Palo Duro Canyon 50 Mile

Palo Duro Canyon 50mi

This is a 50 mile race with a 12 hour cutoff, four 12.5 loops with 5 aid stations.

This is the first race of this years race season. I signed up for this race thanks to some awesome running friends, y'all know who y'all are.

The weekend started on Thursday with a 10 hour drive to Canyon, TX., where I got a hotel room and one last good nights sleep.

Friday morning I was up and going early, at the park gate at 7:30am, they open at 8:00am. I was first in line of what ended up being about 10 cars!

After getting my campsite, I made my way into the park. WOW! This is the most awesome beautiful amazing parks I have even been to! No matter the outcome of the race, I was already winning just by getting to see this park!

Once camp was setup, it was time for a short nap. Around 4pm I made my way into town for packet/trail briefing/pasta dinner and to meet up with the awesome running friends that talked me into this race.

When I picked up my packet, it was a little upsetting to find out the shirt was a cotton not tech shirt! The pasta dinner was ok. The for the trail briefing. It started out ok and only got worse! After they did their talk it went to Q & A.

I had to ask if the 50 milers could have a pacer at some point being it was a 12 hour cutoff. Yes you can have a pacer on the last loop. Is there going to be gel at the aid stations I ask. Yeah, what's that stuff called, GU. No GU is a name brand, gel is the generic name. I'm sure Hammer Nutrition would like that being they are a sponsor!

After the Dog & Puppet show I made my way back to camp.

Once back at camp I made up my drop bag and premixed my water bottles with my gel and SaltSticks.

Bed time was around 9pm with a 5am wake up call, race start time 7am.

Race day!

The day started on the cool side, 43F knowing it would warm up, but not sure just how much.

I dropped my cooler a drop bag a Phil's aid station. This aid station is in the middle of the figure eight course.

I made my way to the start line feeling good about the day. Once there I met up with the group of friends. Only two of them was doing the 50 mile the others the 50k, smart people!

The first 30-45 mins would be run under a headlamp. This would put us at the first aid station just after sunup, just right to drop the light there.

The first 3 miles went real good, just trying to get warmed up and stay safe in the dark.

After dropping the light and topping off the water bottle, off I go.

About a mile out from the aid station a pack of coyotes that was maybe 100 feet from me in the tree line  went crazy! The pace did pick up a little!

As the sun made its way up over the canyon, the color on the canyon walls was amazing! This part of the course was out in the open, zero shade!

The first loop went real good with a 2hr 15min time, up by 45 mins.

The start of the second loop started to get warm, low 80's.

All was going good until mile 17. This is where the leg cramp monster from hell grabbed my left thigh and said stop! On hell no this is not happening! I dropped two SaltSticks and walked after maybe a half mile trying to walk it out. It seemed to help, but this part of the course was the toughest, so smart going it was. Only to have to get crazy bad over and over. As I made my way back to the start/finish I was thinking, it's I'd going to be a tough loop. But I was still up by 30 mins, only dropping 15 mins the second loop. Not bad dealing with this cramp. If I could just keep it up by dropping 15 mins the next two loops, that puts me right at 12hrs.

The start of the third loop was getting hot, mid 90's!

I grabbed a hand full of real food and off I went! It was starting to hurt real bad to run, or at the time what I called running. This is where all the power walking training came into play. I was able to walk fast then run, funny how it works at times! About half way into this loop the cramp monster came back with his friends and they came with baseball bats! They do not play fair! About 3/4 way through this loop I knew my race day was over. Even if I could make the fourth loop cutoff time, there would be no way I could make the 12 hour cutoff. I was ok with it, it's just a race in the end. There are lots more down the road. 

As I made my way to the finish line it was an amazing feeling to see and hear all the support. 

As I gave it my all running down to the finish line, I do think I was passed by someone using a walker! 

So at the end of the day, I put in 37.5 miles in 9hrs 33mins in the hardest race mile to date! I also found out that the high temp for the day was 105F to 108F depending on what part of the course you were on!

The 11hr drive home was just about as hard as the race!

Thank You to everyone that played a part in this race!

Would I do this race again, yes, but with a little more planning.

Now for a 6 day rest and back at it with Cactus Rose 50 mile this coming Saturday!

Tony Constanzo

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