Rails to Trails 100K

Rails to Trails 100K race recap:

I will start with a course description.  We start in a medium town and run south to a very small town then continue to small town.  After that we continue south to a smallish town then proceed to an extremely small town and turnaround and head north back to the original medium town.  We do that for 62 miles with a little less than 900 feet of elevation gain.  The course views were mainly flat farmland in Kansas.  Lots of cows but a did see a combine actually moving.  I did like the tree lined course though.  The weather was perfect.  It started out in the 30s but never made it out of the low 60s.  The sun was shining and there was very little wind.  I could not have asked for a better day.FB_IMG_1572156498411IMG_38811.jpgIMG_38761.jpgIMG_38691.jpgFB_IMG_1572149301800 Pictures from the smallish town and the trees around the trail.

Now for my crew.  They were awesome.  Not one of them is an ultra runner and only two are regular runners.  I worked with two of them for a combined 30+ years and the other two are family members in addition to being great friends.  We had fun learning what to do on the fly.  I was mostly confused on what I needed when I needed it.  They were there doing everything necessary to keep me moving and well supported.  My pacers were the only reason I finished.  At times we did not see people for hours, when the sun went down I would not have made it by myself in the dark.  I have praised this magnificent group in other forums and I cannot say enough about how grateful I am of them.                      FB_IMG_1572156551907IMG_3895120191027_010538FB_IMG_1572147273262FB_IMG_1572147236296FB_IMG_1572147374204 These are the best four people I could have ever asked to finish this journey with me.

How I got to this point.  I want to thank North Texas Trail Runners for being the first group to get me to run more than a 5K on the trails.  Dallas Dirt Runners (D.D.R.) this group put the idea in my mind that I can something this crazy.  If I named all the individuals it be pages of praise.  I am going to single out Ray Liberatore for being a person who not matter how a feel just talking to him calms me down and gives me confidence in my abilities.  My Wednesday running group: Kenny Hallman,  Darren Beck,  Dennis Starkey and Noemi Moreno Lusk to name a few.  Those Wednesday night runs with this group are must do runs.  I will drop a few more names Agustin Negrete, Nikki Davis and Elisa Norman, I have not run with these three much lately but they have inspired me to run far, faster and do stupid things.IMG_38671.jpgIMG_38871.jpgFB_IMG_1572148074518        I had to find some fun in this longest of long runs.

I am happy to have buckled the eff up with a 100K.  I have regained the ability to walk somewhat normal as of now.  The chaffing is not as bad as I thought it would be.  I am having trouble standing and sitting but it is just sore muscles.  I also have some mystery bruises.  I am overall elated and feel accomplished.  I finally feel like I am somewhat of an ultra runner.  Bonus information, I finished in a time of 15:06:47. I was trying for 14 but this is good time for me.  I took second in my age group and yes there were more than two of us in my age group.  Lastly, I finished in the top half overall.20191027_010703FB_IMG_1572147230442FB_IMG_157214726143120191027_18032420191027_180543

It was a long training season but worth it.  I had some ups and downs but mostly good times.  I had two DNFs in training races and literally had wasps flying out of my shorts in a training run.  I had a hard time sitting after that incident.  I also made some great friends on the trails and my last to lead up training races I set all sorts of personal best.  While in Kansas, I had to get some Kansas City beer for the celebration.

One more thing on the Kansas trip, I drove through the Flint Hills section of Kansas.  It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  I can’t explain it.  It is simply rolling hills but so much more.  I can’t wait to run a marathon out there.  Sorry for the no pictures on this section.

The best part of the weekend was my son graduating from the fire academy.20191018_19095620191018_1910465937205411

This ends my journey to a 100K.  I miss hiking so much.  I am going to take some time off from trail running and get back to hiking once my legs are stable.

New Year’s Day Outside Activities

Not quite a dive but more like a dip. More on that later. I convinced my kids that it would be fun to do a New Year’s Day hike and then jump into cold water. The weather the days before had been in the mid 60s and dry. The adventure looked like the timing would be perfect. Hiking in 60 degree weather with the sun shining and a great view of a three tier waterfall. After a short but hilly hike, a plunge into cold water but returning to warm air sounded awesome. The main problem was Texas weather. A cold front blew in the night before and instead of mid 60s we had low 30s. I do not mind hiking in cold weather. I have hike long distances in the teens and low 20s so the temperature did not concern me. The kids on the other hand preferred the warmth of their beds. I eventually got them up and out of the house. The good thing is we have had a bunch of rain lately and the waterfall at Cleburne State Park was flowing really strong. The creek crossing that was not overflowing two weeks ago was now overflowing. We had to get a baby across and make a jump onto slick rocks without falling. We all survived but others around us did not even try to cross with small children.20190101_110157.jpgWhere we made our jump20190101_110552.jpgThe waterfall20190101_110813.jpgCold but happy

Next up was a drive to Dinosaur Valley State Park for the Dino Dive. The water was cold but the air temperature was the worst part. We chickened out of a full submerging but did get our feet wet and that was it. We agreed to jump in next year no matter the temperature.20190101_122801.jpgThe plunge area which was very deep and a fast of current also.20190101_124933.jpgAll smiles before the dip20190101_131423.jpgStill smiling but they look so cold20190101_131548.jpgYes that is me in the cold water

It was a fun day overall. I had a great time with my kids and they a good time also. We are going to make this a tradition so we can get outside do fun stuff.

Next blogs will be some top 10 2018 moments.

Lake Tawakoni State Park

Twenty years ago I was doing outreach work in the area of this state park. I would hear people saying they are going to Lake Tawakoni for the weekend. I was picturing in my mind a little lake in even more of the middle of nowhere. To my surprise twenty years later, I find out that this lake is big and there is a real city that is nearby. The city of Wills Point, TX only has 3500 people and twenty years ago it had the same population but more buildings now. They have yoga and a spin class. The city is still mostly farmland but the downtown area is very nice and has cobbled stone streets.

Lake Tawakoni State Park is located about one hour east of Dallas. The lake is the main attraction but it also was the place of one of the largest communal spiderweb. The spiderweb is not there anymore but we did see a few small ones on the hike. I did say we because my daughter was my special hiking partner this time. We had a good time on the hike even though I have been spoiled by hiking canyons and mountains. The trails were in great shape and clearly marked and defined. These were some of the nicest trails I had been on.20180315_121444.jpgDSC00497.JPGDSC00502.JPGDSC00511.JPGDSC00506.JPGDSC00516.JPG20180315_121403.jpg

This was a nice fun flat hike. This was hike 19 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. It will not rank up near the top of my hike list but hiking with my daughter was a blast and on the drive we saw a farm with camels. It was funny to see camels in east Texas along side of longhorns.

Next hike more east Texas hiking with my girl.

Lost Maples SNA Part 2

This visit to Lost Maples SNA was not planned. I had the whole family with me and we were going to spend the day at Garner SP but when we got there it was full and would not reopen till later in the day. I had big plans for Garner SP that day but the derailment did not discourage me so we went to Lost Maples SNA. This time I drove on scenic highway 377. The speed limit is 15 miles per hour for a reason. The road has a real Colorado Rocky Mountain feel to it but with guard rails. Steep cliffs are on both sides of the road and the inclines and declines freak me out. I usual have my wife behind the wheel for drives like this but this was an unpleasant surprise for me. Now if you like some of the most special views of the Texas hill country this is the road for you. The views were amazing when I dared to take my eyes off the road. It was a truly incredible drive but I just rather have two feet on the ground.

The good and bad of having the entire family is that we hike at a much slower pace but with the slower pace I can take in what I possibly missed the first time. This was a shorter hike on the East-West Trail and it was flat trail hiking only. I did get to get a better view of the second set of twin waterfalls. 20170712_151218.jpg20170712_151652.jpg20170712_154619.jpg20170712_155505.jpg20170712_160924.jpg20170712_160931.jpg

I also like some of the signs in the state parks in which I find humorous. Some are suppose to funny like the bigfoot crossing sign in Dinosaur Valley SP. Some are informative like the alligator signs in Huntsville SP. The ones I like the most are the obvious ones like getting to close to the edge is dangerous and there is a cliff behind the sign or this where the trail ends sign and there is nothing behind the sign.20170712_160202.jpg20170712_145257.jpg

I was thankful for the warnings but got a laugh out of both the signs. I did do the steep and rugged mile and a half hike the first time. The sign is very accurate and it was a tough hike and then some.

The next blog will about a park back up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area sort of.