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.

Pedernales Falls SP Pedernales Falls Trail

I am back at Pedernales Falls Trail and this time I went further upstream.  Just to get this out of the way, I got lost on the way back and had to follow the horse trail to the main road.  I used a compass to go in the right direction and from the main road I hiked back to the parking lot and trailhead.

The falls were flowing with more intensity than the last time I was here.  I decided to go to the obvious picturesque spots then headed up the river.  I was happy that there were few people out today and got all the pictures I wanted.  It was a midday day middle of the week hike so I did not expect to see many people.  As most know I love waterfalls and I just kept following them further up the river.  I would have kept going but the sound of thunder and a cool breeze with darkened clouds cut my hike short.  It did not rain but this area is prone to flash floods and the river rises fast.  I did get to parts of the park I had been to before and it was a great hike.  The park gets better every time I am here and it did not disappoint.  20190627_170801.jpgMy favorite picture of the day20190627_171544.jpgFour armadillos20190627_172334.jpgTrying out new settings on my camera phone20190627_172817.jpgMy favorite beach spot20190627_180044.jpgSky was changing20190627_180744.jpgClear water and darkening clouds

I have one more day in the Texas hill country before returning home. I visit another park I have to but a different park.

Frisco Trail Race 15K

One of my last two races before a seven week race break.  This race was held in Frisco, TX and will be the last race at the Northeast Community park.  In the fall the park will be a golf course.  I am not a golfer so I think it is a waste of space.  The trails are nice and not too technical.  The main use of the park is as a mountain bike trail and green space.  This is also a race in which I chose the longest distance offered.  I usually do a shorter distance but I wanted to test myself to see if I could not come in last.

The race started at 6:45 in the morning so the temperature was not too bad but the humidity was still quite high.  We were lucky that most of the time at the race we had mostly cloudy overcast.  It was good because there was little tree cover on the course.  I started in the back like I always do but immediately moved passed a few people. I found a good pace group and stayed with them for a few miles.  It was a group of five and the lead runner was Amber.  I did not get the names of the other runners.

About 3 miles later it was just Amber and I.  We picked up two more runners but they also dropped off the back.  Amber said she was keeping a 13 minute mile pace but was actually going about 11 minute mile pace.  We ran together to about the seven mile mark and she said she was going to pick up the pace to the end.  I wished her luck and thanked her for pacing.  I could not keep up.

At about little over a mile to go the 15K and 10K courses merge.  I got into another group of five to get to the finish line.  This group ran at a random pace going fast than walking and passing each other every few minutes.  I kept a steady pace and then in the last half mile or so just took off.  I passed the 10K runners and dropped the entire group and finished quite fast for my speed.  I had a very good time for myself at a 1:48:49 15K.  I felt good afterwards and finished right before the clouds vanished and the sun was blaring.FB_IMG_1561296846669.jpgBack of the pack start20190624_231109.jpgAmber setting a fast paceFB_IMG_1561296790310.jpgThe aid station where I got dropped20190624_231329.jpgMe dropping some people before running solo.

This was suppose to be my last race but I signed up for a 10K just because.

Possums Revenge 17 Miler

I heard so many great things about running at Possum Kingdom Lake and this race in particular.  I just had to sign up and run.  I decided on the 17 miler which would give me one entire loop of the race.  I am glad I only did 17 miles because it was hot and humid.  The Texas weather has been very wet lately but also very humid but just in the last few weeks the heat has been turned up.  For many runners, this was there first hot race.  The rain has closed the trails and for those who do not road run they would have had limited running time in these conditions.  I was lucky enough to get run a 25K and a half marathon in last past few weeks.  I also have trails close by that rarely close since they drain really well.

I brought my sleeper camper to this race to stay at the state park but decided to stay at the start/finish line area instead.  I did not have electricity at the start/finish line so I had to make do with a cool breeze coming off the lake for my A/C.  We had a group of about 15 people stay in that location so good times were had by all the night before the race.

Even though the race start time was relatively early, it was already humid and warm.  The first 4 miles was uphill and sandy.  It was not an ideal start because both of those conditions take a toll on your legs.  The course had constant elevation changes so getting into a running rhythm was difficult.  Luckily about 4 and a half miles in there was a long flattish downhill section that lasted about a mile and a half.  I got into a good pace and felt fast and comfortable.  It was a trap.  It was the only part of the course that could be run like that and I went way too fast to early.  The first manned aid station was over 6 miles from the start. By the time I got there I was drenched with sweat.  I decided to go with a hand held instead of a vest.  I should have done a vest.  I got a refill and iced everything I could and started off down the trail.  The views I got until the next aid station were awesome.  The course turned extremely hilly and challenging but the views were worth it.

I got to the second aid station and stayed a bit longer and this time took in some food.  I re iced and refilled and headed off for the final six plus miles.  This section was not as difficult but I was exhausted.  I could not keep a decent pace and rarely found a running rhythm.  The hills were not as extreme but still plentiful.  There were also some nice prairie land sections which were flat but I could not get enough speed to make them fast.  I also took a nose dive in the section trying to swat at bugs flying around my head. I learned a lesson this day.  I cannot outrun bugs flying around my head and I can trip over nothing.  I get to the final aid station and I am absolutely spent.  I spend more time here than I should but get food, ice and refills.

I am on my way to the finish line knowing that the sand section is on its way.  I am so sweaty that the sand on my shoes look like mud.  I know that I am running downhill but it does not feel that way.  I am really tired so now I am walking a bunch.  I only start running again when I hear the noise at the finish line.  The sand ends and I get to the road and the short but very nice downhill finish.

It was a tough race made tougher by the heat and humidity.  I think the aid stations were spread out to far.  I ran out of liquids twice.  Overall a great course ran by a great company. Trail Racing Over Texas(TROT).20190525_065635.jpgFB_IMG_1558824502018.jpgFB_IMG_1558824509178.jpgFB_IMG_1558824515764.jpgFB_IMG_1558824552096.jpgFB_IMG_1558824533779.jpg

One more race till I take a two month break and stick to training for the 100K.

Coyote Run 25K

We finally got some good weather in the DFW area.  The temperatures have been in the 80s with the rain diminishing.  I headed down to Cleburne State Park for another 25K.  My first 25K did not turn out well but I finished.  I can say the same for this 25K.  I have run two 50Ks and some other longer runs since my first 25K so the distance should not have been a problem. The run was actually 17.4 miles so I got a bonus two miles and I did not even get lost.

The shuttle to the race was not a good start.  We were crammed in a cargo van sitting on the floor.  I am tall and not that flexible so the ride was hard on my knees and legs.  After the packet pick up I was ready to go. The run consisted of two loops of what was posted as 8.33 miles a piece.  The first loop could easily break the spirit of a runner not use to the rocky hilly terrain.  The aid stations were place at the start/ finish and the half way point of the loop.  I knew things were bad when right before the first aid station at the first loop when a runner doubled over and stumbled off the trail.  I got to the aid station and sent a volunteer back to check on him.  I later saw him finish his first and only loop.  The course had plenty of short steep hills that were tough and valleys that did not seem to bad.  There was one water crossing that got my feet wet which I do not like and one I jumped over.  I finished the first loop in just over two hours.  I got some runner food at the aid station.  Talked to my sister and got updates on some other runners in the running club I run with.  One runner had already dropped out and another was not looking good trying to finish the 50 miler.

The second loop started with some Tylenol and a salt tablet.  My nutrition was holding up under what was now a sunny hot and humid day.  I got to the first water crossing and my feet did not dry as fast as they did on the first loop.  I got to the midpoint aid station and my feet were hurting but is was not too bad.  I learned a lesson from my previous races and filled my water bladder.  I did this for two reasons.   First, it already had a mix of electrolytes in it and secondly I ran out of water on my last long trail race.  I was feeling fairly good when I got to the second water crossing.  This time I took my time and made sure I could make the jump.  This is the part of the course that is the toughest.  I made it up the first short steep hill but I struggled.  The second steep hill was longer and that did me in.  I could not get back up to speed.  I was just walked and walked.  I could not even run the douwhills due to the technical nature of the trail.  The downhills were also steep with switchbacks, rocks and roots.  For me, the added danger was low hanging branches and leaning trees.  I finally made it to the last climb and it caused me to stop twice.  I was now starting to pass people that looked worse off than me.  I also caught up to a running buddy.  Ahmed and I ended finishing the race together but it was painful.  We now got to the rolling valleys section.  The valleys were not as steep but they seemed ten times more difficult now.  We were able to run down into the valley but getting out got more and more difficult.  We got to the end and wanted to have a fast finish and mistimed our run.  We ran out of gas and had to restart our sprint finish. FB_IMG_1556412667949.jpgThe top of one those fun hills.FB_IMG_1556412757304.jpgThe beauty of the course.FB_IMG_1556412736664.jpgThe tree rock and root section.FB_IMG_1556412708458.jpgThe section before the jump across.FB_IMG_1556892200023.jpgFeeling good on the first loop.received_694717837597810.jpegAhmed and I on our sprint finish.received_668647996925470.jpegWe did it.

I can easily say that was the toughest race I have ever run.  The heat and humidity took a toll on many runners and the DNF percentage was higher than usual.  My toes were bloodied and I broke three toenails.  I survived and had fun.

The rain has closed most of the trails so my Arkansas race is a no go and so is hiking but I have a special blog next.