Thursday, February 25, 2010

2/25/2010 Cross Timbers Trail Runs Race Report

Zach and I arrived at Lake Texoma around 1400 on Friday. We easily found a place to set up camp at Juniper Point Camping Area. Juniper Point was much, much nicer than Cedar Bayou Marina last year. The campground offered amazing, sweeping vistas of the lake and surrounding hills! The race headquarters/start/finish was all just across a small cove from our camp, easily walkable, even after the race. The weather was overcast and slightly cool, and it would stay that way for race day as well! Who can forget that wind from last year?? Zach and I made a quick trip to a local grocery store and picked up a few supplies including hot dogs, buns, marshmallows, firewood, and some lighter fluid. Once we got back to camp, we attempted to start a little fire in our camp’s fire pit but I think our wood was too moist. We expended the entire bottle of lighter fluid just trying to get our hot dogs done and toast a couple of marshmallows. Haha Apparently, we suck at wilderness survival. Oh, well! We headed over to packet pickup and met up with Teresa McCoul, the race director, and also Laurie Underwood was there volunteering! Amazingly awesome ladies, both of them! This year, the headquarters was just fantastic! Teresa had somehow obtained a huge circus tent that housed everything! Very cool! A circus tent……………how apropos for us running freaks! Ha Anyway, Zach and I forewent the prerace dinner in lieu of our hot dog supper and we headed to the back of the Xterra for an evening movie and then an early bedtime. I slept fairly decent considering I was stuck in the back of the Xterra with Zach.

My alarm went off, quite loudly, at 0530. Up and at’em! A breakfast of two oatmeal crème pies and a Chocolate Muscle Milk got me up and running. Zach and I headed over to the race start to see the 50 milers off at 0630 and then waited another 30 minutes for my race time. We were given our race briefing (if your eyes were shut) by actor Norm McDonald! I swear the guy sounded EXACTLY like him! Haha Anyway, 0700 came around and we were off. We ran a brief out and back on the road and then headed out onto the fantastic singletrack trail. Now then, due to the snow melt and rain from previous weeks, the trails were a little more difficult this year, I thought. The areas that were relatively dry were VERY sticky, like clay. Nothing really stuck to your shoe but your shoe wanted to stay stuck to the ground longer than you wanted it to. Does that make sense? Anyway, in some of the low-lying areas, there was standing water and deeper mud that could be sidestepped if need be but traversing those areas wore you out while you did it. On another note, I felt like the course was actually more beautiful than last year. The moss covering the rocks was a brilliant green this year where it was a lighter yellow last year. Gorgeous! I really love this trail even if it does make you cry a little. The course was one big out and back this year for the marathoners and done twice by the 50 milers. The aid stations were very well stocked, and staffed by awesome, helpful volunteers as usual! With the weather being cooler, I didn’t really feel the need to fuel as much, and ended up taking a total of 2 Gu-Roctanes and a couple of handfuls of M&M’s over the course of the day. I kept my hand bottle filled with HEED and made sure to take at least a bottle an hour. About 5 or 6 miles in, a guy named Dennis caught up to me. We stayed together at a fairly decent pace, and talked for a good 12 or 13 miles. Good company on the trails makes it so much better! He eventually dropped the hammer and went on ahead. I ran in silence for several miles and finally made it to the last aid station before the finish. Here, I met up with Nancy! We hit it off quickly, and laughed and talked for the last 2.5 miles which, as far as I’m concerned, are the most difficult part of the course. The uphills are absolutely ass-whipping! At this point of the race, my legs were mega-sore and my ass was draggin’! However, laughing with Nancy made it so much easier. Finally as we were almost to the top of a long (and final) incline, I hear a familiar voice say, “There you are!” Zach was at the top of the hill to let us know that the finish was just on the other side. What a relief! I could hear the cowbell calling us in and I finished in 5:53 or something like that. Not the best time but with the trail conditions and the lack of training on my part, I was pretty happy! Of course, Teresa was at the finish, cooking up burgers and veggie burgers for everyone! She does such an amazing job with this race! She and her team deserve a major round of applause! Thanks, Teresa!

Now, if you’ve never run this race before, you need to know that it really is a gorgeous, yet very difficult course! Over the course of the marathon, there is a 5,510 ft elevation gain/loss. In other words, when you get done with the race, if you look in the mirror at your hindquarters it may look as if you have the ass of a dancer in a rap video! Your butt is gonna be sore! There were several brave souls that ran this as their first marathon. Although it's probably not the smartest idea, I think they did well! The race headquarters was much better this year and Teresa was able to bring in some regular port-a-potties instead of only having that scary outhouse thing from last year! That made me pretty happy! Haha In fact, I think it was the first thing Teresa mentioned to me when she saw me! Ha

I ran the 50 miler here last year and was very glad not to have to run it this year in those trail conditions. The folks that completed the 50 need to know that my hat is off to them this year! Maybe next year I’ll be trained up again and ready to give it another whirl.

See my report from last year with more pics HERE.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Training for Cross Timbers Trail Marathon

Well, training is a little slow going actually. I've been putting in loads and loads of interval training sessions on the treadmill set on a pretty decent incline, but not too much running outside. I just can't get into a long run mentally when I spend the entire time freezing my ass off! I am such a flipping pansy when it comes to cold weather!! For all you guys that ran and actually finished Bandera this year in those conditions........MY HAT'S OFF TO YOU!! I mean, dude, it was freaking cold out there! Anyway, hopefully next weekend will be warmer and I can get in a good long run. I've realized that it really doesn't take much training to just finish a marathon so I should be good. I'm not looking to place or anything, just enjoy the trail since it's so amazing!