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.

Oktoberfest Half Marathon

Can you say flat and fast. The course is a very flat rail trail. Just like last week it was on the NETT(Northeast Texas Trail). I did the far east Texas section last week and the northeast section this week. This part of the trail is really well taken care of. The trail is a mixture of crushed gravel and concrete. It had a some elevation gain but nothing to difficult. The trail was easy to run but it is a multi use trail. The multi use part is not always a great thing. It is used by runners, hikers, bikers and equestrian. The latter is the problem in more than one way. The horses poop on the trail and I guess the riders are not responsible for the poop like dog owners. Horse poop comes into play later in the recap.20191019_072640.jpg20191019_072453.jpg

The race started at 8 AM and the temperature was in the high 50s but quickly rose into the 70s. These temperatures are about 15-20 degrees higher than I like but they felt good. There was a light breeze the entire time. The first half was a tailwind and the turnaround change direction into a headwind. The trees did a decent job of blocking the wind without a greenhouse effect. As you can see this was not a point to point like last week, but an out and back. The aid stations were good but nothing special. I stopped at one to get some gatorade but as soon as I started to drink the volunteer said it was pickle juice. Too late, I had already taken it like a shot. Pickle juice is nasty by the way. The only other adventure in this race was a copperhead on the trail. I was running at a speedy pace and thought to myself more darn horse poop on the trail. I made the usual side step to avoid it but at the last moment I realized it was a small copperhead. I must of scared it because this was the first time a snake lounged at me. I was hoping National Geographics is correct by stating a human’s reflexes are faster than a snake’s. I do not know if this is always correct but it was in my case. Or maybe I just jumped higher and longer than the length of the snake. Funny thing is that I was so pumped up that the “snake” mile was the fastest mile I ran.20191019_072717.jpg20191019_072723.jpg

After the race, there were brats to eat and beer to drink.  They also had chips and cookies and some good music.  People stayed around to socialize more than usual but the race was a small race so not too many people.  The day was perfect for a festival type atmosphere.20191019_072900.jpg

This was supposed to be a double race recap but I did not put in an official loop at Dirt and Vert. I did run two loops at Sister Grove but Nikki and Michael took up my slack. I did try to get there as fast as I could run and drive. I set more personal best times but this time I felt good afterwards. No leg soreness and still ready to run. Plus this is the first time I finished in the top half of a race this long. Supposedly 80+ people ran the half and I was 37th and 3rd in my age group.

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Next up is the 100K.  I have done so much training for this race.  I miss hiking and I cannot wait to hit the trails at a walking place and get some good pictures.

Run The Rail Half Marathon

On a day when some amazing feats were accomplished, I ran a half marathon. A flat and fast trail half marathon. The ease of the course did not diminish the difficulty of the run for me. I did not run a 100 miler I had No Business running(see what I did there) or run a mind boggling time in a marathon. What I did do is set a personal goal and run my butt off. I still get inspired by those running their 1st 5K to those who crank out a 100. Each runner has a breaking point and to see them pass it is amazing.FB_IMG_1570938000735.jpgIt was a small race and I am the tall guy in the grey hat.FB_IMG_1570938021104.jpgI am focused going in that straight line.

This race was located in New Boston, TX and was on the NETT(Northeast Texas Trail) which is 130 miles long. The race was a point to point from DeKalb to New Boston. I was expecting an extremely flat course with crushed gravel and some road. I was wrong, like usual. The course was more like a cross country course. Little to no crushed gravel and a bunch of grass and some muddy sections. Plus for a rail course it had some surprising elevation. The footing was tricky on parts of the course and slipping in the mud was a possibility. The best thing was the temperature. The race started with a 36 degree temperature and a finishing temperature in the mid to upper 40s. It was sunny and for most of the race there was a slight head wind. The wind picked up near the end but nothing too bad. I love running in that type of weather.20191012_072317.jpgSun has risen and time to run

The course was a straight line out of one small town through another town and finishing in another small town. The course featured the usual sights in east Texas small towns. A few barns, farms and ranches. Plenty of flat land that had miles of visibility. The last three miles were on concrete with a slight downhill finish. There were plenty of aid stations and potties along the course with enthusiastic volunteers. At the finish you were treated to a fajita chicken taco bar, all sorts of beverages and cookies.FB_IMG_1570937970747.jpgFinishing section in New Boston downtown.

I wanted to do a few of things during this race. I wanted to run the entire race without walking. I did that except for one restroom break but I ran in and out. I wanted to run a consistent pace. I did that. All miles were in the 10 minute range except two. The last mile and a third was under 10 minute pace and the restroom break was 7 seconds over the 10 minute range. Lastly I wanted to run a sub 2:30. I had an official time of 2:20:10 but my actual half marathon was 2:17:21. I set 5 new personal best but STRAVA has them as 2nd best due to a car incident.Screenshot_20191013-121625_Strava.jpg10:36 pace is good for me.

It was a good experience and a valuable training run. My legs are sore since I never done some of things I accomplished at this race.Screenshot_20191014-115347_Strava.jpgI am liking these times.

Next up is another half marathon on the NETT in Farmersville, TX.

Training with 3 weeks to go

I did not have a race last weekend.  I have two half marathons in the next two weekends.  Both are rail trail races, they mimic the look of the 100K .  I have really ramped up my running on relatively flat trails.  I have also started again with tire pulls.  The 22 pound tire really is a tough workout.  I have been doing hills with the tire and then small hills the next day.  The rest of the week I will go to Trinity Groves.43098483_1956246097731987_6609849695248318464_oTrinity Groves flat and fast

I will also throw in a bonus Sunday run on trails that are runnable but have some little hills.  I have also been trying not to run stupid but it not working out.  I still start way to fast and hang on to a finish.  11053274_609237285878608_3598116021927754336_n.jpg

The temperatures have dropped about 15 degrees and I have been running well.  I guess  all the summer heat training is paying off.  I did something earlier this week I have never done before.  I ended a run with negative splits.  The problem is that the pace was still too fast.  I was trying to do 13 minute miles for 10 miles.  I went out too fast and settled for 9 miles.72230048_2545707355452522_8606380047546187776_o.jpgNegative splits for 8 miles

I will try again for the 13 minute mile pace.  I have developed a race plan though.  I am going to try to do 13 minute miles for the first 31 miles.  The next 17 miles just try to hold that for as long as I can do it.  The last 14 miles I am going to drop the hammer and try not to go over 16 minute miles.  If all goes right and the temps stay low I might be able to get done in 14 hours.  If I have a good average race I should be able to finish in 15 hours.  If all else fails it is going to be a long day and a half.

 

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.

Prairie Spirit Trail 50K

After my first 50K, I vowed to not run another 50K.  I was also told once you run your first ultra I would to run many more.  I guess I was wrong.  I finished my second ultra and have already signed up for a 100K.  The Prairie Spirit Trail run was located in Ottawa, KS, which is about an hour and a half south west of Kansas City.  Unlike my first 50K, I had no crew or fellow runners to help pace.  I ran alone with the use of a drop bag.  I did not use my drop bag as much as I thought. I had a change of clothes, some extra food and pain aids.  I did not change clothes and probably should have changed shirts. I did eat some additional food but the aid stations were well stocked.  I did use the 2Toms anti chafe pads.  These pads saved the race for me.

The race started in a snowstorm and ended in the bright sun.  The 2Toms came into play early because the snow made my clothes wet from the start.  The 2Toms eased the rubbing and I had no chafing problems the entire rest of the race.

The race was a very flat and fast out and back course. The 50K runners had a short out and back before heading on the main trail out and back.  The first manned aid station was located in Princeton and that is where I had my drop bag.  I thought I was running slow but I was way ahead of my predicted pace. I had to tell myself to slow down so I would burn out early. I have this problem in my long runs. I start off way to fast and have nothing left at the end of the race.  I slowed myself down by taking pictures and this aid station is also where I had my first application of 2Toms.

The next manned aid station was at Richmond.  This is also the 50K turn around.  I was still ahead of schedule but the race changed entirely at this aid station. The aid station to the finish would be into a 25 MPH head wind with gust up to 45 MPH.  It felt like a 10 degree temperature drop and it was a tough run.  I could not get any pictures because my hands had 2Toms on them and it was just to cold to take off my gloves.

I got to the Princeton aid station on the way back and still felt pretty good.  I was still ahead of pace so I readjusted my finishing time and sped up.  I should not have changed my plan.  I struggled the last 5 miles. I also ran out of water with 2 miles left.  I felt the slight uphill to the finished line and it hurt.  I did have a somewhat sprint finish to get my time under 6 hours and 30 minutes.  My official time was 6:29:27 which is over 2 hours faster than my first 50K and 30 minutes faster than my predicted time.  20190330_090928.jpg20190330_090804.jpg20190330_094636.jpg20190330_103343.jpg20190330_103242.jpg

I met a bunch of good people at this race.  I am going to be back here for the 100K and might pick up another two trail races in Kansas.  They told me that there are hills in Kansas so I will sign up for those races.

Next up is a super hilly race in Texas.

Trinity Groves Dallas, TX

I like running on all the trails I can find in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Being a trail runner and hiker, for that matter, is that weather sometimes determines how much outdoor time I can enjoy. The rain in 2018 was the second most in the area since they started recording rainfall. The most just happened to be 2015. The rain floods the trails and the they get closed for weeks at a time. I would usually trudge to the gym and get a workout there but I found with the help of my running buddies a great place to get some trail time. Trinity Groves on the west side of downtown Dallas. The trail is crushed gravel and drains really well, so running can be done even on raining days. The light from downtown Dallas keeps the trail lit fairly well, so I can run at night with or without a headlamp. I have been running here regularly but am anxious to get to some less urban trails. The trail is flat and fast but you can add hills when running down into the levee. This part gets flooded when it rains a bunch and the Trinity river rises and covers the lower trail. The is an out and back for the most part but you can run a 16 mile loop, so I heard. I particularly do not like out and back runs but when returning on this trail you get great views of downtown Dallas the entire time. The lights of the city keep the run interesting especially during any event. The buildings in the city will have a light show that correlates to the event. FB_IMG_1539225142284.jpg43098483_1956246097731987_6609849695248318464_o.jpg43053753_1956246164398647_7220257267763904512_o.jpg43110257_1956245897732007_6908378015701401600_o.jpg20181219_182051.jpg

The very distinctive bridge in the background is the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Next up is my first run of the year. I need some revenge at Tyler State Park.