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.

Judgement Day Run 6 Trails 1 Day

So I tried the mini Judgement Day trail run on the south side.  A judgement day run is doing multiple trails in one day.  The trails included Windmill Hill, Boulder, OCNP, CHSP Dogwood Canyon and CRP.  I got an average of 3 miles per park and a bonus 2 for good measure.  This was easily one of the three hardest runs I have done along with my first 50K and last year’s Piney Woods 25K.21765050_1440469806006426_8076358115759936169_n.jpg

Run report:
Started at 11AM at Windmill Hill, got a good paced 3.28 miles at 11:21 minute miles. This is a small park with short and steep elevation changes.  I felt good and took a ten minute drive to Boulder.

Boulder was a leisurely paced run. The drive in the car wore me out more than refreshed me.  This park is a bit more level with one long hill but it is not too steep.  I got 3.45 miles at a 13:20 pace.  The late start hurt due to the temperature rising at noon.  The next ten minutes were driving to OCNP.

OCNP was the first park I had to make a trail decision. I did the white and blue trails.  The blue trail is hilly and technical but the white trail is relatively flat.  I started to tire on this run.  My morning fuel was depleted but my hydration was still good.  I had some fruit juice and a banana for breakfast.  I did 3.28 miles at a pace of 13:34 minute miles. I got back to the car and got a banana and a nutri-grain bar and took the long 15 minute drive to CHSP.   14495274_1102904826429594_910515625703402285_n.jpg

CHSP was hot. I had my first thoughts of a DNF but it was not a race but still.  I was tired and my legs were turning into jello.  CHSP is a sneaky hard trail.  It has a bunch of switchbacks and elevation changes.  I did the Green Loop and got 2.75 miles(really 3) at a very slow pace of 15:23 minutes per mile.  I also had a clothes change. I needed a new shirt but that was all.  The next was a quick seven minute drive to Dogwood Canyon.

I knew Dogwood Canyon would be the shortest trip.  This is another small park but it has several nice views from the canyon rim.  I did forget about the climb up the canyon. The quarter mile climb is steep and was tearing my legs up.  It was hot and I was just trying to get up this hill.  The trail was also longer than I expected but I trudged on.  The trail was 2.23 miles total but had the most elevation gain of all of the trails.  My pace had slowed down to 16:28 minute miles.  My final drive was six minutes to CRP.

I got to CRP and was sitting in the car debating on getting out.  I got out and tried to get it done as fast as possible.  Fast being a relative term at this point.  I was exhausted and did not eat enough to get me through this run.  I did drink plenty of water and SOS electrolyte drink.  I struggled through the 3.31 miles in a turtle like pace of 17:20 per mile.  I decided to avoid all of the hills and steep climbs and did a flat loop around the top of the park.

I finished the 6 trails and 18+2 miles in seven hours including the drive, change of clothes and the thoughts of stopping.  The two extra miles came with warmup and cooldown miles.  I saw a familiar face at the end which is always nice.  Thanks for the chat Elisa.  My thought is this was not one of my best ideas.  It was a good training run.

Hiking on Hold but still on the Trails

I have only done about a half dozen hikes this year. I could blame the weather but I have not been away from the trails. I have several big trail runs coming up this month. I have a half marathon and a 50K trail run in a two week period. Also in April and May I have four races on technical terrain each ten plus miles long. I then take a two week break and go into 100K training. I like hiking and if I never started hiking I would not be trail running. I have a great group to run with and I happen to live in an area where I have six great trails within fifteen minutes from home. So here are some pictures of places I am training and people I am training with.nZz3Q4rK0JEuc9eGPUo00Y4jsuuyHwFP6FjWlbN3ZGA-2048x1152.jpgEagle Mountain Park52607936_2159477870742141_4923248044205408256_n.jpgCedar Ridge Preserve22289666_10214717700999924_1406004877095561363_o.jpgNTTR Group when I am up north of the metroplex38392101_10217363826673368_3624816384799670272_n.jpgDDR when I am in my neighborhood43041061_1956246004398663_5133407678831263744_o.jpgTrinity Groves with downtown Dallas in the background.FB_IMG_1529546131471.jpgThe main group of crazies.

The places and the groups make training fun and interesting. I miss my solo hikes but running with a good group of people helps me take my mind off the training. This big guy will be back hiking soon enough.

Rugged and Raw 10K

This my second year in a row running this race. It is located in Dallas at the Cedar Ridge Preserve. I signed up the week of the race after not knowing if I was going to run the weekend. I also volunteered to mark the course. I guess that should guarantee me not getting lost. The course was basically the same as last year so I was prepared for the extra hills on the course. My time was about where I thought it would be and it was a good first race back from the 25K disaster. It was good running with familiar faces on a course that I have run hundreds of times. 44568839_1679937798777235_5118200101579259904_o.jpg44713608_1679943352110013_5717449361944739840_o.jpg44671229_1679939652110383_6941040430238662656_o.jpgFB_IMG_1538872398141.jpg

It was a fun 10K with all the usual hills and heat and humidity. I also like that it is a three minute drive from the house. This also the first in the seven weekend races in a row that finishes with a 50K.

Reflective Pictures

I should be ready to travel in two weeks. In the meantime here are some photos of all of my years of hiking.

IMG_0059.jpgHawaii

IMG_1364.JPGRocky Mountain National Park

IMG00363-20110624-2024.jpgColorado

2011-06-21_07-44-11_464.jpgRoosevelt National Forest

20170405_143341.jpgGorman Falls, Colorado Bend State Park

20171219_144321.jpgPalo Duro Canyon

20171209_085645.jpgElk Mountain, Wichita  Mountains Wildlife Refuge

20171111_141337.jpgPinnacle Mountain, Arkansas

DSC00384.JPGLittle Niagara Falls, Chickasaw National Recreation Area

20180513_075431.jpgPetit Jean State Park, Arkansas

20161124_083530.jpgCedar Ridge Preserve, Dallas, Texas

Just a few pictures I have taken on my journeys. I am hoping to get thousands of more pictures of new and old places. I want to visit more states and parks. Plus discover more local hiking spots. The next blog should be one of those new places so hang on for another ride.

 

Run4Bibles 10K

This is my first time running this race but I have run the course many many times. The race was held at Cedar Ridge Preserve which is five minutes from home. It was packed, I have never seen this many people at the preserve. This is my favorite place to run for many reasons. The proximity to home is great but so are the views and trails. Plus depending on what kind of race you are training for you can get great hill training or speed training on flat sections. This was my third race at the preserve and it was by far the most difficult race I have run. I cramped up twice in my hamstring and once in my calf. I made it halfway before my hamstring cramped. It was a unseasonably warm and humid day and the race was a rare midday start. The second cramp of the hamstring came on a steep downhill and I was stuck at the top. After surviving that double, on the last steep uphill my calf cramped. I finished in a not so bad 1:28:56 for the cramping circumstances. Once again I avoided a last place age group finish by one place. 28514897_1639006719516327_4788469335810601624_o.jpg29025895_1645132918903707_3517117571591569408_o.jpgI actually look like I am going fast.29103543_1645134785570187_8696516821085323264_n.jpgPrecramp partial smile.FB_IMG_1520126237636.jpgGood times running with friends.

I have another trail run before I hit the hiking trails again.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

This park is located on the west side of the city of Plano, TX. Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a very nice city park. The park is clean and the the trails are well maintained. There is a mix of concrete and natural trails. I always prefer the nature trails. The park has a little of everything. There is an overlook in the middle of the park, a large creeks and two ponds. Most of the trails have good elevation change and good views. This has been one of my favorite city parks. I hiked on the Outer Loop Trail, Pond Trail and Prairie Trail along with two other trails on the north side of the park. The park is surrounded by houses and apartments and that is abundantly clear when hiking the perimeter but it still does not take away from the serenity of the park. There are several creek crossings on nice bridges. The park has a seperate mountain bike area which is nice when the bikers and hikers/walkers are not mixed. This will be a good to trail run or road run depending on if rain washes out the trails. DSC00202.JPGDSC00203.JPGDSC00226.JPGDSC00229.JPGDSC00210.JPGDSC00205.JPG

I really like this park and will definitely be back for a run or another hike. Along with Cedar Ridge Preserve, I would definitely recommend Arbor Hills Nature Preserve for a day hike if you are in the area. This was hike 12 in the 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.

I have one more city park before the four state parks I have my eyes on.

2017 My Top 10 Places Hiked

My last blog of the year is a review of the best places I have hiked this year. I was going to do a list of top ten hikes but I could not narrow it down to a good twenty. Plus the order would change as I was thinking about which hike should be placed on the list. I decided on places because it was easier but not easy. The top ten was not too difficult but the order was very hard. I did about 60 hikes this calendar year and they were spread out the entire twelve months. I had to compare the recent fresh in my mind place with a place that was hiked ten to eleven months ago. The ten places I have chosen, I have or will hike multiple times. Two places I have hiked but not blogged about yet. The ten places cover three states, a national park and a wildlife refuge.

10. Cedar Ridge Preserve-Minutes away from home and is one of the most scenic areas in Dallas County. hike2220171124_121348.jpg

9. Hot Springs National Park-This quaint cozy park has some great views. 20171112_103833.jpg20171112_103709.jpg

8. Pedernales Falls State Park-The Texas hill country is all over this list.20170406_131314.jpg20170122_130731.jpg

7. Pinnacle Mountain State Park-The second Arkansas park and a summit hike.20171111_141701.jpg20171111_082716.jpg

6. Enchanted Rock SNA-The park is more than The Rock. Hidden gems everywhere.20170406_092524.jpg20170122_102656.jpg

5. Lost Maples SNA-A nature made amphitheater with great trees, waterfalls and views.20170711_182026.jpg20170712_160931.jpg

4. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge-This place has everything. Summits and waterfalls.20171208_162255.jpg20171001_111717.jpg

3. Caprock Canyon State Park-Home of the official bison herd of Texas. Plus canyon views.20171220_124508.jpg20171220_122602.jpg

2. Colorado Bend State Park-Gorman Falls is amazing but that is just the start.20170405_143431.jpg20170405_134311.jpg

1. Palo Duro Canyon State Park-The second largest canyon in the USA.20171220_082257.jpg20171219_144321.jpg

These top ten places that I have hiked in 2017 maed this a memorable and fantastic year. Next year I hope to have a totally different list of places.

Rugged and Raw 10K

I was really excited about this 10K since is was just minutes from my home. I could sleep in just a bit and still get to the race on time. Plus I knew what I was in for because I ran these trails all the time. The temperature was cool but the humidity was high. I could not keep my glasses from fogging up. I had to run the last half without glasses. This was the first time I had run this far on these trails. The hills here are notoriously hard and it took a little more out of me than I thought it would do. The course had constant elevation change and some steep hills thrown in the middle. My time of 1:34:20 was disappointing but with the distance and the course difficulty it was not a bad time for me. The next day I ran a Quarter Marathon in a time of 1:14 so I expected more from myself. I had fun though and it was for a good cause.12031506_897374783679658_3519438867113999048_o.jpg20161124_083530.jpg

Not many pictures but as I have said before, I tend to take this place for granted.

My trail 10Ks continue at one of my favorites Texas State Parks. It is also one of the toughest 10Ks in North Texas.

#OptOutside 2017

Once again, I did an Opt Outside hike. Last year this was going to be my first hike of the 52 Hike Challenge but I decided to start the challenge with a New Year’s Day hike. This year the hike was the first hike after completing the 52 Hike Challenge which was both easier and harder than I thought. I was fine time was but finding places was the real challenge. Like most most challenges when they are completed, the reward is within. I loved seeing all the new places that I would not have been to if it was not for the challenge to get the 52 hikes done in a year. I give credit to Opt Outside for all the hikes in 2017 because I would not have found the 52 Hike CHallenge if it were not for Opt Outside. Black Friday was actually fall color Friday. I hiked my favorite place, Cedar Ridge Preserve. I got five very good and productive miles. 20171124_121000.jpg20171124_121955.jpg20171124_121348.jpg20171124_124730.jpg

I cannot wait to see where my hikes take me in the next year. Opt Outside is just not a one day decision it is a yearly lifestyle that I am trying to adopt for a lifetime.

The next blog is going back to trail running and then back to some crazy good hikes.