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.

Inks Lake State Park Again

I am back at Inks Lake State Park.  I have one more trail here to hike and I would have hiked the entire park.  I hiked Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail and that was it.  This is one of my favorite trails now.  The trail travels along the banks and cliffs overlooking Inks Lake.  The lake level was the lowest I have ever seen and the waterfall was dry.  I still enjoyed this trail and also seeing some people cliff diving into the lake.

The hike was peaceful and not many people on the trail.  Most of the people were in the lake because it was another hot day in central Texas.  I found different ways to get up and down the rock formations.  I was trying to find the correct angles to get some good pictures.  The only drawback was once again no Milky Way picture.  The rest of the time was great.20190723_182210.jpgTrying to get all the colors of the park20190723_182714.jpgI love the way the rocks enter in the lake20190723_183417.jpgThe cliff jumping area20190723_191134.jpgLake level view20190723_182327.jpgBalancing rock20190723_181455.jpgWhere the waterfall use to be.

Another wonderful time at Inks Lake.

Caprock Canyon State Park Eagle Point Trail

I was back for the third time at Caprock Canyon State Park.  I wanted to hike two different trails that I did not get to the first time I was here.  First, Eagle Point Trail is a two mile out and back trail that goes to the natural tunnel and bridge.

I got on the trail later than expected due to the 100+ degree temperature.  The temperature never went down too much but it was a dry desert heat.  Hiking here was much different than hiking in the hill country which was very humid.  Although the temperature was hotter in the panhandle of Texas, I did not sweat as much as I did in the south of Texas.  The trails were not occupied by people but the bison rerouted me twice. I started down Eagle Point Trail and about a half mile in a bison was camped out around one of the corners.  I decided that the bison could have the trail and back tracked to the trailhead. 20190717_190525.jpgMy friend peeking around the corner.

I started my second attempt on the trail from the other trailhead.  The views were impressive as usual.  This place is so large that you could hike for days and see something different each day.  20190717_192700.jpgStart of the other trailhead.20190717_192845.jpgHere I go again.20190717_193352.jpgThe natural bridge and tunnel area with my shadow.20190717_200557.jpgSun setting in the canyon20190717_201509.jpgFavorite picture of the day20190717_203358.jpgI am in a ditch trying to avoid another bison.  I was a half mile from the trailhead again.20190717_190050.jpgFirst time seeing a horned toad this big.

I miss this park already.

Garner State Park Nature Trail

This is a short simple flat trail I hiked because of some time constraints.  I wanted to do a different trail here but the Old Baldy hike took longer than expected.  I decided to do this short loop trail to check out another part of the park.  This is a good starter trail for those just starting off hiking.  The trail had plenty to see to keep it interesting and no real elevation change.  The trail has plenty of signage telling you what you are seeing.  It was a good hike for myself to get my legs back from the high hill hikes the previous days.20190708_100744.jpgStraight and flat20190708_100137.jpgThis tree section caught my eye20190708_095917.jpgLots of green also20190708_100739.jpgA little of everything

Six more summer hikes.

A change of direction

I started this blog as a hiking blog.  The first posts were strictly about hiking but the blog has evolved into hiking and trail running.  The blog has gone back and forth between both activities.  This summer I did much more hiking than usual because I wanted to get out in my camper.  I have one more trip planned then my blog will have a change of direction. My blog direction change will come after I finish blogging about my summer hikes and after my first tune up race in August.  My blog will primarily be about me training for my first 100K.  dsc00263

I have 14 weeks till my first 100K.  I have done a lot of trail running but nothing like this distance.  I do not train like most trail runners i.e. find a tried and true program per a coach.  I run as much as a can and listen to my body.    I do not particularly like long runs so I do races in place of a weekly long run.  I have set up a race schedule that will hopefully get to the point where I can finish a 100K.  I have a midday 30K in August to start and find a baseline.  I have four half marathons also on my race schedule.  I will rerun a 25K that physically and mentally broke me down last year.  Plus for a bonus run I will do my third 50K.

cb75d96f006c66550d1dc0590be294d0.pngMy 100K race.

Garner State Park Old Baldy Trail

The first time I was Garner State Park I did not get a chance to hike this trail.  I have hiked some pretty tough trails in the Texas hill country but this one was one of the toughest.  It is only about a half mile to the top but it is a 300 foot incline the entire way.  You get little to no break the entire hike.  It is not too long but on average you get 600 feet of elevation gain per mile.  For reference, to hike to Guadalupe Peak, highest point in Texas, you would get 375 feet of elevation gain per mile.  It is steep.  The trail is partially single track plus some bouldering and loose gravel.  I loved the trail and got the pictures that I wanted.  I once again hiked midweek but I decided to start early trying to get multiple hikes at the park.  The top already had several people up there relaxing and taking pictures.  I met some nice people on the way up and they were going to some hidden caves in the park.  I did not have time to go but I have taken a mental map for the location.  20190708_085743.jpgView from the top20190708_090047.jpgAnother view from the top, the water is so clear you can see the bottom of the river20190708_090326.jpgTrail near the top20190708_085558.jpgHalfway there and feeling the burn20190708_084413.jpgAt the beginning20190708_092004.jpgWhat a way to start

I cannot wait to get back and finish some other trails at Garner State Park.

Spicewood Springs Colorado Bend State Park

I got back to Colorado Bend State Park and it was much overdue.  I hiked the Spicewood Springs area of the park.  I hiked down Spicewood Springs and up Spicewood Canyon trails and it was five miles of leg busting beauty.  My first trip I did Gorman Falls and that area but I wanted to do the other side of the park this time.

It was the usual hot and humid Texas summer weather.  I got to hike it with little to people because I was out there midweek and midday.  I can say I did not get lost but just misdirected two or three times.  Hiking these trails counter clockwise was not a good idea.  I hit all the steep hills on the back half of the hike and the gradual downhills at the beginning.

I wanted to do this section for the waterfalls and the crystal clear pools of water and it did not disappoint.  The views were breathtaking and it is hard to put in words all the combinations of sights and sounds.  20190628_101624.jpgA view from the top of the first big waterfall20190628_102138.jpgClear water pool from the waterfall20190628_104001.jpgOver the ledge view of another waterfall and clear water20190628_104347.jpgTwin waterfall20190628_104444.jpgAnother set of twin waterfalls and more clear water20190628_104720.jpgClear swimming hole 20190628_110209.jpgFinal view from the top

The Texas Hill country is the place to be this summer.