Sunday, October 16, 2011

Best Trail Race EVER!!!

We made it!

The longhorn herd...
So this weekend I ran in the Palo Duro Trail Race...The race was actually Saturday, but we headed out on Thursday to Palo Duro Canyon.  Since it was an 8 hour drive from Dallas, we decided to get out there a day early and enjoy all day Friday before the race on Saturday.  We got there about 4:30 Thursday and were immediately greeted by the longhorn herd of Palo Duro Canyon.

Dinner Guest Part 1

Dinner Guests

Friday night was spent in very warm sleeping bags and the sounds of coyotes howling in the canyon.  I laid awake Friday night staring out the roof of the tent it was amazing to see all the beautiful stars and listen to everything.

Light House Rock 
Made it to Light House Rock 
The sight we woke up to every morning from the campsite.
Saturday we got up and went on a 6 mile round trip hike with the boys to the landmark rock formation of Palo Duro Canyon. It is called Lighthouse Rock and you have to go 3 miles out on trails to find it and then up several rocky climbs that scared me to death to get to.  I just knew I was going to fall and twist an ankle or break an arm before the race even began!

Saturday night I got everything laid out and slept in my running clothes because I had to be ready at 5:45 for my friends to pick me up and I knew that it was going to be cold and I hate cold!  I didn't want to have to change from warm pj's to running clothes in my tent so I slept in my clothes right down to my Zensah compression sleeves and my Injinji socks...which I might add made my legs VERY warm!  I woke up about midnight only to realize that my Wink (kind of like a camelbak) had leaked all my water out because it got knocked over and so everything that I had packed for my run was now soaking wet!  I had put everything in there so I could just grab and go.  My Garmin, my arm sleeves, gu's - everything for the next 4 hours I slept/dreamed about what my plan of attack would be when I got up in the morning.  I decided to go with my handheld and got up 15 minutes before my alarm to get everything ready again!  Then I sat out in the front of my campsite in a chair with my Star Wars blanket wrapped around my legs since I had shorts on, my jacket, scarf, and headlamp and waited for my friends to drive by.  As I sat, everything was so quiet.  It was so peaceful, so I just relaxed.  I knew this race was do-able for me.  The only thing I was anxious about was getting lost.  Everyone had told me that it was very well marked and I knew it was because I had seen the trail marking on Friday when we hiked out to Lighthouse Rock, but still being on a new trail always freaks me out.  I knew it would be getting hot quick too.  It may be cold at night, but as soon as that sun peaks up over the canyon walls it was warming up to an easy 85 degrees.  So I wanted to get done before it got too hot.  Anyway, I just sat in my little chair and prayed for a good race for everyone and reflected on the day and in a few minutes, I was in my ride to the start line so pumped!

We got there at 6 am, the race for the 50 milers and the 50K started at 7:00.  They headed out with headlamps in the dark at 7 to the bag pipes playing.  It was awesome!  At 7:30 we (the 20k-ers headed out).  I walked with a girl I had met through my friend Erin.  Her name was Kim and she had done the race 4 times before.  She told me the best plan is to walk about the first .5 mile and then everyone clears out and you can run the rest of the way at a good pace.  So I decided to do that.  Honestly, I had decided to kind of just stick with her the entire race if she was cool with that so I wouldn't get lost.  We walked the first 1/2 mile and it was hard to not just run, but it is a single track and people were getting jammed all up...then magically like Kim said at 1/2 mile, it was wide open so we started running.  After about a mile and a half, she got over and told me to go on...I think she could tell I wanted to go a little faster and I did, but I was nervous too.  So off I I got to about mile 2 the sun started coming up over the canyon wall.

Sunrise at Palo Duro race

About mile 2...10 1/2 more to go!

I ran through so much wonderful scenery and so many ups and downs.  I would walk the uphills, and run everything else.  The track was very runable with no roots, which is always a good thing for a clutz like me.  (Although I would still get a digger about mile 7!)   My legs felt great the whole time and every aid station was wonderful!  This race is very well organized and manned!  
So anyway, about mile 6 I ran into my friend Stacy and another friend of hers that I had met right before the race that morning.  We ran the next 3-4 miles together talking and giggling. That is when I fell.  I think I was telling a story or something really cool when I tripped over a rock and ate it.

Very lady like...

I scraped up both elbows, wrists, and one of my legs...and the sad thing is I was more worried about whether or not it ripped my shorts!  I noticed that it had ripped part of my bib off my shorts and I thought maybe that the safety pin that was holding it on had ripped my shorts, but it didn't - thank goodness...and at the time I didn't really think I was bleeding and like Corina says, "No blood, it didn't happen."  So I got up and kept running and told Stacy we really had to come up with a better story than I just fell.  So we decided that I had been defending a deer from a mountain lion and the mountain lion attacked me.  Then a firefighter who just happened to be strolling through this mountain goat type land that we were on (it was incredibly rocky and crazy out there) decided to rescue me.  The story just kept growing and before we knew it the girl that was running in front of us asked us to continue because she was enjoying it and we didn't even know she was listening!  Too funny. So she hooked up with us and ran a couple of miles.  Turns out she was from Fort Worth and she and Stacy had been at a couple of the same races and she had met Corina before too!  Such a small world!

So about mile 10 I lose Stacy and her friend Laura and finish the rest of the race on my own.  I only had 2.5 more to go and I didn't mean to drop them, I was having such a good time running with them but they stopped at an aid station and I started running before they did from it and that was that.  

I didn't really have a goal time for the race...I wanted 2:50 because a friend of mine had run that and I really wanted to do that just because I am a little competitive, but I really didn't think I would be able to break 3 hours.  Well, I crossed the finish line at 2:50!  It was awesome!

Finish line area...

Bib and bling...
After the race, I hung out and ate a hamburger and hooked up with my husband and the boys and we headed back to the campsite.  After an hour or two, they wanted to go on another off we went, except this time I was moving like an old woman! My whole body was sore!  That is what I love about trail running.  It is such a whole body workout - not just legs, but abs, arms, everything from my arms to the arches in my feet hurt and in between.  But I LOVE it!  I am totally hooked!  

Everyone that was out there from race director down to aid station volunteer was phenomenal! I can tell you now that I plan on being back at Palo Duro every year and hopefull (maybe next year) I will tackle the 50K.  It is so awesome!

Now next weekend is the Chupacabra Race in Grapevine...Can't wait for that one either!  Trail race in the dark, can you say digger waiting to happen? :-)


  1. who was it that you met? I'm trying to figure out who else was out there that I didn't see!! Was it Tara? I bet it was!! such a small world!!

  2. If it makes you feel better, I fell down too. That was my first time running Palo Duro as well. It really was a great race. Congrats on your time and finishing strong.


  3. OMG, It's me from the restroom both nights. Hahahaha I was checking for the race times and found your blog. You did great!!! Loved reading about all your races. Very inspiring. Hope to see you there next year. Keep up the good work!!!

  4. Lois that is too funny that you found me! Very cool! I thought of you when we drove back through Wichita Falls. I was wishing we lived there too so we could be home already! :-)
    How did your husband do?
    I'll definitely see ya next year! Keep in touch!

  5. Hey you, thanks for asking about my husband. He did great as far as I was concerned. 5:56 was his time and boy he was hurting. He couldn't even help get the tent down and took him 10 minutes to walk across the road to go cleaned up and we were right across from the restrooms in site #19. God love him! I finished in 2:24. I was so happy!!! I cut 23 minutes off my last run up there, so I was pleased. My next big run will be the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. My first. Did the 1/2 before, but never the full. Can't wait!! Keep up the good work and I will be checking in on you from time to time. By the way, you said something about a 50k you were fixing to do, where was it? Just being nosy... Have a Great Day!!!! Lois

  6. My 50K is two weeks from today in Huntsville State Park - the Rocky Raccoon! I am a little nervous!!!
    That is awesome that you shaved off that much time! What a rock star! You will do great on the marathon! When is it?

  7. That sounds like so much fun! I will be sending good vibes your way on race day. The one I'm shooting for is on April 29th. I don't know if you have ever been up there, done the race or any of the above, but it is truly on of the most heartfelt experiences I have ever had. The people that live there are unbelievable and trust me, they show it. Great experience for all, including your kids. The website is check it out when you get some time. It's worth looking at. Have a great one! Lois