Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Possum Kingdom Race Report

Photo courtesy of: Peggy Wood

When I first heard that Endurance Buzz Adventures was putting on a trail race at Possum Kingdom Lake I thought, WHAT and WHERE is Possum Kingdom?  I had never heard of PK, other than the Toadie's song.  After a Google image search I knew I had to come run this race.  It's beautiful--all of it.  The lake, the trails, the beaches and the terrain.  All just a short 90 minutes west of Fort Worth, Texas.  :)

The race offers a choice of running 52-miles, a 55K or 20K.  I initially signed up for the 55K but switched to the 20K when I saw that my recovery from Rocky Raccoon was slower than expected.  I was dealing with some nagging little overuse injuries and didn't want to make any of them worse.  Next year I'd really like to go back and run the 55K though!

This would be a long weekend girls trip, so Peggy, Nancy, Beth and I took off work on Friday to drive the 4 hours to Possum Kingdom.  We stopped in Windthorst, TX at St. Mary's Parish which you can see from the highway to light a candle at the grotto and say a prayer.  Beautiful church and grotto, stop if you are ever in the area!  We were hoping to find a Texas bluebonnet field and luckily found one and snapped some silly pictures. 


Peggy in the bluebonnets



We made it to PK and checked out our cabin we'd rented at Bonita Shores.  We were the VERY first inhabitants, they got through with our cabin just that morning and it was perfect! Two bedroom, two bath with big living room and full kitchen.  It was up on a high hill with a HUGE covered porch overlooking PK lake and only 2 miles from the race start.  
St. Mary's in Windthorst, TX

The grotto at St. Mary's

Nancy and I lighting candles and saying a quick prayer
Our very awesome cabin porch

The view from our porch

After getting settled a bit, we headed over to Bug Beach where the awesome EBA crew were busy getting the start line and tents all set up.  We got to chat with David Hanenburg and some of the other race participants and dip our toes in the lake down at the beach.  A light dinner at Rockin S Bar and Grill and then early to bed with lighthearted promises of there being a "party on the patio" the following night after racing was over.  Ha!  Big talk.  :)
Bug Beach

Peggy and I at Bug Beach

Sunset from our cabin
We were up at 4:50 the next morning to get ready and take Nancy down to the race start.  She was running the 55K and her start time was an hour before ours.  She couldn't decide if she would need a light or not for her 6:30 start time, it was just starting to lighten up and she decided against a light and was happy she didn't take it.  Peggy, Beth and I started the 20K at 7:30 and after all running together for a few minutes Peggy started moving her way up through the pack and I knew I wouldn't see her until the finish.  Beth and I hung together a few miles and then I was on my own.  I put my ear bud in one ear and settled in.  

The first 4-5 miles were lots of rolling trail with some sandy sections.  There was cactus, lots of cedar trees, some rocky up and downs and some beautiful views of the lake.  After crossing a road the trail abruptly changes to very technical and rocky which was fun, loved the sudden change-up!  I slowed my pace a bit and was extra cautious through this area.  Lots of interesting rock formations and the smell of cedar through this area was heavenly!  I came into the aid station feeling great and didn't need anything since I'd worn my Nathan Intensity hydration pack, so I kept going.  I kept leap frogging with a man named David McCaghren so we eventually just started running together and chatting.  Talking with him made the race go so much faster and running behind him worked out perfectly for me because he had a very steady pace.  He might hike up a particularly steep hill but then he was running as soon as he hit the top.  Sometimes I have trouble starting back up after a walk, so it was nice to have a great pacer getting me going again!  We even figured out that we had seen each other at other races and that he was the one that first came upon me after my big fall at Isle du Bois in 2011 that required 11 stitches. 

This was one of those races where I never hit any low points, just felt good the whole time and loved every inch of the race course.  There are distinct sections and each one was fun!  There was sandy sections, rocky sections, flat and fast sections, hilly sections with GREAT views, etc.  FUNFUNFUN!!!

Photo courtesy of: EnduranceBuzzAdventures.com

Photo courtesy of: EnduranceBuzzAdventures.com

Photo courtesy of: EnduranceBuzzAdventures.com

Photo courtesy of: EnduranceBuzzAdventures.com

Photo courtesy of: EnduranceBuzzAdventures.com

Photo courtesy of: EnduranceBuzzAdventures.com

Photo courtesy of: EnduranceBuzzAdventures.com

Photo courtesy of: EnduranceBuzzAdventures.com

Beth and I after the race, we went out for 6.5 more miles. The course was THAT fun!
Photo courtesy of: Peggy Wood

Photo courtesy of: Peggy Wood

Photo courtesy of: Peggy Wood
David and I finishing
Photo courtesy of: Peggy Wood

David and I finished in 2:41:07 and this is a race I'll be at every year.  The finishers gift was a bottle of Nature Nate's honey (LOVE this stuff!).  Peggy finished ahead of me in 2:29 and Beth was right behind me in 2:45.  We soaked our legs in the cold lake, then grabbed some of the delicious race food -- soft tacos -- and sat in lawn chairs cheering on finishers and people in the longer races going out for more laps.  Nancy finished in 7:32 and we headed out shortly after that.  We did get to see the first 52-mile male, Eric Gilbertson come flying in to the finish in 7:45:15.  And the first place female, Nicole Studer, was right behind him in 7:47:07!  Every single time I saw them out on the course they were smiling and telling everyone they passed "good job."  Great people, these trail runners are!

1st Place 52-mile female- Nicole Studer
I'd like to also mention that all of the EBA events are cup-free racing.  Runners must bring their own hydration pack or handheld bottle to the event.  They also have reusable plates that they use for the food afterwards.  The finishers gift is something local and reusable.  I love that they put on these great events and keep it as "green" as possible.  THANK YOU EBA!

There was no "party on the patio" Saturday night...we were pretty pooped out.  We ate a nice dinner at The Cliffs, then hung out on the patio drinking wine (the other girls) and Mike's Hard Lemonade (me) and were in bed by about 9:30.   

Of all of EBA's races, this one is now my favorite. And that's saying a lot, because I like them ALL!  My ideal course is a varied terrain with nice views and lots of shade and this course has all of that and more.

Full results can be found HERE

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day - 3 Earth-Friendly Things You Can Do Today

1. Think green when you clean with natural and homemade cleaning products.  Vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda will make your house sparkle and smell good naturally and safely.  Instructions for a non-toxic cleaning kit here - http://www.care2.com/greenliving/make-your-own-non-toxic-cleaning-kit.html

2. Plant a tree every Earth Day! Trees generate oxygen, provides air pollution control and shade which keeps cities and homes cooler.  For $15.00, you get a one-year membership to the Arbor Day Foundation and 10 free trees! If you don't have room to plant all ten on your property, give some away or help plant them in your neighborhood.  This is a great activity for kids who love to get their hands dirty and a great learning opportunity for them too.

3.  Walk or ride a bike.  Rethink those small trips to the store and how you get there.  Utilize that bike sitting in the garage or your own two feet and kill two birds with one stone.  Exercise AND using less gas.

Just a few quick reminders of small things that add up to big things.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Mountain Running - Oklahoma Style!

Okay, so there are not many options in central and western Oklahoma when a runner is needing some serious hill training.  Eastern Oklahoma has some big beautiful mountains, but for us in central Oklahoma wanting a quick trip on a Saturday for some good hill work, the Wichita's work best.  So our bi-monthly training sessions have begun again this year in preparation for Angel Fire!  Last Saturday we drove down early and did a quick lap up/down Mt. Scott (3 miles up 3 miles down) and then one lap on Dog Run Hollow (6 mile loop).  Great fun as always and it's early enough in the year that there were no rattlesnake sightings, no tarantulas or scorpions on Mt. Scott and no heatstroke.  SCORE!

I brought food from home and practiced my Paleo eating like a dutiful patient.  (oh-I need to blog about the Paleo part. Doctors orders for the gallbladder and digestive issues. It's having the surprising effect of completely curing my migraines..)   I ate a mix of chia seeds, hemp seeds and buckwheat soaked in coconut milk and sliced banana before I ran. During the run I fueled up with homemade date, coconut, almond butter and dried cherry bites. After the run I ate boiled eggs, and orange and an apple.  I love healthy eating.  :)

Some pictures from our fun day:

On the way up Mt. Scott

Peggy, me, Nancy, Tanya and Amy at the base of Mt. Scott

Peggy flying down

Tanya zipping down the mountain

David and Emerson on the way up

Nancy powering up

Nancy at the top of an empty Mt. Scott parking lot

Having fun on Dog Run Hollow

Amy, Tanya and Peggy

 A little cliff-side trail yoga

Amy practicing some trail yoga