In 2018, I completed a race at every possible distance from 5K to 50K. I also hiked some of the most scenic places I have ever seen. So what am going to do to top 2018? I dug deep into my imagination and found some crazy places. I am heading back down to the Texas Hill country to hike a park I have never been to yet. I am headed back to Arkansas to hike another mountain but this time from the more difficult side. I have a race in east Texas that took my legs last year. I signed up up for to prove to myself I can beat this course. I will once again will run the Huaco Cuatro Series in Waco, TX but this time I am going to try to get my times much lower. I am doing this all in the first two months of 2019. I want to get back to Oklahoma in March and also a second possible 50K in Kansas. I will get my mini travel camper in April so I can travel in style. My big hikes this year will be to hike to the highest points in Arkansas (I have already done it once), Oklahoma and Texas. My big run this year will be to buckle up with a 100K also in Kansas. I am looking forward to getting out and running and hiking all around America.
This year I hiked 50 new trails in 45 new places. I was doing the 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series which is to hike 52 new places in 12 months. I did not get to 52 new trails but the 50 new trails were worth the travel. I found some local city parks and many state parks. I ventured into two other states besides Texas. I liked the hikes in Arkansas and Oklahoma and already have plans to return to both states. I also had some first in my trail running. I did my first 1/2 Marathon, 20K, 25K and 50K all on trails. 2018 was an awesome year to be outside.
Mount Magazine 20K
Wild Hare 50K
Mount Nebo, Arkansas
Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Oklahoma
2018 was an incredible year and my plans for 2019 are even more adventurous.
Bluff Creek Ranch is a private ranch located in Warda, TX which is about 45 minutes southeast of Austin. Even though the location would suggest the Texas hill country, the ranch had a real east Texas feel. There were not many hills but plenty of pine trees. The oil derrick would suggest a more north west Texas location but nope it is on the outskirts of the Texas hill country. This is place where I became an ultra runner by completing my first 50K trail run. I did not expect this place to be this scenic. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the sunrise but I was too busing running. There are several ponds located throughout the ranch. There was not one big destination on the ranch but plenty of different things to see that caught my eye. The rolling hills and creeks mixed in with the pine trees and open fields made this a great hike.
It was a crazy day and I am glad I got to be able to hike a private ranch and also run a 50K. This is hike 42 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.
I will get back on track the next blog with my continuing adventures in Arkansas.
I have been training most of the year for this race. I wanted to finish this year as an ultra runner. The 50K distance is the shortest race to reach ultra runner status. I signed up for the race and knew I was going to finish. I was confident after my 1/2 marathon and 20K but lost all that confidence after the 25K. The 25K race made me change my race preparation for the 50K. I still do not do long runs over 12 miles but I started doing 8-10 mile training runs. I also did 4-6 mile runs back to back with a ten minute break in between runs. Lastly, I did more flatter course runs than hills. The 50K course was a relatively flat course.
The night before the run I had my normal pizza dinner. The only thing I regularly do before a run. I did not eat pizza the night before the 25K and I will not do that again. An hour after dinner everything went wrong. I had diarrhea all night and most of the morning. The first thing a had in the morning was pepto bismol. The start of the race my stomach was still churning but I was going to finish no matter what. I felt better after a port o potty break and the second loop went well. I was actually one hour faster at the half point than my disaster of a 25K. I finished in a time of 8:48:42 but my running time was 7:48ish. I spent about an hour of the race at the aid stations. I was going to do a full change but I only changed my shirts. I should have done the full change because I finished the last loop with painful chafing. I finished and I am now an ultra runner.
The running club I run with calls all of the ultra runners “badass”. I have been shying away from the name but I ready to embrace it. I would like to do some other long races in the 20-25K range more often but not a 50K or longer.
I also might be just crazy enough to survive the next four months. Starting in the month of September I will embarking on an unexplored running distance and adventure each month. In September, I am heading to east Texas to run a 25K trail race. Earlier this year I ran a half marathon and also finished two 20Ks. The course will take me all over the place in two loops. I will be running up and down hills. There will be plenty of switchbacks and turns. The distance will be my longest run to date. A week before this run I will be running one the toughest 10K’s in Texas.In October, I will be running the Ragnar Trail Relay. This will also be a fifteen mile plus run but it will be broken up into three different parts. If that is not wild enough I also volunteered to do an extra leg due to the team being a runner short. It is going to be a party atmosphere with no sleep and plenty of running. I will run a 15K on a tough central Texas course a week before. I cannot believe I am doing this.In November, I will become an ultrarunner by running a 50K. This is going to be the crown jewel of my year of running. I am really excited about this run. The course is relatively flat and will consist of four loops. I thought this would be a positive but thinking about it, it gives me three chances to DNF. I am determined to get my ultrarunner label so DNF is not an option. I will run a 15K a week before this race. The 15K will be a familiar course and not too difficult.In December, I will be doing my first marathon. I cannot do anything in a normal way so my first marathon will be a half road and half trail. I have no idea what the course will be like. I am going to try to hike the course location in between all the other crazy races I will be doing. This race will be only three weeks after the 50K so I will not do any races in between. I will restate that as I have no plans to run between the races but there are two races on my radar.
When I complete these tasks I placed before myself, I will be exhausted or bouncing of the walls. I love setting goals that will stretch my abilities but I hope I did not over extend myself.