Sunday, February 22, 2009

2/22/2009 Cross Timbers Race Report

The Cross Timbers Trail Run can be summed up in just a few words. Very TOUGH, very TECHNICAL, and..............wait for it............very OUCH, Baby, YEAH! I had a blast!
I got there Friday and got the tent set up despite the 20mph winds coming off the lake. The race start/finish was at the Cedar Bayou Resort and I camped just down the hill from it. I checked in and met Teresa McCoul, the race director. I found her to be an organized, high energy woman who really knows how to put on a good race! The only down part of the whole thing was the lack of porta-potties. There were "pit toilets" and that was it. I've included a couple of pics of those nasty, primitive crapholes and I think it beats Tony's "toilet on a pedestal" anyday! ha Okay, so they made a really good spaghetti and salad supper, and I drank a couple of Shiners to cap it off. I met a couple of guys that I really enjoyed talking with the whole evening as well. Michael and Stanton were their names. Michael was slated to run the 50 mile while Stanton was there for the 1/2 marathon. Stanton is training for Buffalo Springs Ironman 70.3 here in Lubbock and Michael is an experienced adventure racer and ex-Army. Ok, so I hit the hay around 10pm. Around midnight or 1 the wind HIT! It was so noisy in the tent that I was awake every 30 minutes or so. That part sucked! I went ahead and got up around 5am and started getting ready. The race also includes a 5 mile, a 1/2 marathon, and a full marathon, not to mention the 50 mile. The 50 milers started first at 6:30am. It was cold and windy from Hell at race time and would stay that way! Anytime you came close to the lake shore the wind would try to take your head off! Anyway we took off right on time and that's when the fun began!
I really didn't know what to expect from the course itself but had been told that it is the "Toughest Little Trail in Texas." I haven't run ALL the trails in Texas but I would have to agree that it is one tough, freaking trail! The trails boasts 10,900 ft of elevation gain/loss. Lots and lots and lots of climbs, and I don't just mean inclines! I mean leaning forward, hiking-type climbs up rocks and roots. I remember looking up several times after a grueling climb and having another one looming straight ahead. I also remember growling every time I saw one, especially towards the end of the day. haha I think there were more roots out there than at Rocky Raccoon and that's saying something. In some of the gullies, as you traveled downhill, you would have rocks covered with fallen leaves that you had to find and navigate. Really tough, guys!! The course is set up so you run 10 miles out and 10 miles back from one side of the start and then 2.5 miles out and 2.5 miles back from the other side. You do this twice so you know that all the hills that you just busted your ass climbing would be waiting for you to do it all over again!
I kept my fueling very even throughout the day, drinking Clip2 and using gels every couple of hours. I also tried some Sport Beans which I really enjoyed and will probably use them again. Also since it was cooler, my stomach wanted something more solid from time to time and I kind of picked at stuff at the aid stations. The aid stations were phenomenal and the volunteers more than ready for you. Fantastic job on that part! Back to the course, there is an area where you come out into the open right by the beach and have to run about 50 yards through deep sand. Gaiters would have been nice at that point but oh, well. On the other side of the lake on the 2.5 mile out and back, the vistas of the lake are spectacular! You are running right along the bluffs and cliffs of the lake! It's really special, just make sure you watch where the Hell you're going! Along this route I ran into Michael who had taken off like a shot from the very beginning! He was having some ITB issues and had decided to drop once back at the start/finish. I hated that cuz he was smoking that course!
So one weird thing for me was that my legs actually woke up and felt BETTER during the second time around. I felt like I was able to run more than I did during the first go around. Not sure why and I can't prove that in my splits since I didn't pay attention to them that much. Also, my calf never even once gave me any issues! I wore the Zensah sleeves and I really think that they made a difference. I ended up running it in like 12:13 or so. A decent time from what I heard and I think once again that it will land me pretty squarely in the middle of the pack. Results aren't posted as of yet. Even after the race my legs felt ok. I was tired for sure and was REALLY happy to get off of that course.
I had planned on drinking a couple more Shiners at supper but ate 3 veggie burgers that Teresa grilled for me and some cheese puffs instead. The burgers and cheese puffs were, I swear, made in Shangri-La! After supper I retired early. I decided to put my mattress and sleeping bag in the back of the Xterra cuz I was NOT going to deal with the wind in that tent again. I slept like a baby from 8:30pm to 3am! I woke straight up, broke camp, and hit the road. I made it home by 9:30am and was able to have breakfast with Kelli and the kids who were just getting their lazy asses out of bed. ha
Ok, so in essence, the Cross Timbers Trail Run is phenomenal and it's everything that a seasoned trail runner would expect from a course. It can and will chew you up and spit you out if you let it! Teresa did an amazing job directing it and the volunteers were all fantastic! And I so loved those veggie burgers!! And I think she is going to get us some porta-potties for next year!! Yeah!

Ok, guys, so 3 of my 5 on the Grand Slam done! Party on! Peace!


Bob - said...

primitive crapholes and I think it beats Tony's "toilet on a pedestal" anyday

omg that toilet pic was crazy, geesh who flock designed that crap--lol

way to go on your race and sounds like u did an awesome job on your fueling also and good energy the second half...congrats Mark!!

Rick Gaston said...

"I remember looking up several times after a grueling climb and having another one looming straight ahead." Those are the best huh:) The ones that feel like forever and a day and more on the way. Those are the races where you also feel it on your back, having to bend forward so much as you climb. You haven't said anything about the calf and you finished the race so it must have been fine.

PJ said...

Great Race! Okay...the toilet. I'm no snooty bloetch, but dang! You are really tearing up some trail...I mean so close after Rocky! Good to see that the calf held up.

Dave said...

Great I guess you will be at Grasslands? Make sure to meet up...You know I grew up in Levelland. When I run out there...I get to see where I am going for the next umpteen miles...gotta love it.

Marshall said...

Great report, Mark! I can't believe you found my blog but I'm glad you did. It was good running with you and you looked great every time I saw you. Glad you had a great race. I won't be at Grasslands, I'm doing Three Days of Syllamo the weekend before, but I hope to see you at another race in the future. Keep in touch!