The Rogue Trail Series is a favorite of mine. I’ve run all 3 races almost every year for about 10 years now. The first race in the series is always The Maze at Walnut Creek. I headed out there Sunday ready to have fun. It was humid. What else is new? I wasn’t in shape for a fast 10K. Stop whining. Some of my best friends were doing other races or runs. Their loss.
I arrived just as the 30K runners were starting at 7am. I found Chris Kimbrough and we did a short warm up before heading to the start line for the course description from Steve Sisson. The route this year was different, with additions of some new sections that were created in the last year and restoration of a section along the creek and a hill at the ~4 mile mark that had been featured in the past. I often run at the ‘Nut and this route now includes all of my favorites- credit is due, I’m told, to Jonathan Garner.
I ran most of the race with Chris and Allison Brickley. We started out fast, as usual, clocking a 7 minute first mile before the technical and hilly portions of the course began. Chris hasn’t been training much due to foot and back issues, but she did well on Sunday. We settled in over the next few miles and enjoyed the course, with some breathless chatting. Chris and Allison dropped me with about 1.5 miles to go. No one else came up behind me so I was happy that I didn’t have to push my sore legs any harder to maintain my placing for the Masters (50+) division.
The men’s 10K was competitive, with the top 10 all between 42 and 47 minutes. Nathan Fisher won, in 42:32, about 20 seconds ahead of Jamie Cleveland. Mike Threadgould was another 30 seconds behind.
The women’s race was also close. After dropping me, Chris and Allison battled to the finish, with Chris winning by a couple seconds in 48:59. Michelle Cleveland was just about a minute back for third. My U Loop pal Amy Rhea was the Masters winner in 59:34.
I emailed with Allison about her race:
Armadillo Running: Great run! How did you like the race? What was the last mile like, racing Chris?
Allison Brickley: This was my first time running with the Rogue Trail Series and I loved it! Everyone was so friendly and helpful. The course was marked perfectly. Gotta love Walnut Creek trail too! I run that trail some because it’s a fun one. Right before the race someone told me that Chris wins these races and is pretty much just amazing so I thought “cool I will see if I can stay with her a while.” Ended up hanging with you two most of the race. She sped up the last mile/mile and a half. Not surprised because she is a great runner and athlete! I lost to her by 2 seconds! I was a better runner Sunday because of y’all. Truly better together with more accountability and push when you are among others! Let’s run again together soon!
AR: What is your running background? Trail running?
Allison Brickley: I run 30-40 miles a week mostly road and I try to do at least one trail run. Running 6 days a week with maybe 4 runs with a double stroller! I played soccer growing up and through college so I’ve always been into running but it wasn’t until after college that I really fell in love with it. Trail running is more recent for me. I have two small kids and trail ran a little before them but no races. Something ignited in me last year how much I love the trail so I have picked it up! This was my third race this past Sunday. Can’t wait for the next one.
AR: You work at Camp Gladiator. How does that training help your running?
Allison Brickley: I love CG! Been doing it 8 years. Reminds me so much of sports. I go at least 3x a week and use it for speed work, cross training and strength depending what week it is. I am in better shape now than I was in college playing soccer. CG is a boot camp workout but more than that it’s accountability. When I started CG I was more like an 8/9 min/mile runner. I have dropped at least 2 minutes off that time, with recent PRs at 5K/10K and half marathon.
AR: Do you plan on any other spring races? How about the other 2 segments of the Rogue Trail Series?
Allison Brickley: I am already signed up for the next two races in the Rogue series! Cap10K as well- this year sans stroller!
Congratulations to Allison, I’ll watch for her at the next 2 races.
After finishing the 10K it was fun to hang out and cheer the 30K runners, starting their third loops and finishing. The women’s race was won in a time of 2:54 by Sam Godbold, the recent winner of the Saddleblazer half marathon. She was closely followed by Leann Rominger Scott in 3:01 and Hannah Trees in 3:02. The masters winner was Karen Smith in 3:57.
The men’s 30K featured a rematch of the top runners from the 2017 series: Mike Kurvach and Moses Luevano. They were even through the first loop, with Luevano ahead by 10 seconds in 42:22, a time that would have won the 10K. Kurvach pulled ahead for good near the end of the second loop and won in 2:10. Luevano was second in 2:19, with Kyle Norman in third with 2:32. Steven Moore, coming back strong from a layoff, was fifth overall and won the Masters in 2:40.
Full results for The Maze are here. The next race in the series is The Tangle on April 29.
Somewhat close to Austin this past Sunday was the College Station edition of the Texas 10 series. Andy Bitner ran the 10 mile race and sent me his review:
The Texas 10 Series is a group of 7 races in east/south-ish Texas (I’m not from here) that all focus on the 10 mile distance with cumulative standings contesting for the Armadillo Cup for individuals and the 10 Gallon Club Cup for running clubs.
The College Station edition was a well organized and marked race. While not a large field, it was full of enthusiastic runners and well-staffed with volunteers. Bananas and breakfast tacos were served post-race. There were also 5K and 5 mile options and a kid’s K.
There are two big signs of spring here in Central Texas that happened over the weekend. The first is the sight of a toddler sitting in the wildflowers for a photo. The second is showing up for a race to find 72 degree weather and 95% humidity.
Just getting into the car at 4:15 am to make the drive to College Station told me that my time goal would be out the window. Legs felt good, though, so thought I’d see what I could do. Plus, Michigan basketball made the Final Four last night, so this would be a good weekend regardless of race results. The course was two 5 mile loops, with a slight downhill start and a couple of inclines between miles 3.5 and 4.25. Not a big deal to anyone training in the Hill Country.
The winner of the race was never in doubt as some young guy went all Kurvach and was out of sight by the 3rd turn. I eyed a fast looking old guy (think Sam LaBrie but with a bunch of tattoos). I was right and he busted past me in the 2nd mile, though I was able to keep contact as we reeled in a couple of guys who went out way too fast. I clocked a 6:15 first mile, but that effort wasn’t sustainable in the conditions, so I dropped back down around 6:30, which I was able to hold onto. Hitting that second incline, I pulled even with the old guy and we came through the first loop together. From there it was working back and forth for the next four miles. I figured I’d be able to repeat my performance up the hill, so I had that in my head if I could keep pace until there.
The 7th mile was a bit into the breeze and some young dude came past us both and I had the bright idea to tuck in behind him for a little drafting. However, I hit a wave of body odor that sent my race-unsettled stomach heaving. I settled down and let the stinky dude pull ahead. Good tactic if you’re ever worried about being drafted in a race, I guess.
Anyway, I was even with my fellow master until the 8.6 mile hill and I used that to gap him. I picked up the effort going up the second hill and held that steady and my pace dipped down to 6:15 for the final mile and I managed to keep that lead and take 6th overall and 1st master. Hooray racing.
Tough conditions, but a fair (and un-scenic compared to all the trail races I’ve been doing) course and a nice intro back into road racing. It was a bit strange not having to worry about finding my way or footing as I went along. It was also useful to be able to work with a fellow runner to push and pull each other along. I certainly would not have run as fast otherwise. The time was 1:04:52 or so, a good 11+ minutes back of the winner and not at all close to my goal time, but a successful return to road racing and a necessary one given my Chicago Marathon goal this fall. Yet another piece of evidence that Carmen Troncoso knows more than I do.
The next race in the series is set for Sienna, TX on April 29th, where it promises to be even warmer and muggier.
Thanks and congratulations to Andy. He’ll be at the Final Four this weekend in San Antonio hoping his Wolverines can overcome Sister Jean and the Ramblers.
Another Texas 10 runner was Jonathan Torres. We met last fall when he dusted me at the finish of the Big Foot 10K in San Marcos. His son, Anthony Lopez, is a talented high school runner who won the sub-elite heat of the Manzano Mile last month. Jonathan was kind enough to answer my questions:
Armadillo Running: Why did you pick this event?
Jonathan Torres: I’ve been training for the Cap10K the past 2 months and my weekly long run is 10-12 miles. I had been noticing that those 10 milers were getting smoother and less painful. I guess what I mean to say is painfully enjoyable. My work schedule changed this month and left me open for Sunday races only. A few of my Core Running friends had already signed up for the series, so I said why not.
AR: How did you like the course and the organization?
Jonathan Torres: The course was 2 five mile loops with the 1st mile gradually going down in elevation. That 5th and 10th mile was a nice climb though. Runners ran the majority of the race on bike lanes and the entire course was coned off which made for a safe race. They had huge mile markers and the water stations were at perfect parts of the race with plenty of volunteers and police support. I felt its definitely a PR course minus the humidity.
AR: 10 miles is a tough distance, you want to run fast, but that’s a long way. How do you feel about your performance?
Jonathan Torres: Considering I’ve never run a 10 mile race before, I came into the race relaxed and expected to pace strong. I was hoping to at least place in my AG. I had one mishap at mile 5 where my phone belt fell off and I had to stop to retrieve it. It took me 2 miles to get that pace back. First, and last time listening to music while racing. Other than that, I really enjoyed that distance and came away with 2nd in my AG.
AR: You train with Core Running in San Marcos. Tell us about that group and the running scene in SM.
Jonathan Torres: I joined the group late 2011 about the same time David Moody bought the store. Dave is a great/cool dude! He is currently on a 14 year Boston Qualifier streak. The group has 5K social runs, and has speed track workouts coached by Doug Framke (ex-collegiate runner). Doug also coaches cross country at the junior high level in Kyle. Doug started the Core Training group back in 2011. Just recently Ross Hill (ex collegiate badass) started alternating Tuesdays with Doug and coaches hill workouts with various plyometric exercises. Coach Ross ran a 4:45 mile at age 50 in the last Congress mile. He’s the Bo Jackson of our group. Did I mention he can dunk a basketball? Our group consists of all types of runners and athletes from Ironman (D. Chidester) to crossfit (M. Pena) to current collegiate/high school runners. It really is a family atmosphere.
AR: What’s next?
Jonathan Torres: Cap 10K is on the Horizon!! Core Running has assembled a good sized team this year, with an after party for the ages at a top secret location…
Thanks and congratulations to Jonathan. I’ll write about Cap10K and the Core Running after party, if I can score an invite, in a couple weeks.
A few other items of local interest:
The Texas Relays start today and go through the weekend. The sessions today (heptathlon and decathlon) and tomorrow (full schedule) are free.
Paul Terranova ran the Behind the Rocks Ultra 50K this weekend in Moab. He finished in a stellar 4:25, that’s about 8:30 pace on a technical trail run with >5000 feet of climbing. Paul was fourth overall and first 40+.
High Five Events announced the totals for the Austin Give Miles program. Runners in the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon combined to raise $670,802. Incredible. 31 non-profits from central Texas participated and the Moody Foundation matched donations of up to $10K to each group.
April 7, Adelbert’s Brewery
April 14, Celis Brewery
April 21, Meridian Hive Meadery
May 5, Oskar Blues
May 19, Friends & Allies Brewing
Mallory Brooks, of Spectrum Trail Racing, was featured in a Runner’s World article on methods being used to increase participation of women in trail races.
A recent study may have revealed the reason why some people respond differently to caffeine. This NY Times article has a good summary. A company is offering genetic testing that should provide useful information, but it seems easy enough to do the experiment on youself: drink some coffee go for a run, measure the results, account for other variables… Sounds like a Matt Fletcher thing to do.
The Barkley Marathons happened over the weekend and this year there were no finishers of the 5 loops. Gary Robbins, who came so close to finishing last year, got the furthest, finishing 3 loops of the insanely difficult course. Coverage by Runner’s World.
The World half marathon championships were in Valencia, Spain this weekend. The runners had to deal with winds gusting up to 30 mph. Two time defending champ Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya won again, this time with a remarkable finish. After a slow and tactical first 15K, Kamworor attacked, using a tailwind to run the last 5K in 13:01. That’s 4:11 pace at the end of a half marathon! The world record for a road 5K is 12:59. Coverage by Let’s Run.
The mental health benefits of running have been in the press often of late. Nike has partnered with Headspace to create tools that could help runners achieve those benefits. (H/T to Alexandra Neville.) Here is a description from an article in Engadget:
Nike has joined forces with meditation app Headspace to provide you with a different kind of audio-guided runs: one that works your body and calms your mind. Starting today, you’ll find the first three Headspace audio-guided “mindful” runs on Nike’s Run Club (NRC) app. Like the other guides on NRC, they feature coaches and athletes speaking into your ear and giving you running instructions. But according to Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe, they also blend “technical and motivational components,” making them sort of like a more “active and upbeat [type of] meditation.”
The Lockhart 5K is on Saturday. This race has a good course: flat with few turns. Overall or age group placing earns you a cowbell…
This weekend is the start of the next 3-month cycle of monthly Vagabond Time Trials. The routes are given out on Thursday and you have to post your time on Strava between Saturday at midnight and Tuesday at midnight. Sign up, it’s a fun way to learn new running routes and then meet some fellow runners at the happy hour in June.
The next Tejas Trails race is on April 7. The Hells Hills event near Bastrop has 10K, 25K, 50K, and 50M races.
Cap10K is just 10 days from today…