So I believe in previous years I have skipped doing a recap on this race (because hey, no time cutoffs, no medal…NO RECOGNITION?!) What can I say, I am a millennial and I like to be recognized from time to time. But since this race has become a staple on my race calendar I figured hey, why not? This is the third year in a row that I’ve done the DanMan and I absolutely love it every year. Even with the usually very unpredictable weather! This year I signed up for the marathon distance and it proved to be quite the adventure.
So the DanMan Challenge is a race that my trail run group, the Dallas Dirt Runners, do every year…some years we camp out there and other years we drive up the morning of. It is just under a 2 hour drive outside of Dallas, and the run starts at 8 a.m. We sign up online, and Jackie who is Dan’s assistant (Dan owns the ranch property and is basically the big wig of this country Oklahoma town) sends you an email of confirmation that you are in the race.
The race has a 10k, half marathon, full marathon as well as a 50 mile option! Since the marathon distance is right on par with my back to back long run training for Hachie 50 I was all in for 26.2. My friend Lisa and I drove out EARLY on Saturday (5 a.m.) and made the trek. We were quite concerned about the weather, as there were thunderstorms in the forecast for the morning.
We drove up there and got there about half an hour early, parked on the ranch and met up with some good buddies also doing the race. Dan’s camp provides a pancake breakfast, and lets you inside of his home to hang and get your things ready for the race. It really is one MASSIVE party. And one that I super enjoy. Dan actually just completed the World Marathon Challenge (7 marathons in 7 continents in 7 days) and had all of his swag and pictures up on the wall. I thought that was pretty cool and fun to show off to inspire all of the runners.
We line up and of course with it being an untimed, no cutoff type of race…we start around 8:20 ish. Dan made a quick speech and we were off. The race has 2 loops, a 6 mile loop and then a 7 mile loop- the marathoners do each loop twice. Which is great because it gives you a chance to get back to the main ‘aid station’ which is his house/back patio area where they had a TON of snacks, treats, and hydration. So you could fuel up before heading back out for the next loop.
The race started out with a bit of drizzle which was quite pleasant and felt nice out there, fairly decent temps in the 60s with a solid amount of humidity. I wore a light jacket but instantly got warm and had to shed that. There were also a fair amount of climbs on the 6 mile loop trail..then the 7 mile one to me was a tad more runnable. I felt excellent the first two loops, chatting with my DDR friends and rocking and rolling along.
The third loop is where things got a little more real. We headed back out onto the 6 mile slightly more technical loop and it that is when the storm moved in. We had it all…wind…lightning (and yeah RUN AT YOUR OWN risk cuz they ain’t cancelling the race plus you’ve signed a waiver, etc) and heavy downpour for a good hour. The third loop was VERY intense and muddy and almost made me want to throw in the towel. This was where I had wished I downgraded to the half because I was ankle deep into the mud. I circled back onto the jeep road which led back to Dan’s house and really was ready to call it a day as I hit mile 19. I’m thinking okay…I ran 15 miles yesterday…19 miles today…that is some dang solid training! I would be super happy ending it there. But you know…the inner coach in my mind stepped in and just was not having it. I’m like…okay really Chelsea…7 miles to go…the 7 mile loop is the one you like, remember? Just crank your tunes up and freaking rock.IT.OUT. So that, my friends, is what I did.
I was literally jamming out to Spotify and at some point the rain just completely stopped. I was oh so happy!! I got separated from my friends (some slowed down, others sped up) so I was basically on the LAST 7 mile loop all alone. But I had my music and my crazy hard headed self that just would not let me quit. With the sun coming out I picked up the pace and felt freaking great. The shuffling picked up and I started climbing those muddy hills with a vengeance. Eventually I caught up to some friends that had sped up and we all kind of finished together. I finished that darn muddy tough trail race in 5 hours and some change and really felt good about it. Great day, strong trail run and got some kickass training in.
After the run we all grabbed some phenomenal BBQ- smoked brisket, homemade catfish and potato salad, baked beans, and even pie. And the best sweet tea you will ever have in life. I also brought a honey pear cider from home as my reward- from my favorite cider place in Ft. Worth. It was the icing on the cake for sure. And all was well in the world.
Overall I absolutely LOVE this run and highly recommend it if you are a short drive away from North Texas/Oklahoma! Great way to run and enjoy a very laid back spring trail race with good people. And get some SERIOUS grub that is all freaking free.
How was your weekend? Anyone else participate in the DanMan Challenge?