I love running races in Waco. I appreciate the difficulty of the courses and the friendly atmosphere. Waco Striders Running Club host four trail races each year and as a group they are called the Huaco Cuatro. This was my second year finishing all four races. This year I decided to do the max distance in all four races. The first two races were 5 milers that are always longer than 5 miles. The third race was a 10K which has been an accurate distance. The Chupacabra 15K was a distance I no idea what to expect. The 5K last year was a bit long but nothing unexpected. I ran several distances around the 10 mile range so a 15K was not going to be an extraordinarily long distance. The terrain in which this particular 15K was held is a different story. Running in Cameron Park is difficult but with high humidity and heavy rain before the race made it extremely tough. I would compare this 15K to a hard 1/2 marathon on the trails. I actually finish my trail half marathon faster and finished a mountain 20K in about the same time. This was a tough race. I actually spent part of the race in last place. I am not the fastest but I am competitive enough not to be last. I finished with a not so great time but just finishing was good enough on that day. I liked the post race breakfast tacos, always a good race when tacos are involved. I will be back next year to conquer this race. The race medal(wood) was awesome.The Huaco Cuatro completed once again.The flooding on the side of the road on the way home during the second round of showers that day.
Next up is a bucket list race I finally will run.
The Tuff Enuff 10K is the third race in the Huaco Cuatro Series. The race is in Woodway, TX which is southwest of Waco. I ran the course last year in the 5K. Being familiar with the course did not work out in my favor. I knew the course is not as hilly as Cameron Park. I knew I could start out fairly fast and hold my pace without too many steep hills. My overconfidence got me by my lack nutrition before the race. I did not eat much the night before and nothing the morning of the race. I hit a wall about two thirds of the way into the race. I was drinking an electrolyte drink during the race but it did not help the lack of nutrients. My time was about 12-15 slower than what I expected but I still ended up second in my age group. The Waco Striders Running Club put on another great race and I cannot wait to run the last race. As a bonus, I won a pair of shoes. I ended up getting a pair of Hoka Torrent trail shoes. I have only run in New Balance but I decided to try something different. I am the big guy starting my stopwatch.
My second place age group award.
This race series is really fun and I am happy to have met so many good people.
Next up I take the Rusty Crown challenge.
I was going to do a top 10 trail races but changed it to my favorites. I did not know how I was going to put them in order so it had become a random list of favorites. I have been out of commission for over a month. I could do some hiking but no running. During the unwanted break from trail running I had a chance to look over some of the 40 plus races I have run over the last two years. I have missed trail running and speed hiking is losing it’s luster. I have finally been released to run but I lost much of the little endurance I had built. These are my favorite races in no particular order.
10. The Mammoth-I have run this race twice which is a rarity because I like to do different races. This was also my first trail race.
9. Waco Striders Cross Country Trail Race-This race was one of the most painful races I have run. Once again this was a rare race I have done twice. The below graph says it all.
8. Piney Woods Ultra-I did the 10K last year and will do the 25K this year as a training race. This is a surprising tough course that slowly breaks down runners.
7. Natural Bridge Caverns Trail Race-The only race that starts a 1/4 mile underground. It is not an overly tough race and the atmosphere was awesome.
6. Down N Dirty Trail Race-This is also a Waco Striders race. This gave me a second chance at a course that kicked my butt. I still was not ready for the final climb.
5. Run4Bibles-A race that is just five minutes from home. I also did their night race and the course is challenging. I love running this course and run it often.
4. Knob Hills Trail Race-This was a long 10K. It was actually 7.3 miles and I did not even get lost. The fun part was all of the crazy little hills.
3. Wild Canyon Ultra-One the most scenic and difficult races I have run. It is located at Caprock Canyon SP and if the canyons do not get you the weather will.
2. Mount Magazine Trail Run-My first true mountain race. The race course lead runners to the highest point in Arkansas. Plus two three mile climbs.
1. DanMan- This was my first half marathon. The course was not very technical but being a first made it a favorite. The after party was easily the best of all races.
These are my 10 favorite trail races. Most of these races were first or something different from usual races.
I really enjoy the races the Waco Striders host at Cameron Park. This is the easier of the two courses they have at Cameron Park. I must say easy is a relative term. The two courses are some of the toughest courses I have run in Texas. But I have not run in the Texas mountains yet. The thing that makes these courses tough is that you are always ascending or descending. There are very few flat areas and the downhills are technical. The course is not one of the more scenic courses but there is a nice view of the Brazos River before you descend to the finish. I was prepared for the extra mileage they always put in the races. This time it was only an extra half mile. The odd thing is that they did not have bananas for the runners. They had the usual water but then popsicles and donuts.
I really like that this year they have wooden medals and soft thin cotton shirts. I do not like the tech shirts or the under armour type shirts. Overall it was a good time and good race.
I am back in Waco doing the Huaco Cuatro Series. I had a great time running the series last year so I decided to do it again. The first race was the toughest. I was prepared for it this year mentally but I was physically tired. I ran most of the race and cut nine minutes off my time last year. Once again the course was over a half mile longer than the noted distance. The course was changed just a bit but still was very hilly and challenging. There was over 700 feet of elevation change and a steep uphill finish. The people are also great and the tacos are worth the run alone.
I finally got some pictures of the Brazos River from the top of the course. I cannot wait to run the next three races. The new medals were also nice and the finishing plaque might not be needed.
I will get back on the trails and in the state parks in the next few blogs.