Mission Tejas is a new race put on by my favorite race putters-onners, Trail Racing Over Texas. It is the third of their races I’ve signed up for, and the first I have finished. One day, I’ll write about
Satan’s Ballsack Habanero Hundred, but for now, let’s let that beast lie.
Mission Tejas is located in Grapeland, Tx. You’ve heard of it, right? Yep, that’s the one. No? Ok, it is here:
The park is beautiful! We arrived just before sundown, paid at the “hey, we trust you” box, and found our friend Wayne. Y’all know Wayne. Wayne is awesome. He let us camp in his site, and even shared his adult grape juice with us. While my husband set up our tent, Wayne and I went to see where packet pickup would be the next morning… at 5AM.
Maybe I’m weird, but I genuinely love camping, and all things race weekend. I love getting lost, and eating lukewarm pasta, and random booze, and sleeping in tents, and waking up to everyone’s headlights as they pull in the next morning. I love the nerves of trying to locate things you forgot to pack, drinking sink water, because you never stopped to buy filtered, and getting to packet pickup in time to get your bib and still get in that last poop before the clock hits zero! (Full disclosure, I was running to the start line as Rob was saying “4, 3, 2…” It was awesome. A high five from Rob, and off I went.
Early starts mean seeing the world through the narrow lens of a headlamp. Early starts in the woods of East Texas mean nearly missing turns, and almost crashing into ravines. Again, it’s awesome. Special surprise appearance by race photographer hiding in a dark curve, taking pics definitely did not scare the shit outta me, mostly because I had just pooped pre-race, because I’m a smart woman.
The race was comprised of 4 rounds of 3 loops, with a bonus Loop 1 to finish it off. Loop 1 was twisty, and turny, and hilly, and rolly, and absolutely gorgeous. My parents live in Palestine, so I thought I knew the Piney woods. I went to college at Sam Houston State. Again, I thought Mission Tejas would feel like home. Wrong.
Mission Tejas is full of pine trees that would dwarf anything else I’ve seen in Texas. It also has hills, and rock hills, and rock stairs, and narrow rock stairs, an scary narrow rock stairs near ravines, and scary narrow loose rock stairs near ravines that twist and turn. It’s fine.
Running loops has always been a challenge for me, probably because I am such a friggin quitter by nature. For some reason though, having different loops I had to run multiple times allowed me enough time to forget how much each sucked (in the most gloriously beautiful way possible). On Loop 2 I’d think how much easier this was than Loop 1. On Loop 3, I’d realize that Loop 1 was the easiest. Then I’d be on Loop 1 again, and realize that maybe 2 was easiest? Then Loop 2 again, and holy shit, who put this hill here? I don’t remember THIS set of rock stairs? Oh, that lake is pretty. Then I’d get to Loop 3 and enjoy the open miles, and onto Loop 1, and who made this loop so long. Ok, the turn to the aide station is right around this tree. This tree. This tree? (hours later) THIS TREE??? WHERE IS IT???? But again, it was all beautiful.
I love pretty much everything about TROT, but the people are the ultimate. The same handful of volunteers worked the entire race. That means that there were 5 other people wondering when the hell I would finish too. The same kind man filled up my bottles each time. The same lovely lady offered my snacks. The same blonde angel told me “Good job, Lisa” every. single. damn. lap. The same RD high-fived me 13 separate times. It was exactly what I needed each time. So many churches preach about servant leaders. I’ve got examples right here, in the Church Of Emily Dickinson.
Going into this race, I was expecting the gentle lull of Huntsville State Park. I ran around an 8:15 at the Rocky Raccoon 50k, and felt stronger going into this race. Maybe this is a lesson in reading RACE DESCRIPTIONS AND ELEVATION PROFILES, because this race had 3k feet of elevation. Rounds 1 and 2 felt great, but round 3 was death. My hope to see a PR was dashed by the “gently rolling” hills of Grapeland. Instead, I rolled into the finish line, second from last, in over 9:45… and you know what I got? A medal placed on my neck by the nicest RD in Texas, and a big bear hug. And it was perfect.
Thanks Rob & Rachel Goyen. Y’all really put the F.U. in fun.
Brooks Juno Bra
Dirty Girl Gaiters
Altra Lone Peaks, changed halfway to Altra Superiors
UD SJ vest
Trail Sister Hat, because those are my girls!
Goodr shades in “Nessy’s Midnight Orgy”