Kathy is a runner. And a biker. And a swimmer. (Can anyone say triathlete?) She is pretty damn impressive in what she does to keep in shape and convinced me to go along with some of this craziness while I was in Austin. She introduced me to trail running which turned into Marshall attempting to keep up with Kathy (aka the Energizer Bunny) and giving up after awhile to walk. I actually coined a term describing this – “wogging”. Walking and jogging. Notice which word comes first?
There is a group of women in the Austin area that get together about once a week and go on a trail run, which ends up being more of a trail walk and talk. I know this because I became an honorary “woman” and was the only male allowed to join the group. Not sure really how this happened, but can’t say as I complained too loud being the only guy in a group of trail running women. Just saying!
Anyhow, Kathy and one of her best friends Leslie are part of this group, as is Nikki (another friend of Kathy’s who I also became friends with during my time in Austin). All three of them conspired to head out to East Jesus, Texas to do a trail run. Side note: In case you didn’t pay attention in grammar school, Texas is extremely large and full of places like East Jesus.
The trail run in question is the Nueces 50 which includes a 10km, 25km, 50km, and a 50 mile (not a misprint) run. Because Kathy badly twisted her ankle 4 weeks before the race, and because I am not crazy, we signed up for the 10k choice. Seemed like a logical choice for my first official race.
The weekend of the event also would coincide with me hitting the road again after being in Austin for 6 months. Why not head to East Jesus as the first stop in getting back into the true nomadic lifestyle, right?
So off I headed early on Friday to drive 160 miles into the middle of nowhere. As in the land of zero cell coverage and no Golden Arches. What an adventure that was! Turns out the weather was crappy. As in freezing rain that caused ice to buildup on my Jeep crappy. As in we were dry camping (no electrical or water hookups) in the middle of a muddy field crappy. As in it was overcast so my solar wasn’t able to recharge the batteries crappy. This was one time I wished I had a generator so that I could keep the batteries topped off!
Yeah, a great weekend to hit the road again.
Kathy drove out later that evening after work and almost didn’t make it due to ice on the roads (which fortunately wasn’t there as I was towing my house). Not having cell coverage made the whole situation a bit tense. I was able to occasionally get a text to/from her with the poor Internet service they had in the coffee shop at the place we were staying. What an adventure to just arrive at the race location.
The Nieces 50 is held at Camp Eagle, a large, beautiful (I imagine, if it weren’t crappy weather) camp that hosts summer programs for kids and retreats for adults. This quote from their website says it all: “Our mission is to inspire Christ-like change through outdoor adventure authentic relationships, and Biblical truth.” Fortunately they rent out the facility to non-believers on occasion and didn’t ask for the secret handshake to let us on the property.
Located on the Nueces River and comprising of some impressive hills, Camp Eagle is a great location to hold a massive trail run. There are lodging facilities runners can rent, or for suckers like us, they offer the ability to park your RV in a dirt field right next to the river. I had visions of dozens of RVs showing up, but it turns out we were the only one. That might have to do with no one else being crazy enough to drive their RV down the 8 mile dirt road to get to the camp. Which wasn’t much of an issue coming in (other than it taking forever). But it was more of an issue when leaving (can you say mud covered trailer that is still begging to be washed?). Never. Again.
The (non) Race
After socializing the night before, we were ready to hit the trail for 10 kilometers of pure trail running fun. The near freezing temperatures and the drizzling rain, combined with Kathy’s still very much hurting ankle, meant that my first official race turned into a nice 10k stroll through the hills and forests of Camp Eagle. Not that I was complaining as we had good conversation, great views (as much as they were in the overcast) and I received my first every “running” medal. Which is somewhere in my 175 square foot home. I think.
Oh, I failed to mention that due to the horrible road conditions, some of the people that were planning on showing up in our group were no-shows. No worries! We were able to entertain ourselves in our smaller group as we huddled around the campfire in the coffee shop for warmth. That is until they closed it at something crazy like 8pm. Did I mention it was freezing outside?
So what had promised to be a nice first weekend on the road turned into a weekend that we would rather forget. But of course we can’t know that I have written a blog post about it. Ooops!