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 a few 100 milers and many other ultramarathon trail races and marathons. I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Monday, February 8, 2016

Roundtop Trail Run

My first race for the new year was the Roundtop Trail Run in Anthony Gap, NM. This local race was put on by race director, Mark Dorion of The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land! fame. (Watch his site for future trail races.) The course was an eight mile out-and-back trail that runners could do repeatedly up to four times for a total of 32+ miles. I tend to get bored after several passes on the same trail so I opted for 16 miles. We ran on a portion of the Sierra Vista National Recreation Trail that goes from Anthony Gap, NM just over the Texas State line all the way to Las Cruces, NM over 35 miles away.

"Turn around when you see the sign that says, TURN AROUND."
The morning was chilly with some wind up in the pass of the Franklin Mountains where we started. Now many West Texans will tell you, “That is not wind; it’s New Mexico sucking!” (Ba-dum-bum) However, I know better, because the “Land of Enchantment” is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. With its many national parks, monuments, forests, caverns, and cultural sites, New Mexico is hard to beat especially the newly designated Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument where this event was run. 


Ultramarathon trail races tend to turn into reunions amongst runners because our sport is so small and we get to know each other very well. Slog up a 10,000 foot mountain in a driving sleet suffering from nausea with a stranger and you will soon be friends; possibly best friends by the time you commiserate all the way to the summit. This race turned out to be a gathering of my running family including local training partners, Team RWB members and our friends from Albuquerque, Roswell and Las Cruces. 

Team Red, White and Blue enriching the lives of veterans.
The course was mostly run on a gravel and dirt road with some shorter sections of newly built single-track trail that parallel the road. I was able to run the entire course despite a few short hills that weren’t too steep. 


As I began to approach the four mile turn-around, I noticed the lead runners coming back towards me. I overheard some grumbling and cursing and was able to discern that they had gotten off course at some point. Having run this trail in training the week prior, I knew there was some extra flagging through the desert marking a future re-route of the S.V. Trail. Unfortunately, the leaders thought this was part of the course and didn’t heed the sign that read, “TURN AROUND RETURN TO START”. Oh well, what’s a few bonus miles amongst friends?


In addition to pink flagging, the trail was marked with “RIGHT” and “LEFT” signs, decorative gourds, kid’s toys and a strange species of fowl. I believe it is know as Gallus polyethylenii (Plastic Chicken). Aid stations were spaced several miles apart and usually included bottled water, cokes, boxes of animal crackers and other goodies scattered on the ground amongst the cactus, shin dagger and coyote poop. Trail runners aren't picky; we appreciate the support.

Gallus polyethylenii
The great thing about this race is that you always meet runners along the way as you travel  back and forth from the start to the turn-around. I stopped to take a lot of pictures of people including this one of “Flying Ellen”. 

Ultrarunners really know how to have a great time don’t ya think?
I felt strong for most of the race, but started to slow a bit on the last four miles especially on a few of the up hill sections. I finished in about 3:08 though, and felt good enough to socialize for a while afterwards. Thank you Dorion family for your hospitality in putting on this event. Next month is another fine race on the opposite end of the trail in Las Cruces. I highly recommend the Sierra Vista Trail Runs on March 5th. They will offer 50, 30 and 10K options for only $1.00 per kilometer. What a bargain! 

My running family: Angelica, Laura, Miguel and Susie.
See you on the trail.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Baylor Canyon and Pine Tree Trail

Last weekend I went to the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in Las Cruces, NM to run the Baylor Canyon and Pine Tree trails with several of my running friends. The Baylor Canyon National Recreation Trail is six miles one way, takes hikers through a saddle in the Organ Mountains with 1000’ of elevation gain and descends to the other side. We started from the western slopes of the range and ran to the Aguirre Springs Campground near White Sands Missile Range on the other side. The Organs get their name from the jagged pinnacles that jut up from the peaks that look like the pipes of an organ.

The Organ Mountains as seen from the westside



Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Year in Review 2015

I hope you enjoy this slide show of my favorite pictures from 2015 (Click HERE if you can't see it.):




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Black Friday

I scored some really great deals on Black Friday. We spent the weekend at the BR Ranch in West Texas and, of course, had a traditional feast on Thanksgiving with our family. The following day, I had to fight an unruly crowd as I was trying to get my shopping done. After lacing up my running shoes, I tried to get out of the ranch house door, when I was overrun by six excited dogs who wanted to tag along with me. 

Sierra

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Inaugural Franklin Mountains Trail Runs

This past weekend I participated in the inaugural Franklin Mountains Trail Runs, but not as a runner. What? I know. Well, this was a perfect opportunity for me to give back to the sport I love by volunteering at the race throughout the weekend. The event was organized by Trail Racing Over Texas, a husband and wife team, Rob and Rachel Goyen, who are very passionate about trail running and ultramarathoning. 

The race was run in Franklin Mountains State Park on a 50K loop with over 6000 ft of elevation gain, including a climb to N. Franklin Peak (7192’). Since the race is run on gnarly, rocky, technical single-track trail, several shorter distances were also offered, a 5K, 10K and half-marathon. The shorter races also included plenty of climbing and knee scraping rocks, giving finishers bonafide bragging rights not to mention some colorful bling. 

Nice!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rattlesnake Bite, Again!

While I was out of town running my 50 miler last month, my personal trainer and number one running partner was bitten by a rattlesnake. Cara and Maddie went to her parents’ ranch for the weekend since I was traipsing around in the mountains morning, day and night. Our dog Lucy, along with six other dogs were out on a walk with the family when Lucy started to limp while holding her front paw up. On closer inspection, the family noticed she had two puncture marks on her front leg. 



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Deadman Peaks 50 Mile Trail Run

Deadman? I have no idea who the dead man is, but I can’t wait to start running the Deadman Peaks Trail Run a few miles outside of Cuba, NM. I have been freezing all morning since the mercury dipped to 35 F last night. What a rude awakening I had; especially since the high was 90 a few days ago in El Paso. I rolled into Northern New Mexico last night and simply blew up an air mattress that lay in the back of my hatchback. It’s surprisingly roomy and I didn’t have to worry about setting up a tent.


This morning I was greeted by a star filled sky as I did my pre-race preparation to include attempting to poop in an upended wooden coffin outfitted with a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat placed on top. I checked in at the race start and dropped off several drop-bags with some extra shirts, shoes and socks in case I get drenched by storms that might come through today. I spent the rest of the time shivering in my car trying to save precious energy.