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.

Oktoberfest Half Marathon

Can you say flat and fast. The course is a very flat rail trail. Just like last week it was on the NETT(Northeast Texas Trail). I did the far east Texas section last week and the northeast section this week. This part of the trail is really well taken care of. The trail is a mixture of crushed gravel and concrete. It had a some elevation gain but nothing to difficult. The trail was easy to run but it is a multi use trail. The multi use part is not always a great thing. It is used by runners, hikers, bikers and equestrian. The latter is the problem in more than one way. The horses poop on the trail and I guess the riders are not responsible for the poop like dog owners. Horse poop comes into play later in the recap.20191019_072640.jpg20191019_072453.jpg

The race started at 8 AM and the temperature was in the high 50s but quickly rose into the 70s. These temperatures are about 15-20 degrees higher than I like but they felt good. There was a light breeze the entire time. The first half was a tailwind and the turnaround change direction into a headwind. The trees did a decent job of blocking the wind without a greenhouse effect. As you can see this was not a point to point like last week, but an out and back. The aid stations were good but nothing special. I stopped at one to get some gatorade but as soon as I started to drink the volunteer said it was pickle juice. Too late, I had already taken it like a shot. Pickle juice is nasty by the way. The only other adventure in this race was a copperhead on the trail. I was running at a speedy pace and thought to myself more darn horse poop on the trail. I made the usual side step to avoid it but at the last moment I realized it was a small copperhead. I must of scared it because this was the first time a snake lounged at me. I was hoping National Geographics is correct by stating a human’s reflexes are faster than a snake’s. I do not know if this is always correct but it was in my case. Or maybe I just jumped higher and longer than the length of the snake. Funny thing is that I was so pumped up that the “snake” mile was the fastest mile I ran.20191019_072717.jpg20191019_072723.jpg

After the race, there were brats to eat and beer to drink.  They also had chips and cookies and some good music.  People stayed around to socialize more than usual but the race was a small race so not too many people.  The day was perfect for a festival type atmosphere.20191019_072900.jpg

This was supposed to be a double race recap but I did not put in an official loop at Dirt and Vert. I did run two loops at Sister Grove but Nikki and Michael took up my slack. I did try to get there as fast as I could run and drive. I set more personal best times but this time I felt good afterwards. No leg soreness and still ready to run. Plus this is the first time I finished in the top half of a race this long. Supposedly 80+ people ran the half and I was 37th and 3rd in my age group.

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Next up is the 100K.  I have done so much training for this race.  I miss hiking and I cannot wait to hit the trails at a walking place and get some good pictures.

Training with 3 weeks to go

I did not have a race last weekend.  I have two half marathons in the next two weekends.  Both are rail trail races, they mimic the look of the 100K .  I have really ramped up my running on relatively flat trails.  I have also started again with tire pulls.  The 22 pound tire really is a tough workout.  I have been doing hills with the tire and then small hills the next day.  The rest of the week I will go to Trinity Groves.43098483_1956246097731987_6609849695248318464_oTrinity Groves flat and fast

I will also throw in a bonus Sunday run on trails that are runnable but have some little hills.  I have also been trying not to run stupid but it not working out.  I still start way to fast and hang on to a finish.  11053274_609237285878608_3598116021927754336_n.jpg

The temperatures have dropped about 15 degrees and I have been running well.  I guess  all the summer heat training is paying off.  I did something earlier this week I have never done before.  I ended a run with negative splits.  The problem is that the pace was still too fast.  I was trying to do 13 minute miles for 10 miles.  I went out too fast and settled for 9 miles.72230048_2545707355452522_8606380047546187776_o.jpgNegative splits for 8 miles

I will try again for the 13 minute mile pace.  I have developed a race plan though.  I am going to try to do 13 minute miles for the first 31 miles.  The next 17 miles just try to hold that for as long as I can do it.  The last 14 miles I am going to drop the hammer and try not to go over 16 minute miles.  If all goes right and the temps stay low I might be able to get done in 14 hours.  If I have a good average race I should be able to finish in 15 hours.  If all else fails it is going to be a long day and a half.

 

Training is not so bad when beer is involved.

I did not have a training trail race this weekend, so I went to a brewery.  My training is going well, I think.  I really will not know until I finish the 50K in two weeks.  This upcoming week I have a 25K that almost retired me last year.  I am on pace to get 200 miles this month.  I have had some soreness in my hips and knee, so I trying to find out if I am going to far too soon.  A coach in my running group said I needed to take 48 hours off from running and give my body some rest.  It was hard after finding some new routes on different trails.  FB_IMG_1568332004900.jpgCrazy look on Big Cedar TrailFB_IMG_1568332022022.jpgRunning on Big Cedar trail and taking sharp turnsFB_IMG_1568332106336.jpgView of Joe Pool Lake from the trails of Cedar Hill State ParkFB_IMG_1568332116716.jpgWoodsy section of Cedar Hill SPFB_IMG_1568332101621.jpgPrairie part of Cedar Hill SPFB_IMG_1568332165232.jpgStill a forest in Cedar Hill SP

I decided to use my 48hrs off by going to a semi local brewery.  I really like this place after one visit.  The selection of beer is just enough to cover all the bases but not overwhelming.  The atmosphere was laid back but enough noise to be interesting.  I, of course, got the hefeweizen and it was fantastic. My favorite was the John Hancock Lager.  It is a dark and smooth lager that was very drinkable.  They also had a small BBQ stand inside the biergarten which was nice.  They had board games and plenty of TVs so we were thoroughly entertained for hours.20190914_172007.jpgOutside20190914_172903.jpgInside20190914_172854.jpgMy first flight20190914_180514.jpgBBQ sandwich with a John Hancock20190914_185408.jpgMy wife beating me in Star Wars trivia.

I did kick her butt in checkers 3x.  I am now back to more serious training with just six weeks left till the 100K.  Nothing better than a trails and ales break.

I don’t usually run on roads but when I do

I am getting more road time than usual especially since most trails are open.  We had a day with plenty of rain so I hit the road.  I enjoy the road a little more than I used to for two reasons.  The trails close at sunset for good reasons and where a live I still can get a wilderness feeling.  I can run along the boundary or on the roads of Cedar Hill State Park or Joe Pool Lake.  Some of those views are spectacular at sunset.  I really do need to get pictures of both the next time I am on a slow run(slow being a relative term).  As a random thought does anybody else but me just look at the sky.  The clouds and colors are so impressive.  I like the north Texas skies but sunset in central Texas is a must do for everyone at least once.  I do get sunset pictures post run in my neighborhood. IMG_20190830_142240.jpgLow clouds across the street.IMG_20190830_142408.jpgNorth Texas sunsetIMG_20190830_142439.jpgThe sun reflecting off the cloudsIMG_20190830_142442.jpgNot as late as beforeIMG_20190830_142449.jpgNot as pink but just as nice.

A quote that everybody gets wrong and is now driving me crazy. “Money is the root of all evil.”  I hear it this way all the time and they are not saying the quote correct and it ruins the true meaning of the quote.  “The pursuit of wealth i.e. money is the root of all evil.” What does this quote have to do with running or hiking, nothing.  People who have worked hard and earned money are not evil.  They made money.  Doctors, lawyers and businessmen who have made millions have worked for their money.  It is those who are in pursuit of money and do not earn it fall into evil ways.  It is those with the ability to make money but do not want to earn is who the quote is referring.

I am going to stop here because this can go in many different ways religious, political, philosophical and my favorite nonsensical.  I try to keep it light.

Oh yea I am still training and down to 247, twelve more pounds to go.

Two more months as of now

I have nine weeks till my 100K.  My “see where I was at run” was not what I expected but many funny stories will come out of my Habanero experience.  I am currently putting in 30-40 miles weekly on different terrain.  I did flat and fast at Trinity Groves with a tire pull for desert.FB_IMG_1561937844434.jpgTire pull crew a few weeks ago.

I also did 1000 feet of elevation gain with hill repeats at Dogwood Canyon in just under six and a half miles.FB_IMG_1529465448420.jpgThis picture was actually taken at Cedar Ridge Preserve overlooking Dogwood Canyon.

The best thing about my training is my runs on Wednesday and Thursday.  I get to do group runs with the Dallas Dirt Runners.  It took me a long time to get use to group runs and at times I still run alone during group runs or run as a sweeper in the back.  I am a bit more motivated when running with familiar faces.  FB_IMG_1564715458498.jpgThursday night group at Norbuck ParkFB_IMG_1560392389279.jpgWednesday night group at Big Cedar Park.

I also need somebody to keep me from signing up for races.  I signed up for another 25K in Oklahoma because I liked the background picture. I hope I am not being catfished.  It promises thousands of feet of elevation gain and scenic canyon views.  It was priced right but just two weeks away.  Oh well.

Next week is a half marathon and then the newly registered 25K.

Training for Something

Since my weekend race is the Habanero 30K, I have been heat training for over a month.  The race starts at noon in central Texas and yes it is August.  I am still keeping my eyes on the prize which is the October 100K.  I like the no real training guide method of training.  I see other runners staying to a strict running regiment and using a coach.  It seems to work for some runners but I do think I would like to be told when and how much to run daily.  As my blogging might tell a little about myself, I do things randomly.  I write randomly, I think randomly and I train randomly.  I have fun on my training runs.  I switched from road running to trail running because it is more enjoyable.  Do my training methods work?  So far so good except for once  but I did barely finish.

For this weekend I have put in a ton of very hot and humid miles.  Most of my training runs have been at the hottest time of the day.  I have been running hills on the trails since there are no sandy trails in my area.  I am guessing running hills is just as hard as running in sand.  I also did a 105 floor stair run.  It took me three days to recover.  My calves were not ready to run up stairs for that long.  I am “tapering” this week with shorter runs but am going much faster.  I do not know what that means but I do not need speed for this weekend.  I have not had any gym workouts as I planned but I will get there eventually. I feel good but under prepared.  I keep hearing this race is a beast and I am about to find out.