A weekend in Texas

What a weekend!! On Friday I flew down to Texas to be at a race that I knew I might not run. I am not 100% sure why I felt like I should be there, but I REALLY wanted to be there. The problem was my left foot. I have had a tight left leg for months and really backed off training the last month-ish to try and be ready to train at 100% capacity for the World Championship 1ook (in Gibraltar in November)  because I have a very good chance of being asked to run in that race. (Awesome and so crazy to me!!) So I knew I wasn’t really in a place to race. Joe and I though that I could run the 30k and then do a few more laps (1ok laps) if I felt good. This race was The Lake. The first in a night trail race series called Capt’n Karl’s that the “captain” on Team Traverse (Brad Quinn) and Tejas Trails put on as a fund raiser. It started as a fundraiser for Capt’n Karl, who was battling cancer.  The races are totally awesome and all 3 very different as far as terrain goes. The Lake is by far the most technical and least hilly of the 3. An odd, almost brutal combination of runnable, hot death trap. At least until the sun goes down. Then it isn’t AS hot but is more of a death trap. In any case, my foot just wasn’t ready for that. 😦 I  had this grrrrrrrrrrr feeling towards my body starting at about 1.5 miles in. I LIKE racing…..grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr to my brain telling me racing last night would have been a pointless bad idea on that left foot. But I had know that might be the case before I ever booked my flight. And I wanted to go anyway. So I dropped and ran 7 more easy miles.

I am SO SO SO SO SO SO glad I went!! Partly because of some family things that were going on that I was grateful to be able to be there for. But also because of how totally awesome the trail running community from Austin is. Every time I am down there I almost want to move back. The people are just the best. Joe and Joyce Prusaitis are beyond amazing. Here in Colorado, there is just nothing that comes close to that. I know there are other athletes here. But there isn’t a community like that. After I dropped, Joe gave me a few jobs to do. One of them was the best job there must be at a race. I got to hand out the awards and finishers medals. What an honor to see how happy  (and relived to not be heading out for another lap!) folks were when they had finished. I wish I could have stayed there until the last runner came thru for their medal.

Which brings me to my flight. I used Priceline’s name your own price. I will NEVER do that again! I saved $80,  but didn’t get to pick my flight times, only the day I flew. I had to leave the Denver airport at 6am (got there before 5am) and leave the San Antonio airport at 7:10 this morning. The thing is, the Capt’n race started at 7pm Saturday and had a 12 hr time limit. One of the perks of sitting at the loop/ finish line is getting to see what every runner is going through. When you are on tough trails in the dark for many hours things happen. Lots happened last night. One guy particularly stood out to me. He came up to Joe and said, “I’m thru.” Joe took his chip. But I had just visited with this guy 4 minutes earlier. I knew he wasn’t thru. He was at this race running on trails for the first time AND doing an ultra for the first time. He was 30k into a technical night run and very tired. But looking at him you could tell he could still go on. I told him to just walk one more loop before he decided to quite, because everyone is feeling those trails after 30k. Those trails were tough. He came back through not a lot more then an hour later and was just happy as can be. He kept saying,”‘I’m going to finish! I’m going to do it!” And he wanted to look at the medals. He was super excited to get his finisher’s medal. I was extra bummed with having used Priceline when I had to leave to head back to SA while he was on his last lap. 😦 I left the race at 3:45am, drove the 2 hours back to my folks house and barely made it onto the plane in time.

Still, I am glad I went. I got to be with my family, learn more about racing and visit with trail friends. Hopefully I will get the honor of reconnecting with some of the new trail runners I met last night in the future. I met at least 3 trail newbies last night who were great fun to talk with and seemed very excited to run trail races again. Which is amazing, considering some of their stories!!

Happy running to all and a giant THANK YOU to Tejas Trails for all they do for the running world. You guys rock.