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Cross Timbers Race Report – 2008 Part 1

As mentioned in my previous post, the Cross Timbers 26 mile trail race was quite a day and it all started at 4:15 am on Saturday as I slowly crawled out of bed to get ready for my first race start of the season. I had laid out most of my clothes and nutrition needs the night before so I really only had to put on the ever important BodyGlide, races clothes, and eat a bowl of oatmeal with an orange. I then chased the food with a bit of water and I was out the door.

This was my first trail race (out of three) where I was not injured at the start. It was almost an awkward feeling, “how am I supposed to race again?” swirled in my head. I was coming into this race with almost two months worth of training, following an extended break due to an injury. I was looking forward to having a fairly even paced day and getting an update on my fitness.

What better place the check out your fitness than at a race touted as the “Toughest little trail in Texas” which includes 5510 feet of elevation gain/loss. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what 5510 meant, but I assumed it may be somewhat challenging. Ignorance is bliss sometimes.

The race location was about an hours drive on nice highways so it was a very easy transit until I got within 200 meters of the race site. Go figure. The race site/transition area was located at a Marina on Lake Texoma in Texas. The directions stated to get to the Marina and you will see the race site. Well see it, I did not.

So I drove around a bit, passing little cabins on my right and left within the clear star filled sky. I am sure a few stars were even snickering. I eventually saw another car up ahead turning around so we both stopped and talked. They were racing as well and had no luck in finding the main race area.

We finally noticed a phone number on the direction sheet and called the race director. Luckily she answered and it turned out we were about 200 meters from the site or 100 meters by water. I chose not to swim. We both started driving along the main cabin/shoreline road and finally saw some other cars and people. Found it, thank goodness. Now get a move on. Drama already and I haven’t even taken a step yet.

I quickly ran to the packet pickup tent, grabbed my goodies, and ran back to stay warm. It was a brisk 30 something degrees but luckily the winds were non existent. After pinning on my number and getting my HEED filled nutrition bottle I figured I should run back and see when the pre-race talk will start.

I quickly got out of my car and trotted up to the main tent area and was told 10 mins before the start we will get the race briefing. Ok, I had a few minutes yet so I decided to head back to the car to stay somewhat warm. As I walk briskly towards my car, I started reaching into my pocket to take out my key. Ok, not in that pocket, check the other pocket. Um, not there either. So now I check, re-check every pocket on me and no key. Great!

I had my head lamp with me so I starting shining the beam through my windows, hoping I guess to find a key securely locked up within my car. I saw no key. Now what? I finally decided I am probably going to have to call Wendy and have her drive out here with Griffin towards the end of my projected race finish so that she could unlock my door. I began my walk towards the tent area and one person in front of me came to a sudden stop, bent over, and picked up a key. My eyes almost popped out of my head.

I quickly walked up to him and said, “Is that a Ford key?”.

“Um, Yes it is”

“That is my key. I had just lost it”, I said in a bit of a hysterical voice.

I then said he must be my guardian angel, patted him on the back, said thank you a few hundred (exaggeration) times, and probably freaked him out a bit. In order for all this to happen the way it did is a statistics problem beyond explanation. There were powers much greater than I involved in this and I was extremely grateful. I did not have to call Wendy at 6:45 in the morning either…thank you…thank you…thank you.

Oh, by the way, time to get ready to run 26 miles.

It was time for the race briefing and we all huddled near a nice little campfire. The course was basically 10 miles out and back and then a separate three mile out and back section that had been touted as very challenging. My main concern was that the trail was clearly marked since this was my first run on this course. Just “pay attention”, I told myself.

Cross Timbers campfire

The 26 milers began to move towards the start line and the sun was finally starting to brighten the skies and warm the crisp morning air.

The race director provided a countdown, “…5…4…3…2…1”

Stay tuned for part two…

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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