Monday, May 7, 2012

Pandora's Box 'O Rox

It was hot on the trail this afternoon. But I only ran 6 miles, not 26 as many did at this past weekend's Pandora's Box 'O Rox trail runs at Reveille Ranch. Reveille Ranch is a great venue for a trail race. Set in the heart of the Texas Hill country and near many lakes, the area is hilly, rocky, and scenic. Every time I am up in this area I am reminded of the many summers my Dad would bring our family up on camping and fishing trips. The area is known for it's granite rocky terrain. My little sister and I would always bring some pretty rocks back home with us. I brought one back Saturday. A really cool one. Cool as in nice, appealing, awesome, groovy! Not as in semi cold.
It was HOT and humid Saturday Temperatures reached 99 degrees with humidity in the 90's by late morning.
Fellow Rockhopper Travis and I were in charge of Aid station number one and four. Runners in the marathon  came through our aid station at mile 1.6, mile 11.5, 14.7 and 24.6 (the half marathoners only saw us twice).
Joe Prusaitus, the race director, knew what he was doing by placing an aid station so close to the end in this race. He later told me it took him 11 hours to measure the course and thought "these runners are in for a rough day!" Actually he was a bit more unreserved. It truly was a great move to put and aid station near the end. Runners were arriving at our aid station out of water. This after covering only three miles from the last aid station. Some did not carry a water bottle. Not a smart move running trails in the Texas heat. The runners described the course as very technical, and rocky. Joe is known for making his races as tough as possible. Many years ago I volunteered to help clear some trails at Hill country state natural area, the site of two of Joe's races, after they had become overgrown with foliage. As I was trimming some bushes he said, "Hey don't cut off too much. We don't want to make it too easy. We may attract too many roadies out here."
Travis went out for a 9 mile  run after things slowed down and came back confirming what the runners were saying. It is HOT and the course is a tough one. We spent most of the late morning and early afternoon pouring ice water on runners heads. And placing ice on their necks and on women's chests! I've never done that before! Just one asked me though. The rest did it themselves. I have never seen so many runners want to sit down at an aid station. Especially so close to the end. Some stayed for over 15 minutes. At one time we had 5 runners sitting around talking. 4 left and one called it a day. Some of these guys were accomplished ultra runners! At least one of them is a 100 miler who's finished in the top 10 more than once at 100 milers. This race, this day, was not an easy one.
I enjoyed the opportunity to help my fellow runners at this race. I enjoyed being thanked for being out there. I hope that when I run a race and thank the volunteers they like it too.
I volunteered because I love trail running and enjoy helping other trail runners in their adventure.
Others in our Rockhopper group volunteered too.
Many of my friends ran and were very successful.
Kelli, first female in the Marathon. Rachel second. Rolando, 6th male.
Amanda first female in the half. Her husband Lalo, (aka, Killian) third.
Elizabeth, Jason, Josh, Scott, Rosie, Jessica, and the best "gutting it out till the end" effort, Rich!
I hung out with the gang for a while after the race and smiled all the way home.


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