Frisco Trail Race 15K

One of my last two races before a seven week race break.  This race was held in Frisco, TX and will be the last race at the Northeast Community park.  In the fall the park will be a golf course.  I am not a golfer so I think it is a waste of space.  The trails are nice and not too technical.  The main use of the park is as a mountain bike trail and green space.  This is also a race in which I chose the longest distance offered.  I usually do a shorter distance but I wanted to test myself to see if I could not come in last.

The race started at 6:45 in the morning so the temperature was not too bad but the humidity was still quite high.  We were lucky that most of the time at the race we had mostly cloudy overcast.  It was good because there was little tree cover on the course.  I started in the back like I always do but immediately moved passed a few people. I found a good pace group and stayed with them for a few miles.  It was a group of five and the lead runner was Amber.  I did not get the names of the other runners.

About 3 miles later it was just Amber and I.  We picked up two more runners but they also dropped off the back.  Amber said she was keeping a 13 minute mile pace but was actually going about 11 minute mile pace.  We ran together to about the seven mile mark and she said she was going to pick up the pace to the end.  I wished her luck and thanked her for pacing.  I could not keep up.

At about little over a mile to go the 15K and 10K courses merge.  I got into another group of five to get to the finish line.  This group ran at a random pace going fast than walking and passing each other every few minutes.  I kept a steady pace and then in the last half mile or so just took off.  I passed the 10K runners and dropped the entire group and finished quite fast for my speed.  I had a very good time for myself at a 1:48:49 15K.  I felt good afterwards and finished right before the clouds vanished and the sun was blaring.FB_IMG_1561296846669.jpgBack of the pack start20190624_231109.jpgAmber setting a fast paceFB_IMG_1561296790310.jpgThe aid station where I got dropped20190624_231329.jpgMe dropping some people before running solo.

This was suppose to be my last race but I signed up for a 10K just because.

Possums Revenge 17 Miler

I heard so many great things about running at Possum Kingdom Lake and this race in particular.  I just had to sign up and run.  I decided on the 17 miler which would give me one entire loop of the race.  I am glad I only did 17 miles because it was hot and humid.  The Texas weather has been very wet lately but also very humid but just in the last few weeks the heat has been turned up.  For many runners, this was there first hot race.  The rain has closed the trails and for those who do not road run they would have had limited running time in these conditions.  I was lucky enough to get run a 25K and a half marathon in last past few weeks.  I also have trails close by that rarely close since they drain really well.

I brought my sleeper camper to this race to stay at the state park but decided to stay at the start/finish line area instead.  I did not have electricity at the start/finish line so I had to make do with a cool breeze coming off the lake for my A/C.  We had a group of about 15 people stay in that location so good times were had by all the night before the race.

Even though the race start time was relatively early, it was already humid and warm.  The first 4 miles was uphill and sandy.  It was not an ideal start because both of those conditions take a toll on your legs.  The course had constant elevation changes so getting into a running rhythm was difficult.  Luckily about 4 and a half miles in there was a long flattish downhill section that lasted about a mile and a half.  I got into a good pace and felt fast and comfortable.  It was a trap.  It was the only part of the course that could be run like that and I went way too fast to early.  The first manned aid station was over 6 miles from the start. By the time I got there I was drenched with sweat.  I decided to go with a hand held instead of a vest.  I should have done a vest.  I got a refill and iced everything I could and started off down the trail.  The views I got until the next aid station were awesome.  The course turned extremely hilly and challenging but the views were worth it.

I got to the second aid station and stayed a bit longer and this time took in some food.  I re iced and refilled and headed off for the final six plus miles.  This section was not as difficult but I was exhausted.  I could not keep a decent pace and rarely found a running rhythm.  The hills were not as extreme but still plentiful.  There were also some nice prairie land sections which were flat but I could not get enough speed to make them fast.  I also took a nose dive in the section trying to swat at bugs flying around my head. I learned a lesson this day.  I cannot outrun bugs flying around my head and I can trip over nothing.  I get to the final aid station and I am absolutely spent.  I spend more time here than I should but get food, ice and refills.

I am on my way to the finish line knowing that the sand section is on its way.  I am so sweaty that the sand on my shoes look like mud.  I know that I am running downhill but it does not feel that way.  I am really tired so now I am walking a bunch.  I only start running again when I hear the noise at the finish line.  The sand ends and I get to the road and the short but very nice downhill finish.

It was a tough race made tougher by the heat and humidity.  I think the aid stations were spread out to far.  I ran out of liquids twice.  Overall a great course ran by a great company. Trail Racing Over Texas(TROT).20190525_065635.jpgFB_IMG_1558824502018.jpgFB_IMG_1558824509178.jpgFB_IMG_1558824515764.jpgFB_IMG_1558824552096.jpgFB_IMG_1558824533779.jpg

One more race till I take a two month break and stick to training for the 100K.

Beer the other Carbohydrate

Why am writing about beer on a hiking and trail running blog? Why not.

I have been getting into the local beer scene recently.  I am not a beer snob nor a connoisseur of beer.  I like what I like so I drink what I like.  I like lagers, Mexican style, hefeweizens and Belgian wheat beer.  I stay away from IPAs, stouts and saisons.  My taste for beer limits my selections since most microbreweries love their IPAs.

I am going to rundown some of my favorite beers and local breweries just in case anyone is in the Dallas Fort Worth area looking for some good local beer.  I am listing the ones I have been but there are plenty more.  As a bonus I will throw in two Texas brewers that have some great beer.

Austin and Houston have some good breweries but Celis and Karbach are my favorites.  Celis brewery in Austin has Celis White and it is the perfect Belgian Witbier.  This is the beer that puts Blue Moon and Shocktop to shame.   Houston’s Karbach has gone a little big time but Love Street is an awesome lager. It is an easy drinking beer full of flavor.

DFW area breweries:

Peticolas Brewery-I absolutely love this place. You cannot go wrong with any of the beer.  The tour was great and the people are awesome. Velvet Hammer is their signature beer and I hear it is great but it is an IPA so I did not partake.  I did have Golden Opportunity, Sit Down or I’ll Sit You Down and several others but A Lost Epic was by far my favorite.  It is a Belgian Tripel so take notice of the alcohol content. At the time, it was the best beer I have ever drank.Snapchat-2064936553.jpg

Legal Draft Brewery-A great laid back place to drink in Arlington, Tx.  Friendly and accommodating staff that try to make the customers happy.  It is a very family friendly place.  Of all of the beers, two stuck out for me.  Hung Jury Hefeweizen and You’ve Been Cerveza’d were great.  Hung Jury is my all time favorite hefeweizen.  I was happy that they also have more than usual selection of tasty lagers. 20190427_155349.jpg

Bitter Sisters Brewery-Hidden somewhat in Addison, TX is the coolest placed brewery.  It is in a very nondescript location that you could drive by ten times and still not see it.  Bring food and games and have a blast.  This is another brewery that has a generous selection of lagers.  I am pretty sure I had one of every beer they had on tap.  Family Trip is their Belgian Tripel and is not to be missed. It is very smooth and is also one of my all time favorites.  The lagers are second to none and Busy Body and Hissy Fit should not be passed up.20190202_130542.jpg

Deep Ellum Brewery-It is in the Deep Ellum section of downtown Dallas. It is an IPA heavy brewery but I found a great Mexican style beer that has replaced my usual Dos XX.  Neato Bandito is a great beer Mexican style beer for all occasions.  The atmosphere is outstanding and the brewmasters have a passion for beer and are willing to talk to you for hours about not only the process but also all other things that pertain to beer.

Martin House-I really could not find a beer like the other breweries but this will always make the list due to their Halloween Party.  They have their beer on tap plus tons of other venders sharing their adult libations.  They do have very good IPAs and different types of beer.  20171028_151300I am a hunter and she is my deer.

Other places not mentioned but are not too bad are Steam Theory Brewery and Brain Dead Brewery.  I am going to try to knock out at least 8-10 more breweries this summer.  So if you know any good breweries in the DFW area let me know.

 

Hidden Hills Half Marathon

The race was amazing.  The race was held at Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.  The state park is not open yet but the runners got a sneak peek of what the future of the trails might look like at the park.  The park is located in Strawn, TX which is about an hour and a half west of the DFW metroplex.  The hill country of Texas makes up most of central Texas and this area in the northwest part is beautiful.  It has the hills and flowers and some great views.

The race offered distances ranging from 5K all the way up to a 50 miler.  I chose the half marathon because I am starting to like this distance.  It is long enough to feel like hard work but short enough to recover fairly quick.  The half marathon course consisted of two out and backs over a changing terrain.  The trails held up well from the rain overnight.  They were wet and had some muddy spots but overall in good shape.

The first out and back was a feeling out process and not difficult.  The course started with two small but steep uphills. The first major climb came after a water crossing.  The water crossing was not too deep so I rock jumped to keep my feet dry.  The top of the climb had great views but I could not get good pictures because of the weather.  It was cloudy and very very humid.  It was smoove sailing down the hill to an area filled with wildflowers.  The trail went into a forest type area in which the trail turned a bit muddy.  After the muddy section was the turn around point of the race.  I decided to get most of my pictures on the way back.  I was feeling good and I wanted to get the picture before the second out and back.  I got to the start/finish ahead of my three hour half marathon pace.

I started the second out and back drenched in sweat.  My shirt and shorts were soaking wet.  My shirt was feeling heavy and my shorts were clinging to my legs.  My nutrition and hydration was still good but my clothes were an added weight.  I had to tuck in my shirt to keep my shorts from falling down.  The water crossing was a bit deeper but crossable without getting too wet.  At the top of the climb the temperature dropped at least ten degrees.  The sky got darker and thicker clouds came rolling over the course.  I made it almost to the muddy part when it started to rain on and off.  I got to the turn around and the sky opened up.  It started to rain consistently.  The thunder and lightning started after I was out of the now swamp like muddy section.  I could see lightning bolts go from cloud to ground.  As I started up the backside of the biggest climb it started to pour.  At the top of the climb, it started to hail.  By now the trails were flooded and muddy.  There were mini waterfalls on the big hill.  The water crossing was shin deep.  The rock jumping idea was scrapped and I just ran through the water.  I finished drenched and exhausted.  My time of 3:17:13 was slow but I was happy just to finish.FB_IMG_1558287448257.jpg20190518_082225.jpgFB_IMG_1558287604486.jpgFB_IMG_1558287620636.jpgFB_IMG_1558287611176.jpg20190518_103242.jpg

Overall, I really liked to race but better weather would have made this race great.  I did get to see another Texas state park.  I have week till my next race in this same area.

 

Dallas Corporate 5K

I have not run a 5K on the road in five months.  I have been training and racing on the trails for about two years.  I have done four road races and all 5Ks this being my latest.  I do 5Ks for speed work and I want to run at least one under 27 minutes.  A group of trail runners decided to do a road race for fun and the rain has forced us off the trails.  I had made the decision to go for the sub 27 but I was still recovering from the 25K.  My feet were still sore and I also had leg soreness after putting in many miles on hills to get ready for another race that was rained out.  The Dallas Corporate 5K was on a Thursday night which is usually my off day.  I put all these factors in my failure to get under 27 minutes.  My time of 27:25 was slightly disappointing.  The course was flat and fast but it was very warm and humid.  I thought it would be colder and I was overdressed with a heavy long sleeve shirt.  I was running well and at the midway point my time was 13:12.  My race fell apart from that point.  I lost my legs and could not keep up the pace.  I had a   great time hanging out with the running crew.  e4b969cf-6f3b-4b98-8aa8-77cf9d586aff.jpgPost race pictureFB_IMG_1556851755063.jpgPost race meal and drinksFB_IMG_1556851690892.jpgPre race selfieFB_IMG_1556855786914.jpgPost race group pic

I am getting back to training for trails but the rain has forced me to do some more road work.

Coyote Run 25K

We finally got some good weather in the DFW area.  The temperatures have been in the 80s with the rain diminishing.  I headed down to Cleburne State Park for another 25K.  My first 25K did not turn out well but I finished.  I can say the same for this 25K.  I have run two 50Ks and some other longer runs since my first 25K so the distance should not have been a problem. The run was actually 17.4 miles so I got a bonus two miles and I did not even get lost.

The shuttle to the race was not a good start.  We were crammed in a cargo van sitting on the floor.  I am tall and not that flexible so the ride was hard on my knees and legs.  After the packet pick up I was ready to go. The run consisted of two loops of what was posted as 8.33 miles a piece.  The first loop could easily break the spirit of a runner not use to the rocky hilly terrain.  The aid stations were place at the start/ finish and the half way point of the loop.  I knew things were bad when right before the first aid station at the first loop when a runner doubled over and stumbled off the trail.  I got to the aid station and sent a volunteer back to check on him.  I later saw him finish his first and only loop.  The course had plenty of short steep hills that were tough and valleys that did not seem to bad.  There was one water crossing that got my feet wet which I do not like and one I jumped over.  I finished the first loop in just over two hours.  I got some runner food at the aid station.  Talked to my sister and got updates on some other runners in the running club I run with.  One runner had already dropped out and another was not looking good trying to finish the 50 miler.

The second loop started with some Tylenol and a salt tablet.  My nutrition was holding up under what was now a sunny hot and humid day.  I got to the first water crossing and my feet did not dry as fast as they did on the first loop.  I got to the midpoint aid station and my feet were hurting but is was not too bad.  I learned a lesson from my previous races and filled my water bladder.  I did this for two reasons.   First, it already had a mix of electrolytes in it and secondly I ran out of water on my last long trail race.  I was feeling fairly good when I got to the second water crossing.  This time I took my time and made sure I could make the jump.  This is the part of the course that is the toughest.  I made it up the first short steep hill but I struggled.  The second steep hill was longer and that did me in.  I could not get back up to speed.  I was just walked and walked.  I could not even run the douwhills due to the technical nature of the trail.  The downhills were also steep with switchbacks, rocks and roots.  For me, the added danger was low hanging branches and leaning trees.  I finally made it to the last climb and it caused me to stop twice.  I was now starting to pass people that looked worse off than me.  I also caught up to a running buddy.  Ahmed and I ended finishing the race together but it was painful.  We now got to the rolling valleys section.  The valleys were not as steep but they seemed ten times more difficult now.  We were able to run down into the valley but getting out got more and more difficult.  We got to the end and wanted to have a fast finish and mistimed our run.  We ran out of gas and had to restart our sprint finish. FB_IMG_1556412667949.jpgThe top of one those fun hills.FB_IMG_1556412757304.jpgThe beauty of the course.FB_IMG_1556412736664.jpgThe tree rock and root section.FB_IMG_1556412708458.jpgThe section before the jump across.FB_IMG_1556892200023.jpgFeeling good on the first loop.received_694717837597810.jpegAhmed and I on our sprint finish.received_668647996925470.jpegWe did it.

I can easily say that was the toughest race I have ever run.  The heat and humidity took a toll on many runners and the DNF percentage was higher than usual.  My toes were bloodied and I broke three toenails.  I survived and had fun.

The rain has closed most of the trails so my Arkansas race is a no go and so is hiking but I have a special blog next.

Crab Eyes Wichita Mountains

I had to go back to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to complete a hike I started a long time ago.  Crab Eyes is a rock formation located near Elk Mountain and on the Charon Gardens Wilderness Area.  I like the balancing rock formations almost as much as I like waterfalls.  This hike was not easy.  There were some steep inclines and the usual lack of trail markings.  I really like hiking here and will be back again to do a couple other hikes I have not gotten to do.

The hike takes you through a forest like area and several water crossings.  You will hike in an open area and see all the mountains surrounding the area. You will traverse down into a valley and then back up to Crab Eyes. The last climb is steep but absolutely worth the trip.  The views getting to the destination are also some of the better views you get in the Charon Gardens Wilderness Area.  The hike was a 4.5 mile out and back.  The weird thing at the beginning of the hike was a longhorn steer on the trail.  I decided to take a different way to the trailhead.  I thought it would be gone by the time I returned, nope it was still there.  I took my chances this time since it was more interested in grazing and further off the trail.  20190420_074345.jpgIt was big and angry looking.20190420_080928.jpgOpen area with a view20190420_082725.jpgWorking my way up20190420_083231.jpgHere I am near the top. Last pic on the trip up.  20190420_084004.jpgI thought this was just a cool pic to get on the way back20190420_085856.jpgOpen plain on the way back to the trailhead

I get back to trail running for the next month and a half.  I am going to try to fit in some hiking but I signed up for plenty of runs until June.