Friday, March 23, 2012

Alamo 13.1 and some Bandera training

I got some fun sun running in this week during a business trip to Texas.  While the snow piled up here in Oregon, Gimpy got his burn on, sunburn that is.  It started with the Alamo 13.1 which was a little warm and muggy and finished with a nice hot training run near Bandera on some of the trails at Hill Country State Natural Area.

The first run was at the Alamo 13.1: Fight to the Finish - RD: Michael and Jenelle Hennessey

I'd read about the Alamo 13.1 while prepping for a business trip to Austen.  As a result I decided to spend some time in San Antonio and I'm glad I did.  The atmosphere for St Patrick's day the night before was celebratory.  Definitely made for good atmosphere the next day.

The RD's had an early morning packet pickup which was very helpful and gave me a chance to fill my water bottle before the race start.  Something I needed as the race progressed and slowly got warmer.

I like inaugural runs because you never know what you'll get.  This running event based on the Alamo anniversary was a good half marathon road run.  They brought in a cannon for the start and provided everything except the port-a-pots at the start line.  Fortunately one of the hotels was close by and didn't kick everyone out.  I'm sure they'll get it corrected next year.

I started out a little slow, but the atmosphere made the slow start worth while.  I was able to pick up the pace and I finished the first 6.5 miles averaging 8:25 pace.  There were several rolling hills and then as the heat started to climb into the mid-70's my pace slowly dropped. Ultimately, averaged just under 9'/mile pace and finished in 1:55:56.  Slower than I'd hoped, but for my first warm weather run can't complain too much.

I had only reserved my room for one night so I had to skeedaddle as soon as I got the finishing medal and some snacks.  I would have like to stay longer and watch some more runners finish up, but the other part of my trip was business and I needed to get to Austen.  So Gimpy headed out, knowing I'd be back in a few days to take a look at Bandera trails.

I had considered several of the Texas ultra trail runs before leaving Oregon and was hoping to try running some of the trails.  I had wanted to either run the trails at Rocky Raccoon or Bandera.  I finally decided Bandera made more sense as I needed to fly out of San Antonio and Rocky Raccoon in Huntsville while closer to Austen would be more driving and I'd heard the hills in Bandera were worth seeing.

Trail running near Bandera

I had hoped to get on the trail early to beat the heat, but ended up getting to the Bandera trails just before 11am.  There was a day use fee and some general info on which trails to try and after filling up the running vest headed out to trail 1, 6, 7, and 8.


The trails vary between gravel roads and rocky and rutted single track.  There was still some water in the creeks and spring weather was supporting plenty of dung beetles, butterflies, and the occasional turkey vulture.  I ended up with several scrapes and scratches from the sotol cactus.  Fortunately I didn't meet up with the prickly pear.  I did make it to the top of Ice Cream Hill which was off the tral, but no rattlesnakes or scorpions were seen or heard.

I decided to stop after 13 miles as I'd already made it through my water.  It was a slow slow run, with a bit too much walking, but I can see now why this is considered a tough course.  Overall there was not a huge amount of elevation gain, I ended up with about 1100 ft over the four trails I went on.  To repeat this five more times would definitely take it's toll.

Gimpy had a good time, got a nice sun burn, and avoided rattlesnake and scorpion bites and stings, three cheers.

The sun has set on Texas and tomorrow we hit the Oregon trails again with the Buck Mountain Trail run.  I'm expecting a lot of snow all a nice contrast from the Texas trails.  Can't wait.

Mt Hood from the North returning to Oregon

Time for reminiscing about hot sunny weather is over for a bit.  Reality strikes.

Let's go Gimpy, time to run...