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 one 100 miler and numerous other ultramarathon trail races and marathons. I ran a 5K once.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

St. Sebastian River Preserve

Ah, sunny Florida in August. This is the life. Nothing like relaxin’ on the beach where your only worry is a blown out flip-flop and maybe a lost shaker of salt. Indian River County is on the East Coast about half way down the state where there is an abundance of lush vegetation, tropical birds, dolphins, manatees and sea turtles that bury their eggs on the pristine beaches. Sounds like a tropical paradise until you try to run in the sweltering heat. The humidity is off the scale and you will be soaking wet if you make it to the end of your run.

Sandhill Cranes wander the neighborhoods

Nevertheless, I got in a few quality runs in between visiting family and friends in the Sunshine State. The highlight was the St. Sebastian River Preserve where I ran about ten miles in the S.E. corner of the park. The wildlife preserve straddles I-95 between Sebastian and Fellsmere and has around 60 miles of hiking trails.
This tree frog was hiding behind the storm shutters
Florida Scrub
When I began my run, the morning air was thick with moisture and a blanket of fog hid the horizon. Florida scrub dominates the landscape here. Tall longleaf pines create the forest canopy while scrub palmetto, a short fan palm, makes up the understory. This disappearing habitat is important for many endangered and threatened species like the Red-cockaded woodpecker and the gopher tortoise.  

These large reptiles dig burrows that are also used by hundreds of other species like burrowing owls, raccoons and snakes. Wildfire suppression has hindered the survival of the tortoise because natural fires clear the underbrush and open the canopy so the plants that they eat can grow. We were lucky enough to see a tortoise while taking a drive along a canal here a few days ago.

While running the sandy path I came across several huge spider webs that stretched the width of the trail. Each time a quarter sized brown spider was waiting in the center, but I was too keen to fall for her sticky trap. The terrain was completely flat, but sand was tricky to run through at times. As I ran, I couldn't help but remember that this land was completely covered by the ocean at one time and will most likely be under water in the future. 
See what Florida would look like if all the ice melted: Click here

Animal tracks in the sand
Pretty soon the sun made its appearance and illuminated the fog rising from a swamp. Running alone at dawn can be a bit spooky and the scene reminded me of the Legend of Boggy Creek, a 70s film about a bigfoot-like creature that lurked around Fouke, AR. My pace picked up after this until I reached ankle deep water blocking the route. 

I decided I didn’t want to have soaking wet feet just yet, so I turned around to see If I could find a trail that wasn’t under water. I retraced my steps and found an equestrian trail, but this too eventually turned into a swampy mess. At this point I said, “screw it” and ran through it anyway until I reached a deep pool. I then turned back and ran along the dirt park road. This is where I came upon a meadow where a young buck and several does were enjoying a morning meal of tall green grass. 

Water plants were growing in the ditches on either side of the road and I ran past marshy fields where several great egrets were feeding. When I reached the end of the road at a place called Tree Frog Camp, I spooked a flock of juvenile turkeys. This was the end of the line so I headed back having enjoyed another fantastic running adventure. St. Sebastian River Preserve is a gem that also offers fishing, kayaking, horseback riding and a host of other activities including the Wild Sebastian 100 mile ultramarathon (“It’s flat, not easy!”). In November they will set up a 25 mile course where runners will have the opportunity to run 25, 50, 75 or 100 miles.

When I returned to my car I was a sopping mess so I toweled myself off and changed into my swimming trunks. Next stop; Margaritaville. 

See you on the trail. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bush Mt (Guadalupe Mountains National Park)

Why is it getting light outside already? I set my alarms for 4 and 4:30, but never heard anything. Epic alarm failure or was I in such a deep sleep that I just didn’t hear them? I rarely oversleep, but had a hard time drifting off last night due to thunder storms. Sleeping in my hatchback turned out to be a good idea. I don’t have to worry about breaking camp and should be on the trail by 6:00am.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hillsboro Peak

CAUTION...watch for FALLING TREES, BLOCKED ROUTES, ERODED TRAIL. Well, I didn’t plan this one very well did I? The night before leaving for a camping and running trip, I decided to check the status of the Black Range Crest Trail (#79) in the Gila National Forest, NM. Status: OPEN (Hikers and horsemen should beware of the hazards in the burned area.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Puebloans Ran Here

Not only did the Ancestral Puebloans run, but also scaled cliffs to reach the safety of their homes. Imagine climbing a 100 foot precipice each time you had to run to the grocery store. Well that’s what the ancient peoples who inhabited what is now Mesa Verde National Park had to do in the 13th century AD. 

Cliff Palace
Knife Edge Trail

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tonuco Mountain

Falling to my death doesn’t scare me half as much as being helplessly trapped in a tight space. You could say I’m claustrophobic. The thought of living out my last days unable to move, dehydrated and starving to death is more than I can even imagine. It’s no wonder that I feel squeamish as I peer into a dark pit on Tonuco Mountain, careful not to slip on the loose sandy dirt and fall to my final resting place. 

Tonuco Mt
Open mine shaft

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jemez Mountain 50 Miler

Why isn’t a trail ultramarathon ever the distance it’s supposed to be? A 100 is never 100 miles, a 50K is never 31.0686 miles, etc. Do you think a 50 miler could ever be 49.5 miles? Of course not, that would make it too easy. The Jemez Mountain 50 Miler is no different and, although I signed up for 50 miles, I’ll have the opportunity to slog 52.2 up and down the high altitude skyline around Los Alamos, NM.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Diet? No Thanks!

Gluten-free, low-fat, Paleo. Which diet is right for you? How about the Cookie, Baby Food or Volumetrics diet? Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? It certainly is confusing to know how to eat when a new study is published every week touting new claims or pooh-poohing the foods you thought were healthy. What is good for you today will cause cancer next week. 

Read: Red Wine Health Benefits ‘Overhyped’

News Week rated 32 of the most popular diets categorizing them based on weight-loss, heart-healthy, diabetes, etc. I haven’t read about them because I don’t diet. It’s too complicated so I just try to burn as many calories as I put in. Eating natural unprocessed food is more important to me, but occasionally it’s just necessary to grab a Whataburger. Bacon? You betcha, but not everyday. Everyone is different so if you are having success with the Cookie diet, more power to ya.