I mean, what can you really say about racing in July?
Running the trails at Cedar Ridge is an exercise in appreciation. Or in hating your life, depending on your perspective.
Race day started in the dark, with bobbing headlamps guiding us to the check in station, the temps already in the mid 80’s (the high that day was 100 degrees) and the humidity at a delightful 4000%.
Jason and I were running separate distances (note: the race had 3 distance options and was on a very hilly, very challenging single track loop course. The 9K’ers-including my husband-ran the loop once. The 18k’ers-like me-twice, the 36k’ers 4 times) with different start times so we parted as we usually do with a kiss and a fist bump when I lined up first.
Almost immediately I felt the familiar pang of a dehydration headache so I stuck with water for the majority of the first loop and stayed away from a lot of electrolytes or food, save for one orange slice from the aid station. 2/3rds of the way through the first loop the headache was gone but my hands were swelling pretty badly so when I cruised into the start/finish at the end of my first loop, I grabbed a salt pill and a pickle from the aid station before heading back into the brush for a second go ’round.
I stuck to more electrolytes (HEED, pickles, pickle juice) and less water for the second loop and once I got things balanced out, my body felt better on the second slog than the first, despite a fog of heat radiating off of me thanks to increasing temps and the layer of sweat slicking my skin and dripping into my eyes.
The shorter, tighter, more challenging course also seemed to keep the runners from spreading out too much so I was able to have a few breathless conversations when I found myself in step with another runner. Nothing brings people together like shared misery so we commiserated on shoes, other races (one guy I talked to had done a half iron man the weekend prior-no big) and the beauty of the course.
And this particular set of trails is beautiful. I’ve spent plenty of time on those trails as the constant up and down was good training for the Mesquite Canyon half marathon Jason and I did earlier in the year. I tried to keep my perspective on the appreciation I wrote about at the top of the post, enjoying the few runnable flats and the thick of green all around us.
(photos taken at previous times on the course)
At one point early in the race, I found myself on the only stretch of trail that isn’t within the thick of trees. The sun was just coming up and for a few minutes I was running through golden light, feeling a wide expanse within myself, an amazing sense of freedom and peace. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is nothing like being outside moving and sweating as the sun comes up. Something about challenging your body as you see the start of a new day just feels so epically ALIVE and this day was no different.
For like .3 seconds. Then it was back to huffing and sweating as I kicked up more dirt on my ankles.
This race was not a goal race for so I had no goal time and finished in about 2:40, which was about what I’d expect given my experience on this trail and the heat/humidity. So I finished in a fair to middling time but Jason had a freaking FANTASTIC experience. In the 9K race, he finished first in his age group and 4th male, in the top 10 overall. Rock on Jason!
We celebrated with post race tacos-chicken for him and bean/cheese for me and a Dr. Pepper that yes, I brought from home.
This was another race from Endurance Buzz and as always, the race was super organized and the volunteers super friendly. I love their races and highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys trail running in the DFW area. And I totally mean that even though I told the RD that we needed to have a serious talk about his obvious sadistic streak.
And now that I’ve shared my recap, I’m off to read all of yours. Have fun out there and bring plenty of water with you.