Six-0 Half Marathon

I had a time at this race.  Blaze Trail Running put on a great race.  The course was sneaky difficult but was set up with so many great views.  The loops with in the course intentionally went to bluffs overlooking the Texas hill country.  The volunteers were awesome and the parking set up is a detail that usually gets forgotten but it was great.  Plus grilling at the finish line.  Not many races have a person grilling hot dogs and hamburgers at the finish line, a nice touch.  The race was fairly local so a bunch of trail runners I run with during the week were there running or volunteering.  20190831_071403.jpgParking right by the start/finish

The race itself caught me by surprise.  I did not think it would be relatively easy but it was hillier than I thought.  The race starting temperature was great but the humidity was in the upper 80s.  As the race went on the humidity dropped but the temperature rose.  You got to love running in Texas in August.  The location was at Six-0 Ranch in Cleburne, Tx which about 45 minutes southwest of the Fort Worth.  The ranch is beautiful and a great place for this race.  It is also a working ranch so cows were roaming around and leaving fresh patties. 20190831_070214.jpgMorning sky

The course was set up to go about 3.5 miles slightly downhill then 7 miles with  significant elevation gain and finishing with a 3 mile downhill run with a quick uphill at the end.  Within the first mile I heard yelling and looked back to see what all the commotion was about, a herd of cows were sprinting between a pack of runners and people were trying to get out of the way.  No one got hurt but those cows were moving very fast and way too close for comfort.  About 4.5 miles in we got to the lake, the first of many scenic areas.  We looped the lake which prior to running here I thought was odd but I understood why they made the course this way.FB_IMG_1567279017938.jpgThe lake on one sideFB_IMG_1567279021447.jpgThis view on the other side

Seven miles in I was drenched.  Not normal drenched but shoes and socks puddles drenched.   I was properly hydrated but I was hungry but not hungry.  It is hard to explain but I was so hungry but I did not want to eat.  It is a problem I have running when I am going longer distances.  I have to force myself to eat during these runs or hit a wall near the end due to lack of nutrition.   I make it to the aid station at 9.5 miles and refilled my drink and just get some watermelon, big mistake.  This was another place on the course where there was an awkward place to put a loop.  But the view added by having the loop was worth it.FB_IMG_1567279041523.jpgOne of my favorite views from the course

After the aid station there was still a but of hill climbing to do.  The downhill started fast and furious as did my demise.  I was holding a 12:20 mile pace until this point.  I ran into the wall and my pace jumped up.  I ended with an average above 14 minutes per mile.  Unlike last race I somewhat expected this to happen at sometime.  I have been losing weight and not taking in as many calories as I need for a race this long.  My finishing time of 3:12:17 was a little disappointing but considering the course difficulty and am not that unhappy.  FB_IMG_1567279045385.jpgI like the windmill and I do believe that was one of the hills on the courseFB_IMG_1567278999087.jpgOne of the few areas of tree coverFB_IMG_1567279978092.jpgStruggling up the hill

I do not have many pictures of me having fun when running but the Dallas Dirt Runners caught me having fun and turned it into a meme.  My fellow runner is Sue Fee.FB_IMG_1567297044687.jpg

We were nowhere near the finish line at this point.

A good time was had by all and next week it is a 25K in Oklahoma.

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.

 

Grasslands Half Marathon

The Grasslands Half Marathon is located on the grounds of the LBJ National Grasslands in Alvord, TX. The city is about 45 minutes north of Fort Worth.  I have heard about this race for about two years but did not think I could run a half marathon until last year.  I liked the location and the race director is a good person so I signed up for the Rockledge Rumble.  Yes that is a different race but the same race director. Rockledge Rumble was cancelled because the trail was several feet under water, so I transferred my registration to the Grasslands Half Marathon.  We still had rain days before this race but the trails held up very well. There were a few muddy spots in the low lying areas but overall they were in good shape.  The trails were fairly wide but some single track.  The trails also were made of compact sand for many miles which was different to run on .  I was using this race to train for my upcoming 50K just like Rockledge suppose to be for also. I wanted to hold a slow and steady pace but finish under three hours. My first half marathon I worked hard to get under three hours.  This time around it was quite easy and my running partner and I had to slow down several times because we were going too fast. I finished in 2:57 and change but I felt great.  I was not tired and I felt like I could run it again faster. The weather was perfect.  Sunny skies with the temperatures staying in the low 40s to mid 60s. Plus who can argue with beer and BBQ at the finish.FB_IMG_1552768414726.jpgFB_IMG_1552768427092.jpgFB_IMG_1552768450001.jpg20190316_080355.jpg20190316_080325.jpg

It was a good day of running and next up is crossing the state line for some fun in Louisiana.

Eagle Mountain Lake Park

I actually was here before I was at Grasslands. The park is located on the far north west side of Fort Worth. I have hiked here before but this time I did every mile of the trails. I also found out the deer here will only move when they want to not when I want them to move. I hiked to the highest point of the park and got a good view of the lake. Last time I did not go past this area. The trails always seem nice and even with plenty of rain recently the trails held up well. The park has some good elevation changes and a couple are quite technical. The park is basically broken up in two sections and I got to hike the other side which lead me to the boat docks. The hike was around 10 miles so it was a good day.20190223_094956.jpg20190223_095102.jpgcaRMtN_8WTXs5wJ-Ln7xOG09RQ_-t4DJikgv_fqv5pc-2048x1152.jpgnZz3Q4rK0JEuc9eGPUo00Y4jsuuyHwFP6FjWlbN3ZGA-2048x1152.jpgTj_twFrYo5QjC5Z7BlEUtnjtDi0gC1tPTzJIZoPgUUY-2048x1152.jpg

From hazy to sunny this was a nice hike and also did some trail running also. Next up is my second half marathon. It happens to be at Grasslands and a warm up for my second 50K.

LBJ National Grasslands

LBJ National Grasslands is located in Alvord, TX which is about an hour north west of Fort Worth. I was out here because I was doing a half marathon. I liked that I got a chance to roam around and see other parts of the grasslands not just the parts on the course. It seems to be mainly used as a horse trail. I could see myself easily getting lost if it was not for the race trail markers. If you like prairie lands and rolling hills, this is the perfect place. It is also in the middle of nowhere so I am guessing the nights are awesome when it is clear. There are no grandiose views anything particularly special about this place but it is so peaceful and tranquil. It grabbed my attention and I do not really know why. FB_IMG_1552768404538.jpgFB_IMG_1552768400800.jpgFB_IMG_1552768424168.jpgFB_IMG_1552768417548.jpgFB_IMG_1552768420278.jpg

Since they do allow overnight camping, this would be a great getaway spot to do some stargazing on a warm Texas night.

Next up back to Eagle Mountain.

Lake Brownwood State Park

Lake Brownwood State Park is located in Brownwood, TX which is about three hours south west of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. I was looking forward to this park for no particular reason. It was good park to hike. The trails had a bunch of elevation change. There were some narrow trails surrounded high rock formations. The were some beach views but I did not do a lake trail hike. The views of the lake were interesting from the different angles and cliff edges. The day was hot and very sunny. I appreciate blue sky hikes. The contrasting blues coming together on the water and in the sky. I ended up getting close to three miles of good trail hiking. DSC01227.JPGDSC01224.JPGDSC01216.JPGDSC01208.JPGDSC01206.JPG

This was hike 36 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I had a good time on this hike. The people I met on this hike were great. The next hike was at a park that I have run more than hiked. I will finally hike the other part of the park.

Best Hikes of 2018 So Far

My last blog and this blog have both been rehash blogs for a good reason. I had plans to visit several west Texas state parks this summer but I have sustained an injury that is aggravated when sitting for a long time. My travel has been limited to just about nowhere. Hopefully, I will be back at 100% by August. I have gotten in a bunch of hikes this year so I will list the best.

10. Quanah Hill-This is a cool little park located in Weatherford, TX. Nice trails with lots of elevation change and clean.DSC00261.JPG

9. Eagle Mountain Park-Located on the northwest side of Fort Worth. This park is just a nice nature park to hike.DSC00033.JPG

8. Eisenhower State Park-A surprisingly good trail system at a park located in Denison, TX. The beaches and cliffs were great.DSC00283.JPG

7. Mount Nebo SP-Located in Dardanelle, AR, this was a surprisingly neat park. The summit trail around the top is a must.20180511_181132.jpg

6. Chickasaw National Recreational Area-Located in Sulphur, OK, this park is all about waterfalls. I love me some waterfalls.DSC00384.JPG

5. Bastrop SP-Located in Bastrop, TX, this was a park I have wanted to go to for a longtime. Although it was foggy he park did not disappoint.DSC00668.JPG

4. Petit Jean SP-Located in Morrilton, AR, this was another must see park for me that lived up to all the hype.20180513_075502.jpg

3. Enchanted Rock SP-I returned to this park for the third time. I got to finish the park and it was as good as the first two trips.DSC00568.JPG

2. Caprock Canyon SP-My second visit to this park located in Quitaque, TX. Even fog could not ruin the colors of this beautiful canyon.20180421_090844.jpg

1. Mount Magazine SP-This state park has the highest point in Arkansas as its peak. Located in Paris, AR, it has some great cliff views.20180512_092318.jpg

This was a hard list to create and I think I left off a good hikes at Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin and Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano. I have at least five never been before hikes planned in the fall so this list might change by the end of the year.