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.

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.

2019 Tyler State Park

As I start off the new year, I am trying to up my mileage in both hiking and trail running. I am trying to get more hiking in this year than I did last year and some longer hikes. I also am going to increase my trail running distances and try to get at least one long run a week. For me a long run is anything above ten miles. So far so good with the running but not so much with the hiking. It has been raining so the trails are still closed. I have gotten a couple of runs at Cedar Hill SP on the roads. I much prefer trails but the roads at this state park are hilly and curvy. I also got a run/hike at Tyler SP. It is one of the few parks that hold up well in the rain. If I continue to hold onto these two goals I will prepared for a 50K in March.

My hike/run at Tyler SP was nice since I was on the parts I have not been on yet. I now have finished this park also. I have a handful of Texas state parks that I have hiked the entire park. The biggest surprises at this part of the park were the many small waterfalls scattered along the trails. It was probably  due to all the rain but it was nice to hear the running water for most of the 9 miles on the trail. Of course the huge east Texas pine trees and loblollies trees are always impressive. 20190105_100738.jpg20190105_100728.jpg20190105_095027.jpg20190105_100844.jpg20190105_104108.jpg20190105_102633.jpg

I am a week away from my first run. I am starting off with an 11 Miler then going to a new for me state park the next day. Getting those outdoor miles in in the best way.

Another Top Ten List:Most Difficult Races of 2018

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.20181114_123511.jpg

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. 20181114_124531.jpg

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. 20181114_125300.jpg

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.20181114_130102.jpg

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.20181114_131043.jpg

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.20181114_131951.jpg

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. 20181114_132702.jpg

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.20181114_133339.jpg

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.20181114_134207.jpg

  1. 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.20181114_135316.jpg

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.

Piney Woods Ultra 25K

The race was held at one of my favorite state parks, Tyler State Park. The park is located in Tyler, TX which is about an hour and a half east of Dallas. The 25K distance was a new long distance for me. This year I have run a half marathon, two accidental 15Ks and an accidental 20K. Plus a 12 mile training run. I still was not certain how I would do at this distance. The course was sneaky difficult. The hills were long and winding. They were not overly steep but went on for quite a bit of distance. The course held up well under extreme rainy conditions the night before and the morning of the race. There were a few muddy areas but not too bad. My pre race estimated time to finish was 3:30 but that changed after a two hour first loop. I thought 4:20 was a good possibility. I was still feeling good and not too tired. At the 3:13 mark, my legs completely quit. I thought I was moving fast but I could not go very fast. I struggled to finish and was doubting my ability to finish a true ultra race. The funny thing was my mind was lucid and I did not feel tired but my legs just gave in. My finishing time of 4:41 was not good at all but at least I finished. I looked at some of my past races in rain and mud. I did not fair well in any of them. The main problem with the 25K was my wet socks and feet. I did not bring a change of shoes or socks. Lesson learned. I ended up registering for the 50K in November. I learned a lot about running longer distances and will put it to good use.42003551_253614308633182_2709355262370135353_n.jpg42202489_1448647401939549_3548392625792876544_n.jpg20180922_132036.jpg

I have a week off of trail racing so I will get some hiking in in Oklahoma. After that I have seven weekend races each weekend until the 50K.

Piney Woods Ultra 10K

My first official trail 10K. I have already completed three road 10Ks but trail running is a whole other monster. I was confident of being able to not only but also finish in a good time. I previously ran an “8K” in Waco that was actually a 9.5K so the distance will not be a surprise. I had also previously hiked in Tyler SP so I thought I knew the terrain. I must have missed the part that had a hill that was long but not to steep but long. Did I mention it was long? The course was a loop so I did not get a chance to run the hill as a decline. The course also had many other smaller hills but that one hill was a leg burner. I really liked the course though. It was very scenic and I just love those tall pine trees in east Texas. The drive in the morning was also very nice. Driving through east Texas is picturesque with all the ponds and farm land. My time of 1:24:26 was good but I thought I could have had a better time. I took 5th in my age group and was four minutes out of the top three. I do not expect to place in a 10K race anytime soon. I am trying to finish in the top half of all males first then go for placing in my age group.20170923_110400.jpg20170923_102103.jpg20170923_102115.jpg20170923_102358.jpg

It was a fun race and I talked to some runners with CHRC that I have seen at Cedar Ridge Preserve. It was a fun atmosphere. I also talked to the winner of the 25K, he was a nice guy.

The next trail race is once again at the Cedar Ridge Preserve and this is a bigger race than my first race at the preserve. This will be a more difficult 10K but at least I have ran these trail weekly.

2017 Top Ten Hikes

This list will consist of only hikes I have done this year. I will also bore followers with an all time list at the end of the year because I have one more trip planned this year. Next year I will be doing less hiking and more trail running trying to move up to the 20K and 25K distances at some time next year. This year was my most active year hiking ever. I have hiked over twenty state parks and a handful of other parks. I really want to finish the 52 Hike Challenge within the year and I am on pace to finish early. I have completed 48 hikes this year and I have two months to get four more hikes done. The majority of my hikes have been in Texas but I did get into Oklahoma for a weekend of hiking. I had adventures in the high hills of central Texas. I was blessed to see all different parts of Texas from the piney woods to the hill country and also the west Texas desert and the great plains. I had a difficult time narrowing it down to ten hikes and it might change depending on the day but here it goes:

10. Tyler State Park, Whispering Pines Trail-This really short trail was visually electric.20170222_102938_001.jpg

9. Lake Mineral Wells State Park, Penitentiary Hollow-Not really a trail but it a rock climbers paradise with bouldering and lake views mixed in.20170304_135240.jpg

8. Pedernales Falls State Park, Pedernales Falls Trail System-it is as long as you want it be but you must go down to the falls for a spectacular view of the water.20170122_133632.jpg

7. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Kite Trail-bouldering over mini waterfalls, what more can I say.20170930_173833.jpg

6. Enchanted Rock SNA, Summit Trail-I felt very accomplished summiting The Rock.20170406_095152.jpg

5. Inks Lake State Park, Devil’s Waterhole Nature Trail/Valley Spring Creek Trail-This combination of trails is the hidden gem of Texas.20170405_183904.jpg

4. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Little Baldy Mountain Trail-Another summit but this one combined hiking and rock climbing.20170930_183728.jpg

3. Lost Maples SNA, East-West Trail/East Trail-one of the toughest uphill hikes I had before #2 on this list but worth every step.20170711_180348.jpg

2. Hill Country SNA, Merrick Mile Trail/West Peak Overlook Trail-this was a great hike with better views. I later found out of a similar hike with even better views, need to see to believe. 20170712_092155.jpg

  1. Colorado Bend State Park, Gorman Falls Trail-I was just so amazed at these falls.20170405_143220.jpg So there is the 2017 top ten as of today. I could have easily expanded to a top twenty. I have enjoyed my hikes this year so far and am looking forward to my next set of hikes and hopefully they can crack this list.

The blog will be about trail running. The trail runs and hikes have gone hand in hand on many occasions. I like going to trail races just to hike the park at times.