I ran the Tejas trails Paleface 30K race for the first time last year and although it has some technical rocky sections I did not think much of the course in terms of it being pretty or very challenging. This year though the course was rerouted and changed to a Marathon and Half Marathon that included more views of the bend in the Colorado river that surrounds about two thirds of Pace Bend Park. Like Mikey, I like it! There was a climb along some power lines, nice views of the river, and an abundance of wildflowers on the flat dirt trails near the end. I ran the Half Marathon.
I was not expecting to run hard yesterday. My left hip has been hurting a bit and affecting my hamstring on that side. Foam rolling has helped. I have to stick with it though.
Arriving at the race site is always fun. Meeting folks in our group with big smiles, hugs, and laughs sets the tone for a fun day and motivates everyone to try to do well. There is truth to finding more in yourself than you think there is when you are exposed to "the Group effect" and we have a great group in the Rockhoppers.
At the start line I exchanged teasing and well wishes with my buds. As the race began I took off at a swift pace trying to get to the single track quickly. I hung on to Rick and John who run at about my pace. Soon I felt like I may not be able to keep up with their pace but then it seemed we all relaxed and toned it down. Exchanging greetings on the trails with my friends of the Austin groups is always fun too. As I pass them feels good also. Of course this racing is all in fun. Hah!
At about mile 6 our buddy Wade passes us looking great! I tried to hang on to Wade. Wade had a smooth strong pace going but at one point he did pause to take a glance at the water below as we ran along a ridge. "Pretty, huh?" I asked. Wade knodded.
The next aid station was at the bottom of a hill. After quick gulps of Mountain dew and Tailwind with a pretzel I was running up the hill to catch Wade who was gone!
Power hiking this short hill and sprinting to catch Wade the hip and hamstring issues were out of mind. I was very surprised at how well I was feeling hopping over roots, rocks and through trees. The group effect! I hung on until the last aid station with Wade. Here I commented on how he was maintaining a great pace. We leave together but I could not match his pace. Now I just wanted to keep him in sight.
Racing is fun. We were not racing for the win. We were racing for ourselves.
Wade started to pull further away. A runner I came up on asked if I wanted to pass. I really did not want to but I did. Sprinting to pull away from him because I would not want to pass someone only to slow down. By this time I knew I could not catch Wade so I settled into a comfortable pace without slowing to a shuffle.
My dream goal to finish under two hours faded but my realistic goal to finish under 2:15 would happen.
I finished in 2:09 and Change. A bit over a minute after Wade. Rick and John were only a few minutes back. At our group tent we exchanged high fives, smiles and congratulations.
Another fun, exciting, and great day at the races.