Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon Race Recap

I had been scoping out the Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon for several weeks before I decided to register a few weeks ago. It seemed like a great race, but the things that swayed me to do it were that they offered race day packet pickup and it was close enough that I could drive there the morning of the race – it gets expensive booking hotels to go along with my marathons, and I wanted to avoid that just one week after going to Lafayette for Zydeco.

I left the house early early and had an uneventful drive to Seabrook, Texas. I was very excited about this race because all the reviews I’d read were glowingly positive. This would also be my first trail marathon and I wasn’t going to worry about my finish time, so I expected to go out and have fun.

When I arrived I got my packet and race swag, which was amazing! The best free race gear I’ve ever gotten – the only thing comparable was possibly Goldenfliers 5/10-miler in Baton Rouge or the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon, but this still topped all – a really cute soccer-style race shirt with cuts for men and women, socks with the race name, a moisture-wicking hat with the marathon logo and a nice duffel bag.

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I got there an hour early and was surprised at how much activity was already taking place at the park pavilion where the race’s start/finish was located. It was still pitch black outside. Parking was very organized and directed by volunteers, just a couple of blocks away. After I got my packet, I went back to the car to get everything together and get myself situated. I headed back to the race start about 15 minutes before gun time.

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There didn’t seem to be that many marathoners at the race start, but I am always underestimating numbers. The race supports a group that benefits victims of domestic violence, and before the race started, someone gave a short speech about how she had been helped by them. That was pretty cool.

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First light at marathon start line
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Ready to start selfie

The marathon started 15 minutes ahead of the half marathon. It was my understanding that the trail could get narrow and crowded at points. I didn’t have any plan or goal – I just wanted to go by how I felt. The half marathoners would do 2 legs of the trail, while marathoners would do 4 legs. That was a bit intimidating because sometimes loops can be very mentally challenging.

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One of my purchased race photos

Each leg was about 6.5 miles long, and I definitely did each subsequent leg slower than the one before. The trail really wasn’t difficult – it was packed dirt and gravel, so very soft on the legs and easy to run on. Hilly parts were minimal. For the first two loops, I had some very decent miles that were probably faster than I wanted to be going. It was pretty warm for most of the race, with a gentle breeze here or there. The heat was the most concerning aspect, and I was constantly sweating, so I made sure to drink plenty of fluids. I took 5 gels during the race as well as three salt packets.

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Sunrise
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Puddle jumper

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Several portions of the course were out-and-back in and of themselves, so you were constantly seeing people coming in the opposite direction. Doing a course 4 times gets you pretty familiar with it, and I definitely had my favorite and not-so-favorite parts. Any portion where we were surrounded by trees was great with me. There was one part where we had to run about a half-mile down open non-shaded dirt trail, the end of which was blocked by a water stop. We had to basically stop and make a hard turnaround at the water stop and go back the way we came. I don’t know why but I despised that part, my least favorite of the course.

Another favorite part – hitting the Galveston Bay.

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I carried my Polaroid Cube with me, so all of the on-course photos are from that camera. I took some others before and after with my phone.

The first half went by pretty quickly. I made one bathroom stop which added about 2 minutes to my time, and I hit the halfway mark around 2:26 – subtract the bathroom time and that is pretty typical for me the past few marathons. The second half fell off a truck, though. I had run several miles faster than planned, and it was starting to wear on me, as was the warm weather.

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The third loop was also mentally the toughest, the nature of it being the third time I had done the loop but not being the last time I would have to do it. There were still a good number of people on the course, from marathoners either on their 3rd-4th loop or half marathoners on their 2nd loop. I ended up taking a few walking breaks during the third loop, but only a few. I definitely still ran the majority of that loop by a lot. Then came loop 4.

Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon 4

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Selfie during loop 4. Am I done yet?

It felt so great to finally begin my last loop, and I started it off by walking quite a bit. I was tired. I had run a marathon the week before, I had woken up super early that morning after not-a-lot of sleep, it was hot, etc. I had all the excuses and every reason to let myself walk. I had already anticipated the fact that I would have my first 5+ hour finish, and by loops 3-4 I welcomed that thought. I did not feel like nor want to run the pace that would be required for me to get a sub-5. So by loop 4, I walked a lot more. What was the difference to me between 5:00 or 5:15? Those times felt the same. So I walked a ton. I did force myself to run at several points, giving myself a landmark to get to before I could walk again.

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At mile 21 I stopped for several minutes to replace a bandaid on my left big toe, which has had blisters pretty much since I ran the RnR NOLA Marathon Jan. 25. At mile 22.5 I took my last gel and then my stomach immediately regretted it. I walked the next .75 mile in fear that running would cause me to throw up. I also noticed how high my heartrate would get when I ran for extended periods of time – every time I stopped running, my heart would be pounding. I took it all in stride, though. I really, truly did not care about my finish time. Except… at some point at the last mile I calculated what I would need to do to break 5:20, and ran the rest of the way to make sure I achieved that.

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Chip time= 5:16:16 – My slowest marathon time yet, but I feel fine.

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Seabrook Lucky Trail Marathon 2

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I had no appetite after the race, as per usual, so I didn’t do too much other than wipe my face with a wet towel provided at the finish line, take my finisher’s photo and then head out. This was a first class race! The swag and shirt were great, medal is huge, the course was well-marked and organized, volunteers and water stops were plentiful, etc. etc.

I was shocked to see on the online results that I came in 2nd place in my group! I wonder if I had stuck around would I have gotten an award? Oh well. This was well worth the race fee and gas to get there. Fun times.

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