Yep! The title of the post is a cheap journalist tactic to get you to read....it it will make complete sense by the time we're done.
This weekend has been a whirlwind as Friday I boarded a plane to Lubbock Texas. My little cousin, Mandy Jean was getting married. I watched her grow up and it seemed like yesterday I was pillow fighting a 5 year old during the Christmas Break of my college years.
Before the arrival of my West Texas tour, I had called my running buddy and Ultrarunner, Mark the Naked Runner. A minimalist who runs in a Texas nudist colony's annual 5K run....au natural! He has had a really good year of racing and this past month completed the Texas Grand Slam Ultra Award by running and finishing four 50 mile trail races, all within the last few months (the 5th was canceled a few weekends back due to flooding and a lightening show that left few to wonder if they needed to run with a headlamp in the predawn hours...or sunglasses. The race was called after 12 miles of racing.) I can tell you February was a tough month for him as he completed the Rocky Racoon 50 miler and the Crosstimbers 50 miler...just two weeks apart. A previous email from Mark asked if meeting at his house at 0900 on Saturday was fine....we changed it to 0800.
At about 0700 I made the 30 mile trek from Levelland Texas to Lubbock. Singer and song writer, Robert Earl Keen was right, who ever settled Levelland either lost a wagon wheel or lacked ambition, one. I grew up there...it's not the end of the world....but you can see if from there...I once sat on my front porch and watched my dog run away for 2 days....it is freaking flat with nothing but cotton fields. During the spring sandstorms, the dirt in the air is so thick that I have seen prairie dogs 9 feet in the air trying to dig their way to the top....so when Mark tells me where going to run hills...I laughed and said where....on the overpass of Slide Road?
I get to Mark's home and he says, "Lets get going...we are going to Horseshoe Bend...it's near Buffalo Springs Lake in a canyon." About 30 minutes later we drop of into a canyon that one would find it hard to believe it exist on the Devil's back porch known as West Texas.
I have posted pictures that do not do it justice. Sam Houston was correct when we thought Texas was the best land that ever graced his vision...love Sam Houston...but I digress. We ran. It was cool and overcast. We went 15 miles up and down all the hills of Horseshoe Bend. There are three big ones and we climbed them all once and the steepest one twice. The time flew. The conversation between two runners was lively. I pushed harder than I would have when I run alone. Two guys enjoying the countryside and running. We ran for two and half hours....seemed like about half that time. I have to say that I had such a good time that it was my best run for the past few months. It does not get much better running with a friend....just doesn't.
I have posted some pics of the country side below. For the record, all pics were taken while descending. So I sacrificed down hill momentum so you could enjoy the views. Be appreciative...that's all I am asking....;-)
We wrapped up and I made it back to Levelland just in time for lunch. That afternoon, I caught up to some old friends and that evening had a great time at the wedding. Yep, I got a little misty eyed...when my daughters get married I will need Xanex.
(for the record...No! we did not run naked!...I know you are all asking that question by now;-))
(Also, the route we ran is the bike course for the Buffalo Lake 1/2 Ironman. So if you think you are going to saunter off to West Texas for a flat and fast 70.3 mile qualification for Kona, Hawaii, better think again!!! Although the winds should be good prep for the Energy Lab.)
Post Run Pics with Mark
The Naked Runner adorned in running clothes...this time
Mandy Jean and TJ...watch it! a United States Marine and a Texas Highway Patrolmen