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.

Cross Country Run 5 Miler

I was back at Cameron Park for another wonderful rough day in the hills of Waco. I actually won this time. I did not win the race or my gender or my age group. I beat the course. I ran a smooth 1:11:21 which is a victory. I dropped ten minutes off my time from last year and beat my predicted time by four minutes. I felt good the entire time and finished strong. I also paced, not purposely, two second place finishers in the women’s age group. They said I set a steady pace and was easy to follow. They were very happy to place in there age group and I was happy to have company for most of the race. I ended up 5th in my age group but very happy with my time. I like that every time I do a Waco Striders Trail race I feel good afterwards. My ankle held up well going up and down the hills. I used a new shoe and sock combination that worked really well. I think I will continue to wear the ALTRAs and compression socks for races. I am also liking the numbers I got the last two Cross Country races, last year was 777 and this year was 1. How I got bib #1 I will never know but it was fun wearing a low number.20190209_214150.jpg49468800_10155761159370894_741556709591351296_n.jpg50937046_2176471182396465_8961698689034747904_n.jpg51138331_2176471529063097_1542609372046163968_o.jpg52326628_2176670355725134_3774917997076938752_n.jpg

I am now in full preparation mode for my 50K. I have two races in between so hiking will be put on hold for awhile. I am currently building mileage and I am already running more miles weekly than I did prior to my first 50K. If I stay healthy and the weather cooperates I should be able to get through this unsupported 50K.

Government Canyon State Natural Area

Government Canyon SNA is located 10 minutes northwest of San Antonio. I was hoping it would be like Hill Country SNA which is about 45 minutes away. I was surprised that is was not really like Hill Country SNA. The area has been inundated with rain so parts of the park were not hikable. I did get to all of the possible overlooks and some were nice. There were some blocked views at others but overall not too bad. The trails were very rocky and I had issues with my ankle I had twisted a few days earlier. I did get 9 miles of peaceful hiking. The hike had some good elevation changes but nothing steep. They have several trail runs out there but I will not run them. I would return to see the rest of the park.  DSC01497.JPGDSC01493.JPGDSC01486.JPGDSC01476.JPG20190128_140006.jpg

This was a fun hike but I would like to see the rest of the park when they open the trails. Next up is a short trip to Arkansas. I hope the rains have not closed all of the trails. I might have to do some concrete trails.

Running the Rose 11 Miler

Last September I ran a 25K at Tyler State Park and it ended badly. My legs became useless after three hours and I missed my anticipated finish time by one and a half hours. So I signed up for another race here even though it is shorter. Once again Tyler State Park got the best of me, sort of. I twisted my ankle within the first two miles of the race. I have rolled my ankle many times running the trails. I never had the pain I went through this time. I was limping for the next half mile or so. The pain eventually came and went continuously throughout the next nine miles. I did finish and the win was that I was only three minutes slower than my predicted time. My time of 2:33 was not too bad considering the difficulty of the course and the twisted ankle. I am guessing due to the previous damage that has been done to this particular ankle, the ankle did not swell too much. The foot was bruised and swelled a little. The foot already had so many crazy injuries so seeing swelling is hard. The next two days it was my achilles on that leg was very sore. The race itself was put on by Trail Racing Over Texas and their races are always great. Plus having the support of the Dallas Dirt Runners is always fun. I also had time to conversate with runners from my friends from the south, Waco Striders and north North Texas Trail Runners. 50648334_10216219805595582_4482824509782491136_o.jpg50581455_10216219822916015_3464287502460780544_o.jpg50967373_2337459773155309_3937321177373999104_o.jpg50839919_2337459793155307_7125170144984170496_o.jpg50599281_10216219806795612_6972889158926729216_o.jpg

It was a fun race despite the injury. I have some other races I want to run that are put on by T.R.O.T. So returning to Tyler will be put on the back burner for awhile.

Next hike a hiking trip in the San Antonio area.

Trinity Groves Dallas, TX

I like running on all the trails I can find in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Being a trail runner and hiker, for that matter, is that weather sometimes determines how much outdoor time I can enjoy. The rain in 2018 was the second most in the area since they started recording rainfall. The most just happened to be 2015. The rain floods the trails and the they get closed for weeks at a time. I would usually trudge to the gym and get a workout there but I found with the help of my running buddies a great place to get some trail time. Trinity Groves on the west side of downtown Dallas. The trail is crushed gravel and drains really well, so running can be done even on raining days. The light from downtown Dallas keeps the trail lit fairly well, so I can run at night with or without a headlamp. I have been running here regularly but am anxious to get to some less urban trails. The trail is flat and fast but you can add hills when running down into the levee. This part gets flooded when it rains a bunch and the Trinity river rises and covers the lower trail. The is an out and back for the most part but you can run a 16 mile loop, so I heard. I particularly do not like out and back runs but when returning on this trail you get great views of downtown Dallas the entire time. The lights of the city keep the run interesting especially during any event. The buildings in the city will have a light show that correlates to the event. FB_IMG_1539225142284.jpg43098483_1956246097731987_6609849695248318464_o.jpg43053753_1956246164398647_7220257267763904512_o.jpg43110257_1956245897732007_6908378015701401600_o.jpg20181219_182051.jpg

The very distinctive bridge in the background is the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Next up is my first run of the year. I need some revenge at Tyler State Park.