Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wallowing, But Not in the Mire

The Buffalo Wallow was held on Saturday February 7th. This is one of my favorite races for several reasons: 1) It is different; it is a cross country course that has a variety of terrain, 2) Because it is a cross-country course, it can be affected by the weather. There have been times when the race is run through large mud puddles which can be very difficult to negotiate as you run up a hill. But that can be fun!! There have been times when the weather is damp and cold. Yesterday, the weather was perfect, probably around 60 degrees at the start. However, because the weather has been so dry, the ground was very hard, almost like concrete. I noticed my ankles were sore this morning.

Another reason why I, personally, like the race is that I run more competitively when there are hills and varying terrain on the course. I don't usually beat anyone who normally beats me in a race, but I get much closer.

For some reason, while running the race, I got a bit nostalgic. I realized while running in a pack with people like Mark Fraser, Richard Verm, Scott Bounds and some other non-BCRR runners like Roger Boak, Victor Aguirre, John Polisini and John Shepperd, that I had been running these races for many years and that I'm usually in the pack with these same people. I think it is cool that each of us have stayed relatively competitive together over the last several years.

I have run this race enough times to know you have to pace yourself. A lot of people run up the hills hard and eventually burn themselves out and struggle to the end. I felt good that I had paced myself well enough to finish strongly and even beat couple of people I normally wouldn't.
Interestingly, I received an award for allegedly finishing second in my age group. However, there was something very fishy. It was hard to hear the awards announcer, but it appeared that he called out two set of awards in my 50-54 category. Sure enough, when I looked at the results, I did not finish second; I finished seventh. This is a very competitive field.
Now, however, it's back to normal road races for awhile and I will be watching some of these guys from further behind!!


  1. My experience at the Buffalo Wallow was both very different and very similar to Bob's.

    Rather than reminiscing, I was thinking about my first ever cross country race (I managed to stay upright before, during and after the race) and my first competition as a member of BCRR.

    Similar to Bob, I was quite surprised to hear that I finished third in the 50 - 54 age group. Instant replay shows I actally finished 8th, just behind Bob.

    I have initiated the process to repatriate my medal, but it is long and complex and may take years. :)

    In the meantime I think I'll have some of whatever the announcer had on his cornflakes that morning!

    See ya on the trail.

    Dave Piper

  2. Bob,
    I agree with your comments about Buffalo Wallow. It is a rather unique opportunity for a "grown up" runner to race cross-country in Houston. While the field is not large it is very deep in most age categories. This was truly the case in my age group. I had some problems with asthma on the course, so my time wasn't all that I had hoped and dreamed it would be. I finished 7th and last in my age group, but I wouldn't have been able to go up more than one or two slots even if I had the run of my life!!

    In general, the Houston Harriers do a great job in organizing the race. There were some problems with the results, some people missing or in the wrong category. Can't figure out why there were 2 sets of M50-54 awards. The last two years, the heats have been separated into Masters and Open. Since most of our runners are Masters, I prefer having separate male and female heats. That way more people can watch and cheer for each other.

    Finally- thanks Tornados for sharing your beverages with us!!

    K. Mahon