Team Trot Ambassador Christina Pierce

29261062_10155324110967108_6128521130220911665_n.jpg

If you Google the phrase “tough as nails,” you will see a picture of Christina Pierce as the only search result.  Christina is a 2nd year ambassador who splits her time between a fulltime nursing career and crushing every ultramarathon race that she shows up for.  Christina finished BB100k as the 1st Female overall, cementing her status as a true competitor in the Texas trail running scene.  Don’t even think about getting on the podium when you see Christina getting ready to start a race!

10 Questions with Christina:

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I have this insane ability to wake up about 10 minutes before my alarm clock goes off. With. Out. Fail. I work night shift 3 nights a week, and it doesn’t matter if my alarm is set for an a.m. or p.m. time. I can beat it by at least 10 minutes. I would gladly trade this useless talent for anyone else’s useless talent.

What is the dumbest way you have been injured?

When I was younger and dating the man who is now my husband, I jumped up from the dining room table and ran full speed to answer what I thought was the phone ringing. I slammed my foot into the china cabinet and probably broke a couple toes. They were purple and mangled for weeks. To add insult to injury, the phone wasn’t ringing. My ears played a trick on me.

Whats the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

I have been reading through a blog from a guy named Jacob Evans who thru hiked the Lone Star Hiking Trail recently. I’m just picking up bits of information here and there. I’m hoping that a group of friends might want to team up to complete the hike next spring.  

What is the most distant place you’ve visited?

I spent a Thanksgiving holiday in Seattle, Washington one year visiting my sister. My Air Force enlistment took me to Idaho, Mississippi, and Missouri, but I was born and raised in Texas and came back as quick as I could.

Favorite running shoes?

I am a big fan of Hoka One One. I usually run in Cliftons on the road, but for trails I am in love with the Speedgoat 2. They are the Wacky Wall Walkers of trail shoes (google that Millennials). I have taken the Speedgoat through the swampy conditions of the Horseshoe Trail run, the sands of 7iL, the hills of Cactus Rose, and to the peak of Franklin Mountain, and they have held up well in all conditions and kept my feet happy.

Favorite time of day to run?

I like to hit the road at about 4-5am. I love running in the dark. I love to see the stars and catch the sunrise. Even in a 100 mile race, those night time hours are my most favorite time. I love to be alone with my thoughts and being out there while the rest of the world sleeps. I can remember a time quite a few years ago when I was worried that in a 50-mile race I would still be out there after dark. I considered a pacer just so I wouldn’t be alone. Now I will jump at the chance to be on the trail at night.

Favorite song on your playlist?

I am always digging for music for my playlist that really inspires me or helps me to see the beauty around me when I am out running. I really love groups like The Head and the Heart and songs by Peter Bradley Adams (look them up, good stuff). My favorite song right now is a song called “Where the Mountain Meets the Valley” by Joshua Hyslop. I added it to my playlist just before Lone Star 100 and I just go back to it over and over.

Listen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LddPiPE1a4k

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

As hard as running a 100 mile race is, nursing school was harder by several magnitudes. I am most proud of the fact that I had the guts to go back to school after being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years to follow my dream of becoming a nurse. Being a nurse is absolutely insane, and I LOVE it! I find a lot of the personality characteristics that it takes to be an ultrarunner work very well for me as a nurse…looking at gross feet, dealing with bodily functions, and just having the ability to just laugh at the ridiculousness of situations you end up in.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

Mint Chocolate Chip. It is the ONLY flavor.

What trait do you like most about yourself?

One of my friends told me a few months ago that she admires that I always “make the payments”. I am not a “fake it until you make it” kind of person. If a challenge requires a certain amount of training or hard work I get the work done and show up prepared for the challenge.

 

 

TEAM TROT AMBASSADOR EMILY RIALS

Emily Rials is an OG TROT Ambassador who is small in stature but HUGE in personality.  Straight off her 3rd place finish at Jackelope Jam, Emily is eyeing Brazos Bend for her first 100k finish and induction into Buckle City, USA.  Emily is the brains behind the popular Huntsville State Park Trail Run group, and she is always looking to spread her love of the trails to new people and places! 

 

10 Questions with Emily:

What’s the most useless talent you have?

All of my talents are legit, but I am a professional ghost crab hunter.  Pretty proud of that..
 

What is the dumbest way you have been injured?

Only one?  Hmmm… when I was leaving my doctor’s office and I was running on the sidewalk back to my car, a toddler totally body slammed me and I ate pavement…That kid was so thug, and I still have the scar to prove it.


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

The updates coming from the Barkley’s.  Tough year and STOKED to watch Maggie take a stab at it.

 

What is the most distant place you’ve visited?

The Bahamas (don’t laugh at me). I plan to travel more someday.

 

Favorite running shoes

My Altra Lone Peaks!  I love them so much, there’s days they might go on the road with me.

 

Favorite time of day to run

Just before dark, especially if it’s a summer evening and a storm is coming in while the sun is going down.

 

Favorite song on your playlist

I have two,,,

Send Them Off! by Bastille and Cassette Tapes by L.I.F.T.

 

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

My kids        In running?  Horseshoe 2017 50k – my first ultra.  It was a flooded, muddy mosquito infested mess and I’m STOKED to have completed it!!

 

Favorite ice cream flavor

Starbucks Java Chip

 

What trait do you like most about yourself?

I try to stay positive and find a way to keep smiling even when things are really difficult, and I hope that makes life a little easier for the people around me.

TEAM TROT AMBASSADOR TREVOR MEDING

Trevor Meding is fast, fearless and relentless when it comes to ultra-marathon running.  But, did you know that he rarely ran before the age of 35?  After some serious introspection, Trevor decided it was time to change his sedentary lifestyle and he registered for the Red Deer Half Marathon. With only 5 weeks of training and his trusty Nike+ phone app, Trevor achieved his goal of a sub-2 hour finish time and was well on his way to becoming a kick ass ultra runner. Trevor won his first 100 mile race at River Valley Revenge in June 2017 and followed up with a sub-21 hour finish at BB100 last December.  Trevor has now set his sights on the San Felipe Shootout and the BB100k races as his next big challenges for the spring race season.  Don’t forget to wave at Trevor when he passes you on the trail!

 

10 Questions with Trevor:

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I can wiggle my ears.
 

What is the dumbest way you have been injured?

Diving into the corner of a coffee table when I was young and stupid.

Running wise I have yet to be injured (minus the battering of toes in ultras).


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

More running articles and writeups on social media leading up to the Barkely Marathons. I’ve been clicking on all those links and stories getting ready for this year’s event to follow.

 

What is the most distant place you’ve visited?

Australia, Egypt, & Abu Dhabi all for work. Not sure which is the furthest away, but they were all interesting to see and work with different people and cultures.

 

Favorite running shoes

Ever since I discovered Altra I have not looked back. #embracethespace

 

Favorite time of day to run

Usually after work to relieve some stress. But honestly I just run when I can due to work and busy family life.

 

Favorite song on your playlist

Hadouken – Levitate

 

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Going from off the couch to running, completing, and winning my first 100mi race only 14 months after starting the journey.

 

Favorite ice cream flavor

Mint Chocolate Chip

 

What trait do you like most about yourself?

Grit. Ability to be able to grind through anything.

Team TROT Ambassador Meg Reed

If you haven’t heard the name “Meg Reed” yet, you will after this weekend’s event at the Crazy Desert Trail Race.  Meg started running a little over a year ago, and she’s already established herself as a hardcore competitor with her 1st place finish at Wildflower Trail Run Marathon, 1st place at Tinajas Ultra (13.1 miler), 1st place at Bandera (25 miler), 1st place at J&J Trail Running Reunion (50 miler), 2nd place at Paleface Marathon, and 2nd place at Wild Hare (50k).  WOW!  Meg will be bringing her killer pace to San Angelo this weekend as she races for the podium in the 100k event.

 

10 Questions with Meg:

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I can’t really think of one.
 

What is the dumbest way you have been injured?

When I was 10, I had the bright idea to jump off a swing in mid-air, turn around and land sitting down in a lawn chair. I jumped, didn’t turn, landed on the chair and broke both the chair and my arm.


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

An article about thru-hiking the AT.

 

What is the most distant place you’ve visited?

Aruba, I got to live there a couple years as a kid. No trails but lots of caves.

 

Favorite running shoes

Roads: Saucony Zealot ISO3

Trails: Salomon Sense Ride
 

Favorite time of day to run

Mornings.

 

Favorite song on your playlist

Anything classic rock or Texas country but I never listen to music while running.

 

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

My biggest accomplishment is always the last thing I have set out to do and completed. Winning the Texas Trail Championship Series last fall was pretty awesome too.
 

Favorite ice cream flavor

Mango sorbet

 

What trait do you like most about yourself?

I am very persistent. When the going gets tough, keep on keeping on.

Team TROT Ambassador Aaron McCreery

Our ambassador of the week is fresh off of his 2nd place finish at the Jailbreak 5k in Baytown last week!  Aaron McCreery is a fast AF runner who known to sport a serious beard during the race season.  As a new TROT and NFP Ambassador, Aaron knows how to represent the true spirit of Texas trail racing while looking sharp on the course. 

10 Questions with Aaron:

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I very proficient at harassing my wife in every way imaginable.
 

What is the dumbest way you have been injured?

I lived on a skateboard as a teenager and managed to fracture my skull grinding a bench in a K-Mart parking lot.


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

I’m reading Running Man by Charlie Engle.

 

What is the most distant place you’ve visited?

Colorado

 

Favorite running shoes

Hoka One One , Clifton 3
 

Favorite time of day to run

In the morning.

 

Favorite song on your playlist

Ugh, so hard to choose… Probably something by Janes Addiction or The Growlers.
 

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

My proudest running accomplishment came at Brazos Bend 50 mile race in December. I’d never run over 35 miles before that race so I was really happy with a sub 8hr (7:59:59) 8th place finish.
 

Favorite ice cream flavor

Pistachio Almond

 

What trait do you like most about yourself?

My stubbornness, when I focus on something I don’t give up.

Team TROT Ambassador Lisa Decker

If you have run a TROT race within the past 3 years, you have seen our next ambassador volunteering and supporting the runners all over Texas.  Lisa Decker is a second year ambassador who truly defines the “ambassador” role through her outgoing nature and tireless volunteerism. Get to know a little more about Lisa and see why she is one of our best!

 

10 Questions with Lisa:

What’s the most useless talent you have?

Tripping on nothing! Doesn’t matter the shoes or surface, I will trip 5 times a day!! However I rarely fall, so I have that going for me!


What is the dumbest way you have been injured?

When I was a kid, I tried to jump on the side step of my dad’s truck as he was parking (saw older sister do it a million times). I slipped, fell and my leg got ran over! Badly sprained ankle from the fall and pretty nasty tire bruise on my thigh! No broken bones though!!


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

All the Lonestar100 race reports have been interesting to read!

 

What is the most distant place you’ve visited?

Harrisburg, PA (I only remember going to Hershey Park and coming home with chicken pox!)

 

Favorite running shoes

Altra Timps for trail. Altra Paradigm for road.
 

Favorite time of day to run

Until Snowdrop, it was always sunrise. After Snowdrop, it’s between midnight and 4am when everyone is sleeping!

 

Favorite song on your playlist

“Til I Collapse”- Eminem or “Jackal and Hyde”- 5 Finger Death Punch


What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Finishing Snowdrop this year and earning my first buckle! I never imagined I could finish 100 miles and now I’m itching to earn even more buckles!!.
 

Favorite ice cream flavor

Peppermint stick ice milk from Dewars in Bakersfield, CA

 

What trait do you like most about yourself?

My stubbornness and willpower....definitely has gotten me to finish a few races I wasn’t quite trained for! LOL It’s also rare to catch me without a smile on the trails!

Team TROT Ambassador Rosalba Zuniga

It’s Lone Star 100 week, and we are highlighting an El Paso Ambassador to show you how tough our West Texas team really is!  Rosalba Zuniga completed her first 50k in 2017 at the Cactus to Cloud race in NM and followed up with the Bryce Canyon 50k in UT a few months later.  She’s running her first 100 miler this weekend at Lone Star because she wanted to challenge herself with one of the toughest mountain races in the country.  We know that Rosalba is an exceptional trail runner, and she will leave her mark on the Franklin Mountains this weekend as she races towards her epic finish.

10 Questions with Rosalba:

What’s the most useless talent you have?

Paddle boarding, definitely a useless talent living in the desert.


What is the dumbest way you have been injured?

Not running related: I was cutting butter and cut myself with a butter knife. There was blood, but instead of me getting a bandaid, my kids laughed so hard and said that must be the dumbest way to get hurt. My kids won't ever let me live it down.


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

“When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope. We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell." Lance Armstrong

 

What is the most distant place you’ve visited?

Korea

 

Favorite running shoes

I'm an Asics kind of girl
 

Favorite time of day to run

Night runs

 

Favorite song on your playlist

Mis Sentimientos feat Ximena By Los Angeles Azules


What accomplishment are you most proud of?

My first ever 50k last year Cactus to Cloud with 9,000 feet of elevation gain. All vertical climbing for the first 10 miles, and the rest of the course was not easy. It was just supposed to be a training run for my first ever 50k at Bryce Canyon. I came in with a wonderful time and finished with the first 5 people. This is the place I fell in love with 50ks.
 

Favorite ice cream flavor

Cookies and cream

 

What trait do you like most about yourself?

I love that I'm adventurous and very strong willed.

Team TROT Ambassador Victor Valenzuela

DSC_5154.jpg

This week’s ambassador needs no introduction!  Known simply as “Vic200,” Victor Valenzuela established himself as a true endurance runner and all around trail-connoisseur in 2017 with his 100 mile finishes at BB100, Dinosaur Valley Endurance Run, Orion 100, Blazing 7s 100, Jackalope Jam, and Rocky Raccoon 100. Victor completed the Texas Independence Relay as a solo runner, and he managed to eat at every Whataburger along the route from Gonzalez to the San Jacinto Monument!
10 Questions with Vic200:
What’s the most useless talent you have? 
I can eat the spiciest food others could not tolerate. 

What is the dumbest way you have been injured?
When I was 13 I drove a moped scooter straight to a fence. Injury kept me out of school for 1 week, so I must say it was a win for me.

Whats the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week? 
Oh Lawwd! In spin class someone's tight pants tore up right in front of me.

What is the most distant place you’ve visited? 
610 & Kirby.

Favorite running shoes? 
It would have to be my Altra LonePeaks and my Xero Z-trail sandals.

Favorite time of day to run?
I hate waking up early so evening runs are the best for me.

Favorite song on your playlist?
Hit'em up by Tupac.

What accomplishment are you most proud of? 
The Texas Independence Relay as a solo runner.

Favorite ice cream flavor? 
Blue Bell ice cream without lysteria. 

What trait do you like most about yourself? 
My mental game.It is stronger than a Jedi..(I just can't move things by not touching them,yet)
 

Team TROT Ambassador: Jenn Kirpatrick

Let’s give a big TROT welcome to new ambassador Jenn Kirpatrick! Jenn is a CERTIFIED BADASS as she completed her first IRONMAN 70.3, qualified for Boston, and crushed her first 50k, 50 mile, and 100 mile race in 2017.  Jenn runs with the Renegade Endurance Club, and she will be pacing at Running the Rose  this weekend.

10 Questions with Jenn:

 

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I am an obsessive packer, as far as ultras go.  Now, I feel this is a very useful talent, but my teammates are merciless in making fun of me for all the stuff I bring.

 

What is the dumbest way you have been injured?

Non-running:  I tried to do a flip on rings on a swing set once, and ended up knocking off a piece of bone from the ball of my foot.  It’s still floating around in there, I’ve been told. 

 

Whats the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

I’ve been reading the book, No Meat Athlete and that is giving me a lot to think about. 

 

What is the most distant place you’ve visited? 

Seattle

 

Favorite running shoes  Road: Adidas Adizero Adios; Trail: Salomon Sense Ride

 

Favorite time of day to run  Middle of the night.  There’s something magical about it.   

 

Favorite song on your playlist Thunderstruck by AC/DC

 

What accomplishment are you most proud of? My 100 mile finish at Brazos Bend, for sure.  But it was the whole package – the race was just the victory lap.  The real transformation happened during training.  Pure awesomeness!!

 

Favorite ice cream flavor   

Isn’t the real question “What is your favorite Blizzard?”  In that case, M&M.

 

What trait do you like most about yourself?   My ability to stay calm and think in stressful situations.  It’s extremely helpful when you are managing unexpected hurdles during a race, but even more so when, let’s say, someone steals your wallet & car keys at a volleyball tournament and you’re 200 miles away from home.   

Team TROT Ambassador: Charles Fisher

The 2018 TROT Ambassador Team is here!  Starting this week, we will profile one outstanding Ambassador so you can get to know them!  We will start our introductions with Charlie Fisher, who is a newbie to the Ambassador Team but a certified PRO to the Houston trail running community.  Enjoy Charlie’s answers to our thought provoking questions below :)

10 Questions with Charlie:

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I can curl my tongue. That is the only thing that comes to mind…Useless I don't know?


What is the dumbest way you have been injured?

Not Running Related - Falling out of a tree and ending up with a broken arm when I was about 9 years old.


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?

“Really Ugly Shark Tired Of Being Mistaken For Hammerhead” reported by the Onion? Fake news, who knows these things?? It was a semi intriguing read!! Poor ugly shark

What is the most distant place you’ve visited? Innsbruck, Austria

Favorite running shoes

Altra Lone Peak 3.5. I love this shoe, they were my 3rd pair of Lone Peaks. I'll keep buying them until they discontinue them. Gotta love Altras!!


 

Favorite time of day to run

In the morning, right before sunrise. There is nothing like watching the sun come up over the horizon while running. It’s intoxicating. If you are a runner you get it, If not that sucks for you. Sleep tight.

 

Favorite song on your playlist

Mess is Mine - by Vance Joy


What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Oh boy, I’d have to say my first 50 Miler at Brazos Bend this past December. That was a very special day for me, not only for the accomplishment but for the people I got to share it with.
 

Favorite ice cream flavor

Coffee!! A close second is Pistachio

 

What trait do you like most about yourself?

I've been told that I’m very “Go with the flow..” For example if someone asks me….. “Hey, what pace or finish time are you looking for at a race?”… I’ll generally say, “However this body performs today is what I got...” I’m very chill that way and I like to think that is how I am in everyday life. So I suppose I can be fairly chill….Relaxed and out going perhaps?

 

A guide to Habanero.

Habanero Hundred

A guide to not getting Habanero’d?

I wanted to put together a guide for those who are running the Habanero Hundred and a pretty good checklist of what to do if running a hot race in this case high humidity as well. I will reference along the way some blogs, articles and general info.

A great read with this guide is the blog by Julie Koepke who is the only person to ever complete this race 2x so she knows how to get it done. http://www.trailracingovertexas.com/blog/2016/4/21/hard-earned-heat-training-tips

I will break down the guide in 5 separate parts.

1.     Race Week and What to pack?

2.     Race day clothing, preparation, and lubrication.

3.     How to stay cool when it's hot as Hell!

4.     In race Management

5.     Iron Will

 

1.     Race Week and What to Pack-

With any race week, a key would be both nutrition (ie getting proper foods ill leave that up to your own knowledge) and also hydrating early as well. So usually 3 days out which would be Thursday Am is a great start to really focusing on what you are drinking and the electrolytes you are taking in. So starting the race hydrated is a GREAT way not to go into the hole early in the day.

With a race like Habanero, there are many things going for you like short loops, close aid stations, and a familiar loop. There are also some things going against you like HEAT, lots of sweat and irritation. So often times bringing the right things can help to mediate some of those issues.

I tell people especially running in a longer race to pack a couple of pair of everything they really need. Here is a quick start rundown on some packing items.

-Multiple pairs of shoes maybe with a ½ or full size bigger pair for swelling.

-Multiple pairs of socks or at least enough to have 2 fresh pairs and one drying

-3-4 different shirts in case you start to chafe where you never have before.

-2-3 different shorts including for guys ones with NO netting in case of insane chaffing

-A hat or multiple hats (see below) to help reduce exposure

-2-3 Jars of lubricant such as trail toes for any chafing you might have and a roll of tape as well for crazy blisters.

-A bandana, buff and/or arm sleeves (see below) to put ice in to help with the heat.

- Sunscreen

- Some sort of water carrying device ( a minimum of 40 oz is a must even for fast folks)

- A headlamp with a spare or spare battery ready to go.

-Drop bags for the main aid station and also the halfway as well if wanted. Mark it with your BIB and name as well.

- Anything that you need nutritionally that the race doesn't have or a surprise to keep you going (see below)

So that is a quick sheet of what you HAVE to have just to get going on the adventure. Lots of stuff you can add in there like hiking poles, sunglasses and other wants that are personal.

The one last note is that since the race does not start until NOON on a Saturday you should be trying to get as MUCH rest Friday night as you can. You should be able to start the race with a full nights sleep or maybe a bit more if that is what you like. Showing up to the race on little sleep is a recipe for disaster to use the time to rest up.

You can find all of our gear at www.trailracingovertexas.com/store or at the Habanero Hundred Fri-Sat and Sunday. 

 

2.     Race day clothing, preparation, and lubrication-

The race for Habanero starts at Noon or 12:15 depending on the distance. But one thing is for sure is that it will already be HOT and it will already be sunny so preparing before you step up to the plate is important.

            -Race Day Clothing- Much of this is a preference but a good 50/50       (cotton/poly) blend seems to be a clear choice for people. Pam Smith who won western states wrote on how much she wanted the contact on her skin to stay cool vs a shirt like a tech that pushed the sweat away. I would also argue that the more you can cover up in the direct sunlight the better to avoid sunburn and keep the body temp down.  

            -  I think starting the day off with some sort of headwear to minimize exposure is key as well. We made specific hats that block the sun and also have a drape on the back of the neck. If you look below Julie is wearing a wide brim hat that is minimizing sun exposure to the head, neck, ears, and shoulders.

            - Arm sleeves- While most people would see these as a tool for cold weather they are great for hot weather and can serve 2 purposes. The TROT ones have UV protection in them so they will help to block sunlight and they will keep that skin moist with your sweat. Also, you can have an aid station person who is crewing you put some ice cubes in them as well to help with body temp.

-Bandana, Buff or Neck Device- The easiest way to stay cool when its horrible is to keep your neck area as COLD as you can. I will link below but the science is that your blood is moving right there (like your wrists) and getting it cold is beneficial. We sell a 26” cotton TROT bandana that you can fill with a couple scoops of ice, fold it up and tie it around your neck. Jeff Ball wore a buff that we dipped in with ice water each time we saw him. For ladies, a BRA has been known to help in the exact same way so fill it up to say cool.

            -Lubrication can save your day but its starts early and often- I recommend lubing pre race especially on known areas and those feet. The first thing to get wet usually is your socks/shoes from the sheer amount of sweat pouring down. I normally lube my feet heavily and also lube the inside of my socks before every putting them on. I use Trail toes for my application purposes which we sell on race day. As well as my feet I hit the normal spots for me that chafe which is under arm/rib area, inner thighs and the crack. Everybody has different bodies but I can guarantee you that you will CHAFE. When your clothes get wet it's bound to happen. BUT you can prevent it getting bad by starting the race off by being ready for the slightest hot spot and getting your feet in good shape before it all goes down.

So your drop bags are packed, you have all your gear on and ready to go and the time is about to start.

3.     How to stay COOL with its HOT AS HADES A HOLE!

 I love the heat and I love heat training as well. Most people know that I wear hoodies for workouts, I purposely workout in the heat of the day etc. Part of the reason I do this is to make sure I am ready for weeks of work in the heat putting on races in Texas. Its hot as HELL out so you have to be ready. So lets talk about what can help keep you cool.

-Ice bandana/arm sleeves/hat combo- As described above using a hat to shade you, arm sleeves to reduce exposure and ice bandana will all help on exposure.

-Ice early and often- To me starting the race with an ice bandana or ice in your sleeves is smart decisions. It will already be 95+ temps and keeping your core temp down and HR down is one of the most important items you can do.  (see management). So Ice in your hat, on your neck, in your sleeves and in your bra is the way to go as you need it.

-Ice Cold Drinks- Its been proven that slushes help to get your core temp down and are life savers in a race. Habanero has Gatorade slushes and snowcones available at the main aid and Gatorade slushes at the ½ way point. The slushes can also be made with just ice/water same with snowcones. The importance here is to get something really cold in you to help keep that core temp down.

-Ice Baths- At each aid stations are 2 buckets filled with ice water and sponges for you. These can really help to get on your head, neck to help you when your HOT.. PRO TIP—Lean over at the hips (not over the bucket) and have a volunteer ice bath you so that when it drips down it away from your feet. You don’t want to add more water going into your shoes/socks than you need to.

-Hydration is always a key in regulating your body and keeping it moving efficiently. The key to drinking is that you need to drink when your thirsty and need to be taking in electrolytes as well. ( Each person is different but what we do no is that too much water is a bad thing just like too little is). So drink if your are thirsty but not like you are on the desert.

So use the tools you have to stay cool in the race. Ice, Ice Baby!!

 

4.     In Race Management-  Often times in sports you will here people say well they weren’t the most talented but they found a way to win. Well folks finishing this race is a win so managing your day is what you need to do. Julie K for the most part considers herself to be a mid pack runner who ends up finishing the toughest races around. What I see though from the RD is someone who leaves the ego at the door and isn’t afraid to execute a plan.

So with that being said here are my top 5 tips to race management of Habanero Hundred.

1.     Chafe you, Chafe ME- If it starts to hurt, chafe, hinder you than FIX IT NOW. Changing socks, shoes, hitting a blister or adding lube takes seconds or minutes to fix in real time. Our minds think we are wasting time but you wont see that if you don’t finish. Take time to take care of yourself.

2.     Plan for the Aid Station Ahead- As Cal Neff would tell me come into an aid station with a clear view of what you need/want and keep going. Aid stations are great but you want to get what you need and get back to moving on the trails. So before you get there get ready to toss trash, grab a gatorita or what you need. Preparing will actually save you TONS of time in the long run if you aren’t losing 3-5 minutes an aid station.

3.     SLOW DOWN when you need to- So many people take off at Habanero like champagne corks and run at race pace so quickly. The course at 7il has sand right out of the gate so you will be working hard on that footing fast. Chances are your HR will start to go up quick with the heat, sand and push you are making. Be aware of your body and realize the race just started you aren’t running a 5k. So stay calm, move efficiently and don’t waste time.

4.     Make your move at night- At 7-8pm the sun will start to set and for the most part you can remove some items for the sun and you should be focused on capitalizing while its dark. The temp will likely fall into the 70s-80s temperature wise which give you a chance to move. So I would say that for the first 7 hours for you 100k-100m folks it’s time to get in a groove but you should be waiting to kick its ass when the sun fades.

5.     Change of Plans- I think steve monte said it best when he said any mile of Habanero can take you out. I always love the quote of “be like water.” Prepare to change it up, don’t get discouraged if something happens and remain calm. Finishing races is more to do with problem solving that it has to do with running. When I ran snowdrop last year I had to walk it all with a bum knee. After the first day I figured that I need to walk 2 loops 1.5 miles and rest for 5-10 min for my knee to finish. When we did the math it would take me 35 more hours just like that and a 4 hour nap. Well the nap we cut to 45 min since I was losing time and I finished in 54 hours. But my point is that I had to follow a plan to get to the finish even though it was nothing like I planned. Do what you have to do to finish the race!

IRON WILL

I am someone who believes that this game we play is mental. Ive seen people quit a few miles away from a 100 mile finish and ive seen people drag limbs to the end.

But it all comes down to what you bring to the line that morning. Are you receptive to the day? Is your heart clear and ready to accept the trauma it might endure?

Do you have something so meaningful that you can call your WHY? Why am I doing this, what does this mean to mean and what have I sacrificed to be here right now?

That WHY is what at time can get you to take that next step forward in a race like this. It can flip the switch when it gets dark in your mind and you let the negative feed.

So my advice is to show up to that line with your WHY as close to your heart as you can get it. Obsess over it, keep it at the forefront of your mind if needed and hold it dear.

We all have different WHYs in our lives. For me every year I run snowdrop to honor my God son who passed from Pediatric Cancer just a few months before the 1st race. It dosent matter that I have a bum knee or that I cant run around that track. But what I can do is finish the 100 every year for him no matter the pain.

 I will find a way and you must do the same.

The Trail to your Goal - A matter of Perspective

The Trail to Your Goal – A Matter of Perspective

By Tammy Roen


I remember my introduction to trail running and how I made that first leap from pavement to the feel of the earth… the actual earth… beneath my feet.  In my time running, racing and chasing my goals, I’ve had the good fortune to meet many great fellow runners along the trail, so often offering kind and encouraging words to me as they went by.  As I think of the many faces I’ve come to recognize on the trails and at events, and how so many have shared their own goals and dreams with me, I can’t help but note the diversity and the commonalities among runners.  Oh, certainly there are differences in gender, age and other obvious factors, but I’m actually referring to the diversity of motivation and what gets each of us out of bed at 0500 to light up the trail even before the sun does.  For some, it’s all about that desire to compete… to test one’s metal against a field of worthy competitors and ultimately stand on the podium.  For others, it’s simply the satisfaction of completing a course… perhaps checking another box on that bucket list of trails to be run, or improving on a previous time.  For all, it’s a time not just of personal accomplishment, but of enjoying the beauty of nature and accepting the challenges it can present.  I am no exceptional runner!  In fact, if I am ever called an “elite,” it will most certainly be followed by the sound of my alarm, waking me from my dream so I can begin my daily run.  Most events find me in the middle to the back of the pack, depending on my recent training.  Yet, over the years I’ve come to embrace some special joys that can be found there.  Not feeling any time pressure, it’s not unheard of for me to simply stroll along for a bit and become a “Trail Angel” for others who are perhaps at a low point and may really need one.


I was once asked by a friend if I ever placed in races.  I told them that I always placed… sometimes 52nd, but everyone who finishes places somewhere!  For me, I think it would be more accurate to describe my “place” in a run from the perspective of what I was able to impart to others and what I was able to take from the day.  I’ve admittedly lost the trail at times, but I’ve never lost heart.  I will always stand in awe of those runners who lead the pack and tame the trails like I may never quite be able to, but if I can stop along the trail and offer assistance to someone who is cramping, sick, or sitting on the side of the trail wanting to stop, there is a special type of good feeling I will take away from helping them out… and perhaps even a new friendship.  Sometimes, all that’s needed are a few words of encouragement to persuade them to just walk with me to the next aid station and reassess things there.  In fact, that may be all it takes for them to find the motivation to finish their race.  I love sharing the knowledge that I’ve gained over the years regarding heat training, nutrition, gear opinions, or how to recover or prevent some injuries as we continue along the trail together.   A shared journey is always an opportunity to trade information about other courses, upcoming races, or the benefits of volunteering with an organization such as TROT, which is a fairly recent endeavor for me, but one I have thoroughly enjoyed.  It gives me great pleasure to cheer people on throughout the race via high fives, kind or motivating words or just telling them “Come on let’s do the next mile together!”  Perhaps I’ve found my calling out there while sweating and trotting along toward the back of the pack.  For all of you who run the trails, I would simply say this – whether you are just starting out, or whether you are nipping at the heels of that elite level you’ve worked so hard to achieve, always take time for a little introspection!  You just may find that the trail to your goal is lined with the dreams of many… and they are absolutely amazing!

The Wild West- Crazy Desert Trail Race

The Wild West

Guest Blogger: Christina Pierce

 

The Crazy Desert Trail Race was crazy enough that it deserves a written race report. I am a relatively well versed Gulf Coast area trail runner, so the thought of traipsing off to West Texas to run a trail was a little unnerving. I would be completely out of my element, but I was ready for a challenge and ready to spread my wings and tackle 100k out in the desert.

                I arrived Friday evening just in time to catch the race briefing. Rachel was there to give us the important details. She seemed to put everyone’s concerns at ease- especially those about bathrooms (just use the bushes!), snakes (don’t step on them), and the large cattle that roamed the park. Rachel said, “Oh they just want snacks. Just make yourself big and yell- SHOO COW”. I figured those details might come in handy later, so I tucked them away in my mind just in case. I picked up my packet, said hello to a few friends and scurried off to take care of my race prep before it got too late.

                The next morning I awoke to a crisp, cool desert morning and gathered at the start line with about 50 other runners. It was quiet and dark except for the glow of the head lamps. Fist bumps, high fives, and words of encouragement were exchanged. The next thing I knew we were bounding off in the dark. The trail began with a tight bit of single track bordered on both sides by cactus that gave little room to pass. I started my race in a pack close to the leaders but comfortably behind them. We had a good pace and stayed close enough that our headlamps kept the ground beneath us in a glow of light. The trail snaked its way through the desert while the sun ever so slowly began to peak over the horizon. We were climbing and descending, and I couldn’t wait to see the beauty I could feel was surrounding us.

                At the first aid station, I managed to get in and out relatively quickly. I dropped off the extra shirt I had on, refilled my bottle and got to work. The small pack of runners I had been in managed to disperse as we each took our time taking care of business at the aid station. The sun was starting to rise, and I was just in awe of the views. Every switchback or crest of a hill gave us another beautiful vista. Most of the time the running was on buttery smooth single track, but occasionally it was broken by rocky climbs and descents. I found my body being stressed in ways it hadn’t been before, but I was loving at how well my legs responded. I could power up one hill and bound down the other side like a kid at the park.

                About midway through what was supposed to be a 20ish mile loop I began closely keeping tabs on the time on my trusty Timex. It was cool and I was running strong, but it just didn’t seem like I was moving fast enough. I had hoped that my first loop would take four hours, but that goal was slipping through my hands as I closed in on five hours. Thoughts of not making the cutoff were bouncing around in my mind. Should I just drop now? You burned the boats, right? The start/finish was finally in sight, and I knew I had to just get in and out. No stopping. No excuses. I flew in with a great crowd cheering all of the runners on. Unexpectedly, Kelsey stopped me and explained that the course was longer than expected. I was confused at first, but then relief washed over me as I realized my five hour first loop was great. I was more determined than ever to get back out there and get this next loop done.

                I left the main aid station with a new skip in my step. The sense of defeat that I had come in with was now gone and replaced with determination. My goal for this loop was to keep a solid steady pace. The desert heat would prove to be the theme for the second loop. It was H.O.T. hot and there was no hiding from it. There was no shade, barely a breeze, and the dry desert air wicked away any moisture you tried to use to keep cool. The distance between aid stations proved to be a challenge as well. At each aid station I would drink a full bottle and refill again before heading out, but it still was not enough. An ice soaked TROT buff would be my best friend for the second loop.

                I managed to catch up to Mark Henn on the biggest climb on the course. I took the time to chat with him a bit and share in our suffering. After a few minutes, Mark shared with me that he was pretty sure I was the 3rd place female- a spot I don’t think I have ever been in in an ultra. Julie Koepke was in the lead, a lady in red (Janis Jenkins) was within eyeshot, and then there was me. I told Mark that I guess I better get going and decided to get to work to chase the podium for the first time. It was the hottest part of the day, but I did my best to keep moving. At one point I managed to move into second place, but near heat exhaustion left me to relegate myself to third as Ali Sloan passed me before the end of the loop.                  

                As I came into the main aid station Rob met me and let me know I was in fact in 3rd place and twenty minutes behind second. Rob and Amy Zmolek at the aid station helped me get what I needed (which included a second water bottle!) and sent me back out to the cheers of the awesome spectators. Thirteen miles was all that stood between me and a podium finish. The boats were burned in the hot desert sun, and I was ready to get the job done. The sun was starting to set, and I was looking forward to some cooler temperatures.

                The final loop flew by in a flash. As the temps dropped my speed increased. I flew across the beautiful single track and bounded up the climbs knowing that I didn’t have to leave any gas in the tank. As the dark started to settle across the desert I knew that I had to keep my eyes peeled for snakes and rocks. I was busy patting myself on the back that I had made it through the day without falling on the technical trails. After all, if you fell out here you would probably end up wearing a purple helmet the rest of the year like Gordon Ainsleigh. No sooner had I finished my self-congratulations when my foot caught a rock and down I went. I laid on the ground cursing and trying to get up before the rattlesnakes descended upon me. I couldn’t die like that. I rolled around for a bit as my abs locked down into a wave of muscle cramps from my efforts to try to sit up.  After a bit more cursing I was on my feet again and moving forward.

                The final hurdle in the last few miles was a cold front that blew in like a windy freight train. I only had about four miles to go, but the wind was blowing the desert sand into my eyes and pushing me back from my goal. I pulled out an extra flashlight, tucked my head down, and pressed forward. My eyes were trained on the ground even harder. Another fall like the last one could end my race. With the winds pushing me every direction I suddenly looked up to see a large cow barreling down the path straight for me. I panicked. What did Rachel say to tell the cows? I couldn’t remember. I stepped to the side to avoid getting mowed down. The cows were undeterred. I began to wave my arms and the words finally came, “SHOO COW! SHOO COW! SHOO COW!”. One by one cow after cow veered off the trail just to my left as they headed for cover from the coming storm. I got back on the trail and pushed on a little harder with an extra jolt of adrenaline from my big cow encounter.

                Before I knew it I could hear the cheers and cowbells ringing at the finish line. My eyes searched for the lights of the main aid station. Once it was in sight I turned on the after burners and flew to the finish. Rob was there waiting with his customary big smile, big hug, and high fives. It was a moment I had waited all day for as he hung that belt buckle around my neck. I think he was surprised as I was that I managed to snag that 3rd place female finish. I caught my breath for a few moments, exchanged some trail tales, and soaked it all in before the wind threatened to blow down everything in its path and sent us all scurrying for cover.

                My entire race was magical in a really difficult blister-covered feet, sunburned, heat exhausted kind of way that only ultra-runners seem to understand. The terrain and views were absolutely breathtaking. The volunteers were second to none and took such great care of all of the runners- even setting up an impromptu aid station so runners could have much needed water. San Angelo State Park staff was friendly and welcoming to all of the runners. The wildlife was absolutely WILD. And finally, Rob and Rachel gave us runners yet another chance to chase rainbows, make memories, and let our friendships grow. TROT supports its runners whether they are elite or back of the packers. TROT is family and it’s why I will always come back again and again. 

Shut the f*#k up about your DNF

Shut the f*#k up about your DNF.

Guest Blogger Team TROT Ambassador Reuben Parks

 

No one cares. (I thought about ending the blog post there, but I’ll expound.)

 

Runners love to talk about running. Since we aren’t always running, it’s often how we form initial bonds with other runners. Go to your local running store (if it still exists), join a social run, sit down with a group of people that includes a couple of other runners, or, hell, watch two people, both wearing Garmin watches, sitting next to one another at the airport and you will overhear a conversation about running. Usually, those conversations are pretty jovial. They’ll cover topics from favorite routes and gear to a mutual disdain for cyclists. Soon, friendships are formed, email addresses are exchanged, and outings are scheduled.  

Eventually, as these friendships grow, you’ll meet up at races and compete; testing your mettle against each other and the clock.

One of you will be better trained than the other.

One of you will turn your ankle.

One of you will screw up your nutrition and hydration.

One of you will start a small fire in a place sadly untouched by Body Glide.

One of you won’t finish.

It’s a sad poem that’s written at every race. Let’s just agree that we should keep it to ourselves.

Not finishing a race is something that may never happen to you, but when it does, you’ll feel it. It doesn’t mean that you’ll just physically hurt (though that may be the case). Rather, your confidence will be shaken and your mind will spin with thoughts of, “What if?,” or “If only I had done X.” You may have to stop running for while due to a physical constraint and, God forbid, cross train. You’ll reconsider if running is even worth the trouble. Still, because we love talking about running, you’ll tell every runner you know what happened and how you’re feeling about it. Then, after you explain what a DNF is to your grandmother, you’ll tell her.


 

Everyone you talk to will be sympathetic, including the non-runners, and they will offer words of encouragement. You will get advice on how to overcome the setbacks and injuries. Then, you’ll lick your wounds, perhaps sign up for another race, and start training again. What you shouldn’t do is keep bringing up the DNF. Because, again, no one really cares.

Michael Kinsley, the founding editor of Slate, mentioned recently that one reason why he did not immediately tell colleagues about his Parkinson’s diagnosis was he felt that, in a sense, sympathy was finite. He felt that he would need their sympathy and help more as the disease progressed and didn’t want to impose while he was still quite capable. On the scale of serious setbacks, a Parkinson’s diagnosis is near the top of that list; a DNF doesn’t even crack the Top 100. Agreeing with Kinsley, people only have so much patience, so don’t test it with running commentary of what you did wrong. Or how things went south. Or how the aid stations didn’t have your brand of gels.

Here’s some advice, for what it’s worth, on how to handle not finishing a race:

 

  • Set a time limit on self-pity: Give yourself a predetermined time limit on being upset with your performance, the RD, or the conditions. Sitting around pouting and/or bitching serves no purpose and makes you look like an ass. If you want to do that, just take off or hide in your tent. Download “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. and cry yourself to sleep.

 

  • Stick around a while: Instead, hang out and cheer on others (provided you’re not in the medical tent or in an ambulance) coming across the finish line. It’s not only good sportsmanship, but it can be helpful to see how others cope with a tough race.

 

  • Take responsibility: Understand that your experience is specific to you. Sure, others might have battled the same course and conditions, but you chose, or had, to stop. Seeking out others who share your experience is normal and misery loves company, but the first step to learning how to be better prepared starts with looking at your own performance.

 

  • Make a list of what went wrong: Then, jot down some notes about what you could fix before your next race. Coach Jason Koop mentions in his book, Training Essentials for Ultrarunning, that most DNFs can be linked to a training deficiency. Even when you trip and fall, it can be argued that a better understanding of the course or endurance preparation could help avoid a stumble. Take this opportunity to tweak your training to be better prepared for your next race.

 

  • Shut up and get back out there: Finally, keep looking forward. You may feel like a failure. Hey, that’s because you failed. You set your sights on finishing a race, perhaps with a PR or hitting a higher mileage, and it didn’t happen this time. So what. There’s likely another race in 7 days. There may be another race the next day. Work to learn from the experience, heal up (mentally or physically or both), and get back to what you love.


[Author’s note: I wrote this small article to help me cope with my own issues after a subpar race, so don’t feel that this is, any way, directed to any individual runner.]

Why You Should Run the San Felipe Shootout… (or any other trail race)

Guest Blogger: Team TROT Ambassador Jennifer Lee

 

There are 1000 excuses NOT to run this race……It’s only a week away. I’m not trained enough. Trail running is too hard. I’ll trip on a rock. Houston is far away. No one will come with me.

Last year at this time, I had all those thoughts. I had only done a 15K trail race a few months earlier, but I had an ultra in April and figured this race would be good race day practice for gear preferences, drop bags, hydration, nutrition, etc. So I bit the bullet and signed up for the Shoot Out – so this race has a 5k, 10K and half-marathon option, but for those of us endurance junkies, you can sign up for all the above and combine them for a 22.4 miler aka the Shoot Out.

I was super excited to get on a new trail and get race day ready. Then it rained – all damn week leading up to the race. My friend who I was crashing with in Houston told me conditions didn’t seem bad and that the TROT folk (aka Rob) were just being cautious in the email that said it was muddy and to bring a change of clothes. When I pulled into Stephen Austin park morning of I saw giant puddles EVERYWHERE.

As we crossed the start line into muddy terrain and sliding into one another, we had instant comradery. Something that happens often between runners, but way more on the trails. Maybe it’s being caked in mud struggling to stay on your feet, but falling into the persons butt in front of you. Then having them land on top of you when they try to help you up.

I fell in line with TROT ambassador Stephen Moore for the start and he regaled me with fun racing stories and urged me to try to qualify for Leadville (haha at my second ever trail race). He told me all about TROT and why he loves it and runs with them. Inspired me to pick up my pace – I was cruising, till I approached what looked like a river crossing. There was a leprechaun on a Finding Nemo float (aka John Stasulli) in the middle to direct us back to shore.

I trudged/ran/swam my way over and climbed up a tree to get out. Then I kept running. With each loop of the race water rose higher and higher. I thought about quitting, wondering why I was running through hell and high water (almost literally) when no one was making me. But honestly, I was having so much fun sliding around with everyone, talking laughing, chugging Oreos, gummy bears and pickles and other “fuel” at the aid stations. Also, there is my competitive side that wanted to prove I could do it and enjoys the challenge. I saw Stephen and the rest of my new friends at loops and we cheered each other on – how could I quit? And why would I?

When I climbed out of the water and across the finish line, the feeling was AMAZING. Got hugs from my new best friends including Rob, the director. Glanced down at my watch, which I hadn’t looked at all day because I didn’t give a damn about pace and just about staying afloat. I realized with all the jumping around mud I clocked in a good 26.5 miles. I was shocked to learn I finished in the top 25 because I hadn’t even considered this a “race.”

Getting on the trails with this group is more like a social event. One that inspired me to become a TROT ambassador thereafter. It gave me confidence for my ultra and for life. You learn to take changing tides in stride and keep going to the finish. You get comfortable with uncomfortable – heat rash, water, blisters, whatever.  And best of all, you have a cheering section around every bend and very muddy sweaty hugs at the finish that only a fellow trail runner can appreciate.

So for all those excuses….

It’s only a week away. SO WHAT STILL TIME.

I’m not trained enough. RUN THE 5K OR JUST TRY IT. WALK IF YOU NEED. JUST GO.

Trail running is too hard. YES. BUT ALSO VERY FUN AND ADDICTIVE.

I’ll trip on a rock. MAYBE. OR MAYBE SLIDE ON MUD, BUT SOMEONE WILL PICK YOU UP.

Houston is far away. MAYBE. BUT WORTH IT.

No one will come with me. ALL YOUR NEW BEST FRIENDS ARE ALREADY SIGNED UP AND WILL BE THERE ON RACE DAY.

Mess with the bulls (and rattle snakes)- you fall in holes?

Guest Blogger Team TROT Ambassador: John Stasulli

My head was throbbing and my world was blurry as I came across the finish line at the Crazy Desert Trail Race 50k with my son Anthony, who had been out shooting photos of the race.  I don't remember receiving my medal, which I found later in my Victory bag, nor do I recall conversations that I had along the course with good friends or even the congratulatory greeting by Rob Goyen.  In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have even crossed the finish line that day. 

For the last year, I had been working with my coach, Karen Kantor, to increase my running performance and to become a more competitive (local) runner.  Training had been very focused to make sure my body (and mind) were conditioned and ready for what these races would throw at me.   My first attempt at testing the results of the training ended with Achilles Tendonitis back in November 2016 which took me out of any hard training for a few months.   The Crazy Desert Trail Race 50k, being put on my Trail Racing Over Texas, was to be my comeback race.   

 

Up to this point I would dab in various races just to go out, have fun, and use my lack of race experience to just cross the finish.  These events for me were all about fun, which is another reason I am typically at these events in a costume!   I made the decision to change things up and to see what I was capable of and the morning of March 11th, I was going to find out!

The sun had just come up as I walked to the starting line of the 50k race with 63 other runners.  Unlike previous ultra-marathons where I started somewhere in the back of the pack, this race was different.  I started at the line with some amazing athletes that I look up to!  We began the countdown and with Rob yelling across the crowd, MY race was underway.  All of us took off down the trail and onto the amazing single-track course (very similar to what I train on daily).   This single track was absolutely glorious!  Running in and out of the cacti fields, the occasional tight turns, the abundance of wildlife, and the occasional desert rollers.  I was in love with these trails from the start!  At the start of the race I did come across randomly dug holes in the middle of the trail though that would mess with my mind later in the race!

 

The entire first 18mi loop was perfectly on target.  I carried my Orange Mud VP2 with two bottles of Tailwind and my plan was to be self-sufficient throughout this entire race.   If I stopped at an aid station for anything, that would add time to my race which I didn’t want.  Plus, for those who know me, stopping at the aid station would have resulted in my talking; I am quite the social butterfly at races!  I stuck to my plan perfectly and felt GREAT! I blazed through each aid station yelling thank you to the volunteers without stopping once.  This was it!  The first loop I was surrounded by two great athletes the entire time.  Daniel Bucci was directly in front of me and right behind me was Vivian Carrasco (who went on to finish 2d overall!).   Daniel was always within eye-sight of me and every time I glanced back Vivian was only about 15-20’ behind me!  She ran such an amazing race and she is only 19 years old!  Oddly enough the most memorable part of this race is when Vivian and I ran through the post-apocalyptic park pavilions (one of my favorite sections of this race) when I had to clear the trail over about 20-30 Long Horns!   Without us slowing down I began clapping and yelling as they cleared our path.  We never actually spoke during that first loop, but it was such a fun amazing time!

Photo: Katie Graff

I completed my first loop (which ended up being a little over 18mi) in 2:40:46 in 5th place overall.  Everything up to this point had gone according to plan.  Hydration and nutrition were on point and legs felt amazingly good.   This is the only planned stop I had but it was only long enough to swap out my two bottles (which were already pre-mixed and ready to go) and grab half a protein cookie.  I was in and out of my make-shift aid station just as planned without skipping a beat.  While my transition was quick, Vivian’s was even better.  In the short time, I had grabbed my two bottles of Tailwind and protein cookie she had already ran back out the chute and onto the course!   Once my cookie was down I was back on pace heading onto the single track for the final 18mi of the race. 

Mile 20.  No matter how hard you train or the preparations you make, it is ultimately the trail that determines your fate and in this case, it was a hole.  I have been told that the holes on the course were the result of prairie dogs, rabbits, ground hogs, or armadillos.  Whichever it was, one of those holes gave me the opportunity to spend a lot more time on the glorious single-track than I had planned.   When going around a turn my foot dropped into a hole and I couldn’t catch myself.  I ended up bouncing my forehead off the trail.  From that point, my race had changed.  The more I ran, the more my head pounded and focusing on the trail at times seemed challenging.  The shadows that were cast on the trail were making me dizzy and everything out of my right eye was blurry.  I would run (what I thought was fast) until my head began throbbing and then dialed it back to a walk until it went away.  Much of the 2d loop was a blur to me (in more ways than one).  I continued along as much as my head would allow.  Eventually I began approaching the end of the final loop as I crept into Flintstone.  This section became considerably slower as I was not only battling my head and blurred vision, but this is when I finally encountered rattle snakes.  On a short stretch (about .5mi long) I ran into 4 (yes FOUR) rattlesnakes.   All but 3 of them were kind enough to go about their way and get off the trail.  The final snake, which was about ~7-8 years old based on the rattles, decided that he was going to go DOWN the trail with me.   I patiently waited in the trail for him to go on his way.  While doing so Victoriano, who was working the Flintstone Aid Station and a fellow TROT ambassador, came along to see if I was ok.   Once the rattlesnake cleared the trail, I was off again making my final few mile push to the finish line.


My son, who was at the race taking pictures, met me and ran me in the last 1/4mi. I crossed the finish line and new I made a mistake.  As I looked back on the loop, I couldn’t recall passing through some of the aid stations.  I was having trouble thinking, and my head was throbbing.   I made my way to the truck to sit down and call my wife Elizabeth.  One of my amazing friends Tammy and my son Anthony were worried about me and found a medic to come check me out.  After a short evaluation, it was determined that I had a mild-concussion and I spent the remainder of the day sitting under the TROT merchandise tent resting in the shade and answering random questions from the patrons.   As the day went on my vision began improving and the throbbing subsided.  Another friend, who is a Physician’s Assistant, also checked on me and gave me some advice and pointers as well.  I truly am blessed to have such an amazing family and friends in my life.

 

 Photo by Trail Racing Over Texas (Anthony Stasulli)

Photo by Trail Racing Over Texas (Anthony Stasulli)

I don’t recall much from the second loop, nor do I recall being given medal and that is the biggest mistake I made that day.  After hitting my head like that, I really should not have continued.

I went into this race with huge goals for myself, all of which I believed were very attainable and realistic.  I knew this field had some amazing athletes so I wasn’t chasing a person or a place (although in the back of my head I was aiming for a top 5 finish), I was racing against the clock, and that magic number was to finish a 50k in 4:29. 

While the prairie dogs had a different outcome in store for me, I am proud of what transpired during this race.  While I didn’t finish in the time that I wanted, this was still by best finish at an Ultra Marathon!  I placed 9th overall (my first top-10 finish at an ultra) and 2d in my age-group.  Strava even informed me later that I set PRs on the 20k, Half Marathon, 30k, Marathon, and 50k distances!   I think what I am most excited about is my legs.  They never once felt tired and even today, there is no DOMS present! 


I learned what I was capable of at this race and this year, I WILL stand on those boxes this year! 

Race Gear:

Orange Mud VP2

Tailwind Nutrition

Goodr Glasses

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 2



John “The Grinch” Stasulli

Twitter: @JohnStasulli

Instagram: @JohnStasulli

Julie Dading My First 50k

Julie Dading

"My First 50k"

At the spur of the moment, on a sunny day in December, I decided to take a leap and sign up for my first 50k – the beast known to many as the Horseshoe Trail Run at Jack Brooks park which is held by TROT in January.    This park and I have had our issues with each other during the Night Moves Races in 2016, but I felt it was time to return and face “Mr. Brooks” once again, cause this chick doesn’t like to back down from a challenge.   And she doesn’t like it when someone (or something) tries to break her inner spirit.  So it was on!

Days prior to the race, the Houston area received a significant amount of rain which caused flooding in many areas, which included Jack Brooks Park.   I began to question myself as to whether I should skip the race or drop to a lower distance.  With this being my first 50k, it made the anxiety kick up a notch (ok more like five notches).

A couple of days prior to the race, I received the anticipated email from TROT to update everyone on the trail conditions.    The moment I saw the coveted “100% FUN” mentioned in the email, I began the traditional #FUROB chant cause when “100% FUN” is mentioned, that means you got a fking challenge ahead of you.    But it also means that you can take this situation, grab a hold of it by its balls, and just go have some damn FUN.     So then and there, I decided to stick with the 50k and just have fun.

The morning of the race, I show up, toes to the starting line, ready to kick Mr. Brooks ass.   I was excited, yet nervous like a school kid about to give a speech in front of the class.   I started to question my ability.   Can I do this?  Am I ready?  Was I crazy to sign up for this last minute?   The answer to all those questions was YES.  So let’s get this party started.  It’s finally geaux time.

As I start the race, I feel good and smiling.   Holy shit I am doing this!   Then we turn the corner to hit the inner trails and the 100% FUN begins.    During the first of five loops, I realized I was in for a challenge that was more overwhelming than what I anticipated.   Started to question myself again, as I sloshed through the dense, gripping mud and slid down those devious, slippery hills that wanted to throw me back to the bottom of the pit.  Took a few deep breaths and told myself to keep going.  One step at a time.  And whatever you do, don’t cry.

During my 2nd and 3rd loops (yes I made it this far), I was struggling on many levels.  The demon of Jack Brooks was really trying to break my spirit, my strength, my will to achieve a new goal.   But during the 3rd loop, I came upon a group of runners who were doing the 5k and 10k distances.   Some were sitting at the bottom of a very tough hill, in tears.   This was their first race and they felt defeated that they couldn’t overcome the grimy, muddy obstacle ahead of them.  They wanted to succeed at this race with our all their heart.   So I stopped and talked to them and created a plan to help them overcome this hurdle.   After much team work, all the runners scaled that muddy demon and made it to the top!  Every one of them hugged me and thanked me for taking time out of my own race to help them achieve their own goals.   They showed the same blood, sweat, and tears that many of us experience – whether it’s a 5K or a 50K.  It all means the same.  You are putting forth so much of your inner strength to do something you thought you could never, ever do.    But if you have the right foundation in place, anything can be achieved.  

With about 2 miles left in the 3rd loop, the doubt started to hit like Miley Cyrus on wrecking ball.  I started to stumble and fall, over and over.  I cut my hand at some point, not sure where, but looked down and noticed the blood covering my hand.  Remember earlier when I told myself not to cry?    Well the tears started to flow down my dirty cheeks, trying to persuade me this can’t be done.  Just quit Julie, it’s over.   A few minutes later I told myself I would regret giving up.  I’ve fought many demons in the past, so why can’t I put this demon to rest?   Took some deep inner breaths, wiped the dirty tears from my face, and moved forward.  That’s all you can do.  

I come across the start line to finish my third loop.   I see my boyfriend on the side, cheering me on.  That always warms my heart, knowing he is there for me.  Gives me strength I never had before.  I turn the corner to the aid station and my good friend Victor is there to greet me.   He can see the tears in my eyes, but doesn’t acknowledge it.  Instead he reminded me there was so much support there to help me finish this, so don’t quit.   He also took the time to clean up my bloody hand and wrapped it up with much care.    Everyone is telling me I can do this, I have the strength, both mental and physical.   So off I go for loop 4.  

During loops 4 and 5, the struggle was becoming harder.   The depths of hell were trying to drag my tired body to the ground.    I realized I was one of the last runners still attempting to finish this bitch.   Although it was sad to know I was close to last place, I also know I hadn’t given up.   I kept remembering what Victor told me.     I can hear the TROT award celebrations going on, hearing Rob on the speaker reminded me I was close to “home”.   One step at a time, Julie.  You got this.   Then, I finally exit the trails and find the road that will lead me back “home”.    Crap I hope they didn’t forget I was out there….and there better still be some damn beer left!

As I start my way down the road, I start to see human life once again.   It’s my good friend Jeremy, who’s waving me come in.   My legs are feeling weak, my arms just want to curl up.   If I crash during this last section, I’ll never forgive myself.   Then I hear RD Rob saying something on the speakers.   I hear him calling my name.  “Cmon Julie, we are here waiting for you!!”.     Cheers from spectators were lifting up my tired body, encouraging me to give it all I got.   It was amazing!   My legs suddenly felt like they belonged to a wild stallion!   I gave it all I got to cross the finish line.   I felt so empowered.  And to see all my wonderful friends who helped me get where I am today.     My heart just swelled.   I splash over the finish line, and  RD Rob gave me his infamous hug, although I really wanted to just collapse right there.   Remember earlier when I told myself not to cry?   I did, again.   But these were tears created by a foundation which I call my family.   Tears that showed I have strength beyond what many people in my past said I didn’t have.   So as I take my well-earned medal, I fall into the arms of my best friend…..and smiled.   

Texas Trail Blazer Movie Premieres

Texas Trail Blazer

We are stoked to partner with Sierra Studio Films to produce our story of how Trail Racing Over Texas. 

The Trail Racing Over Texas story.

At age 31, Rob Goyen weighed 347 lbs. was an alcoholic and pack-a-day smoker, who had never run before in his life. Influenced by his wife Rachel to live a healthy life, he discovered trail running and took his health back. This 24-minute documentary follows Rob, and his new passion as a race director, organizing his next 100-mile trail race to give back to the Texas running community that supported him during his major life changes.

Trail Racing Over Texas Announces Red Bull as Race Series Supporter

NEWS RELEASE:

Contact: Chris Douglas - Presidio Sports Management

chris@presidiosportsmgmt.com

 

Trail Racing Over Texas Announces Red Bull as Race Series Supporter

 

Houston, Texas (August 3, 2016)Trail Racing Over Texas, the largest community-based trail racing organization in the state of Texas, today announced Red Bull as a new series supporter. Beginning with the Night Moves Trail race, Red Bull and Trail Racing Over Texas will collaborate on a variety of ways to positively impact trail racing experiences for all event participants.  Chief amongst those, Red Bull energy drink will be available on-course to runners at all Trail Racing Over Texas races through 2017, starting with the competitions taking place this weekend at Jack Brooks Park south east of Houston.

 

“Red Bull is synonymous with endurance sports and with athletes of all kinds exploring their potential.  Being one of the most globally recognized brands in the fitness and performance space, Red Bull is the most relevant of partners for us.  We are looking to continue to push the boundaries of what trail running is here in Texas and are looking forward to doing that with the support of Red Bull.” Rob Goyen RD of Trail Racing Over Texas.

 

Trail Racing Over Texas produces a variety of races that fit well with Red Bull, which is deeply involved with other iconic events such the Speedgoat 50K, Red Bull 400, Red Bull Lionheart, and Way to Cool 50K.   From ultra trail races in the mountains of Texas to night marathons, this partnership is sure to help runners reach their goals.

 

For more information about Trail Racing over Texas or please contact Robert Goyen at rob@trailracingovertexas.com.

 

ABOUT TRAIL RACING OVER TEXAS

Trail Racing Over Texas (TROT) produces the largest trail running series in Texas with over 16 races offering a variety of distances from 5k’s to ultra-marathons, kids only races and night races. TROT is a community-based company that aims to involve and benefit local communities by giving back in various ways. TROT is also devoted to bringing greater awareness to the Texas State Parks and Wildlife Department by placing races in beautiful Texas State Parks.

Trail Racing Over Texas takes over the Crazy Desert Trail Race


Trail Racing Over Texas is excited to announce that we have taken over the Crazy Desert Trail Race in San Angelo State Park. This race has been an amazing race for over 5 years put on by the Road Lizards and RD Jeff Lisson. The race has been a 50k, 26.2, 13.1 and 10k for these years and has been benefiting local non profits as well.

So we will hold the race March 11th 2017 and will head to the park in July to see if we can add in a 100k in the mix to have another long, buckle opportunity in Texas in the early spring. We will open registration for the race no later than August 1st.

But we are very excited to be heading west to the San Angelo State park home of the Official Longhorn Heard and Bison Heard.

We might need to start a new ‪#‎RunwithBison‬ hashtag afterall.

Follow the link to check out the park: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/san-angelo

PC: Joshua Trudell