About my blog

Welcome to my trail running site. I enjoy being on the trail where I can take in nature and clear my mind. I prefer running in the mountains, but anywhere rural will do. I have completed four 100 mile trail races and many other ultramarathons. I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

My Year in Review 2017

Happy New Year! 2017 was both a good and bad year for me. The first half of this year was epic in many ways. I started the year by running the Bandera 100K in frigid temperatures, ran R2R2R in the Grand Canyon with a great bunch of guys and ran the Lone Star 100 miler only making it to mile 60 before dropping. I finished my third Jemez Mountain 50 miler, but made the last few cutoffs by mere minutes. I finished my 6th consecutive Bataan Memorial Death March and ran the Bighorn 100, but dropped at mile 50 due to a miserable night of rain, cold and soul sucking mud.

Watch slideshow of my favorite photos from 2017:

All my race times were slower this year and I felt something was off. All during the summer I was experiencing fatigue, chills and my vitamin D was very low. After Bighorn, I took it easy for a few months and tried to determine why I was feeling so bad. By October I became very sick with some serious complications and underwent medical testing. I saw quite a few doctors who were not able to determine the cause of my problem, but I recovered all the same. Doctors continue to monitor my health and have ordered further evaluations from specialists.

Per doctor's orders and on my wife's recommendation, I have changed my diet to a lower carb (no grains/legumes), low sugar regimen because I may have leaky gut syndrome. (I guess that's a thing now.) I feel much better and have been running the last month or so. All said, I'm grateful for the accomplishments I made in 2017 and am confident that 2018 will be a good year of running for me. I've already registered for the Bataan Death March and have run 13 miles for my longest run.

See you on the trail.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

McKittrick Canyon (Guadalupe Mountains National Park)

Fall colors are not something you expect to see while living in the desert, but Cara and I were able to take a short day trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX for a saunter through McKittrick Canyon. This trail is very popular in the fall because of the many bigtooth maple trees that show their colors in late October and early November. We arrived early on a Sunday morning to beat the crowds and the weather turned out to be beautiful.

I’ve visited the Guads on several other occasions and experienced near hurricane force winds and freezing cold in the winter and thunderstorms and stifling heat in the summer. The mountains are rugged and boast the highest point in Texas —Guadalupe Peak at 8,751’.

Read my posts: The Top of Texas and Bush Mountain

Texas Madrone Tree

Friday, November 17, 2017

Franklin Mountains Trail Runs 2017

This past weekend I volunteered at the Franklin Mountains Trail Runs, a weekend long trail fest in Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso, TX. The Franklins are a rugged gem in the far corner of West Texas where everything bites, stings or otherwise, kicks you in the ass. I was a bit disappointed this year because I haven’t been able to run due to some health issues I’m dealing with right now. In years past, I have manned the Mundy’s Gap aid station, the highest in Texas, but knew It wouldn’t be safe for me to hike up there at this time. I hope to recover quickly and get back to running, but only time will tell how I progress. In the mean time, I’m taking short walks and enjoying time outside with my dogs. 

Spectators waiting for their runners to finish the 50K.
Mike finishing the King/Queen of the Mountain

Monday, October 2, 2017

Running the Forgotten Reach of the Rio Grande

The Forgotten Reach of the Rio Grande, from Ft Quitman, TX to Presidio, is usually dry as a bone year round. Even when water is released from reservoirs upstream, the water is mostly depleted due to irrigation before reaching the Forgotten Reach. The last several years have been different though. Part of this stretch of river near Ft Quitman has actually been flooding. I set out on a rainy morning to explore the Texas-Mexico border to see what I would find.

The ghost town of Banderas, Mexico
Downstream from Fort Quitman (20 miles south of Sierra Blanca), and before it reaches the village of Porvenir… the river enters into what has become known as the Forgotten Reach. At this point, choked with constantly advancing tamarisk trees [salt cedar], it loses force and direction as it multiplies into numerous small streams. It emerges, almost sucked dry, upstream from Candelaria, as a gentle, small stream, ankle-deep as it widens or jumpable at the narrow sections.   —Jim Glendinning, Big Bend Now

America in the foreground. Mexico in the background.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Taking a Step Back

I’ve taken a step back from my long distance training and am focusing on recovery and getting faster at shorter distances. All of my ultras were slower than in previous years and I was beginning to think I was overtraining or burning out (which may be the case). A few things came to light this summer though. Recent blood work showed that my vitamin D level was low while I was also experiencing low energy levels. I finally discovered, after several wheezing episodes, that I am also having food sensitivity or allergy issues which means I have to rework my race nutrition strategy. I will spare you all the boring details, but I’m confident that after some readjustments, I’ll be back in the saddle training for some future ultra trail races

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

North Franklin Peak via the S. Ridge

No Hike for Old Men. I first read this article in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine when I first moved to this region years ago. While I'm not exactly an old man (almost), I became alarmed after reading it, but equally intrigued.  The article chronicles a traverse of the Franklin Mountains ridgeline here in El Paso, TX. Some of my running buddies also want to hike the entire ridge sometime this Fall so I have been out exploring some routes in the Franklin Mountains State Park.

Mammoth Rock and S. Franklin Peak
Trans Mountain Hwy below the ridge.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Yellowstone National Park

Before my last race, the Bighorn 100, my family spent a week in Yellowstone National Park. I didn't run very much since I was tapering and resting before the race, but we walked the boardwalk trails and watched wildlife. The geologic features are absolutely amazing in this place, our nation's first national park. The weather was cold with some rain and even snow while we were there, but we didn't let that put a damper on our fun. As always, whether I'm running or not, I take a lot of pictures so I wanted to share some of my favorite photos of God's Country.

(Click photos to enlarge)
Brown-headed cowbirds follow bison because they stir up bug when they graze.