by Rick Carr
Cross Timbers Trail, Lake Texoma, TX
February 25, 2006
what would motivate a person to awaken at 4am to drive 90 miles in pouring rain and lightning to go run one of the most difficult trails in north texas even on a good day? i have wanted to run cross timbers for the last few years and almost was not going to be able again this year because of a schedule conflict on saturday but things worked out and i had saturday free so there was nothing in my way. of course i could have stayed home’ kept dry, warm…but i am glad that i did not. besides i had jokingly told a friend of mine who was going to run around white rock lake on saturday; if you are going to get wet you might as well get muddy. images of mudlands 2005 were in my mind.
from the outset it was slow running. it was futile to try to avoid running in the mud and by the time i had reached the turn around at 10 miles i was resigned that the easist thing to do was run striaght down the middle of the water/mud path. i had to stop and remove my left orthodic insert at about 8 miles and the right one by mile 12. it had stopped raining briefly before the race start but started raining again shortly afterwards. it did not dawn on me at first because i was preoccupied by the mud and hills on this first leg of the race. going down the first downhill reminded me of the time at northshore where i took a spill on emu hill one rainy saturday morning. i only realized it was raining again once we broke out of the trees at the 7 mile aid station. i removed my poncho and put it on; soaked already but why not; i was prepared.
coming back from the turn around the trail was getting worse as the rain kept falling. i was taking jay’s advice of starting out slow and tapering from there. i was not so good at taking my own advice; that it was no fun falling down. it seem to me the best policy was to scope a path between the trees and run because if i tried to not run i would slide until i hit a root or rock or less muddy spot and head over heels i would go.
i had been forewarned about the last leg of the race. after the 20 mile out and back when you are already quite tired the last 3.1 out and back has some of the most difficult hills. grabbing and pulling on grass, rocks and roots i made it over the first two hills. somewhere after that i lost my footing for the 3rd time that day, but not the last. i saw a tree and to avoid getting hurt too badly i attempted to make it my friend. i reached out to hug it and found myself on the ground bent in a kind of u shape between the tree and some rocks on my stomach in the mud. ouch! that hurt. i just lay there for a few seconds to make sure nothing was broken and convinced that i was ok, i got up and meandered on.
just after that i crossed paths with jay norman and said something about how slippery the hills were. he replied with something like you haven’t seen anything yet or wait until you see the next hill. he wasn’t kidding. i don’t know how long it took me to get up that hill but all i could think about was that i would have to come back down that hill in about 30 minutes. and whose idea was the little pink ribon which marked off the trail at the switchback just before that hill? i could only laugh thinking of myself sliding right past that ribbon only to find myself 10 below. i think the water was getting to me…
i don’t know how much extra effort is put into running a race when it is muddy like it was but i sure felt like i ran more than 26.2 miles. my wife sent me a text message which i got only after the race. she wanted to know if i was ok; mentally. she apparently had a bad dream about me. i replied, if you call getting up at 4am to drive 90 miles in rain and lightning to run 26 miles in the mud and rain, then yes. if not then what can i say…