Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Big Bend 25k

Wow, what an amazing weekend.  I drove down to Big Bend National Park on I90 - it was a 6.5 hour drive, mostly with no cars or civilization in sight and no cell phone coverage.

After the drive, I finally came to this

of course, it was another 40 minutes into the park until I made it to packet pickup and met up with my buddies.  Then, another 25 minute drive up the mountain and into Chisos Basin, where we were staying at the lodge.  Many (crazy) folks camped.  I rather enjoyed my bed, heat, minifridge, and coffee maker.  Here was the view from my balcony.

After we arrived, we hiked to see the Window - here I am on the hike, with the Window behind me (remember, 6.5 hour drive, so I look haggardly).
and along the way, we saw JAVELINAS!  (don't call them pigs, I learned - they are not - no tails and only 3 toes)

Here is the Window at sunset

The next day, we headed to Santa Elena Canyon - that's Mexico right behind me.

Then we headed to Boquillas Canyon - again, Mexico behind me, across the Rio Grande

where I saw Mexican ducks illegally crossing the border

they must have been the ones that left these trinkets for purchase

The next morning was race day.  The start was chilly, in the 40s, but dry and clear.  The first 5 miles consisted of a climb from 3,200 ft elevation to 3,600 ft on fairly technical, rocky trails.  It was pretty rough.  Then, the trail smoothed out some to this

and then smoothed out a little more, but was always Jeep trails.  Here are some pictures from along the run

and here's me at about mile 12 or so

miles 6-13 went by fairly quickly and I enjoyed the scenery.  The last 2 or so miles were a bit mushy - gravel and sand mostly.  And you could see the finish from afar, but it didn't seem to get closer, until - there it was!

After a VERY bumpy van ride back to the campground/race HQ and post-race dinner, I took a nice nap and admired my medal - it shows the three zones of Big Bend we ran through - the mountains, the desert, and the river.
I drove back on I10 (speed limit 80 mph), which was boring and painful, since I don't have cruise control.  But, I made it back and now my legs hurt (training for this run probably would have been a good thing).  While I was gone, the dogs had a ball at Green Dog Kennels - this is Gwen under the 'bridge.'
Though it was a remote destination (and I mean remote - no cell phone connectivity, spotty wifi, no televisions, etc.), this was really a great race.  And I did not fall down.  Next up - no race, trip to the frozen tundra instead.

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