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14 Earn the Tejas 300 Award after Rocky Raccoon Weekend

At the start of the Rocky Raccoon 100 last weekend 14 athletes were in a position to take home a special award from Tejas Trails owner and race director, Joe Prusaitis, called the Tejas 300.

What is the Tejas 300?

This revered Texas shaped piece of granite is given to those that officially finish the three longest Tejas Trails races within a three-ish month span of time. This entails the minimally supported Cactus Rose 100 mile at the end of October, Bandera 100 km in early January, and culminating with the Rocky Raccoon 100 at the beginning of February.

The Tejas 300 award with the race bling. Photo: Carrie Knapp-Gonzalez

Gulp!

No small challenge. But hey, as ultra runners we often love to push the envelope and often begin to salivate just thinking of the journey.

So how did this group of Texas and Arkansas ultra athletes do at the Rocky mudfest?

I am pretty stoked to say they all finished! All 14!

I was able to get in contact with a few of them and they shared a few thoughts from the experience that included whether it was more challenging physically or mentally to finish the Tejas 300.

Let’s meet our 2011/12 Tejas 300 granite holders.

Parvaneh Moayedi

Parvaneh is no rookie to the running world having run a marathon in each of the 50 states and on each of the seven continents. These types of challenges are just life for this former Iran native.

“I am originally from a cold town north of Iran, Zanjan. Life has always been a challenge and adding more mental and physical challenges just makes me a stronger person. If I set my mind to take a challenge there is nothing that could get in my way.”

Parvaneh on the summit of Mount Kili in Africa after finishing her last continent marathon. Photo: Parvaneh Moayedi

Parvaneh entered the ultra world eight years ago and finished her first 100 miler at Rocky Raccoon last year and then backed that up with a sub-24 hour finish at Lean Horse 100 in South Dakota. The next adventure quickly became apparent.

“I heard Cactus Rose was one of the toughest and nastiest 100 milers in nation, so I took that challenge, after that running the [Tejas] 300 just came naturally.”

With 40 marathons/ultras planned for the year, Parvaneh has no plans on slowing down. At your next race, be on the lookout because Parvaneh will likely be there and oh the stories she will have to share.

“There is no fear and no limit.”

Parveneh also has created her own marathon in San Antonio to support and inspire other runners called I R A N marathons (Facebook page).

Jeremy Day

After surviving a day full of ugly stomach issues throughout the 100 mile Rocky Raccoon scamper, Jeremy reflects on what he felt was the biggest challenge of completing the Tejas 300.

“I started grad school last August and have not had time to properly train, so I’ve been going into these races not as prepared physically as I would like.”

Jeremy getting it done at Rocky. Photo: Corina Cervantes / txskatemom.blogspot.com

Without crew or pacers at Rocky Raccoon, that didn’t stop Jeremy from finding ways to inspire consistent forward movement within himself.

“It really never occurred to me during the race that I might want to stop. I may have walked more near the end except for two factors. First, I knew my wife was going to be waiting for me and I told her when to show up, so I kept running so as not to keep her wondering and possibly worrying about where I was. Second, I passed probably a couple dozen people in the last forty miles who were walking. I was the only one running (and running pretty well, I think), so that was a big psychological boost.”

Jeremy may have also proven how far physically you can go when the mind is strong.

Carrie Knapp-Gonzalez

Carrie originally only planned to run the Bandera 100 km but while standing at the starting line of an Ironman, a friend of hers brought up Cactus Rose 100. Signing on for that adventure led to the obvious conclusion – let’s go after the Tejas 300!

Although a definite physical challenge, the between the ears component was the tougher part of her journey.

“I think running is a mental toughness sport.  You’ve got to have it in your head that you are going to be out there for the whole day (or overnight) doing nothing but running and eating. I always go through an emotional part during the race when I cry on and off for 20 miles about anything.  My husband can attest to that, as he ran with me from mile 70-100 at Rocky Raccoon. You get tired, your brain gets tired, and you get to that point where you want to be done and fast forward to the finish line.”

Carrie staying mentally strong and focused. Photo: Carrie Knapp-Gonzalez

While Carrie had often trained for performance, the pressure she put on herself began to ruin the joy so she took an experience approach to endurance sports.

“I realized I’ve always ran for fun and ran to be “free” and happy and so I’ve started to carry that mindset to races.  I do better that way and enjoy the race more.  I see the race as an event, an adventure, and a day in the park.  There’s nowhere else I’d rather be but enjoying a beautiful sunny day running the hills of Bandera or the pine needle (mud!!!!) covered rolling flats of Huntsville.”

The approach definitely appeared to work!

Steven Monte

Steven missed the Tejas 300 last year by 16 miles after taking a short nap at a Rocky Raccoon aid station due to his hip flexor locking up and then dropping from the race upon waking. Ouch! So close!

Steven without the technical fabric. photo: Steven Monte

With renewed focus and drive, Steven completed both Cactus Rose 100 mile and Bandera 100 km this year with one race yet to finish, the Rocky Raccoon 100.

“As for Rocky Raccoon, this was my third attempt.  I had never finished this race.”

With being so close to the Tejas 300 last year, yet never finishing Rocky, Steven had this mental wall he had to break through…and then he loses a contact lens race morning.

“When I woke up Saturday morning, I lost a contact lens and had to run the whole race with a kind of hazy fog out of one eye.  During the night, this threw off my depth perception.  I had no confidence in my steps, so I had to slow down.”

With the sloppy conditions and poor vision creating another reason to call it a day before the 100 mile mark, Steven stood up to the wall using his good eye as guidance and knocked it down.

“I felt like a stubborn boxer that refused to throw in the towel. I support As Our Own which rescues kids from human trafficking, so when I needed to dig deep, I think of those kids.  It works for me!  I would not give up this year.  I did it!”

Yes you did Steven. Yes you did.

Jeffrey Miller

After Jeffrey finished the Cactus Rose 100 (race #1 of the Tejas 300 series), both Achilles tendons were on fire. Continuing to train and race, the Achilles problem continued to be a concern so by early December Jeffrey sought some help.

“Finally, I sought some medical attention from Dr. Shannon Mitchel (a Dr., a prior physical therapist, a Tejas runner, and a medical team volunteer!).  My course of treatment included NO running and aggressive physical therapy with an incredible physical therapist in Corpus Christi, Brad Walker. Three times per week I went to physical therapy, which included: electrical stimulation therapy; iontophoresis with dexamethasone; massage; and stretching and strengthening.”

Jeffrey looking relaxed and determined. photo: Jeffrey Miller

With no running throughout December, Jeremy had a solid finish at Bandera with his right Achilles tendon still causing problems. Back to intense therapy and NO running. On to Rocky.

“Fast forward to February 4, 2012, the third and final race, Rocky Raccoon 100.  It’s now been 60-ish “run-free-physical-therapy-packed” days.  At the start of the race, I felt under-trained, over-rested, and nervously anxious to close out the TEJAS 300 series with an aggressive goal of a sub-24 buckle.  Long story short, I finished sub-24, set a new hundy PR (22:17:48), and realized that ultra running truly is 99% mental!”

And then Jeffrey shared this little nugget.

“In my humble opinion, while training is critical, sometimes you just have to be bold enough to toe the line and committed enough to keep moving doggedly forward!”

Brad Quinn

After directing the Capt’n Karl series throughout the summer, Brad felt it was mentally most challenging to manage all aspects of his life that included family, work, and training across a five month span.

“On the Sunday after Rocky Raccoon I felt a mental weight lifted, as now I had some time to reflect and enjoy my accomplishments.”

Photo: Brad Quinn

Reflect and enjoy Brad!

Rachel Ballard

While mentally strong throughout the three races, Rachel struggled with unhappy tummy issues at both Cactus Rose  and Rocky Raccoon. This didn’t stop her from enjoying the events and giving thanks to the foundation of this sport – fellow dirt runners.

“The races were all still really fun, each in there own way. The community of runners from San Antonio is very strong, welcoming, and generous.”

A great community we have, indeed.

Photo: Rachel Ballard

The Secret 7

The Tejas 300 finishers I couldn’t get in contact with.

  • Thomas Orf
  • Larry Pearson
  • Jean Cummings-Perez
  • Brian Kuhn
  • Les Ellsworth
  • Rebecca Gartrell
  • Scott Harper

The Jewel

Congratulations to all our Tejas 300 granite holders!

Regardless of your interest in the Tejas 300 adventure, there is a powerful takeaway from the thoughts these athletes shared.

To accomplish a seemingly unattainable goal isn’t due to a challenge-free journey, but the willingness and ability to manage those challenges to the best of your ability and reach the goal in spite of them.

Can you see it?

This isn’t simply about three trail races.

This isn’t simply about stomach issues.

This isn’t simply about a busy schedule and sore Achilles.

This is a formula for life. Your life!

Be active – Feel the buzz!

David – EnduranceBuzz.com

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.

8 Responses to “14 Earn the Tejas 300 Award after Rocky Raccoon Weekend”

  1. on 13 Feb 2012 at 1:54 pm olga

    I’ll send Thomas your way:)

    p.s. you’ve got to make it easier with letters to comment!

  2. on 13 Feb 2012 at 2:41 pm Jacob

    Great write up!

  3. on 13 Feb 2012 at 2:51 pm David Hanenburg

    Olga – Alright, I will disable the spam destroyer for a while. I know it can be a little tricky at times but comment spam cleanup is such a pain…

    Maybe I can find something that is still effective but doesn’t require 3D glasses to interpret. 🙂

  4. on 13 Feb 2012 at 2:51 pm David Hanenburg

    Thanks Jacob! Appreciate it.

  5. on 13 Feb 2012 at 5:01 pm olga

    Thanks! You should have told me it’s a 3-D glasses that I am missing, not 10 years of my life! 🙂

  6. on 13 Feb 2012 at 10:37 pm Tim Smith

    Larry Pearson, aka The Legend, lurks in the shadows of the gnarliest trails and only comes out for 100 mile bouts with nature. He trains with packs of rabid coyotes and lives off the feral hog and rabbit infestations. Good luck finding him!

  7. on 14 Feb 2012 at 9:45 am Jonathan

    What a feat to accomplish. For me, that’s just as good as the Ultra Grand Slam. Very impressive. Right now 100 miles is daunting. I’m a newbie at the moment, but I know in time the 100 will be calling. The Tejas Hell is more my style at the moment. Looking forward to Hells Hills and Jemez.

  8. on 14 Feb 2012 at 9:57 am David Hanenburg

    Tim – Thanks for the insight on Mr. Pearson. I will keep my eyes are ears open during the next full moon…

    Jonathan – Impressive indeed! There is no correct path for everyone. Run what you enjoy, be happy, and the rest will take care of itself. See you at Jemez!