One of my last two races before a seven week race break. This race was held in Frisco, TX and will be the last race at the Northeast Community park. In the fall the park will be a golf course. I am not a golfer so I think it is a waste of space. The trails are nice and not too technical. The main use of the park is as a mountain bike trail and green space. This is also a race in which I chose the longest distance offered. I usually do a shorter distance but I wanted to test myself to see if I could not come in last.
The race started at 6:45 in the morning so the temperature was not too bad but the humidity was still quite high. We were lucky that most of the time at the race we had mostly cloudy overcast. It was good because there was little tree cover on the course. I started in the back like I always do but immediately moved passed a few people. I found a good pace group and stayed with them for a few miles. It was a group of five and the lead runner was Amber. I did not get the names of the other runners.
About 3 miles later it was just Amber and I. We picked up two more runners but they also dropped off the back. Amber said she was keeping a 13 minute mile pace but was actually going about 11 minute mile pace. We ran together to about the seven mile mark and she said she was going to pick up the pace to the end. I wished her luck and thanked her for pacing. I could not keep up.
At about little over a mile to go the 15K and 10K courses merge. I got into another group of five to get to the finish line. This group ran at a random pace going fast than walking and passing each other every few minutes. I kept a steady pace and then in the last half mile or so just took off. I passed the 10K runners and dropped the entire group and finished quite fast for my speed. I had a very good time for myself at a 1:48:49 15K. I felt good afterwards and finished right before the clouds vanished and the sun was blaring.Back of the pack startAmber setting a fast paceThe aid station where I got droppedMe dropping some people before running solo.
This was suppose to be my last race but I signed up for a 10K just because.
We finally got some good weather in the DFW area. The temperatures have been in the 80s with the rain diminishing. I headed down to Cleburne State Park for another 25K. My first 25K did not turn out well but I finished. I can say the same for this 25K. I have run two 50Ks and some other longer runs since my first 25K so the distance should not have been a problem. The run was actually 17.4 miles so I got a bonus two miles and I did not even get lost.
The shuttle to the race was not a good start. We were crammed in a cargo van sitting on the floor. I am tall and not that flexible so the ride was hard on my knees and legs. After the packet pick up I was ready to go. The run consisted of two loops of what was posted as 8.33 miles a piece. The first loop could easily break the spirit of a runner not use to the rocky hilly terrain. The aid stations were place at the start/ finish and the half way point of the loop. I knew things were bad when right before the first aid station at the first loop when a runner doubled over and stumbled off the trail. I got to the aid station and sent a volunteer back to check on him. I later saw him finish his first and only loop. The course had plenty of short steep hills that were tough and valleys that did not seem to bad. There was one water crossing that got my feet wet which I do not like and one I jumped over. I finished the first loop in just over two hours. I got some runner food at the aid station. Talked to my sister and got updates on some other runners in the running club I run with. One runner had already dropped out and another was not looking good trying to finish the 50 miler.
The second loop started with some Tylenol and a salt tablet. My nutrition was holding up under what was now a sunny hot and humid day. I got to the first water crossing and my feet did not dry as fast as they did on the first loop. I got to the midpoint aid station and my feet were hurting but is was not too bad. I learned a lesson from my previous races and filled my water bladder. I did this for two reasons. First, it already had a mix of electrolytes in it and secondly I ran out of water on my last long trail race. I was feeling fairly good when I got to the second water crossing. This time I took my time and made sure I could make the jump. This is the part of the course that is the toughest. I made it up the first short steep hill but I struggled. The second steep hill was longer and that did me in. I could not get back up to speed. I was just walked and walked. I could not even run the douwhills due to the technical nature of the trail. The downhills were also steep with switchbacks, rocks and roots. For me, the added danger was low hanging branches and leaning trees. I finally made it to the last climb and it caused me to stop twice. I was now starting to pass people that looked worse off than me. I also caught up to a running buddy. Ahmed and I ended finishing the race together but it was painful. We now got to the rolling valleys section. The valleys were not as steep but they seemed ten times more difficult now. We were able to run down into the valley but getting out got more and more difficult. We got to the end and wanted to have a fast finish and mistimed our run. We ran out of gas and had to restart our sprint finish. The top of one those fun hills.The beauty of the course.The tree rock and root section.The section before the jump across.Feeling good on the first loop.Ahmed and I on our sprint finish.We did it.
I can easily say that was the toughest race I have ever run. The heat and humidity took a toll on many runners and the DNF percentage was higher than usual. My toes were bloodied and I broke three toenails. I survived and had fun.
The rain has closed most of the trails so my Arkansas race is a no go and so is hiking but I have a special blog next.
As time was running out on my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series, I got one more hike to get to 50. I did not get to 52 but this challenge had me in places I never thought I would go. I ventured to east and west Texas. I went to the Texas Panhandle and the hill country. I went to city parks, state parks and national lands in three states. I was injured for two months and it rained daily for a month and a half. I hiked up mountains and down into canyons. I saw waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. I hiked in temperatures in the 90s and in the teens. In the past two years of the 52 Hike Challenge, I have been to over 70 different parks. I have also decided to do it again this year. The last hike of year was definitely not the least.
I once again headed to Cleburne State Park to finish the trails in the park I have not been on yet. 8.3 miles later I have officially hiked the entire park. I have done this in about ten parks. I had a good group of guys to hike and run with on this hike. I really liked seeing the other parts of this park and they are nice but the highlight is always the three tier waterfall in the center of the park.
I hope all the readers of this blog have a great 2019. My challenge to all of you is to get out more and see the world.
Next up is new year shenanigans with my family.