by Melody Garrett

For starters, we had no idea how hardcore trail running was going to be. We are such amateurs. The El Sendero Rogue Trail Race was the first trail race for myself and my two friends.  With our running background: me a marathon runner, Heather and B.Hill half marathon runners, we decided to run the 25K.  There were nerves, allergies and almost a bail out.  In the end we not only showed up, but we ran out hearts out.  It was epic.

B.Hill and I camped at Reveille Peak Ranch Friday night before the race. This was B.Hill’s first time to camp and my first time in years. Luckily, my dad had all the camping gear we could ever need so we arrived in style. Our ‘tent’ aka Fort Garrett-Hill was large enough for 8-10 men, so we two ladies had plenty of room. Needless to say, everyone knew who we were. We made the best of it, and we even had a heater!  After we set up, we walked around the pavilion and got ready for dinner with our fellow runners. We had a great time visiting with everyone and learning about trail running, although that knowledge proved to be a little scary the night before the race. Hearing things like “you will be more tired than you have ever been” or “you will fall, possibly multiple times” didn’t really make it easier to sleep in the woods that night.

Race morning we geared up for the cold, met up with Heather and warmed up to run.  We ate great breakfast and coffee provided at the ranch and saw the other racers head out (50 milers and 50K runners left before).  At 7:30am we were off!

From the beginning we could see the race course was going to be much more torturous than we expected, but we were up for the challenge. Hill after hill we made it up to the peak of the mountain top for the most amazing view. We took moments to take in the views, enjoying our surroundings.

It didn’t take me long to realize something else, not that the race was physically harder or the terrain was tougher, it was more mental.  My mind wasn’t racing. My mind was running through this hill country with my friends to a destination unknown. It was like a journey that just needed to be completed. The night before some of the runners had told B.Hill and I that most trail runners don’t run trail races to ‘race’ but to complete them.  This was what I/we were doing. We were just soaking up the experience; enjoying the run.

Around mile 9 of 15.5 we started to get tired but were rejuvenated with the water and food stops. I have never been so excited about animal crackers and peanut butter mini sandwiches!  Genius. All the support along the trail made the run a lot of fun and kept our spirits up till the end.

We finished strong at 3:23!  Reveille Peak Ranch was absolutely beautiful and we were treated with even more great food and beer from Rogue afterwards.  I would say we were very spoiled for our first trail run.

Coming down off my high from the run and watching National Geographic’s Our Planet was not the best idea… or was it?  All I can think about now is that I want to climb a mountain.  I have already looked up rock climbing classes in Austin and texted B.Hill to get her on board. “What? We went from trail running to climbing snow mountains?”

Yep, we just did.  Blame the Rogue in me.


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