I will say that I learned several things the hard way. The most important thing I learned? Always...ALWAYS do your homework on hotels if you are not very familiar with the city! Just because it's listed on Priceline doesn't mean that it's in a safe area. Normally I read reviews and do some research but I made the reservation months ago and must have totally skipped doing that. I stayed at a hotel in south Dallas and let's just say it was very scary. After a sleepless night with a desk pushed up against the grimy door, I practically ran down the steps and to my car at 4:45 am to drive to the race for the 6:15 am race start and was hassled by a man that was standing in the parking lot. In my hurry to throw my luggage in the trunk and get myself into the car with the doors locked I managed to throw my car keys in the trunk with my luggage and didn't realize it until I'd shut the trunk. The lobby is locked at night because of the bad neighborhood and high crime rate but luckily for me the very nice night manager saw me out the window and called the guard. They found a guy that for $20 was able to break into my car, turn off the alarm and disable the anti-theft system. Thank goodness! I practically cried when I was finally headed out of that parking lot. I made it to the Cedar Ridge Preserve for the race at 6:14 am. I still needed to pick up my packet with bib number and the race I'd signed up for, the 36K, was already starting. So I dropped down to the 18K which started at 6:30 am and hurriedly got my bib on and my pack ready to go at the car.
|Technical? Lil bit!|
|Loved this sign on the course|
On to the actual race! Parking was a breeze..even getting there late I was only about a 1 minute walk to the start. Packet pickup was efficient and took all of about 30 seconds to get my bib and shirt. No lie--Endurance Buzz Adventures has the BEST race shirts I've ever gotten. They are TASC Performance shirts made from bamboo and other natural fibers. So comfortable and soft and they fit great. The shirts wick moisture, dry fast, fight odor and block the sun's rays. All that and so cute!
The race started and I kept reminding myself to let the stress of the past night and morning go and just enjoy the beautiful trail. For the most part I was able to do that but I felt pretty drained and tired. I did not have any of my usual trail race adrenaline..I think I'd already used all that up! I settled into a nice slow pace and truly enjoyed and soaked up every second out there. I got to run with Ben Haizlip for a little bit, then with Ken Gilstrap. After that I ran alone and listened to some music. This course is a loop course of about 5.5 miles and you do multiple laps. Although it was really hot out there (84 degrees at the start and mid 90's when I finished) I never felt bad and did good about drinking lots of water and took in 2 gels. The trail is pretty perfect as far as trails go for me...a nice mix of everything! Sections that were groomed and flat, sections that were hilly, steep and technical and a few tricky downhills. I did pretty good about staying on my feet until the very end..and I do mean VERY END! I was within 2 minutes of the finish line when I tripped over a big ole cedar root and went sprawling. It took the skin off both palms and both knees. It's now 3 days after the race and my knees are swollen and blue and my palms look scabby and bruised. Nothing serious, just the regular ole trail runner boo-boo! Since I was only running half of what I expected to run it seemed pretty short and I was a little bit sad to be done!
When I crossed the line David Hanenburg was there to give me my finishers award. It was a jar of local raw and unfiltered honey with a little wooden medal around the honey bear jar that said "Sweet! You finished!" How cool is that? It's the personal touches with his races that make them so memorable. :) The honey is from Nature Nate's and it's delicious. A little boy walked up with a popsicle for me and there was also watermelon and burritos. Perfect ending to a perfect race.
|Awesome finishers award|
|TASC Performance bamboo shirt|
Thank you so much to all the volunteers and to Endurance Buzz Adventures for a great day.