Hey there! I am BACK from a long race weekend!! And of course here to recap some of the fun in the HOT Texas sun. I ran the Habanero 50k down in the Houston area!! Yes, it was as hot and as humid as it sounds. Let me take you along for the journey and see how it all went down…
Many of you know I haven’t really been racing much, especially after a long recovery from the Hachie 50 miler. For the most part all summer I’ve just been training with friends. But it has been a super fun season of keeping the miles up. I’ve also been teaching my usual classes at the gym which helps with cross training. For the most part, running has always been so therapeutic for me. I think I’m not like most distance runners in the sense that I really mostly run for lifestyle purposes. Sure, I enjoy the competitive part of racing- but there are moments in life where I want to train and run just for the sake of self. And enjoying nature. And for me I think that is where trail running plays a beneficial role.
I learned about this race through my trail running club, the Dallas Dirt Runners. There was a huge group going down to 7IL Ranch to do this race, and a few actually going to tackle the 100 mile distance! There were many distances for the race to choose from- from 10k all the way up to 100 miles. Something for everyone! I knew I wanted to do the 50k especially as I get my mileage back up to train for my next 100 miler in December.
I arrived to the ranch right before 11 AM since the runners were scheduled to take off at HIGH NOON! This was so different for me as I’m used to most races (especially ultras) starting super early in the morning. So essentially I had the entire morning to get my race prep together, thoroughly hydrate and eat a nice breakfast. The waffle breakfast at my hotel was pure perfection.
The 100k and 100 mile runners took off right at noon – and the other distances (including 50k) started at 12:15. I didn’t know much about the course honestly aside from the fact that it was just over a 6 mile loop that I would do a total of 5 times. We took off onto the course and the first part was DEEP LOOSE sand. The heat was blazing and the sand proved to be quite the challenge! I was not excited about this sand being so loose. I’ve run a race on sand before, the 50 miler at the Orion Ultra last year- but, that race had packed wet sand that you could drive on. This was much different AND tough on the ankles. Honestly I had to catch myself a few times from rolling an ankle and hurting myself. I knew I needed to tread carefully here if I wanted to last a full day of running.
Towards the back half of the course the sand evens out a bit and it is mostly single track dirt trail. This was much easier to run on but running over and over in loose sand made my legs and ankles SO very tired! Enduring the distance on tired legs (and of course not dying out there with heat and extreme humid conditions) became the name of this game. It ended up being a whole lot of spurts of running/ power hiking to get through it. I was so excited through because I got to see a lot of my local blog friends out there rocking the course- bigguyhiking and then of course my homegirl Paula! I loved getting to talk to runners at the aid stations and catching up.
I will say the aid stations were fully packed and the volunteers took amazing care of us. Without them I honestly don’t know what the outcome of this race would’ve been. They had plenty of water on tap, loads of ice, and GATOR(ade)RITAS! Crushed ice blended with electrolyte drink may be my new fave. Also, watermelon. Hello happiness.
When it was all said and done – after literally thinking it’s a possibility I MAY NOT FINISH this hell-ish race 1 lap in (No lie- I was super over it after 6 miles) I ended up finishing 31+ miles feeling quite alright. Quite alright, quite full of sand and dirt, ready for a shower. What made this race so incredible after being out there all day? Sharing it with amazing runner friends, the amazing trail running community, and knowing that I am capable of any and everything I set my little heart upon. One more 50k down. Many more miles to go.
Habanero, I hated and loved every minute of you. I may or may not be back for you. It just depends on the amount of peer pressure from my trail run buds. What can I say, I’m easy to persuade at times.
I will say this – there is something about trail ultras that keeps me coming back for more. I’m not sure if it is because of the beauty of the trails or the fact that I can be quite sadistic. Maybe both.
Thanks, Trail Racing Over Texas. Until next time.
Results can be found here.
How was your weekend? What do you love about trail running?