Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rocky Raccon 100 Course Profile

This entry is part of an ongoing series of course profiles of different 100 mile races that I run. It will be divided into three basic sections: the physical (commenting on the physical aspects of the run, the training that is necessary, etc.), the psychological (commenting on the mental aspects of the race, and what the course entails on a psychological level), and the material (commenting on the gear you will need, supplies, etc.) Leave comments if you have run the course and would like to give advice on how others might better prepare for the race. These profiles are meant as a training tool for for anyone planning to run these races. They are my personal reflections on the race.

When: February 5, 2011
Where: Huntsville, Texas at the Huntsville State Park
Cost: Starting at $132
Type: Looped
Terrain: Flat and soft with with roots

The Physical

Rocky Raccoon is a fairly flat course. There are not a whole lot of hills here. The hills that do exist are gently rolling. Nothing like Cactus Rose 100. The trails are soft and covered with pine needles. There are roots on the trails, so watch your feet. There are also lots of wooden bridges on the trails. So, you will also be stepping on wooden planks.

The Mental

The course consists of five 20 mile loops. It's not an especially scenic course. Lots of woods. The view when you get to the lake is pretty nice, though. The good thing about Rocky Raccoon is that it is a huge event. About 700 runners come every year. So, you will have plenty of moral support out there. The aid stations are great. They are well-staffed and stocked with ultra essentials. That is both a blessing and a curse: the aid stations are nice to come across, but you might not want to leave. Seriously, don't stick around too long at the aid stations. It might help to have a pacer, but it is definitely not necessary in this particular 100 miler. You can get along just fine by yourself if you are adequately prepared. However, it can get pretty hairy alone on the trails at night, when you are going through the woods. One more thing about the trails - some parts have roots sticking out. It is almost inevitable that you will fall, especially at night. This can be quite psychologically taxing. Watch your feet on the trail, but be ready to fall down.

The Material

Take all your usual gear. A shoe with a good toe guard might be just the thing for when you stub your toes on those roots at night. Get a good flashlight, too. A headlamp alone will not reveal the relief of the trail; it will just illuminate. You need to be able to see those roots! Take a jacket for thee cold of night. You don't really need much for fueling. You could get by on just two water bottles. The aid stations are well-stocked and close enough apart that you can get by on just two water bottles. But veteran trail runners will probably want to take their own fueling needs. Most runners leave a drop bag at the start filled with clothes, extra shoes, medical supplies, etc.

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