by Sarah Brown
Tyler State Park
so much for the planned family camping trip, it was waaay to cold to take the children anywhere. in fact it was too cold for me to camp even. so I ended up riding to Tyler with mark, letha and chuck getting up at dark o’clock [3.30am] and being glad it wasn’t snowing. brrrr.
the race start was uneventful, in fact I was still gossiping at the back of a group, when suddenly everyone in front took off down the road ! we started out with a lap around the lake on the road, about 3 1/2 miles, very undulating, and cold. I was running with mark, letha and Lisa Butler, we chatted as we went, it was fun. but letha hates the cold [and we get tired of her bitching about it] so she took off like a scalded cat down the road leaving the 3 of us. then mark stopped at a [heated] restroom and wasn’t seen again.
I got into the aid area at about 36 mins, still cold but feeling ok so went straight thru. Lisa soon caught me up and we meandered happily thru the woods. the first couple of miles are a pleasant down/flat winding trail, thru the trees and very runable. felt great after the road section. I was still chilled, but feeling relaxed. didn’t need to consciously walk every 10-20 mins as the trail dipped and rolled so much that there was always a bit of walking.
we were soon up to Red and Scott’s aid station, with a “best legs competition – extra points for mooning” banner. well Lisa and I did the girls proud and carried on, down and up the steep walls so loved by the mountainbikers. Lisa took the front for a while, but I soon reined her in. living and running in Colorado makes you way too good at running the hills ! this bit of the trail had been recently logged and was still quite a mess which is sad, too many heavy tractors had been in there, could have been done much more sensitively, but I am sure it will grow back in a year or two and may get some nice wild flowers too.
soon at the second aid station, they had the most fantastic homemade chocolate cookies. yummie. the last ‘section’ is tough as it twists and winds and twists some more, all while dropping up and down the banks and bluffs. typical bike trails [and really great to ride] but I knew oughly were we were in relation to the main aid and it was tough to keep looping away. and this was just the first lap !
once we were in I ditched my buffalo jacket and grabbed a nylon overshirt. to say it was warming up would be lying, more like beginning to thaw. back out for the second loop alone this time, enjoying the solitude but I also felt it would be a long rest of the race on my own. little did I know, again Lisa caught me and then we caught Mary [“there’s that woman again”, she has been just ahead of us for ages] and a couple of guys. soon I was pulling a busy train ! but it was fun, company was good and we chugged along. coming into red’s aid station I couldn’t resist it and we had a team-moon, much to the shock of one of the guys. he he he. back down and up the steep walls, bit more had been added to the climbs this time round, somehow Lisa got in front again and we got hauled to the next aid station for more chocolate biscuits. and no mooning !
I made sure to get in front of Lisa on the next section, much to everyone’s relief, and we twisted and turned the loops till we were in. quickly thru the aid station, dropped one of the guys and back out for our last loop. the time was looking good, we predicted a bit over six and a half which was what I had expected. I was tired but feeling really strong at this point, no nausea, had drunk all my sustained energy and taken one endurolyte every 1-1 1/2 hours and making sure to eat a bit at every aid without stopping too long. the last lap was a little slower, but we kept moving, all feeling tired and all very glad for the company. we walked a bit more this time round, but I am sure I felt the benefit of my fast dog walks that I have been doing on non-running days. saw mark and kelly at one point as the trail loop close to each other, hurled abuse [or was it encouragement] thru the woods.
the last lap was a bit of a blur, Lisa pulled us hard a few times and when we felt the need for a slightly easier pace I took the front, Mary was stumbling quite a bit and Chris took a fall on a root but was fine. last mooning stop, those darn walls had definitely gotten steeper and longer. fortunately there were still choc biscuits left ! past the same stumps and roots, still grabbing at our feet and soon nearly in. the last couple of miles we had been fantasizing about hot showers and the like, it kept us going. Lisa, Mary and I finished together. Chris and ‘the quiet guy’ just behind us.
it had been a great day out, good running, altho my slowest I had expected that from this course and was really pleased with the way I had felt throughout the race. ready for that 50 miler soon I think !