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."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Max Heart Rate

WARNING:  Do not attempt these techniques yourself without consulting a doctor. You could injure yourself or worse. Bad things could happen to you. You might even die.
Do you know your maximum heart rate? I recently started to wear my Polar heart rate monitor again and wanted to know my max heart rate (MHR). After a quick internet search, I learned that the most commonly used formula is 220 minus your age. If this is true, my MHR should be around 172 beats per minute. (OK, so now you know how old I am if you are any good at math.) My target aerobic zone should be between 120-145 bpm.
I set out on a few runs with this knowledge and noticed right off that I was training beyond my target zone; my rate was usually in the 150-170 range. On a recent Run El Paso Club run, I ran at my max HR for over one and a half hours while carrying on a conversation the entire time. Is my MHR really 172?
After a more thorough internet search, I discovered that the only way to really know your MHR is to push yourself until you experience “fibrillations”.  One article gave the instructions to basically find a good hill and run up it as fast as you can until you fall down. (read here) OK, that sounds like a reasonable test to me, so I set out to try it.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Yippee-i-oh, coyote on my tail. 
Two miles running over hill and dale.
His chilling laugh echoes off a canyon wall,
makes me push the limit 'till I almost fall. 
Faster, faster, I have to lose him, 
everything is starting to go a little dim. 
A look behind me, to my left and right, 
I keep on running with all my might. 
Now it’s calm, I start to slow,
no sound of his howl, yippee-i-oh!
Running in the desert of West Texas is always like a dream. I’ve heard many coyotes and even seen a few, but never had one follow me for miles. What did he want? A piece of me or my littlest doggy? I made it six miles down the rolling dusty track with my four legged friends tagging along, but now I must head back. 
Last week I went on another wintery hike with a friend. This time up to N. Franklin Peak (7192 ft) near the Paso del Norte. The mountains were transformed from a craggy rugged landscape to one that was beautified by a blanket of snow. Yucca, shin dagger and sotol were reaching for the sun through the frozen powder. An icicle had formed in a most unusual way; like a twisted “T” growing out of the ground.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bear Canyon (Guadalupe NP)

I had the good fortune of visiting Guadalupe National Park on the Texas - New Mexico border last week. A snowstorm recently struck this area, but all the snow in the low-lying areas was completely gone. As I was driving to the park, I thought to myself, this should be a good day for a hike; sunny, calm and no snow.
It wasn’t until I crested the top of the mountain pass that the white stuff came into view. The wind was also whipping through the pass as indicated by a horizontal windsock beside the highway. Oh well, I decided to hike anyway even though I didn’t have my boots with me. Running shoes would have to do. (Not recommended)