The Interval, 6/7/17

David Jacobson at The Texas Trail Running Festival. Photo courtesy of Billie Sudbrack.

This post is going out on Global Running Day.  I got my run in this morning, just an easy 6 miler from home.  I hope all of you were able to run today as well. This is the 32nd consecutive weekly issue of The Interval and I’m planning on continuing to post weekly at least until the next Global Running Day.

The main item of local interest is the new event last weekend from Tejas Trails:  the Texas Trail Running Festival, at Krause Springs just outside of Austin.  The list of races, attractions and activities is too long to be believed.  The trail running events included a marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, 4x5K relay, and youth 1M. Between events the runners could swim in the springs, kayak, or relax in the shade and listen to live music.  I wish I could have been there.

The Festival also included a Shadow Race, where US troops stationed in Iraq joined the runners in Texas for the event. Runners from the 21st Combat Support Hospital ran either a 5K or half marathon on a 3 mile loop at their base.  Tejas sent over finisher medals and other race schwag.  Check out this video of the runners in Iraq starting their races.

Chris McWatters of Tejas Trails sent me some brief comments on the event:

Oh man, the new Texas Trail Running Festival was a huge success! We had a huge turnout, even with spotty rain storms. Brad and I were so excited and honored to get to host this event. Krause Springs is one of a kind and made the perfect race hub. And the LCRA park called Grelle Recreation Area has some really fun and very tough trails turns out! Truly a hidden gem. As far as the event itself, we really wanted to try something unique. It’s the first time a trail running event has been taken to this level around this part of the country! So it was fun dreaming up stuff to do to wrap around a great trail system and host venue. I was especially excited to be able to honor the troops over in Iraq taking part of the Shadow Run alongside us. They ended up with around 200 runners on the same day taking part in a 5M and 13.1 miler! We’re telling everyone to send over cool photos and shout outs to the troops serving over there at #FestivalShadowRun.

The full results for all the races are here.  I’ll just highlight the marathon results.  The women’s race was close, with the top 3 all within 7 minutes.  Jessica Seecamp was the winner in 5:03, followed by Torey Lasater and Nancy Nicols. Kari Henry was the masters winner. The men’s race was even closer, with the top 3 within 5 minutes.  David Zuniga ran a fine 3:52, just 20 seconds ahead of Joe Schmal. Daniel Ramirez was a close third. Gary Krupala won the masters race.

For the truly dedicated (demented?) trail runners, the Festival encouraged racing the marathon in the morning, the 10K in the afternoon, and the 5K in the evening.  This was called the Trifectionist Trail Challenge and Tejas had awards based on the combined performances.  I haven’t yet seen the Trifectionist results, I expect Tejas will post them shortly.

My friend and fellow Vagabond, David Jacobson, ran the half marathon and his wife and daughters ran the 10K.  He answered a few questions by email:

1. I haven’t been to Krause Springs before, how would you describe the trails and the facility?

It’s a beautiful, tree-covered park with a spring-fed swimming area, cliffs, waterfalls, etc. And about as close to Austin as Pace Bend, I can see why RV spots here are popular. This was my first time experiencing the trails at Krause Springs though. Impressive, mostly tree-covered single-track with some rolling, ledgey hills along the side of a couple of small lakes and a bend in upper Lake Travis. There’s a little bit of “rock garden” terrain but I didn’t think as much as at Pace Bend or Mule Shoe. And a few rocky staircases. Some dual-track on the return of the 6 mile loop.

2. How did you do in the half marathon?

It was the most humid race I’ve run this year so far, so it turned out to be a slow slog for me. I’m working on acclimating to this coming summer. I’m glad I took 2 hand-helds with me. It got even worse for racers later in the day when it rained and then, one of the conditions us TX trail runners hate the most; STOPPED raining! The sun came out a few times but didn’t burn off the humidity that much because it stayed mostly overcast. But I had a lot of fun discovering the new course on the first loop, then enjoyed the solitude as everyone spread out on the second loop.

3. The Trifectionist Trail Challenge would have been difficult even without heat and humidity. What was it like as a spectator?

I just find it fascinating to watch the amazing athletic performances of these very humble friends, and cheer them as they finish their runs. Four loops for the marathon was tough in that humidity, and the Trifectionists didn’t have much time to rest for before the start of the afternoon 10K. Still, it surprised everyone that nine women and six men remained in contention through that before the deciding evening 5K. Also, so fun to see those endurance runners going all out at the end of the day in a slippery 5K, just for the fun of competing with one another. Lots of congratulating, hand shaking, and beverage sharing afterwards.

4. Your wife and daughters ran the 10K in the afternoon. I haven’t been able to get my family involved in trail running. How did you make this happen?

LOL. Well, their mom and I started our twin daughters, Jennifer & Lilian, running young using bribery (we have to use bribery a lot with them; they’re probably going to grow up to be lawyers based on the amount of negotiating they do with their parents); me telling them how much more candy and stuff there is at trail race aid stations than other races, etc. They ran their first trail race at Tejas’ Nueces trail race (now named J&J Reunion) at Camp Eagle, and that made them think that every trail race has zip lines, swimming, camping, other kids to play with, etc. It also helped that I’ve been hosting a trail run at Bull Creek in Austin every Sunday morning since 2010 and a lot of the regulars have been bringing their kids (now teenagers) for all those years. It’s less of a trail run for them and more of a run from one rope-swing / swimming hole to another until they get back to where breakfast is. I suppose supported trail races are kind of a luxury for those kids. And it also helps that both their mom, Susannah, and I run, trail run, do yoga, MTB, etc. Just setting a good example is half the battle in my opinion. I’m not really pushing the girls to be star athletes and I suspect their interests might change; one is now going the volleyball + short track route, the other cross-country. I’m just glad they don’t have any fear of running.

BTW, the 10K at The Festival was the first race where it poured down raining on them… and they loved it.

Lilian, Susannah, and Jennifer Jacobson at The Festival. Photo courtesy of David Jacobson.

Interesting news and articles

I’ve been interested in the Comrades Marathon in South Africa.  It’s a major event, with entries capped at 20,000 runners every year for a 56 mile road race. The race started in 1921 and has been held annually except during WWII. The 2017 event was the 92nd running. It’s point to point, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, with the start and finish switching every year.  This year was an uphill year, starting in Durban.  Alberto Salazar famously won Comrades in 1994.  This year the women’s winner was Camille Heron, a US runner who was second in the Bandera 100K last January.  Coverage from iRunFar.

David Roche has another excellent article in Trail Runner Magazine, this one on training to run hills.  His approach and advice always make sense to me.  The article also has pictures from the recent Mt. Diablo Trail runs where Roche won the half marathon.  I’ve run on the trails at Mt. Diablo and they are really great, with huge views of the San Francisco Bay Area to the west and the Central Valley to the east.

Harriette Thompson, 94, just became the oldest woman to finish a half marathon.  She posted a time of 3:42 at the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.  From Runner’s World.

Steve Magness, the guy responsible for the excellent Science of Running website and podcast, has published a new book.  It’s titled Peak Performance, co-written with Brad Stulberg, and the early reviews look great.  Amazon will deliver my copy tomorrow…

Upcoming races

I’ll be running the Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run tomorrow evening.  It’s a fundraiser for The Trail Foundation.