Hitting the Trails

By: Sam LaBrie

Fall and winter training and road race season is coming to an end. I peaked at 3M and my last road race for a while will be the Lockhart 5K this weekend. It’s been a lot of fun and I know that I’m stronger and faster than 6 months ago. I’m excited to get back to running more miles on the great trails around Austin.

I’ve been running trails about once a week at Walnut Creek or the greenbelt. These have been on “easy” days, until last week.  Chris Kimbrough (amazingly fast, masters winner at Cap10K, second woman at 3M) and I met at the Hill of Life last week for a 10 miler.  She had never been on that part of the greenbelt so I led the way, trying to go fast enough to keep it interesting for her.  Luckily, it was a beautiful spring morning, clear and dry.  We sped along the trail, enjoying the new greenery, and refreshed by the occasional creek crossing.  We went farther than planned; I think it ended up about 13 miles.  The steep uphill half mile of the Hill of Life was a great finish. I hope I feel that good racing over the next few months.

The spring races on my schedule are the trail series from Rogue and XTERRA. The Rogue races are my favorite trail events every year.  I generally run the Rogue 10K series and the courses at Walnut Creek and Emma Long are great. The third race is at Reveille Ranch this year, the same place as the El Sendero race last fall, so I expect it will be hard, but fair and fun. Rogue puts on a great event, well marked and interesting courses, happy runners, beer and BBQ afterwards and lots of prizes.

I’ll also run the four XTERRA events.  These are about 20K races and I plan to compete in the state series and try to qualify for the XTERRA national championship race this fall in Utah. These races are fun, but not as well-organized as the Rogue events.

Depending on our vacation schedule, I’ll probably run the Tejas Trails Cap’n Karl’s series this summer. These are overnight 30K or 60K trail runs on the very rough and tricky courses designed by Joe Pruisitis.  Running at night at 90 degrees and 90% humidity with snakes, scorpions, cacti, and twisty rocky trail. Can’t wait.

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