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.

Piney Woods Ultra 25K 2019 Edition

Let me rehash a bit about the race.  I ran this race last year in preparation for my first 50K.  The race kicked my butt and I almost quit running.  I had such a tough time finishing last year and it was not fun suffering on the course.  I barely finished and a month later finished my first 50K in bad shape but better that Piney Woods.FB_IMG_1569102849942.jpg

Fast forward to this year’s race.   I did not die or feel dead and I finished. I actually finished 50 minutes faster this year than last year and still could not find the finish line without help.  Thanks to the volunteer or I would still be looking for the finish 5 feet away.  We did not have the torrential rains from so that helped out a bunch.FB_IMG_1569102863581.jpg

I am guessing the course was the same as last year but the aid stations seemed to be in different places.  I could be wrong.  The hills seemed longer and also more of them on the course.  The weather was better even with the high humidity.  As usual the trees provided plenty of shade early but had a greenhouse effect as the temperature rose. There was little to no breeze all morning.  Did I mention more hills?  It was about 1500 feet of elevation gain over the 25K.  The roots were also a bit bigger this year but the rocks stayed the same.  The course for the 25K was two loops of 7.75 miles.  I know I ran the same loop twice but the second loop seemed to have more downhills.  Also the second loop seemed to be the faster loop although I was about 10 minutes slower.FB_IMG_1569102859970.jpg

I would consider this a successful race even though I was about 20 minutes slower than my predicted time.  I had plenty of help from the great volunteers and others I talked to on the course.  I would like to apologize to all the people I met in previous races and said “hey you ran in … race remember me?” I say yes but I really don’t, I am terrible with remembering people while running during a race. I will remember the couple from Wisconsin and my campsite neighbors in the mini camper.  They were very nice people I talked to before, during and after the race. FB_IMG_1569102856288.jpg

I like getting to run with fun people at fun places.FB_IMG_1569120070338.jpgThe peopleFB_IMG_1569120053311.jpgThe place

This race was once again a prep race race for a 50K.  This time it was a week before not a month.  I am off to Kansas to do their oldest and hilliest trail 50K.

What the heck just happened? #DNF

I am still wrapping my mind around this race and what could have been.  The Habanero Hundred and in my case the Habanero 30K or my DNF 20K.  It was a case of doing everything right but one little change of my routine and that was it.  I heat trained for weeks and had good nutrition and hydration the week leading up to the race.  I was ready for the worse that the Houston area heat and humidity had to offer.  I was ready for the course with its sand and no shade.  I was ready to conquer the hottest race in Texas. Did a mention a change in my routine.FB_IMG_1566174670394.jpgPre race group photo and my shirt is already drenched

Since I have been training in the middle of the day all summer, the noon start time did not throw me off as it did some runners.  Instead of drinking from individual water bottles, I decided to go with a gallon jug of enhanced water.  I usually do not drink enhanced water because I get my electrolytes from SOS powder mixed in spring water.  I still used the SOS powder but I thought I needed this enhanced water due to the nature of a midday start of the race.  I was told how hard the race can be if you are not properly  prepared.  The temperature reaches triple digits and no shade.  The sand makes it even hotter and tender feet.  I had all of these thoughts going through my mind while training for this race.  I knew I was prepared and slightly confident.  Did I mention a change in my routine.FB_IMG_1566174677365.jpgThe most shade on the course.

On the four hour drive down to the race I was drinking plenty of enhanced water so I would be hydrated before running in the heat.  I got to the race with three hours to spare before the race start.  I set up my camper and met up with the DDR crew and I was sweating a ton.  I drank more enhanced water because I did not want to be dehydrated before I even hit the starting line.  I have now finish off a half gallon of enhanced water.  I never even checked what enhanced water was or what is in it.  Hence the change in my routine, I never drink enhanced water.68806151_10103722227208884_2417079402299916288_o.jpgMe being the tallest and darkest at the start

My race should have consisted of three 10K loops and a smile and medal at the end.  My race actually consisted of two 10K loops and feeling like death.  I was flying the first loop and finished it feeling good and about ten minutes ahead of my predicted pace.  I even did a little dance at the end of the loop that made the volunteers laugh.  I hadn’t taken in any food but that is usual for me.  I had been icing myself at every aid station and felt good. It was the feeling of the beginning of the end.FB_IMG_1566174695823.jpgStill looking for shade

The second loop started like the first loop. Since the trail was not technical it was easy to get into a rhythm with only the sand being a constant obstacle.  I got past the first batch of sand and realized I had stopped sweating.  I had gotten iced down at the aid station and refilled my bottles with enhanced water. I thought maybe I just over iced and started drinking more water.  By the time I got to the midway aid station, I was sweating again and feeling good.  The feeling last about five minutes.  It felt like a bomb went off in my stomach.  I was releasing so much gas and it was awful.  I am sorry for all of those running behind me.  I could not stop.  The end was near.  My stomach was killing me.  Everything else felt good and I was showing no signs of heat exhaustion.  I had no idea what just happened in my stomach.  I tried walking and it was painful and running made it worse.  My legs felt good and my mind was clear.  No dizziness or nausea, I actually felt good except for my stomach.69388451_2473859359515349_8782063932442411008_o.jpgI look soooo defeated at this point.

I got to the start/finish aid station and called it quits.  I could hardly walk at this time.  I ate some peanut butter pretzels and my stomach immediately rejected it.  I hate public restrooms and especially port a pots.  I used the same one 20+ times the next eight hours.  I once again apologize for those who had to go in after me.  I had an awful sleep but woke up feeling better.  I learned a very important lesson the next day.  There is a mineral called magnesium.  It makes you POOP and too much gives you diarrhea and guess who drank almost a gallon of water enhanced with magnesium citrate.  Yours truly.  The one change in my routine killed me.  The leftover water it still sitting in my refrigerator.  I will eventually drink the rest but not anytime soon.  It is a reminder of my self imposed colonoscopy.FB_IMG_1566176452008.jpgBack to drinking regular water and I didn’t die like Kenny. Just kidding he survived.

A huge shout out to two fellow bloggers @thedancingrunner and @pkadams for both crushing there 50Ks.  They are an inspiration to me and true badasses.

Longhorn Cavern State Park

I have hiked many different types of places this summer.  I hiked canyons, mountains, rivers and lakes.  I did not actually hike in rivers and lakes but you know what I mean.  I finally got around to caverns.  I have driven past this park many times but never thought of going to check it out.  Now was the perfect time with 100 degree temperatures outside and the caves keep a constant 68 degrees.  The park is located in Burnet, Tx and is five minutes away from Inks Lake State Park.

I started my hike by doing the trail that is outside.  The park has a flat short trail that overlooks the hill country.  The goes past a CCC observation tower and cabin.  The trail has one really nice view of the hill country and the dam.  The hike was quick and only about a mile or so long.20190724_081507.jpgLooking over the hill country20190724_091513.jpgThe observation tower20190724_091704.jpgThe cabin

The second part of the hike was in the caverns.  These were a different looking of caverns than I thought they would look like.  Most caverns are filled stalagmites and stalactites but there only on section like this.  They tour was nice and I saw plenty of half dollar sized bats.  The history of the caverns was nice to hear.  I have never tried taking pictures in caverns and most of them did not come out.  It was more difficult than I thought.  I could not get the camera to focus.  The hike lasted an hour and a but was only two miles long.  The pace was a bit slow for my taste but I had a wonderful time.20190724_100209.jpgNo really but a nice sign20190724_100720.jpgStairs leading to the caverns20190724_101629.jpgOne of the better pictures20190724_102248.jpgTrying to get the length of the caverns20190724_103953.jpgThe ceiling20190724_105826.jpgSurreal picture20190724_111122.jpgThe little bat

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 Canyon Rim Trail

This trail was within walking distance of my campsite and although it is not a very long or a difficult trail the views were amazing.  I walked passed the prairie dog area and there was the trailhead.  I got out early in the morning and was the only one on the trail.  The temperature was relatively cool but the horseflies were driving me nuts.  The trail followed the rim of a small part of the canyon, hence the name.  The canyon colors were on full display and the depth of the canyon was easily seen up close and personal.

The trail is a loop so I started on the prairie side of the trail and finished with the canyon rim side on the way back.  The prairie side had great views of the other side of the park with the colorful vistas.  The rim side of the trail overlooks the canyon.20190718_075657.jpgThe prairie side of the trail with red rock in the background20190718_075702.jpgThe white rock background off of the prairie side20190718_080920.jpgI like the mix of colors20190718_083300.jpgTrying to get the depth of the canyon20190718_083546.jpgLooking down at the canyons layers20190718_092404.jpgFinally got a picture of the entrance on the way out.

Bonus pictures20190718_081232.jpg20190718_084714.jpg

Running and more Running

Training in the heat is going better than I thought it would go.  I got 175 miles in July.  The total miles surpassed my best month by over 20 miles.  I am slowly building up my mileage per run also getting several 7-10 mile runs.  I still do not like long runs.  I am not fast so long runs take up a bunch of time.  I do, time on my feet runs, which last from two and half to three hours.

My races this month include Habanero 30K and Six-0 Ranch Half Marathon.  They will be my long runs and to see where my fitness is at by the end of the month.  My previous hip injury has been nagging a bit but nothing major.  My knees are feeling good.  I am surprised because I am running six to eight days in a row.

I am going to start to incorporate gym workouts twice a week to build core strength.  My weight is down to 253 and I want to be around 235 by the time I run my 100K.  I should be able to lose 18 pounds in 12 weeks but it is going to be tough. Back to the heat and hills.