This is admittedly late, but I want to give a race report on my first trail run – the first of three I planned for this year.
I need races to keep myself motivated, and getting lost in the woods sounded like a great idea. I signed up through Trail Racing Over Texas. So far, I’m impressed with their organizational skills and aid stations.
The race I did was in January. “Running the Rose” is an 11-mile loop through Tyler State Park. Some people sign up for 6 loops for a 108K journey. But I wasn’t feeling that. I just signed up for the 1 loop, and it was just about right for me.
First – East Texas is the most beautiful bit of Texas and Tyler State Park is a great place to bask in the beauty.
Second – Trail runners are probably the nicest people I have been around. I used a shuttle to get from one end of the park to the other. As the van jerked, one of the other runners fell over onto me. We were both their alone, so we chatted it up while waiting for the race to start. Anywhere I was: waiting at packet pickup, waiting for our start time, on the actual course, people were kind and talkative.
The actual race – The course was not as hilly as I was expecting. I trained at Cedar Ridge Preserve – and that really the only trail system I run regularly. CRP has crazy climbs. But Tyler State Park was much more gentle and easy-going. Some hills, but plenty of flat ground, too.
The first mile was basically walking because so many of us were on this thin trail. The crowd thinned after that and it was easier to go at a comfortable pace.
THEN – mile 3, I had a serious problem that devastated a previous run. My right foot went totally numb. The last time that happened, it was because my socks/shoelaces were too tight and I ended up walking home barefoot. But with 8 miles to go in the woods, I was not wanting to walk with bare feet. I adjusted my shoes a few times…nothing helped. Then I realized, I had been staying to the right of the trail quite a bit instead of the middle. I suspected that was the reason my shoe was slipping so much. When I stuck to the middle of the trail, my feet felt much better.
Then – around 4.5 miles, I saw the aid station coming up. I thought it wasn’t until mile 8, but how fun! Maybe it’s bonus. Great, right? I’ll refill my water and….no. All you do is see the top of the aid station in the distance, but the trail turns right and you make a big loop around the south end of the park. At mile 7, it happens again. You see that blue tent top but turn right before you get to partake in the goodness. Finally, as advertised, at mile 8 you get an orange slice from the aid station you thought would never come. It was so delicious and worth the wait. The orange, plus my honey packet were just what I needed.
I finished the 11 miles feeling like I could have done a bit more (so maybe I should have pushed myself a bit on the course?) but no way I could have done that whole loop again. Eleven miles was a good fit for me. The fresh air was fantastic. Would run again. In fact, I’m volunteering at an upcoming race so I can run again for 50% off.
The week of Snowpocolypse 2021 got me off-track to meet my mile goal for the year, but training for a few races, I hope, will put me back where I want to be.
Time to get some miles in!