 2018 was pretty much a year off from racing and a significant reduction in training. All the training and racing of the previous 10 years just piled up and it was clear some real rest was in order. So that’s what I did. As the year came to a close I found myself happily fit. I cut an hour off a favorite 26 mile mountain loop, all of the sudden I was running faster on my everyday runs (still at easy effort) and started doing some light workouts. I’d heard great things about Rocky Raccoon 100 and since I really prefer the 100 mile distance I decided it would be a good first race of 2019. 

Headed to Houston Thursday evening, got to my hotel to find the only room left was a smoking room. I figured that would be no big deal, turns out after 30 seconds I knew that wasn’t going to work so well for Saturday’s race, so I booked another hotel. En route to hotel #2 I got pulled over for driving without headlights on…Luckily no ticket. Checked into the next hotel to find… (Actually I’ll spare you the details) and a smashed cockroach on the wall. Now, keep in mind, I don’t have a problem with bugs, they are out there just trying to live their best life, but dead bugs is a different story. The weekend was not getting off to a rocky start. On to the next hotel. (Yes I learned my hotel lesson, cheap is not always better. Though, I’ve stayed in some really really cheap hotels, like $18 dollar per night hotels, and usually they work out great. I guess it was time to pay the piper for my cheap hotel luck. Needless to say 3rd time was the charm and the Red Roof Inn in Huntsville was cheap and classy, bonus points for the Dairy Queen in the parking lot which I took advantage of. Sorry for the tangent…)  

Race morning came far too early, had a couple granola bars, some Trail Butter and Tea. Early miles were dark, quiet, comfortable and uneventful minus a hard fall at mile 12 leaving my body a little beat up. There was a group of three or four for most of the first loop. Unfortunately Ian Sharman dropped after the first loop with an old injury flare up, but no doubt he will be back ready to roll at Western States. The next 50 miles went pretty well though I had to stop 6 different times to change socks and have blister issues taken care of. I think the humidity combined with mud on the course just never let the feet dry out. The course was generally tougher than I expected, the below picture shows the fast dirt road section but most of the course was singletrack with some roots and some muddy sections. Pretty nice overall but also challenging. 

Photo from pacer (and 2XRR100 Champ) Ronnie Delzer

Fueling was great really all day, lots of Spring energy gel, Coke and soup broth, pretty much stuck with those three plus a few aid station odds and ends. I’ve found hot broth is one of the best ways for me to absorb salts, even though the temps were warm out it was effective. 

Over the last loop I pinballed back and forth from feeling decent to feeling really beat up. As I’ve said before, its always a roller coaster out there. Just when you think it can’t get any worse it usually gets a little worse, and then when you accept that “it be like that sometimes” it usually gets dramatically better. Physical discomfort is a funny thing, at moments its nearly all you can think about, sometimes you can kind of push it back down into a box and keep it there for a while, but sometimes just letting it be is Ok too. Once the sun went down the roots were harder to see and it was a struggle to stay upright on the technical sections but luckily no tumbles. Finally made it to the home stretch. I tried to put my singlet on coming down the home stretch but stuck my head through the arm hole and a rather anti climactic awkward stumble across the line followed. It’s amazing how simple tasks like putting a shirt on are really complex after 100 miles. 

Photo from pacer (and 2XRR100 Champ) Ronnie Delzer


Few takeaways:

-Get your feet figured out. 6 stops to fix feet, is a silly waste of time.

-Fast courses are really nice…Maybe I need to find a road 100?

-Race execution was OK, still too fast the first two loops and too slow the last loop. I feel like you really can’t run the first 20 miles of a 100 miler slow enough.


Big thanks to Ronnie Delzer (two time RR100 champ) for pacing,photos and encouragement over the final loop! Thanks to Paul and Meredith Terranova for support on the course and thanks to the amazing volunteers and staff at Tejas Trails for a top notch event. Finally thank you to all the Rocky Raccoon runners and recover well!

PC: Ronnie Delzer


Gear I used 

Nike Pegasus Turbo (mile 1-75)- Best versatile road trainer I’ve worn since the 2003 Nike Air Skylon

Nike Kiger 5 (mile 75-100)- Coming out in April. A phenomenal update, smoother ride with far better outsole than we have ever had. I probably would have stuck with the Pegs but they were really wet and my feet needed something dry.

Spring Energy Gel– First time my nutrition has been perfect in an ultra, huge thanks to spring for developing a awesome formula that just works all day long. And bonus points because it leaves your mouth feeling clean!! Trail Butter was working well also, and made for great breakfast. 

Simple Hydration Bottle Fits nicely in a waist pack or shorts waist band to keep hands free. 

Nike waist pack

Strava GPS file https://www.strava.com/activities/2120450627