General Information

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!

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.   

TROT Veterans Program

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One thing we Love about race directing is the opportunity to give back to both the community and also to our veterans.

We realize that there is great value in having veterans in our races, at our races and active in the trail community.

We have for over a year been looking at various ways that we thought we could give back through TROT to our veterans. So as of July 1st 2016 we will announce our TROT Veteran Program. The program will allow all veterans past and present an opportunity to give us their info, the race they want to do and the distance. We will then select some veterans for each race and comp the entries into that race of choice.

We feel in our hearts that this is our way of saying thank you, and your way to earn something for yourself in the process on the trails.

So here is the LINK and we will begin July 1st. 

Trail Racing Over Texas Live Timing

TROT LIVE TIMING

We are excited to announce that we will be live timing our events for the remainder of the 2016 race season. For the Habanero Hundred we are teaming up with Ultrasignup.com to be able to provide loop by loop live timing as the race starts Aug 22nd.  We are excited to bring another facet to our races for all the runners and spectators as well. 

The live link for all events is located at http://www.trailracingovertexas.com/timing/

Trail Racing Over Texas Ambassador Program

TROT AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

So you want to be a TROT ambassador? Well good thing is that we are looking for about 10 ambassadors for the end of the 2015 and full 2016 year. We are looking for people who love trail running , TROT and giving back to the trails. We are seeking great trail runners from all over to fill the ambassador team and share the TROT love all over the Lone Star State! 

We will be looking for exceptional people who love the trails, the community and Trail Racing Over Texas brand. 

We are accepting applications from June 1st through October 1st. We will then go through the applications and pick our ambassadors for the 2016 race season. 

Click HERE to APPLY!!

Horseshoe Trail Run Final Results

2015 Horseshoe Trail Run Results

The days leading up to the race started off well on Monday morning but by 4pm on Monday the weather had changed dramatically. Over the next 24 hour Houston received over 6 inches of water and the Horseshoe Trail Run become one of the hardest courses seemingly overnight.

As we marked the course on Thursday we sent an email out to the runners letting them know that the water was ankle deep, bring the flippers and get ready for one heck of a day of trail running. 

As the day started the 50k runners took off right at 6am out to the course followed by the 25k, 10k and 5kers. Jeff Ball came in to the 1st of his 5 loops and it was apparent that it was going to be a mud field day. Quickly runners started to come in finish the 5k/10k laughing, smiling and covered in the effects of the trail. By 10am many runners had come in and Karbach Brewery showed up with beer in tow. They setup with free beer and all finishers received a pint glass as well for the brew. Rukus Ritas got cranking on the margaritas and Breakfast Burritos Anonymous started grilling as well. 

The 50k runners came in each loop with multiple layers of mud, water and big smiles. With 68 registered there would only 27 runners that defeated the course. Many of the runners DNF from the 25k and the 50k as the course took its toll on some of the best runners on the course. With over 433 runners this was an amazing day with great runners, sponsors and support from the Galveston Country Parks Department. 

The official results for the Horseshoe Trail Run can be found HERE

You can find some race photos

Race Report from Jeff Ball and Julie Koepke

The  Horseshoe Trail Run 50k Top 3 Male and Female Runners are below.

1 Jeff Ball 5:58:56

2 Zachary Szablewski 6:32:27

3 Gabe Leatherwood 7:07:38

 

1 Sherry Scott 8:40:14

2JulieKoepkeSan AntonioTX32F28:47:3283.35

3YokaJanssenLake JacksonTX17F39:26:4191.8

Check out all of our races for the 2015 Trail Racing Over Texas Schedule HERE

Welcome to our New Site

Welcome to the NEW Trail Racing Over Texas website. Since last year with the overwhelming success we have been waiting to pull all of the sites, information and races all in one places.

With the new site we will be able to send information for all of our races, have events listed and have all the information in one source including the cup series information as well. 

So thank you for coming to see the new site and we hope you like it as much as we do. 

Rob and Rachel Goyen

Trail Racing Over Texas