Day at the Office

Day at the Office
All Terrain Vehicle
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Phillppians 3:14

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cross Timber - A Monster Trail Race

Cross Timbers Trail run is a Monster…and if you throw on a pack, it becomes a Monster with a really bad attitude. I had never run the Cross Timbers Trail…and if I had, I would have thought twice about running it with a 40 lb Pack. I initially considered running the full marathon with ole Helga (it has been renamed and I will get to that in a minute.) The likes of Kari Kennedy and Sonia Burdett quickly admonished against that since this was only to be a “training run” for the Bataan Memorial Marathon. During that race I thanked them and cursed them all in the same 5 minutes…Thankful I didn’t run the full and cursed them for even letting me run the ½ with ole Helga.

Early on Saturday morning I found myself driving to Lake Texaoma with intentions to arrive a little after 0600. My race didn’t start till 0730 but I wanted to catch up with some buddies that were running the 50 miler and their race started at 0630. It was good to see the likes of David Smith and Paul Mastin as they were in for the “Long Day.” The hour or so before my race I got to catch up with a lot of really good people…some of the best in the world.

As I strolled over to the check in table, the volunteers asked which race. Full disclosure here! I was a little embarrassed to utter the words…”1/2 marathon.” About 4 hours later I was really glad I uttered those words.

At a little before 0730, I donned the 40lb pack named Helga. In my last post, Kari Commented that Betsy was too “sweet” a name….go with something like Helga. I had just read “Lonesome Dove.” In that story, the main character, Call, has a really great horse he named “Hell Bitch,”…Call named her that because of the difficulty in breaking process of the horse. So the full name of that pack is Helga the Hell Bitch…but Helga for short….and in front of the kids.;-)

Despite the recent snows and all the rain this season, the trail was in really decent shape, but there were still lots of mud. I have attached pictures below showing really how the over all Cross Timber Trail shakes out. There is very little level ground. You are either climbing steep hills or descending down the other side…and there are lots of tree roots and rocks to make it technical too. Throw in the mud and make that slick up hills and down hills. It used to be known as the “Toughest Trail Race in Texas.” Frankly I think it’s a toss up between Bandera or Cross Timbers and that is probably determined on which of the two trails you just got through running.;-) The course is an out and back.

steep up hills

another steep uphill...

what the...more steep uphill...and I got to come down going back...

more freaking up hill

bad to the bone downhill..

I found it hard to get in any good running pace as the steep hills required me walk them and the downhills so steep and technical that the extra 40 lbs made me cautious…although one time early in the race with fresh legs I did past about 5 runners on a technical downhill. (Technical downhills are my strong suit and at times it was a bit frustrating knowing that could have had reckless abandonment scorching this part sans pack.

Several runners passed me that knew exactly what I was training for and all of them commented that Bataan is no where this difficult and in fact one of my buddies, Don, at the end of my race told me that I was as good as ready for Bataan after running this ½ with the pack. Many runners also indicated that they would be running one of the events in White Sands…so I hope to see many of them there.

The race went well….as well as could be expected. I was slower than I thought I would be, but then again I had never run this trail or I would have quickly changed those expectations. The last 2 miles with all that climbing and my quads started screaming. There is a ½ mile hill up to the finish and towards the end of that the quads refused to fire a couple of times. The back and body felt relatively good at the end…it was the legs screaming this time…which is a testament to all the core work. Towards the end of my race, Buddy Teaster catches up to me. He was running the 50 miler…it was great to see him…Buddy is great guy who pulled me through a dark hole in my first 50 miler.

I finish up. My friend Matt Crownover is there waiting to pace Buddy and he looks at me and says, “Dave, you are insane.” I made him pick up the pack…and he looked at me and uttered something like you are out of you mind…or something like that…we laughed and I was glad it was over. Don't know where I finished up, but there were a handful of people still out on the course so I wasn't DAL...which was really my goal. ;-) It was a great day. Caught up to some old friends and made some new friends as well. It was tough, it was messy…would do it all over again today…but let’s wait awhile. ;-) The day soreness hardly at all...:-)

Next week back to some Bataan History….we got a rescue mission!

Smith and Mastin in for a long day...50 miles long

Laurie and me...she is a 100 mile finisher...running the marathon and volunteering

My Lubbock Texas buddy..Mark the Naked Runner...who ran five 50 milers in 5 months last year....

Lynn Ballard...I have lost count how many 100's he has finished...going 26.2 today

Teresa a great runner and the Race Director for this little jewel of a race.

1/2 way complete...dang it...I have to go back through all that again?!?!

Sonia Burdett, former Marine and will be running Bataan Heavy...ran the 1/2 with a pack also.

Soloman....trail running shoe of least between Dan and me...

I am done...I am going HOME...poor 50 another 5 or so hours...been there...not today.


Marshall said...

GREAT JOB, Dave! You're an animal, and that Helga is a bitch! Way to go, that's a TOUGH course and with an extra 40 pounds it's insane. I'm proud of you, brotha!

Buddy Teaster said...

You are an animal my friend. I'm so impressed with what you pulled off yesterday. Puts my Saturday in perspective and I am PLENTY sore today.

good luck in white sands. seems like you're ready!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Your a rockstar!!!! Congrats!

KK said...

Great job, Dave! I'm so sorry I underestimated that time for you. I guess once you get that sucker under your belt, like childbirth, you forget how bad it truely is. LOL! Glad you finished, even if you did cuss me a few times.

Did you bellow Helga's name at the top of any of those big hills? LOL!

Mike said...

Hey was great meeting and running with you on the trail Saturday (I was with Holly & Julie). Good luck!

Lynn B said...

Good stuff, my friend! Nice work on packing Helga over that trail... the downhills must have been nasty! Keep up the good work!

Lynn B

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

I bet if you had not had the pack on you would have flown on that course...hills and all. You MUST have a core of steel!!!

btw - Sonia's hair looks to good to be running in an Ultra. :)

So how do those legs feel today? Ready for another "short race" ;))

Rick Gaston said...

Good stuff Dave. You know maybe it's just my imagination but you are looking younger these days, must be all that Boot Camp stuff, the gym and running. All that ground work during your off season from running during the holidays is really paying off. That pack must put a lot stress on the body for that distance with a course like that. If it doesn't kill you it only makes you stronger right. Good stuff.

Paul Mastin said...

Dave--It was good to see you at CT! Nice job hauling that pack up and down those hills. Great pics of the trail! Can't wait to hear about the Death March!
Happy running,

DavidH said...

Great report Dave! I dig all the photos as well.

Wish I could have chatted with ya before the start. We must have just missed each other as I was heading out to PawPaw Point.

Great to see that the training is going well.

Missy said...

You ONLY ran the half, yeah, you're a huge pu$$y alright! Hahaha, yeah, uh, I don't think I could have counted the number of times I would have been on my arse. Nice job, recover well!

Mark C. Smith, "The Naked Runner" said...

Seems like you are becoming more and more famous every time you run with that pack! Maybe you should start running ALL your races with it! haha Dude, you are a badass, running THAT course with the pack! Crazy! Make sure you thank your wife for letting you take your balls to the race!! Peace!