Cross Timbers Half Marathon Trail Run
- Mild conditions
- Trail in great shape
- Great race support
- Family and friends abound
Plenty to be grateful for!
Team Hanenburg and special guest (and good friend) Tim Jagoda, cruised up to the southern shores of lake Texoma early Saturday morning for the local classic, the Cross Timbers Trail Run. Both Tim and I were running the half mary.
Strongest memories on the drive up:
- Griffin (nearly 4) expressed 10 or so times how he wanted to puke. No puking occurred but G-man had a doozy of a poo a few hours later (in case you were curious).
- The huge moon shining in the western sky. Love it!
The course is a simple out and back that contains constantly varied and technical terrain (rock and root monsters) that requires fairly constant trail attention for most of the entire 13.5 miles. All climbs are under 100 feet but a few are steep enough to require both feet and hands to get to the top.
For this type of course the plan was simple, hold something back for the back half and keep my heart rate under 175 bpm as much as possible.
The Loopy Start
After a couple fist bumps with Super-Dave Elliott, the first 3/4 mile consisted of 1/4 mile road running loops to help spread out the moderately sized group of runners before we dashed onto the single-track. Smart idea!
Garmin 305 – ON!
Heart rate monitor strap – oops! Forgot to put it on.
During the road running section I quickly came up with plan B. On the way out, try and maintain a 3/3 breathing pattern. On the way back, transition to a 2/2. Hopefully this would prevent any excessive match burning during the first half of the race and leave a bit of jalapeño for the remaining miles.
Cool father moment – During each road loop Griffin would yell “hey daddy!” each time I passed. You couldn’t help but feel the love. I won’t forget that moment.
Run to the Far End (7.25-ish miles)
Tim was off running with the small lead pack and I entered the trail with the second wave of runners. It didn’t take long to be reminded of the fun, beautiful, and challenging course.
We started going up almost immediately. There should have been a sign at the top of the first climb – Welcome to Cross Timbers! 🙂
The course was in great shape and it just felt like you were in this private little trail running world. Various shades of green and brown were vibrantly on display everywhere. I flippin’ love the trails.
The two biggest memories of the initial out segment:
- Tim being the first person I saw coming back. The boy was leading the race and on a mission. He was rippin’ it! We slapped high-fives I was fired up.
- The rock stair climb right before the turnaround. On all fours baby!
I spent about 45 seconds at the turnaround aid-station to enjoy an extra cup of water and perform a quick stretch on my left hip to help keep things loose. I left the aid-station and walked the first 25 meters as I mentally focused for the return trip.
Again, there are really some beautiful sections of trail if you dare take a loop.
I transitioned into my 2/2 breathing pattern and pushed as much as I could. My legs still had life in them and I was feeling good. I ran everything but the steeper segments and quickly passed a couple runners before going solo the final six miles.
The return trip felt like less climbing and after reviewing the data, the feeling was surprisingly accurate. The out portion had a net gain of 100 feet and the return had a net loss of 100 feet.
I came hopping down the final rock littered section of trail before crossing the finish line in 2:30:30 (per my Garmin).
A great, great morning on the trails!
Race execution thoughts:
- The breathing pattern throttle system worked great. I definitely had a few matches left to burn on the way back – and burn they did.
- My left knee held up to all the grade changes. Super fired up about this.
- Had a gel prior to the start and two during the race. Energy levels – good throughout.
- It was a good day. Nothing I would have changed (surprisingly).
My buddy Tim, ended up winning the half marathon race (a couple minutes over two hours)! Huge congrats to him. Expect him to be mixing it up in more trail races this year.
We all enjoyed some post race food, a cold and tasty beer (nice work Tim!), hearty banter with Mr. Elliott, and the chillin’ post race vibe.
It was one of those days that you were in no rush for it to end…but a late afternoon birthday party was waiting so we eventually had to pack up and head south. Griffin was asleep within minutes of leaving the park.
Life was good.
Huge thanks to Teresa Estrada-McCoul and the entire support team for putting on a top-shelf event.
Be active – Feel the buzz!
David – EnduranceBuzz.com
Posted on 21 Feb 2011
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