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."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Year in Revew

Another year has passed and that is how long it has been since I ran a race. 2011 was humbling and challenging, but overall, a good year. I was injured at the beginning of the year, but still managed to run the Big Bend 25K trail race. Not the best decision since I probably just exacerbated my problem. 
In spite of these circumstances, I managed to frequently get outside on my mountain bike and was also able to hike some interesting trails in Dog Canyon, Alamo Mountain, and Lincoln National Forest. Here is a slideshow of some of my favorite photos from 2011:

Watch out, there's a new sheriff in town!"
Not running for months on end is a humbling experience. We often take our health for granted and this was an eye opener for me. After 20 years of running mostly injury free, I had to learn how to deal with much more time on my hands.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Running Cold

Oberammergau, Germany
Are you a fair weather runner?  Not me. I’ve been bundling up this week when I venture out for my run. How do you know what to wear when you go out? Most people check the weather forecast to see how cold it will be. After living in Texas for 7 years, I’ve figured out not to look at the temperature.
Yorktown, VA

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks

Guess what I did on Black Friday. What else would the author of a running blog do but go for a run? I spent the weekend at my in-laws' ranch in West Texas and was thankful that I didn’t have to brave the crowds, violent mobs, and pepper spray all for a 10% discount on an X-Box. No mall for me.
Instead, I went running up a dirt road in one of the least populated counties in our country; Hudspeth, TX, population density: less than one person per sq mile. Deputy Sheriff: Steven Seagal.

As I ran, I had plenty of time to ponder all that I was thankful for, like the company of my 6 pack of dogs who were running with me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Things Are Getting Better

After many months of no running, I’ve slowly been able to return to 30 minutes every other day or so. If you follow my insomnia cure referred to as Greg’s Running Adventures, you will know that I have been whining about plantar fasciitis for a year now. I’ve talked about all the exercises, stretches, ointments, therapies, shoes, inserts, diets that I care to think about.
Hopefully all that is in the past, but I will just say that I’m not 100% yet, but things are getting better. I went for a three mile trail run this morning and enjoyed some gorgeous weather and took in some nature.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Soledad Canyon

Soledad Canyon
It’s no secret that I detest the gym. I pretty much hate everything about it especially the being indoors part. I belong to a brand new multi-million dollar gym that I have been using while my sore foot (plantar fasciitis) continues to heal. UT El Paso (UTEP) recently held the grand opening of the newest improvement to their college campus. 
This new recreation center has a three story rock climbing wall, 1/8th of a mile indoor running track, cardio machines galore, and much more. Unfortunately the pool is being renovated, so I’ve been slogging away on one of those elliptical thingys and riding a stationary bike.

I don’t know about you, but when I run, I would rather look at this...

...instead of this:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Window

Once again I’m up at zero dark thirty for another hiking adventure. This week I’m scrambling up to “The Window” near the S. Franklin Peak. If you follow my blog, you will remember that on 9-11 I trekked up S. Franklin. This morning I will start on the East side of the mountain and hike the Ron Coleman Trail to Smugglers Gap on the West Side.
First I drive up Trans Mountain road to the parking area where I will finish my hike. I lock up my bike and drop off some water. The sun’s rays are just beginning to peak around the mountains. I finish my commute and arrive at McKelligon Canyon. This is a beautiful spot in El Paso that includes an outdoor amphitheater built into the rocks. El Paso was recently named the number one “Can Do City" in the US by Newsweek Magazine and also won the award of All American City by The National Civic League in 2010.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 11th

Sept 11, 6:00am - I turn on the news to see the twin towers crumbling. No, it’s not 2001, but 9/11/2011. The scene flashes to “O” and “W”, wives in arms, walking the perimeter of the newly dedicated 9/11 memorial. Ten years have passed since that horrific day and we are still healing. No one was left untouched by the events that unfolded that day. And so today we remember those lost, pray for those left behind, and thank those who responded. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cruising the Neighborhood

Lately I’ve been riding a mountain bike through my neighborhood with my dogs in tow. I’m still not back to running yet, but my plantar fascia injury seems to be on the mend. I’ve also been testing my foot by taking some short walks. 

Since the recent rains many wild flowers are in bloom and I’ve enjoyed taking some pictures of some of them. Almost everyday the dogs and I ride past a church that sits on a hill and an interesting plant grows along the road there.

Stinging Serpent

Friday, August 12, 2011

Connecting with Nature

Cool, fresh, mountain air. Thunderstorms. The chilling sound of coyote yips echoing through a canyon. Lush meadows laced with wildflowers and quaking aspens.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh…………. Cara and I are in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico enjoying our first camping trip with Maddie. I find it amazing that we can drive, in just a few short hours, from 100 degrees in the scrubby desert to 70 degrees in a lush forest. Our camp ground sits at 7500 ft above sea level nestled in the Bonito Canyon north of Ruidoso. (Texans proudly mispronounce the town name by saying Ree-uh-Doh-soh).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chia and Kefir

Superfoods. Why eat anything else? What are these super stars of the food world anyway? Nuts, seeds, berries, hot peppers, garlic, tea, tomatoes, whole grains, yogurt, leafy greens, and dark chocolate (that’s right, chocolate). The two I’m going to talk about are chia seeds and kefir. Lately, I’ve been eating better to reduce inflammation in my body and to become healthier overall. I’m trying to avoid refined sugars and unhealthy fats and increase foods high in omega 3 fatty acids.

With all this healthy eating (and exercise), I should probably live to be at least 120 years old, right? Actually, all I really want is to add life to my years; not necessarily years to my life. My goal is to feel good as long as possible.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Taz: Devil, Runner, Escape Artist

If there was such a thing as a Hairless Tasmanian dog, I’m pretty sure I own one. In my last post I wrote about two of my dogs, Lucy and Sierra. Today I’m going to tell you about Taz, the hairless mutt that showed up on our doorstep and decided to stay.

One day when I came home from work, Cara had an apologetic look on her face and instructed me to look in the backyard. When I did, I saw a scrawny little guy who looked like the runt of a junk yard dog. Well, at least he was small and if you overlooked his semi-hairless condition, he was sort of cute.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Paddle and Pedal

Why is my alarm going off at 4:00am? Oh yeah, it’s paddle and pedal day and, as I always say, sleeping in is over rated. I’m going to paddle a five mile stretch of the Rio Grande west of El Paso and then ride my bike back to my truck. I have a lot to do this morning to make it to the river by sunup. It’s going to top 100 degrees today so I want to complete my adventure before the heat of the day. The beautiful thing about living in the dry desert is that there is a 30 degree temperature swing.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mountain Biking the Borderland

This weekend we are spending time at the BR Ranch in far West Texas. I’m heading out on my mountain bike towards Mt Quitman. Harry, Quasi, Lucy, Sierra, Taz, and Bush (as in W) are my companions today. Bush is the neighbor rancher’s dog and he always accompanies us on our runs out here. Unfortunately I’m not back to running yet. More on that later.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Native Americans Ran Here

I always seem to find myself driving on a deserted dusty road in the middle of nowhere. Here I am again, but this time on the Otero Mesa, a wild grassland in New Mexico, west of Carlsbad. The Cornudas Mountains, a series of volcanic peaks, rise high above the desert prairie. As I drive along, a pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra Americana) darts across the road and I come to a screeching halt. Not that I was in danger of hitting the animal, but I want to get a picture.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Self Experimentation

Why not experiment on myself to find relief from plantar fasciitis? What have I got to lose? I listened to my podiatrist for the last four months and the only outcome was that he became richer.

Santorio Santorii or Sanctorius of Padua (however you want to call him) was the earliest known self experimenter. This 16th century professor meticulously weighed himself, his food, pee and poop for thirty years in the earliest study of metabolism. Talk about being obsessed with your weight, but let’s give this guy some credit; Shangri La Diet wasn’t discovered yet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ocotillos and Willows

Last evening I enjoyed a fine sunset while admiring the blossoms of the ocotillo plant. This thorny, dead looking (most of the year) plant is quite amazing when you think about it. I once watched Bear Grylls, the star of Man vs. Wild, use an ocotillo stalk to roast a rattle snake for dinner.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Sloth Ran Here

Now what? Do I turn right or left? It’s dark and I’m not sure where the heck I’m driving. It’s kind of scary being out in the middle of the desert on a dirt road not knowing where you are. Better turn on the GPS. Hmmm…, if I can just get to those railroad tracks, I can follow them to the unmarked road where I’m supposed to turn to get to the volcano.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Got Electricity?

This is simply dumb and ridiculous! I’m shocking my foot right now. Why would anyone want to electrocute their foot? The doc says it could help alleviate the pain from my plantar fasciitis. Electro-stimulation therapy is supposed to bring blood flow into the injured area to help ease the inflammation and advance healing. Wouldn’t a cold bag of frozen peas do the same thing? That’s one thing peas are useful for- icing injuries.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maddie Takes A Hike

This post is written by my daughter Maddie, 5 months old. This is one thing we do to prevent nature deficit disorder.

Today I went for a hike at Grandmother and Granddad’s ranch in Texas. I rode in a sling on Mommy's back. She and Grandmother had quite a time getting me in it, but I was snug and comfy once they were done. I also wore my new bonnet to protect my face from the desert sun.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

With My Dogs to Dog Canyon

We’re having a beautiful spring weather day so I am here at the base of the Sacramento Mountains ready to take my three dogs into Dog Canyon. Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is located just south of Alamogordo where the trail starts. Apparently Army soldiers found a stray dog at the mouth of this canyon when they were battling Apaches; hence the name. There are at least two other Dog Canyons in this part of the world; one in Big Bend National park and one in Guadalupe National Park; both in Texas.

(From left to right) Sierra, Taz, and Lucy

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Growing Old Ain’t for Sissies

When I was hiking in Yosemite several years ago, I approached an old gentleman hobbling down the trail on two crutches. He looked like he was about to take a tumble any second and end up in the valley thousands of feet below. As our paths crossed, he just looked at me and said “Growing old ain’t for sissies.” I admired his courage and determination to keep on living the adventurous life even though he was limited physically.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

What I've learned since having Plantar Fasciitis

If you love to run like I do, plantar fasciitis is your worst enemy. I’ve been icing, resting, swimming, stretching, biking, researching, and wearing a night splint to try to heal my foot quicker. This is a slow process, but I’m optimistic that I’ll be back on the trail before too long. I hope to be more cautious in the future and try to incorporate more cross training into my routine. I love trail running more than road running and think that staying off the hard surfaces may help me prevent this in the future.

Here are a few things that have come to light since I haven’t been running for a month.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Snow Day

What to do on a snow day when you can’t run? Well, the doctor said I could walk, so that is what I shall do this morning. We have had unusually cold weather for 3-4 days here in the desert southwest and a little bit of snow. The snow isn’t what prompted the snow days, but a shortage of electricity. Our power plants have frozen over and can’t produce enough electricity so schools and businesses have taken a few days off to conserve energy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Twenty more years

It seems that 20 years of pounding my feet has finally taken its toll. I don’t know why, because I know people who run a lot more than I do. I haven’t really run that much have I? To warrant foot pain that has temporarily stopped me from running? I’ve only ran 20 races of 26 miles or more and I’ve never run a 100 mile week unless you count the one time that I ran 100 consecutive miles through the Sierra Nevada.

The race that started it all.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Big Bend 25K Race Report

Something doesn’t feel quite right. The sun is up and I’m not running yet. I’m here at the start of another adventure --The Big Bend Ultra Run (Big Bend Nat. Park, TX). The 50K runners have already been running for almost an hour, but I had to downgrade from the 50K to the 25K because of some injuries. (See Injured!) I’ve only run four times in the past three weeks and one of my outings was quite painful. I have no idea what is going to happen today, but I’m going to try my best to finish this 15 mile trail race.

Madeleine, newest member of the crew

Thursday, January 6, 2011


INJURY UPDATE: (Jan 10, 2011) I've been walking almost every day and was able to successfully run today. I had a little bit of tenderness in my foot, but things seem to be improving each day. I’m working with the Big Bend Ultra Run staff to switch from the 50K to the 25K race that is being run this weekend. This seems like a sensible compromise so I can still run in the backcountry without further injuring myself. I feel confident that I can finish the 15 mile run.

(Jan 6, 2011)
My plantar fasciitis (PF) has improved, but I haven’t been able to run for almost two weeks. During Christmas weekend I went for a routine run out at the BR ranch and half way through my 6 miler, my foot started to hurt. I didn’t twist it or anything and was very perplexed, not to mention annoyed. When I was done, I had no idea what was going on so iced the top of my foot and rested for a day.