Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rough Creek Trail Marathon

Rough Creek Trail Marathon (27.5 miles)
Glen Rose, Texas
September 15, 2012
5:37:06 - 4th female, 15th overall

I've grown to hate the marathon distance. It's turned into this odd distance where I just haven't figured out how fast I can run it. Throw in a difficult trail race and I'm all goofed up!

Martin and I pre-race. 

Martin agreed to pace me at the Rough Creek Trail Marathon. We talked about aiming for an average 11:00 pace. This seemed logical, but we underestimated the hilly section, called the Rusty Crown.

The Rusty Crown. We had 3.5 miles of this (2x so 7 miles).
This was the steepest of the hills. Steep, loose dirt, rocky. Don't underestimate her. 

The marathon is 2 loops. And other than the 3.5 miles of the Rusty Crown (x2), the rest of the race is pancake flat. This proved to be a challenge for me. The long flat sections felt boring, slow and tedious to me.

We came in off the first loop around 2:32. Right on schedule from what we originally planned. But the problem was my hamstrings were barking. It was only half way through the race and my legs were toast.

The top 4 of us girls all came in around the same time. I had a slight lead up until the last 2 miles on the flat section where my friend Chris took the lead.

Heading out for loop two, Martin told me, there's good news and bad news. The good news is the average pace we wanted is right on. The bad news is the course is longer than we both thought.  I told Martin my legs were really tired already. He said his were too.

My nutrition was better that it has been, but still not perfect. I put Hammer gel in a flask and sipped on it for the first loop. I did not finish my planned 500 calories of gel. But I did have some fruit at the aid stations.

Coming into the first aid station on loop two, I was feeling like I was bonking. My second gel flask had Espresso Hammer gel and I just didn't like it. It was too thick and was not coming out of the flask easily. And I was sick of gel.

Other than fruit, there wasn't much of anything I could eat at the aid stations. I'm a big potato chip eater. And I love tortillas and ham or white bread with some ham -- neither option was available. So I ate a few orange slices and took a handful of grapes and got ready to climb.

While I was climbing very strong on my first loop, my energy was zapped and my hamstrings were too.

Somewhere toward the end of second trip to the Crown, I lost my 3rd place spot as I was struggling up the steeper sections. I took a bit of a tumble.

Here's the Crown. Isn't she a beauty?

I caught up to Martin and said, "I'm tired, hungry and my legs hurt." He later told me, "There is no whining in ultra running."

We decided I needed to tank up at the Rusty Crown aid station as soon as we got down the Crown. I dumped my water bottle and filled it with about 8-10 ounces of Coke, ate a bunch of fruit, filled up my bottle and headed out.

Here's the crappy flat part that I hated. I actually liked the Crown because while it was steep, none of the climbs were long and were followed by a good down. This flat stuff just felt slow and boring to me.

I knew I couldn't catch up to the girls as they were really pulling hard on the flats where at this point, I told Martin, if I'm running the rest of the way to the finish, I'll be happy.

We plugged along and hit the final aid station, more Coke and fruit and we were off for the home stretch.

Martin said, there's no one near us, but I don't think we should slack off. I said, no, I came here to run an 11 pace and I want to at least finish at that pace.

Nearing the finish line, he told me less than a mile. I couldn't see any females near me, but I asked him to look. I told him I lost my podium spot, but I'm not losing my spot now and don't want someone barreling on the flats to surprise me.

We crossed the line in 5:37:06. A terrible positive split, but the best I could do.

Dave put on another fantastic race. The course was well marked, a ton of great smiling volunteers and the usual great grub. But as I told Martin about 100 times before the race and several times during the race, "I want Hammond's BBQ!" So we took off and got me my BBQ. Thanks Sweetie!

Thanks to all the volunteers and Dave! Fun day on the trail! The weather could not have been better - mid 70s and overcast. Loved it!


  1. I didn't see you bonk. Yall looked strong everytime I saw yall on the course. I knew you were weird, but who the hell prefers the 'Crown' to the flat sections? Great job getting it done! Very challenging course to me!

  2. I love the pictures, especially the hill up Rusty Crown. Somehow it looks much smaller in this picture. I think this slope has the longest ski lines in Texas during winter - just sayin'...

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