Over May 5-6, I ran in the Wildflower Trail Runs in Bastrop, TX. The trail runs were a Trail Racing Over Texas event at Bastrop State Park. This is my Wildflower Trail Runs Recap.
Warning... this may be a little long, so you might want to get a snack.
Wildflower Trail Runs Recap
Friday I drove up to Bastrop around lunchtime. I needed to be at the park by 2pm for my volunteer shift. It had been raining pretty good on my drive there, but once I made it to the park, it had slowed to a drizzle. I had a few minutes before my shift started, so I quickly set up my tent (I really didn't want to deal with it if it started raining harder when my shift ended.
Once I got to the packet pick-up location, I was happy to see some familiar faces. We joked around about how many folks would be really driving out there in the rain and that we would likely be bored. That quickly changed as we had a steady stream of runners coming in to pick up their packets. The rain continued to come down... quite a bit harder at times. The rain was over by the time our shift ended.
[caption id="attachment_3780" align="aligncenter" width="243"] Our first glimpse of the trail as we headed back to camp[/caption]
Our shift ended at 7, and I joined a friend at her campsite to help set up her canopy and eat dinner. The rain had pretty much ended and we were treated to a beautiful sunset.
Soon it was time to get ready for bed. I headed to the camp bathhouse. Not really knowing what to expect. Rob, the race director, called it the Taj Mahal of bathrooms. Since he also tells us that the trails are butter cream smooth and mostly flat, I wasn't expecting the best. Let me tell you, this was the cleanest, nicest camp bathhouse I have ever seen!
[caption id="attachment_3779" align="aligncenter" width="169"] Seriously... this shower is nicer than mine at home![/caption]
I called it a night fairly early, even though I didn't have to get up too early. Being steps away from the starting line afforded me the luxury of sleeping until 6! In the morning, I broke out my camp stove and made some coffee. Then had a larabar and a banana, then headed up to the bathhouse to change.
Soon, it was time to head up to the start! I made it in plenty of time to visit with my fellow TROT ambassadors and even a photo op.
[caption id="attachment_3805" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Emily, Bill, Buddy, Me[/caption]
The race started on time! It was 61 and sunny out, humidity was kicking too. I had lined up towards the back, as I had planned on walking the uphills and going easy the rest of the time. The trail had some pretty major hills, in fact it started on a hill. It was mostly packed dirt, with some sandy parts for good measure. I was thankful for the rain the day before as it had packed the sand down. The course was a shortened version of the 10k course, so I got a preview of what was in store for the next day. There wasn't an aide station on the loop except for the start/finish area. TROT events are cup-less races, I had carried my hydration with me.
[caption id="attachment_3792" align="aligncenter" width="169"] Top of the hill right after the start line[/caption]
The course measured out at 3.8, so a little longer than 5k and I finished at 1:00:17. The finish area was somewhat crowded, and in full sun. So, instead of hanging out, I headed down to camp to roll out, shower and get some food and chill for a bit before my volunteer shift.
Even though I packed each outfit in it's own bag, I still laid out my flat runner for the next day. Some of the campers walking by gave me some strange looks as I was capturing the photo.
I was on the volunteer schedule for 12-6 to man the main aide station. By that time, the only runners out there were a few of the 25k, and the 50k. I really enjoy working up front, helping folks fill up their bottles with water or getting them ice. It was rewarding seeing how they came in to the aide station looking dog tired, but leaving looking refreshed and with a spring in their step.
The last runner came in an hour and a half before cut-off, and she rucked the whole 50k. We closed up the aide station and got as much ready for the next day that we could. It was time to head back to camp and enjoy the great outdoors!
I fixed up some dinner, and read some before I needed to get ready for bed. I had bought a vegan dehydrated meal with me to try out, it was good! This was the Good To Go Herbed Mushroom Risotto. It many times better than I had imagined what a dehydrated meal would taste like.
Soon, it was time to get ready and hit the hay. My race started at 7:30 the next morning, and I was pretty tired from running, then my volunteer shift.
[caption id="attachment_3790" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sunset at the park on Saturday night[/caption]
Wildflower Half Marathon
Sunday morning I woke up at 5:15, and repeated my morning routine from the day before. I was up at the race start with a few minutes to spare. The race, like yesterday started on time. It was a beautiful morning, around 60 at race start and clear.
The half marathon course consists of an out and back to the tower, then two loops of the 10k course. A friend that had ran it before showed me the tower... it was pretty high up there.
[caption id="attachment_3797" align="aligncenter" width="169"] part of the course going up to the tower[/caption]
That trip up to the tower was no joke! It was very steep, but it was also fun!
[caption id="attachment_3789" align="aligncenter" width="225"] The Tower[/caption]
With the trip behind me, I could now focus on the task ahead... 2 loops of 6.2. As with the 5k course, there were lots of hills. Amazingly, the part of the course that went beyond the 5k was mostly flat and had some nice shade. I practiced my strategy of walking the uphills and going pretty easy the rest of the way. The first loop, I finished feeling pretty good. At the main aide station, I stopped off and hit the port-a-cans, refilled my bottle and got a peanut butter and pickle sandwich.
Everything was going great... I was feeling good, was running ok. Then it wasn't. I tripped going up the stairs on a bridge as I was moving over to allow a runner to pass and I went down hard. I got a few scrapes on my knee and elbow, but I wasn't feeling too bad. About a mile after that I started having cramping issues (of the female kind, this happened at Brazos Bend). I continued on but mostly walked and shuffled. At the aide station, the volunteers cleaned up my elbow, which had been bleeding. I ate a few salted oranges, and refilled my bottle and headed to the finish.
[caption id="attachment_3723" align="aligncenter" width="200"] This was not the bridge in question...[/caption]
As I ran the final 2 miles, I tried to run as much as could. My finish time 3:56:37, the course measured a little long 13.6. I collected my medals and grabbed a gatorita (those things are life giving).
[caption id="attachment_3796" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Gatorita - blended ice and gatorade, nector of the gods[/caption]
It was time to head to camp, roll and stretch out, pack up and hit the shower. Sadly, the weekend had come to an end.. it flew by!
If you've read my blog, you know I normally go into a race making a number of goals. The only goal I had for these races was to have fun, and I can say without a doubt I had a blast.
The Wildflower Trail Runs are one fun weekend of trail racing. There are several distances each day and the cut offs are pretty generous (12 hours for 50k, 8 hours for marathon). The aide stations are amazing, and the volunteers are top notch. Rob and Rachel have every detail locked down. Bastrop State Park is a beautiful place to have this, and the timing of the race couldn't be better to see all the wildflowers blooming or to pick dewberries for a little energy.
I'm planning to make this race weekend part of my calendar again next year!
I’m linking up with HoHo Runs and Taking The Long Way Home for the Weekly Wrap; and with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My no-guilt life for Tuesdays on the Run