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Waco 5-0 Trail Run Race Report

Saturday morning completed my three week block of racing. This little beauty is called the Waco Trail 5-0. 5-0 meaning 50k. This trail event is put on by Tim Neckar who is an accomplished endurance athlete so I was expecting it to be a well ran race.

I was able to car pool with Matt and his family (wife and three kids) Saturday morning. Another nice guy, Mike, joined in on the mass transit. The mini-van was standing room only. The drive down to Waco takes about 1.5 hrs and we had a start time of 6:30am. Let’s just say the alarm went off mighty early.

The race was a three loop course in Cameron Park. I had no idea what the course was like other than hearing it was hilly. Coming from the road running scene, I have yet to fully translate that to the trail. So far any trail that has been labeled hilly has kicked my butt pretty good, but I did feel this course wouldn’t be any tougher than Cross Timbers. At least, I hoped.

After a few brief instructions from RD Tim Neckar, the gun was shot and we were trotting off down the trail. The start of the run was pretty relaxed and traveled along the shores of the Brazos River. Before long we started heading up along a somewhat narrow rocky path within the trees.

Running Along The River (Matt)

Waco 5-0 Run Start with Matt

The trail was mostly single-track that had a great mix of climbs, descents, and flats sections. It never seemed like you were using one particular muscle group for too long which was kind of nice. The day provided us a quiet and clear morning so it was quite beautiful as the sun was rising and its rays danced along the surface of the calm river. There is something special about running within nature especially on a nice day. Of course the temps were in the 20’s at start time but gradually warmed up as the sun rose. After about one mile of running the temp was a non issue.

Working The Hills

Waco 5-0 trail 2

Since Matt is an extremely experienced ultra runner I thought I would try and stick with him for the first lap. We had talked about taking the first lap fairly reserved since the course was new to both of us. We chatted about ultra running and philosophy while cautiously gliding our way through the course.

There were a couple interesting sections of the course that seemed like a bamboo forest. It felt a bit like a different country as you were all of a sudden surrounded by all this tall bamboo.

The Bamboo Forest Or Just A Dream (Open your eyes Dave)

Waco 50 trail run bamboo

An addition feature I liked about this race is that the miles were marked. This helped me quite a bit to observe my pacing and note whether I was fading or remaining steady.

The One-Armed In-Action Photo

Waco 50 me

As Matt and I continued to move along the course, we came upon a friend of his named Joe. We chatted with him a bit and then as we descended a fairly challenging slope, he took off down the trail. It was impressive to watch. Since Joe doesn’t handle the uphills very well, he has learned to hammer the downhills. It is as though he is skiing down the trail.

As we come out of the trees and begin getting close to finishing lap one, we find out the course takes us to a concrete staircase of roughly 30-50 steps. I would say it was 30 steps for lap 1 and 50 steps for lap 3. It made me think of the sand staircase at the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon.

The Stairs

Waco Trail run stairs

Before starting loop two, I hit the loo, refilled my bottle with HEED, and dropped off my camera to unload a bit of weight. For the rest of the race Matt and I ran our own races. Matt was taking this event as a good training day and I decided to push a bit more since I was feeling good.

The final two loops went by pretty uneventful. I was able to maintain a heart rate in the 150-160 bpm range. I stuck with HEED the entire race and probably took in 150 cals every loop.

I was finally starting to feel the hills during lap three but I continued to tell myself that this would be the last time I would see this darn hill. Actually I had passed a guy that mentioned this and I used it the rest of the race. A little self-talk never hurt anyone.

After roughly 5 hours and 7 minutes of running, I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and a finishers medal placed around my neck. I am grateful to have finished another trail event and acquire a bit more experience in this sport. A special thanks to all of the amazing volunteers that help make these events possible.

Well enough about the race, time to eat! The event provided burgers, hot dogs, fajitas, beans and rice, soda, beer, brownie bites, and Odwalla bars. Yummy!

We also received a nice technical shirt and running hat!

Hat, Shirt, Medal

Waco Trail run Goodie bag

Lessons learned from this event:

– Matt provided a lesson on handling the down hills with a bit more confidence and speed. – Angle your feet outwards a bit which will reduce the chance of rolling your ankle. When I put this lesson into action during lap 2 and 3, it was amazing how much more in control I felt. This is huge. Thanks Matt!

– Walking the steeper hills is not a bad thing. Coming from road running, this is a strange concept. I do wonder how the front runners handle all of the hills. Do they run most everything?

Since official results aren’t posted yet, here is my unofficial time and lap splits thanks to my trusty Polar HRM.

Finish – 5:07:41

Lap 1 – 1:45:36

lap 2 – 1:39:41

lap 3 – 1:42:23

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.

2 Responses to “Waco 5-0 Trail Run Race Report”

  1. on 26 Mar 2008 at 2:04 pm Tim Neckar

    Thanks for the race review and great review. I hope you come back next year!

    Waco Trail Runs R.D.

  2. on 10 Apr 2008 at 6:33 pm David Hanenburg

    Hey Tim,

    Enjoyed it! I had a good time!

    Thanks for putting on the event.