Franklin Mountains El Paso

September 9th – 11th weekend

El Paso, Texas

Born & raised in San Antonio, Texas I had never been to West Texas and had no clue the mountains were real mountains, like the real deal gnarly and beautiful kind! So I went to El  Paso and this is how I got there.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, while sitting around the table drinking polar seltzers —cuz well it was a #feelgoodmoment, Maggie told me her next race was in El Paso. The convo was something like this:

Evy “El Pasoooo, whaaat???”

Maggie “Franklin Mountain, you should come”

Evy “Ok let me look it up,” I look it up and see the badass cool skull medals, “hell yah I wanna run this for that medal”  (anyone who has been to my apt knows how much I love skulls)14324313_1848979458670012_6800282961895604129_o

Maggie “yah you totally should”

Evy “oh wait I wont be ready for a 50k by September”

Maggie “I think they have shorter distances”

Evy… I check the website again..”yah they do, ok I’m in!!!”

And after missing my morning flight, getting to El Paso was a very long day. It ain’t easy getting there in the first place. It took me 12 hours and 3 connections, which also included 1 very long 3 hour layover in Houston to finally land in Mountain Time Zone – El Paso. WOW, it felt amazing when I stepped out of the airport. Nice warm dry air. The whole race weekend was tons of fun. I finally got to meet the Race Directors Rob Goyen & his lovely wife Rachel, the awsm peeps behind Trail Racing Over Texas (TROT). I mean just look how cool this dude is – that suit, I MEAN!

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And then when I saw mariachi’s at the race briefing, I was in heaven!

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The first day was the 50k Skyrace . The runners had to deal with brutal winds at the start and it was blowing people into cactus, the tents at aid stations blew away, porto johns blew over — yikes!! It was still super windy when I got there but had died down just a bit. I am not sure if the wind was better or the brutal heat we got the next day. Anyway after my Texas waffle at the hotel breakfast, I headed to the finish so I could see Maggie finish.img_8622

I also thought I would get there in plenty of time to see the first men come thru but I should have known Jim Walmsley would tear apart that course and finish in blazing speed. So yah, he had been done for like an hour when I got there. He finished in some crazy fast 4 hours and some change. I dunno, check the website. But I was there in time to see Maggie finish and take FIRST PLACE! Woo hoo!! Stoked for her, and she looked tired when she finished and pretty sure she said ‘that shit was hard’.  So I thought uh oh my measly little 13 miler the next day was going to be tough. We hung around at the finish and cheered people in as they finished the super tough course and I met a lot of Maggie’s TROT teammates who were all awesome people too. And we also met Arnulfo (photo below on right) – the Tarahumara runner from Copper Canyon Mexico, who placed 8th. He is also known as that guy from Born to Run. He didn’t speak any English but he was nice and let us take a photo with him. Arnulfo has some steez! The photo on the left are the first place champs – Maggie & Jim.

The other thing about El Paso is the amaaaaaaazing food!!!! We chowed down on some gooooood mexican food and also lucked out one day when the mariachi’s were playing. Damn good food right here!

and finally the last day was my 13 mile jaunt thru some gnarly terrain, loose rocks, steep descents, a really fun climb and something called the Schaeffer Shuffle that the RD thought was a good idea to have us run TWICE. He’s so mean! We didn’t have the crazy wind but boy oh boy we had heat and by 8am the sun was blazing. I was stoked when I found out Hammer was sponsoring cuz I didn’t have to carry anything extra besides my Nathan water bottle in Maggie’s sweet Nathan pack she let me borrow. After a couple hours I got tired of Heed and water, I was craving a cold beer and a snow cone that I knew they were selling at the finish. I met a friend on the trail and I kept telling him just think of the SNOWCONES at the finish. He would laugh at me then go quiet. I was having a ton of  fun out there despite my feet hurting from running & tripping over so many rocks. TONS OF ROCKS. ROCKS everywhere. But hey the finish was finally in sight. I had one goal that day, well two goals, finish and have fun. I had no clue how long it was going to take me to complete. I had zero trail training leading into this race. It was tough! The hardest half marathon everrrrr. I finished in 3 hours and 28 mins. To put that into perspective my pr for a road marathon is 3:32.  yikes it was a long day for a half marathon.

I highly suggest to everyone who wants to see that there are real mountains in Texas to sign up for next years race. You will not be disappointed.

Me and da champion – Maggatron. And a lovely cactus flower in the desert

You can’t be in Texas without a stop at WHATABURGER, Yum Rootbeer float milkshake!!!

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And the best part of the trip —- on the way back to NYC I made a quick pit stop in San Antonio to see my fave little boys in the whole world. My nephews, I think they were excited to see me too

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If you want to see how cool this course is, take a look at the race photographers website with the full gallery. Myke is an amazing photographer. The photos of me running were all taken by Myke. https://mykehphoto.smugmug.com/Public-Galleries/2016-Franklin-Mountain-50k-Dig/n-PpfVmq/

 

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About evygonzales

I run. play. travel. work. eat. laugh. I love tacos, chocolate milk and Hammer Nutrition.
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