Category Archives: Race Review

Race Review: Isle Du Bois Trail Run

10647185_360569767453540_6023273942257713058_nWhat will probably be my last race of 2014, and possibly my last in the 30-39 age group, turned out to be my favorite of the year.

On December 6, two friends and I ran the 18k at the Isle Du Bois trail run. The race was held at Lake Ray Roberts State Park and hosted by Endurance Buzz Adventures.

If you haven’t run a trail race, you should. Winding through the woods, over rocks and logs, and up and down rough hills is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. The woods can become disorienting, especially when you can’t see anyone ahead or behind. But hearing the sound of the wind on water, or leaves crunching under your feet, and smelling the leaves, trees, and dirt, is better than hearing feet pounding pavement and smelling car exhaust.

The trail at Isle Du Bois is a challenge, but not nearly as technical (difficult) as the one at Rough Creek in Glen Rose (the Endurance Buzz race in September.) It is narrow, making it impossible to pass unless the person in front pulls off the trail to let you go by. But that’s one of the great things about trail races; not only is everyone willing to pull off, but they cheer you on as you go. I don’t mean that runners are just strolling through the woods. People are running their hearts out, but they encourage you to run yours out, too.

After the first mile or so, I fell into a group of 3-4 guys close to my age. We ended up running most of the race together, taking turns leading. (It takes energy to just stay on the right trail.) When I thought I couldn’t push anymore, I told my buddy to the south that I was pulling off to let him pass, thinking we had 3 or 4 miles left. The best news of the day was when he said, “Don’t slow down now; we only have a mile left.”

At the finish we all got our bear bottle of natural honey. The top three in each age group got cowbells (I was 5th out of 23 in my group,  but I’ll be after that cowbell next time). And all entrants got a super soft long sleeve T made from bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton.

Jenny Cunningham from Eastland ran a great race to get 5th out of 27 ladies in the 30-39 age group. And Heidi Clements got first in the ladies 20-29 age group. So once again, Eastland runners were well-represented.

Add a trail run to your plans for 2015. And if you live in North Texas, make it an Endurance Buzz trail run.

Isle Du Bois results:

Race Review: Rough Creek Trail Run

rough_creek_trailrun2Endurance Buzz Adventures hosted the Rough Creek Trail Run on Saturday, September 20 in Glen Rose, Texas.

Runners could choose from four distances: a 10K, half-marathon, full marathon, or 40 miler. I took the easier route with the half, but it was still the hardest race I’ve ever run.

After two or three miles of fairly flat trails, we went up something in between a hill and a mountain, and then down, and then up, and then down… I lost count.

The trails up the hills were rough, and there was a lot of sliding going on. The better trail runners could somewhat jog up some of the inclines, but it was always slow going down.

After we finished going up and down the mountain hundreds of times, we ran up one really tough hill, and then on to the aid station at the half-way point. This was one of the best aid stations ever. They had the standards—oranges and such, but they also had cookies, baked potatoes, cola, and all kinds of other goodies.

After that, we were off to our old mountain again. The backside seemed steeper than the front, and there were several places where runners had to crawl on all fours. I guess that made us crawlers rather than runners.

The last two miles were again flat, but no longer seemed easy. It took every ounce of will power I had to finish.

100_3070When we were through with the torture, we were treated with a finisher’s trophy (a bear full of honey wearing a rough creek medal) and good food. Runners also got a cool T-shirt made of bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton.

The scenery was beautiful when you could look up to see it, and the volunteers, organizers, and other runners were fantastic. I was happy to be there with a couple of running buddies from Eastland (Kevin and Glenn), and was grateful to several other runners whose encouragement helped me through.

I have nothing but good things to say about this race, though I’m not sure that I’ll be brave or tough enough to go back next year. But if you want a challenge, I highly recommend the Rough Creek Trail Run.