Sunday, November 16, 2014

Catching up from late Summer...

Between work being busy, a 2.5 month house remodel, and DRC training starting up, I've been busy running but haven't had much time to sit down and write about it. So, I'll do a little chronology since late summer until last weekend's big adventure, which gets its own post.

Half Marathon Training

DRC training has been really fun this season. Debbie had a huge 2:30 pace group all to herself (usually two pace leaders, but this group really could have used 3, as it started out twice the size of a normal group) and since I was a "seasoned vet," I pitched in by being the caboose of our group, checking on stragglers, keeping tabs on who we lost so we could make sure they got back okay, etc.

It was a really rewarding experience to help runners reach new distance milestones, share some of the things I've learned along the way, and just enjoy the group's enthusiasm and hard work. I've considered being a pace leader next season, but I'm not sure I'm committed to the attendance requirements enough to do that. Plus, if I want to run the 20 miler at Whispering Pines in April, maybe it makes more sense to do the marathon training instead? I dunno. Still pondering.

Trails with Rosie

When I wasn't running with DRC, I was running with Rosie on a trail somewhere. We ran Eagle Mountain Lake, which she loved but I was only so-so about for some reason. I guess I like more woodsy trails and the terrain there was more hill country-like... scrubby mesquite trees, limestone, etc. It's very pretty and extremely runnable, but for some reason, I just couldn't get into it. Which make me seem super lame when you look at the pictures. Maybe I was just grumpy that day?

Then we went down to another Endurance Buzz race, the punishing Rough Creek. Rosie and I "only" did the 10k and were extremely grateful after the fact, because "rough" is right. Debbie did the half marathon and it was brutal. I have yet to see a picture that depicts how actually tough the hills were. Here's my best attempt, as I stood at the top and wondered if I could afford a helicopter rescue.

Had to bear crawl down this backwards.

And it's not so much that they were very steep, but that they were made of loose rock that just vanished under your shoes like wet fingers touching cotton candy. Plus, the day warmed up quickly and there was exactly no shade out there. The folks doing the 40 miler... oh man were they troopers.

During the boring part between the hills and the start/finish.

However, Rosie won 3rd overall in the 10k, but cracked her sternum in a fall at the top of the hill pictured above, so there was definitely collateral damage. Especially since the following week, we had plans to run the Lost Loop 12k and camp out at Lake Texoma the night before.

My first camping trip!

At the time, I didn't even realize how much pain she was in, but she was tough and we went ahead with our plans and I'm so grateful we did! It was a beautiful weekend and the Crosstimbers/Lost Loop trail is amazingly fun and diverse and challenging.

I could have done so much more with this weird floating rock formation. Disappointed in my lack of creativity.

Rosie wisely walked the whole thing (much to her chagrin), though I'm so slow and her legs are so long that we actually ended up together for much of the course, which was great because some parts were kinda scary and I would have been nervous to be alone.

So, I'm crushing hard on that trail and can't wait to get out there again. Unfortunately, I have a wedding to attend in Houston the weekend of Crosstimbers, so I'll have to wait a while. *sad face* I think most small races are 100% labor of love, but these two that Teresa puts on are even more so. It's the most low key race environment ever, but still well marked and great food and happy volunteers. Just wonderful in every way.

Somewhere in there, Rosie and I ran an equestrian trail up by Lake Lavon in northeast of Dallas. I hated it. Nothing but getting smacked by spider webs in the face. I spent most of the run shrieking and flailing. Never run trails without a tall, fast person ahead of you, kids! I have no pictures of this one, and I'm okay with that.

Showdown Half

Two weeks later, I got back on the road and did the Showdown Half Marathon (Hook 'em, Horns!) with Tina and Holly, both of whom were in varying stages of a nasty cold, so my time was pretty lousy, but since I was gimping a little bit, it was a good thing to hang back and take it slow. The rolling country course was very pleasant and not nearly as "hilly" as some claim, and the finish line goodies were first rate. Great medal, great shirt, great food, close parking. Can't really ask for more. It was my first Active Joe race and I'm looking forward to more (more on that in my next post).

Holly, Joanna (who I don't actually know), me, and Tina

Rockledge Rumble Tune-Up

Even though it wasn't her favorite trail, Rosie agreed to set out for Cedar Hill State Park with me to get some trail time in two weeks before my longest run ever, the Rockledge Rumble 30k. More on that in my next post, but I felt like mentioning this, because we actually both really enjoyed this trail the second time around. We did it in the spring and apart from some nice wildflower displays, it was rather ho-hum. But we'd only done the 8 mile loop. This time we did the 12 mile loop and it was really lovely! This is still a trail I'd avoid in the summer, though. It's more exposed than I would want and the snakes are aplenty, but it's pleasant, runnable, and nice vistas.

And that gets us up to last weekend...

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