Back From the Lost Pines

I woke up before the alarm this morning, and while I was still in that half-asleep haze, I wondered how many times I’ve gotten up in the chilly dark to go castle storming. The extra-early rise was so I could go to Weight Watchers to step on the scale. (My weight’s the same as last week, so no official “I made it to goal” celebration yet. Maybe next week.)

My buddy Erin works with me in the glass box of the corporate overlords. She’s an experienced trail runner, super smart chick, and recently caught the CrossFit bug. Now she and I swap stories about Bootcamp (mine w/Crystal, hers w/Randal) in the office kitchen. She arrived right on time this morning (I love that!) and by 6:58, we were at Taqueria Arandas for breakfast tacos and coffee to fuel the drive to Bastrop.

When we arrived at Bastrop State Park, the sun was brilliant and sharp, making deep shadows under the trees. There was a nip in the air, just as I’d hoped there would be. It felt like Fall! I was so happy, I turned upside down.

The three of us did a CrossFit warmup, then posed for the obligatory self-portrait.

And wrangled a stranger into taking our posed pre-race shot. Look at that blue, blue sky!

Through her bullhorn, the race director told us we would start as soon as the park rangers were in position to ensure we didn’t take a wrong turn on the trail. She announced that there were 96 runners, and Erin, Dave, and I agreed odds were looking pretty good that none of us would finish 96th. Then Dave helpfully reminded us that you don’t have to run faster than the bear, you just have to run faster than the person between YOU and the bear.


The race director helpfully (!) gave us an overview of the trail. The word “uphill” was used a lot. Yay! Then she described a “rocky, steep downhill with hairpin turns,” which made me a little nervous. The plan was that I would mostly run with Dave, but would sprint up the hills when the spirit moved, then backtrack on the trail to catch him so we could run together.

Oh! It was so much fun! The air was cool and we were surrounded — completely surrounded — by beautiful, tall pine trees. Most of the trail was sandy with a thick overlay of pine needles, dried to a nutty brown. The sun filtered down through the trees so everything had a lovely warm glow.

The steep-ish uphills were criss-crossed by tree roots that made natural, helpful stairs — I bounded up them like a mountain goat, straight to the top. I think it’s the first time in my life I ever felt light on my feet. And the scary downhill? It was like the best part of a roller coaster!


Here I am at the top of the downhill segment.

I looked for gnomes, bears, Big Foot, the giant frog depicted on the trail map, and fairies… nothing. But still, I’m going on the record:

Best. Run. Ever.


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