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Toughest n Texas 20-mile Trail race

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San Antonio,TX,

Member Since:

Dec 13, 2009



Goal Type:


Running Accomplishments:

5K PR - 18:01 - Nov '14

10K PR - 38:37 (workout) - Oct '14

Half-marathon - 1:22:43 - Jan '14

Marathon - 2:58:43 in Boston! - Apr '13

50 mile - 7:49:30 (2nd) - Nov '15

Short-Term Running Goals:

- Balance

- Run more trails, volunteer, more social running, run with a team

- Race a lot more.  learn.

Race results / possible schedule:

Apr 2 - Hells Hills 25k trail - 4th

Apr 9 - Toughest 'n Texas 20-mile Trail - 2nd

May 7 - Paleface - Trail Marathon - 3rd

May 29 - American Hero road 25k - 2nd

Jun 25 - Pedernales Falls 30k nighttime Trail - 5th (sick)

Jul 16 - Muleshoe Bend 30k nighttime Trail - 3rd

Jul 23-24 - Fossil Valley 9-hour nighttime Trail - 2nd

Aug 6 - Colorado Bend 30k nighttime Trail - 4th

Aug 27 - Reveille Peak 30k nighttime Trail (entered)

Sep 10 - Franklin Mountains 50k (entered - not all-out effort...I hope)

Sep 17 - Lighthouse Hill 20-mile trail (entered)

Sep 24 - J&J 50 mile trail

Long-Term Running Goals:

Compete in a few more ultras without going off course (again)

Sub-18 in a 5k

One.  Good.  Marathon.


I started running at age 30, in late 2009.  I have 2 daughters (10 and 8 yrs old).



Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 0.00
Saucony A5 Lifetime Miles: 1054.70
Kinvara 2 - Gray/red Lifetime Miles: 1551.08
Kinvara 3 - Gray/red Lifetime Miles: 1244.23
1160s Lifetime Miles: 888.70
Saucony A5 Red Lifetime Miles: 565.10
Saucony A6 - Yellow Lifetime Miles: 214.00
Saucony A6 - Red/blue Lifetime Miles: 61.50
NB MT101 Trail Lifetime Miles: 302.00
Fastwitch 6 Red #1 Lifetime Miles: 286.50
Fastwitch 6 Red #2 Lifetime Miles: 267.00
Race: Toughest n Texas 20-mile Trail race (20 Miles) 03:22:55, Place overall: 2, Place in age division: 2
Slow milesFast milesTotal Distance

55-65F.  A bit humbled up in Waco today.  A smaller turnout for this race compared to last weekend, and I didn't know anyone there, but still super challenging and fun.

Course:  Yeah.  I wasn't really ready for something like that.  Someone told me last weekend it would be tough, but I still underestimated it.  They set it up to be 10-mile laps.  There was some bushwhacking, crawling, and finally some hellacious stairs around the 9.5 mile point (and unfortunately the 19.5 mile point).  Not like stairs in your house, like Mayan temple stairs...

However the main problem was navigation.  It was marked ok but there were many, many intersections, and a few you just had to guess.  There were dozens of easy ways to cut the course, even if you weren't trying to.  I was looking for old race results last night and I saw one year where the RD wrote, "so-and-so is declared the winner of the 20-miler because he was the only one to run the full course."  That probably should have been my first clue.

Race - I started out in the lead and gapped everyone fairly quickly.  Then after 2 miles I got to a T in the trail and it was unmarked.  I went maybe 100m in each direction, hoping to see some markings then decided I'd missed something and better re-trace my steps.  Fortunately, from a distance I saw the new 1st and 2nd place dudes and caught up to them.  One said, "hey, aren't you that guy that took off in the beginning?"  Uh huh...

We dropped 1 guy and I was left following the older dude (55!).  After a couple miles it was clear we had a pretty big lead and we agreed there was no reason to run too hard.  After getting lost once already, almost twice, I was in no rush to pass him despite the easier pace (he'd run it last year and said they had the same problems).

We stuck together for most of the race.  There were a couple open sections and there was no one to be seen behind us.  I was feeling a little guilty because he'd kept us on course this whole time and I knew I'd just blast by him once I was ready.  But with 3 miles to go a totally different guy we'd never seen before pops up behind us.  We let him pass and it didn't look like my buddy was going to be able to keep up so I let him know I wanted to go after the new guy and he stepped aside and wished me luck.

But this new guy was flying.  Within a few minutes he completely disappeared.  It was weird because there was a long straightaway climb right after I lost him - I completely expected to see him up there, but no.  According to the RD after the race he was ~5 minutes ahead.  I was pushing pretty hard too, and had reserved a decent bit of gas in the tank.  Could not for the life of me figure out how a guy with wheels like that wouldn't have caught us much earlier, or why he wouldn't have tried to go out with our relatively slow-moving lead pack.

I talked to the older guy after the race who finished a couple minutes after me and you could tell he was quite suspicious.  But that might just be the nature of the beast in trail running...I mean I had to do quite a lot of hiking vs running, and the stairs at the end took me forever compared to the 1st loop - it's definitely possible that he legitimately just stomped us at the end.

Anyway, gonna skip this one next year.  The Tejas Trails races (the last 2 I did) make it nearly impossible to go the wrong way...just a lot cleaner competition, I think.  But it was mostly enjoyable, and a really neat park to run in.  Every time I do a trail race I learn things that I can improve on, so hopefully I'll get better as I go.

NB MT101 Trail Miles: 21.00
Weight: 0.00
From Tom K on Sat, Apr 09, 2016 at 15:39:16 from

The stairs look horrible! I'm glad you had fun and learned some stuff at your race. Good job Joe!

From seeaprilrun on Sat, Apr 09, 2016 at 16:39:03 from

I have a hard enough time managing well-marked trails! Definitely not a fan of poor course marking, especially when trying to be competitive, and especially in a race where you can easily cut the course! Anyways, great job! Trail running is so fun. They're all different, and lots of new challenges to be had! Kickass race! Betcha you would have won on a marked course.

From SlowJoe on Sat, Apr 09, 2016 at 16:52:45 from

Tom, I barely made it up that 2nd time

April - definitely fun...but I need to start training on them more, or at least hop on a stairmaster or something. I have toothpick road-running legs that need more muscle!

From Jason D on Sat, Apr 09, 2016 at 17:47:25 from

You're rolling! A good, "old-fashion," Texas-sized half marathon.

I can't imagine trying to navigate trails. My pre-race nightmares are bad enough as it is. I usually have a dream that the course goes through a house and has like a 180-degree turn in a living room and I am wondering how I will ever maintain pace.

Those stairs look pretty but also very slippery.

From Dan on Sat, Apr 09, 2016 at 19:40:30 from

Now that is a trail race.... that I would probably die on. Those stairs look intense. I worry about turning the wrong way on a road race let alone that. Glad you enjoyed it and great effort Joe- I assume you put that much effort in a post race meal!

From Jake K on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 13:09:05 from

Those stairs! Its the Dipsea race of Texas.

[And I did notice the 9 hour night race on the schedule. Pretty standard event.]

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