In 2018, I completed a race at every possible distance from 5K to 50K. I also hiked some of the most scenic places I have ever seen. So what am going to do to top 2018? I dug deep into my imagination and found some crazy places. I am heading back down to the Texas Hill country to hike a park I have never been to yet. I am headed back to Arkansas to hike another mountain but this time from the more difficult side. I have a race in east Texas that took my legs last year. I signed up up for to prove to myself I can beat this course. I will once again will run the Huaco Cuatro Series in Waco, TX but this time I am going to try to get my times much lower. I am doing this all in the first two months of 2019. I want to get back to Oklahoma in March and also a second possible 50K in Kansas. I will get my mini travel camper in April so I can travel in style. My big hikes this year will be to hike to the highest points in Arkansas (I have already done it once), Oklahoma and Texas. My big run this year will be to buckle up with a 100K also in Kansas. I am looking forward to getting out and running and hiking all around America.
This year I hiked 50 new trails in 45 new places. I was doing the 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series which is to hike 52 new places in 12 months. I did not get to 52 new trails but the 50 new trails were worth the travel. I found some local city parks and many state parks. I ventured into two other states besides Texas. I liked the hikes in Arkansas and Oklahoma and already have plans to return to both states. I also had some first in my trail running. I did my first 1/2 Marathon, 20K, 25K and 50K all on trails. 2018 was an awesome year to be outside.
Mount Magazine 20K
Wild Hare 50K
Mount Nebo, Arkansas
Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Oklahoma
2018 was an incredible year and my plans for 2019 are even more adventurous.
The Sutton Urban Wilderness Area is a nice bit of nature in the middle of the city. It is located in Norman. OK which is fifteen minutes south of Oklahoma City. The trail is flat with a few off shoot trails that have elevation change. The trail is a two mile loop around a small lake. It was a nice peaceful hike. I liked the trees and the water mix but also the open fields. The flat trail made it a speedy four mile trail run. I had to cut both the hike and run short due to the incoming storm. This was Hike 41 of my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series. I like the different parts of Oklahoma. I have been to both east and west Oklahoma and now central Oklahoma.
The next blog is going to be back at a trail race. I am building up some trail mileage in preparation for my 50K.
I have been asked the same question over and over again lately. What has been your favorite race so far in 2018? I was thinking that this list is going to be the same as my most difficult races of the year. The list is the same except for one race. The most difficult race did not make my favorite race list. I decided to do the most difficult list and wait on my favorite list. So far this year I have done every race distance I have wanted to do except one. My 50K is this weekend and then I have a couple more races planned to end the year with 25 races. I have done a 5K, 5 miler/8K, 10K, 15K, 20K, 25K and a 1/2 Marathon all on trails. I have done races in freezing weather and snow. I have done races in unbearable heat and humidity and pouring rain. The views from some of these courses have been absolutely breathtaking. All the races and training has been leading up to this weekend’s 50K. The following 10 races as difficult as they were are going to make this weekend easier but not easy.
10. The Wild Canyon Ultra 10K in Caprock Canyon State Park-The rain made the course wet and slick. The course was hilly and rugged but manageable to run. The views were by far the most impressive.
9. Rugged and Raw 10K at the Cedar Ridge Preserve-The preserve is my training ground and I am there about 3 times a week. A race here is just different. The trails are difficult on a normal day but this was a particularly warm and humid day.
8. Rough Creek 10K at Rough Creek Lodge in Glen Rose, TX-This race is well known for the Rusty Crown. It is a torcherous uphill that is a definite leg killer. If that is not bad enough a steep downhill that tends to sends running crashing to the ground.
7. Down N Dirty 8K at Cameron Park-I ran this race last year not knowing how hilly the course was going to be. I was not surprised this year and it still kicked my butt. The last climb after the 5 mile mark is the one that gets me.
6. Cross Timbers 5 Miler off of Lake Texoma-The rain made this course a muddy mess. This is one of the more technical courses but with the pouring rain it was down right impossible to run. The views were nice when the sun finally came out but it was a beatdown of a race.
5. DanMan 1/2 Marathon in Oklahoma-I wanted to get this distance done this year and nothing was going to stop me. I ran in freezing temperatures, rain, snow and mud. I finished and was ten minutes ahead of my predicted time. The course was not too tough but the elements made it a doozy. I only got half of the elevation profile.
4. Ragnar Trail Relay in Comfort, TX-The three courses were difficult but once again rain was what made this a difficult race. The 7.5 and 3 mile courses were not too bad but the 5 mile course was treacherous. It was by far the most technical and I had to run it night with bad lighting.
3. Chupacabra 15K at Cameron Park-This is another race at Cameron Park but the start/finish is at the bottom. The course is relentless. It is always going up or down or a switchback. There is not a straight or level part on the entire course. It slowly wears a runner down.
2. Mount Magazine in Arkansas-They lure you in with a free race then you realize it is a trap. The heat and humidity were way too high for that early in the morning. The course was probably the most beautiful and dangerous. The cliffs are unforgiving and the climbs last for miles.
- Pineywoods Ultra 25K at Tyler State Park-I did not think I was going to finish this race. Another rain soaked race with high humidity and muddy trails. The distance was the longest race to date but I fell apart well before the finish. My legs gave out and I finished, barely. The race was not that technical or difficult but it was just one of those races where nothing went right.
The biggest factor in making these races difficult besides the elevation changes was the the muddy courses and high humid temperatures. The good thing is that these races make me prepared for anything. I like the weather prediction for the 50K. It is supposed to be sunny and dry with a temperature range between 46 and 62. Hopefully the 50K will not make this list but the list of one my favorite races of the year.
See ya on the trails.
Lake Thunderbird State Park is located in Midwest City, OK which is just southeast of Oklahoma City. I did not know if I would be able to get a hike in due to all the rain. The rain held off and I got to hike and run about nine and a half miles. The views of the lake were nice but all the wildlife was the highlight. There were deer and other woodland creatures all over the place. The trails were not marked as well as I would like but most trails I have been on in Oklahoma are not marked well. There were some elevation change but not too steep or long. The trails were very runnable. The were some muddy spots but the trails held up really well.
The fall colors were a nice surprise. The different trees and grasses were fun to see. This was hike 40 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.
Next hike is down the road in Norman, OK.
Oxley Nature Trails are located at Mohawk Park in Tulsa, OK. I had this hike as my third Tulsa hike destination and only if I had time. My second hiking spot was closed for the day so I decided to head here and see what it had to offer. I usually do not like flat hikes especially those in flood plains after the rains. I really liked this place. The trails and views were very surprising. I spent more time here than I thought I was going to spend. I would have hiked the entire place but the whole rain in the flood plain area washed out some areas. I got to see some marsh areas and a crane up close and too personal. The lookout tower was nice. The trails also had some very cool bridges that were just above water level. The different plants really caught my eye. I was never bored even though there was nothing spectacular. The entire place was something different to see in general.
The bonus of this hike was the people who worked in the nature center were awesome and very nice and helpful. This was hike 39 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer Series.
Next up is seven weekends of trail running. I hope the rain lightens up. I do not like trail running in the rain.
Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness is located in Tulsa, OK. I wanted to do this hike to see what it would be like during the half marathon in December. The trail was very nice with some very steep inclines but none really long. The trails had some good views of the city. I like to see more nature views but the city views were not too bad. Plus the city looked much better from the top of the trails. I got there early enough to have the trail to myself for awhile but this is a popular trail so it filled up quickly. There is nothing that really stuck out about the trail but it was a nice hike.
This was a nice piece of tranquility in the middle of an urban environment. The was hike 38 in my 52 Hike Challenge Explorer series. Next blog I will continue my Tulsa hiking tour.