I don’t usually run on roads but when I do

I am getting more road time than usual especially since most trails are open.  We had a day with plenty of rain so I hit the road.  I enjoy the road a little more than I used to for two reasons.  The trails close at sunset for good reasons and where a live I still can get a wilderness feeling.  I can run along the boundary or on the roads of Cedar Hill State Park or Joe Pool Lake.  Some of those views are spectacular at sunset.  I really do need to get pictures of both the next time I am on a slow run(slow being a relative term).  As a random thought does anybody else but me just look at the sky.  The clouds and colors are so impressive.  I like the north Texas skies but sunset in central Texas is a must do for everyone at least once.  I do get sunset pictures post run in my neighborhood. IMG_20190830_142240.jpgLow clouds across the street.IMG_20190830_142408.jpgNorth Texas sunsetIMG_20190830_142439.jpgThe sun reflecting off the cloudsIMG_20190830_142442.jpgNot as late as beforeIMG_20190830_142449.jpgNot as pink but just as nice.

A quote that everybody gets wrong and is now driving me crazy. “Money is the root of all evil.”  I hear it this way all the time and they are not saying the quote correct and it ruins the true meaning of the quote.  “The pursuit of wealth i.e. money is the root of all evil.” What does this quote have to do with running or hiking, nothing.  People who have worked hard and earned money are not evil.  They made money.  Doctors, lawyers and businessmen who have made millions have worked for their money.  It is those who are in pursuit of money and do not earn it fall into evil ways.  It is those with the ability to make money but do not want to earn is who the quote is referring.

I am going to stop here because this can go in many different ways religious, political, philosophical and my favorite nonsensical.  I try to keep it light.

Oh yea I am still training and down to 247, twelve more pounds to go.

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Two more months as of now

I have nine weeks till my 100K.  My “see where I was at run” was not what I expected but many funny stories will come out of my Habanero experience.  I am currently putting in 30-40 miles weekly on different terrain.  I did flat and fast at Trinity Groves with a tire pull for desert.FB_IMG_1561937844434.jpgTire pull crew a few weeks ago.

I also did 1000 feet of elevation gain with hill repeats at Dogwood Canyon in just under six and a half miles.FB_IMG_1529465448420.jpgThis picture was actually taken at Cedar Ridge Preserve overlooking Dogwood Canyon.

The best thing about my training is my runs on Wednesday and Thursday.  I get to do group runs with the Dallas Dirt Runners.  It took me a long time to get use to group runs and at times I still run alone during group runs or run as a sweeper in the back.  I am a bit more motivated when running with familiar faces.  FB_IMG_1564715458498.jpgThursday night group at Norbuck ParkFB_IMG_1560392389279.jpgWednesday night group at Big Cedar Park.

I also need somebody to keep me from signing up for races.  I signed up for another 25K in Oklahoma because I liked the background picture. I hope I am not being catfished.  It promises thousands of feet of elevation gain and scenic canyon views.  It was priced right but just two weeks away.  Oh well.

Next week is a half marathon and then the newly registered 25K.

What the heck just happened? #DNF

I am still wrapping my mind around this race and what could have been.  The Habanero Hundred and in my case the Habanero 30K or my DNF 20K.  It was a case of doing everything right but one little change of my routine and that was it.  I heat trained for weeks and had good nutrition and hydration the week leading up to the race.  I was ready for the worse that the Houston area heat and humidity had to offer.  I was ready for the course with its sand and no shade.  I was ready to conquer the hottest race in Texas. Did a mention a change in my routine.FB_IMG_1566174670394.jpgPre race group photo and my shirt is already drenched

Since I have been training in the middle of the day all summer, the noon start time did not throw me off as it did some runners.  Instead of drinking from individual water bottles, I decided to go with a gallon jug of enhanced water.  I usually do not drink enhanced water because I get my electrolytes from SOS powder mixed in spring water.  I still used the SOS powder but I thought I needed this enhanced water due to the nature of a midday start of the race.  I was told how hard the race can be if you are not properly  prepared.  The temperature reaches triple digits and no shade.  The sand makes it even hotter and tender feet.  I had all of these thoughts going through my mind while training for this race.  I knew I was prepared and slightly confident.  Did I mention a change in my routine.FB_IMG_1566174677365.jpgThe most shade on the course.

On the four hour drive down to the race I was drinking plenty of enhanced water so I would be hydrated before running in the heat.  I got to the race with three hours to spare before the race start.  I set up my camper and met up with the DDR crew and I was sweating a ton.  I drank more enhanced water because I did not want to be dehydrated before I even hit the starting line.  I have now finish off a half gallon of enhanced water.  I never even checked what enhanced water was or what is in it.  Hence the change in my routine, I never drink enhanced water.68806151_10103722227208884_2417079402299916288_o.jpgMe being the tallest and darkest at the start

My race should have consisted of three 10K loops and a smile and medal at the end.  My race actually consisted of two 10K loops and feeling like death.  I was flying the first loop and finished it feeling good and about ten minutes ahead of my predicted pace.  I even did a little dance at the end of the loop that made the volunteers laugh.  I hadn’t taken in any food but that is usual for me.  I had been icing myself at every aid station and felt good. It was the feeling of the beginning of the end.FB_IMG_1566174695823.jpgStill looking for shade

The second loop started like the first loop. Since the trail was not technical it was easy to get into a rhythm with only the sand being a constant obstacle.  I got past the first batch of sand and realized I had stopped sweating.  I had gotten iced down at the aid station and refilled my bottles with enhanced water. I thought maybe I just over iced and started drinking more water.  By the time I got to the midway aid station, I was sweating again and feeling good.  The feeling last about five minutes.  It felt like a bomb went off in my stomach.  I was releasing so much gas and it was awful.  I am sorry for all of those running behind me.  I could not stop.  The end was near.  My stomach was killing me.  Everything else felt good and I was showing no signs of heat exhaustion.  I had no idea what just happened in my stomach.  I tried walking and it was painful and running made it worse.  My legs felt good and my mind was clear.  No dizziness or nausea, I actually felt good except for my stomach.69388451_2473859359515349_8782063932442411008_o.jpgI look soooo defeated at this point.

I got to the start/finish aid station and called it quits.  I could hardly walk at this time.  I ate some peanut butter pretzels and my stomach immediately rejected it.  I hate public restrooms and especially port a pots.  I used the same one 20+ times the next eight hours.  I once again apologize for those who had to go in after me.  I had an awful sleep but woke up feeling better.  I learned a very important lesson the next day.  There is a mineral called magnesium.  It makes you POOP and too much gives you diarrhea and guess who drank almost a gallon of water enhanced with magnesium citrate.  Yours truly.  The one change in my routine killed me.  The leftover water it still sitting in my refrigerator.  I will eventually drink the rest but not anytime soon.  It is a reminder of my self imposed colonoscopy.FB_IMG_1566176452008.jpgBack to drinking regular water and I didn’t die like Kenny. Just kidding he survived.

A huge shout out to two fellow bloggers @thedancingrunner and @pkadams for both crushing there 50Ks.  They are an inspiration to me and true badasses.

Longhorn Cavern State Park

I have hiked many different types of places this summer.  I hiked canyons, mountains, rivers and lakes.  I did not actually hike in rivers and lakes but you know what I mean.  I finally got around to caverns.  I have driven past this park many times but never thought of going to check it out.  Now was the perfect time with 100 degree temperatures outside and the caves keep a constant 68 degrees.  The park is located in Burnet, Tx and is five minutes away from Inks Lake State Park.

I started my hike by doing the trail that is outside.  The park has a flat short trail that overlooks the hill country.  The goes past a CCC observation tower and cabin.  The trail has one really nice view of the hill country and the dam.  The hike was quick and only about a mile or so long.20190724_081507.jpgLooking over the hill country20190724_091513.jpgThe observation tower20190724_091704.jpgThe cabin

The second part of the hike was in the caverns.  These were a different looking of caverns than I thought they would look like.  Most caverns are filled stalagmites and stalactites but there only on section like this.  They tour was nice and I saw plenty of half dollar sized bats.  The history of the caverns was nice to hear.  I have never tried taking pictures in caverns and most of them did not come out.  It was more difficult than I thought.  I could not get the camera to focus.  The hike lasted an hour and a but was only two miles long.  The pace was a bit slow for my taste but I had a wonderful time.20190724_100209.jpgNo really but a nice sign20190724_100720.jpgStairs leading to the caverns20190724_101629.jpgOne of the better pictures20190724_102248.jpgTrying to get the length of the caverns20190724_103953.jpgThe ceiling20190724_105826.jpgSurreal picture20190724_111122.jpgThe little bat

Training for Something

Since my weekend race is the Habanero 30K, I have been heat training for over a month.  The race starts at noon in central Texas and yes it is August.  I am still keeping my eyes on the prize which is the October 100K.  I like the no real training guide method of training.  I see other runners staying to a strict running regiment and using a coach.  It seems to work for some runners but I do think I would like to be told when and how much to run daily.  As my blogging might tell a little about myself, I do things randomly.  I write randomly, I think randomly and I train randomly.  I have fun on my training runs.  I switched from road running to trail running because it is more enjoyable.  Do my training methods work?  So far so good except for once  but I did barely finish.

For this weekend I have put in a ton of very hot and humid miles.  Most of my training runs have been at the hottest time of the day.  I have been running hills on the trails since there are no sandy trails in my area.  I am guessing running hills is just as hard as running in sand.  I also did a 105 floor stair run.  It took me three days to recover.  My calves were not ready to run up stairs for that long.  I am “tapering” this week with shorter runs but am going much faster.  I do not know what that means but I do not need speed for this weekend.  I have not had any gym workouts as I planned but I will get there eventually. I feel good but under prepared.  I keep hearing this race is a beast and I am about to find out.

Inks Lake State Park Again

I am back at Inks Lake State Park.  I have one more trail here to hike and I would have hiked the entire park.  I hiked Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail and that was it.  This is one of my favorite trails now.  The trail travels along the banks and cliffs overlooking Inks Lake.  The lake level was the lowest I have ever seen and the waterfall was dry.  I still enjoyed this trail and also seeing some people cliff diving into the lake.

The hike was peaceful and not many people on the trail.  Most of the people were in the lake because it was another hot day in central Texas.  I found different ways to get up and down the rock formations.  I was trying to find the correct angles to get some good pictures.  The only drawback was once again no Milky Way picture.  The rest of the time was great.20190723_182210.jpgTrying to get all the colors of the park20190723_182714.jpgI love the way the rocks enter in the lake20190723_183417.jpgThe cliff jumping area20190723_191134.jpgLake level view20190723_182327.jpgBalancing rock20190723_181455.jpgWhere the waterfall use to be.

Another wonderful time at Inks Lake.

Caprock Canyon State Park Canyon Rim Trail

This trail was within walking distance of my campsite and although it is not a very long or a difficult trail the views were amazing.  I walked passed the prairie dog area and there was the trailhead.  I got out early in the morning and was the only one on the trail.  The temperature was relatively cool but the horseflies were driving me nuts.  The trail followed the rim of a small part of the canyon, hence the name.  The canyon colors were on full display and the depth of the canyon was easily seen up close and personal.

The trail is a loop so I started on the prairie side of the trail and finished with the canyon rim side on the way back.  The prairie side had great views of the other side of the park with the colorful vistas.  The rim side of the trail overlooks the canyon.20190718_075657.jpgThe prairie side of the trail with red rock in the background20190718_075702.jpgThe white rock background off of the prairie side20190718_080920.jpgI like the mix of colors20190718_083300.jpgTrying to get the depth of the canyon20190718_083546.jpgLooking down at the canyons layers20190718_092404.jpgFinally got a picture of the entrance on the way out.

Bonus pictures20190718_081232.jpg20190718_084714.jpg

Running and more Running

Training in the heat is going better than I thought it would go.  I got 175 miles in July.  The total miles surpassed my best month by over 20 miles.  I am slowly building up my mileage per run also getting several 7-10 mile runs.  I still do not like long runs.  I am not fast so long runs take up a bunch of time.  I do, time on my feet runs, which last from two and half to three hours.

My races this month include Habanero 30K and Six-0 Ranch Half Marathon.  They will be my long runs and to see where my fitness is at by the end of the month.  My previous hip injury has been nagging a bit but nothing major.  My knees are feeling good.  I am surprised because I am running six to eight days in a row.

I am going to start to incorporate gym workouts twice a week to build core strength.  My weight is down to 253 and I want to be around 235 by the time I run my 100K.  I should be able to lose 18 pounds in 12 weeks but it is going to be tough. Back to the heat and hills.

Caprock Canyon State Park Eagle Point Trail

I was back for the third time at Caprock Canyon State Park.  I wanted to hike two different trails that I did not get to the first time I was here.  First, Eagle Point Trail is a two mile out and back trail that goes to the natural tunnel and bridge.

I got on the trail later than expected due to the 100+ degree temperature.  The temperature never went down too much but it was a dry desert heat.  Hiking here was much different than hiking in the hill country which was very humid.  Although the temperature was hotter in the panhandle of Texas, I did not sweat as much as I did in the south of Texas.  The trails were not occupied by people but the bison rerouted me twice. I started down Eagle Point Trail and about a half mile in a bison was camped out around one of the corners.  I decided that the bison could have the trail and back tracked to the trailhead. 20190717_190525.jpgMy friend peeking around the corner.

I started my second attempt on the trail from the other trailhead.  The views were impressive as usual.  This place is so large that you could hike for days and see something different each day.  20190717_192700.jpgStart of the other trailhead.20190717_192845.jpgHere I go again.20190717_193352.jpgThe natural bridge and tunnel area with my shadow.20190717_200557.jpgSun setting in the canyon20190717_201509.jpgFavorite picture of the day20190717_203358.jpgI am in a ditch trying to avoid another bison.  I was a half mile from the trailhead again.20190717_190050.jpgFirst time seeing a horned toad this big.

I miss this park already.

Guadalupe River State Park

I have been intrigued by this park for a long time.  I have heard great things about this park.  The Guadalupe River flowing through a picturesque park with high vistas, I thought this would be a great park to visit.  I think I put this park on such a high pedestal.  I really liked to park but it was crowded and the trail system was fairly simple.  I would have liked for the trail system to run along the river longer and less people.  The amount of people cannot be controlled by the park.  The park is attached to the Honey Creek SNA which is available by guided tour only.  I will need to do that hike and see what the other side has to offer.

The park is located in Spring Branch, TX which is north of San Antonio.  This is in the hill country of Texas and a great area to hike all of the state parks.  It is a great park if you like fishing or floating and playing in a river.  The hiking is good but it is more of a water park.

The trails went through many different  types of landscapes.  They past lakeside, vistas and prairie lands.  The trail was very rocky but that is not unusual for this area of Texas.  There was not much elevation gain on the trails even though they start on the river and end overlooking the river from a bluff.20190708_161635.jpgThis part of the river was moving pretty good.20190708_161857.jpgThe river looked like this but full of people.20190708_163920.jpgMy favorite part of the hike looking down on the river.20190708_163955.jpgNear the edge of the cliff.20190708_171401.jpgHiking through a large open prairie.