I recently signed up for the Cross Timbers Trail Run which takes place on February 19 on the shores of Lake Texoma (the Texas side of course). I participated in a practice run last weekend on the trail and found it to be much more difficult than expected. I finished 20 miles in just under 4 hours. The practice run provided me with an appreciation for the difficulty of running this particular trail as well as trashed quads (took 5 days to fully recover).
I finished a second 20-miler this morning and will be tapering over the next couple of weeks. My training has only been consistent for about 6 weeks so I fully anticipate struggling through the race. I placed this early marathon on my race calendar in an attempt to get motivated and increase the consistency of my training - it seems to have worked.
Cross Timbers provides 50 mile, marathon, half marathon, and 5 mile race options. It's historically been a small race but has received favorable reviews. I'll be running the marathon. Trail marathons by nature are more difficult and time consuming than street marathons. That is especially true of races like Cross Timbers that take place on relatively technical courses with considerable elevation gain/loss. CT Marathon has over 5,000 feet of elevation gain/loss. With all that said, my primary goal is to simply finish the race without sustaining a terrible injury caused by falling down one of the steep drops. My secondary goal would be to finish in the 5:15 - 5:30 range. Looking at last year's finishing times, that what I would need to finish in the top half of participants. A reasonable finish should propel me toward a few weeks of consistent training leading up to Grasslands in March.