Training is not so bad when beer is involved.

I did not have a training trail race this weekend, so I went to a brewery.  My training is going well, I think.  I really will not know until I finish the 50K in two weeks.  This upcoming week I have a 25K that almost retired me last year.  I am on pace to get 200 miles this month.  I have had some soreness in my hips and knee, so I trying to find out if I am going to far too soon.  A coach in my running group said I needed to take 48 hours off from running and give my body some rest.  It was hard after finding some new routes on different trails.  FB_IMG_1568332004900.jpgCrazy look on Big Cedar TrailFB_IMG_1568332022022.jpgRunning on Big Cedar trail and taking sharp turnsFB_IMG_1568332106336.jpgView of Joe Pool Lake from the trails of Cedar Hill State ParkFB_IMG_1568332116716.jpgWoodsy section of Cedar Hill SPFB_IMG_1568332101621.jpgPrairie part of Cedar Hill SPFB_IMG_1568332165232.jpgStill a forest in Cedar Hill SP

I decided to use my 48hrs off by going to a semi local brewery.  I really like this place after one visit.  The selection of beer is just enough to cover all the bases but not overwhelming.  The atmosphere was laid back but enough noise to be interesting.  I, of course, got the hefeweizen and it was fantastic. My favorite was the John Hancock Lager.  It is a dark and smooth lager that was very drinkable.  They also had a small BBQ stand inside the biergarten which was nice.  They had board games and plenty of TVs so we were thoroughly entertained for hours.20190914_172007.jpgOutside20190914_172903.jpgInside20190914_172854.jpgMy first flight20190914_180514.jpgBBQ sandwich with a John Hancock20190914_185408.jpgMy wife beating me in Star Wars trivia.

I did kick her butt in checkers 3x.  I am now back to more serious training with just six weeks left till the 100K.  Nothing better than a trails and ales break.

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.

2019 Tyler State Park

As I start off the new year, I am trying to up my mileage in both hiking and trail running. I am trying to get more hiking in this year than I did last year and some longer hikes. I also am going to increase my trail running distances and try to get at least one long run a week. For me a long run is anything above ten miles. So far so good with the running but not so much with the hiking. It has been raining so the trails are still closed. I have gotten a couple of runs at Cedar Hill SP on the roads. I much prefer trails but the roads at this state park are hilly and curvy. I also got a run/hike at Tyler SP. It is one of the few parks that hold up well in the rain. If I continue to hold onto these two goals I will prepared for a 50K in March.

My hike/run at Tyler SP was nice since I was on the parts I have not been on yet. I now have finished this park also. I have a handful of Texas state parks that I have hiked the entire park. The biggest surprises at this part of the park were the many small waterfalls scattered along the trails. It was probably  due to all the rain but it was nice to hear the running water for most of the 9 miles on the trail. Of course the huge east Texas pine trees and loblollies trees are always impressive. 20190105_100738.jpg20190105_100728.jpg20190105_095027.jpg20190105_100844.jpg20190105_104108.jpg20190105_102633.jpg

I am a week away from my first run. I am starting off with an 11 Miler then going to a new for me state park the next day. Getting those outdoor miles in in the best way.

Cedar Hill State Park

Cedar Hill State Park is located twenty minutes southwest of Dallas. If the location sounds familiar, it is located within minutes of Cedar Ridge Preserve, Cedar Mountain Trail and the Dogwood Audubon Center. The park has many different activities to do like fishing, boating and camping but I am here for the trails. I have hiked on these trails almost as many times as Cedar Ridge Preserve. The park has six hiking trails covering twenty six miles. I have hiked and trail run on five of the six multiple times and the scenery seems to be a bit different each time. The park is in the middle of a restoration project so one of my favorite trails has been closed for over a year. They recently opened two other trails that were closed but the maintenance on one has been a bit shoddy. The DORBA trails are always great but overly protected. If it rains just a little, they are immediately shut down. When open, the trails are awesome. The trails give you a bit of every type of habitat. I have hiked the DORBA medium and short trails but not the long yet. The DORBA medium takes you through forest type areas then beach type areas and prairie lands and also hilly vistas all in a six plus mile hike. At one point, in a grassland opening on top of a small hill I could get a picture of both AT&T Stadium and Texas Stadium in the same frame. The park also features Joe Pool Lake and the Joe Pool Lake Dam.

I will start with the recently reopened Duck Pond Trail and Plum Valley Trail. The Duck Pond Trail leads to the Duck Pond and by a small stream and bridge. Plum Valley Trail Trail connects the trails to an overlook. Plum Valley has good elevation change but is not always well groomed. 20170303_135951.jpg20170303_140224.jpg20170303_140620.jpg20170303_144025.jpg

The DORBA medium and short trails are really nice. The scenery is ever changing and the views are nice. There are not any big elevation changes but there are plenty of elevation changes along with switchbacks. Plus the randomness of the wildlife is amazing. I have seen snakes, turtles, roadrunners, bobcats and armadillos. The trails go by Joe Pool Lake and hearing the waves is peaceful. The lake is not the clearest but it is nice.20170127_145736.jpg2011-07-29_18-56-03_15.jpg20170424_151115.jpg2011-07-31_19-27-33_43.jpg2011-07-31_19-35-31_769.jpg

It is funny that I have been here so much that I take the park for granted. I do not have many pictures and it was not one of my first blogs. When I started the 52 Hike Challenge, I did not hike this park until the fifth or sixth hike. I also ran my first five miler here and they found some hills I missed. I usually do not do many road races but this was the exception.

I am almost caught up with all my hikes so the blog will slow down. I recently headed back down to the Texas country for the summer and had a great time hiking in places I have never heard of before.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Cedar Ridge Preserve is located about twenty minutes southwest of Dallas. The preserve is also the highest point in Dallas County. The location from my home makes it a convenient hiking location for me. I have been hiking here on and off for about eight years and the last two years I have been trail running on the trails. Hiking the perimeter of the preserve will get you over six miles of good hiking. The views are great and the trails range from difficult to easy. There are six distinct overlooks at the preserve and they have great vantage points of the surrounding area. The overlooks on Cattail Pond and Bluebonnet Trails are large wooden stair structures. They help when looking over the trees. The overlooks on Red Oak and Fossil Valley Trails are my favorite. The area they overlook includes Joe Pool Lake and the Dam, Cedar Hill State Park, Cedar Mountain and the Dogwood Canyon Audubon. The preserve is ever changing and depending on the time and season, the scenery can be drastically different. The preserve includes a pond, a small waterfall, several bridge crossings and numerous creeks and streams. 20151126_09164720151215_14481820160218_16302720160218_16470420160218_17061620160917_19064320160917_18461720161124_090542

This is my favorite place to hike and the place I have hiked the most. It is also my favorite place to trail run. The elevation changes are great and I can mix in steep inclines with long inclines that are not as steep. It is like having the Texas Hill Country in my backyard. It say this is the best hiking area in the DFW metroplex.

Next blog is back in Fort Worth. This was a wild and unexpectedly difficult hike and as usual I get lost for awhile and find a steep incline to the end.

Back to the Rockies

We again in 2011 to back to Estes Park but this time I had plans to hike four local peaks. I had to get into better shape. So for a few months before we left on vacation I starting hiking two local hiking spots. First was a return to Ceder Ridge Preserve, the best hilly spot to hike in the DFW area. The hills are steep and pretty long.2011-04-16_18-11-32_629.jpg

The second place was Cedar Hill State Park. I love this park and when all trails are open the trail system is amazing. The park surrounds Joe Pool Lake and it has a pond hidden off on a side trail. At one time you could actually see both AT&T Stadium in Arlington and Texas Stadium in Irving, it would have been a nice picture.20170424_144317.jpg

So off we go to our second trip to Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park. The first day we did some mile high hiking in the Rocky Mountain NP and found some great spots but not the 9000-12000 elevation peaks I was planning on doing. The first peak which I cannot remember the name was 9300 feet and we got to the base and could not find the trailhead. The second was Twin Sisters East Peak at 11500 but that did not work out well either. Dade and I found the trailhead but hiked in the wrong direction. We got back on the correct trail and at 11000 and above treeline we both got altitude sickness and we went back down. The failure was amazing with views that literally made me breathless.2011-06-21_07-44-11_464.jpg

I also decided to schedule us for some non city adventure so this time was ATVing through the mountains. My worst idea ever because it turned into ATVing on the mountain. It was about as scary as anything I have ever done. It was not what I expected. After an ATV accident, my quest for the last two peaks was over. BTW, I was not the one in the accident.

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I was still not as hooked on hiking as I am now but the spark was now a little flame. I was mad at the two hike attempt failures but intrigued at what I  saw on the other hikes but I was still out of shape to do any major hikes to the best places in the park.2011-06-20_14-56-05_748.jpg

Stay tuned for my return to Colorado in 2013. You might even find out if this was the trip that made me an avid hiker. Plus I found another close by hiking spot to go along with the Cedar Ridge Preserve and Cedar Hill SP.