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 31, 2013

My Year in Review 2013

Training for and running seven ultramarathon trail races summarizes my 2013. Even though I didn’t finish one of them (San Diego 100), I ran the marathon distance (26 mi) or more at least once a month, every month until I suffered an injury in late October. unfortunately I had to scale back my mileage in the last part of this year to recover and get ready for some upcoming 2014 events. 

Franklin Mts El Paso, TX

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Go, Dog. Go!

"Dog. Big dog. Little dog. Big and little dogs. Black and white dogs"



Do you remember it? The Dr Seuss beginner book? Well, when our family gets together it is much like Go, Dog. Go! Every family member owns at least two dogs and some of us own more so I’m never alone when I run at the ranch. I don’t mind though; dogs are great training partners. I don’t have to listen to their political rantings or how great their new running shoes are. They never complain about their injured IT band or hamstring and not once have they shown me their lost toenail collection.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

D.N.S.

What’s worse than DNFing? How about DNSing? Did Not Finish (DNF) a race is one thing; at least you tried. Did Not Start (DNS) is worse; you didn’t even make it to the starting line. Well that is what happened to me recently when I decided not to run the R.O.X. 50K in Vado, NM. If you read my last post, you will remember that I was whining about some lower ab/groin pain. Apparently I strained some abdominal muscles causing pain to flare up when I run long. 



Sunday, November 3, 2013

36 Miles Along The Rio Grande

With cooler Fall temps in the air, I decided to run from El Paso, TX to Old Mesilla, NM (Las Cruces) along the Rio Grande levee road, a distance of 36 flat miles. I left a little before dark and was going to take a picture of the trail lit only by my penlight when I discovered the camera battery was still in the charger plugged into the outlet at home. Since there was no reason to carry the camera all that way, I turned around and left it in the car. Was this going to be one of those days? A lot can happen on a seven hour run.




Friday, October 11, 2013

My 50th Birthday 50K Run


Some people go to Chuck E. Cheese’s to celebrate their birthday. Or perhaps one turning 50 might take a trip to Las Vegas or just relax at a spa for an afternoon. well, I’m not your average Joe. I decided that on the day I turn 50, I would run one kilometer for each year on this planet. That’s just how I roll. 


Why not run 50 miles? Because I did that three weeks earlier in Flagstaff, AZ (read my previous post). Besides, I wanted to finish earlier and feel well enough to enjoy time with my friends and family afterwards. If you think running 50 miles or kilometers for your birthday is extreme, check out the Dirt Diva (Catra Corbett) who ran for 48 hours on her 48th birthday!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Flagstaff 50 Mile Endurance Run


I haven’t been this nervous about finishing a race in quite some time. With a recent DNF in the San Diego 100 my confidence is down a bit. The Flagstaff Endurance Runs website added to my worries by describing the difficulty of the course. Not for first time trail runners, steep climbs, elevation over 9000 ft, yada, yada, yada... Did I mention that recent rains caused a rock slide in this area and a Volkswagen sized boulder landed on a man seriously injuring him? Moreover, yesterday was Friday the 13th and while driving to Flagstaff, AZ I witnessed severe flooding along I-25 near Truth or Consequences, NM and a sinkhole opened up on I-40 west of Albuquerque closing several lanes. The forecast today calls for afternoon thunderstorms.




Sunday, September 8, 2013

Taz Update


For those of you who don’t know, my dog Taz, aka Frankenweenie, was bitten by a rattlesnake last month and underwent skin graft surgery. You can read all about it in my previous post. Unfortunately Taz’s graft was unsuccessful so his recovery will just take longer. He had been sleeping in my closet instead of his kennel for the past week for some reason, but enjoyed going on short walks with my other two dogs, Lucy and Sierra.



Friday, August 30, 2013

Emergency on the Trail!

It was a day just like any other. We were on one of our usual trails enjoying a morning run. Lucy, Sierra and Taz love to accompany me on this desert trail near our neighborhood. I was excited to be running early because it had showered the night before which made for a cool morning with that “after the rain” smell. I love the smell of creosote bush in the morning.

We started up the trail where many dog owners bring their pets for an off-leash walk. My three were also off-leash running a little ahead of me, but staying on the dirt path. The sun was still behind the Franklin Mountains in the backdrop and the clouds were lit in a wash of orangish yellow. 



Friday, August 16, 2013

Rim Trail


The Rim Trail in Cloudcroft, NM is 31 miles long one way and includes multiple climbs and descents between 8500-9500 feet elevation. Sunspot Scenic Byway parallels the trail so you are never too far from help if something goes awry on your journey. In addition, parking areas and access points are available along the trail which make it easy to drop food and water.

You can see the Mexican Canyon Trestle as you drive into Cloudcroft, NM

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Three Rivers Trail


The sudden boom makes me jump out of my skin. That was close! While running the Three Rivers Trail in New Mexico, I hear a very loud report. I’m not nearly as frightened as I should be, because it seems so surreal. Running peacefully along a soothing stream; enjoying the quiet in the White Mountain Wilderness, and all of a sudden, KABOOM!



Friday, August 2, 2013

The Top of Texas

Rising at 3:30am takes zero dark thirty to another level. I mean, I spent 20 years in the Air Force but rarely had to report for duty at 4:30. Nevertheless, I’m meeting my Team Red, White and Blue members for a trip to the “Top of Texas” this morning. Since it will take us two hours to get to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, we must get an early start. Besides, it’s supposed to be in the mid 90s today and, with the monsoon season upon us, wicked thunderstorms are possible this afternoon. 



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Team Red, White and Blue


I Recently joined Team Red, White and Blue, a veterans organization that connects returning combat vets with other vets and civilians through exercise programs. The goal is to help reintegrate service members into their communities and to help them cope with injuries, PTSD and other common combat related issues. As most runners already know, exercise is cheaper than therapy and in many cases more effective. 



Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Little R&R

After running seven ultramarathon trail races in as many months, I decided I needed a little rest and recovery and should take a break from running for a while. I ended last year by running the McDowell Mt 50 miler. In January I ran the Puzzler Marathon in the Franklin Mts; February challenged me to the Sierra Ultra Vista 60K in the desert; March was the Bataan Death March (26.2mi); April, the Cedro Peak 45 Miler; May, the Jemez Mt 50K (10,400 ft elev.) and earlier this month, I attempted the San Diego 100 miler, but only made it to mile 44 due to high heat. (Click “Table of Contents” to read individual race reports)



Geronimo's Cabin, Ruidoso, NM

Sunday, June 16, 2013

San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run


Mt Laguna in the Cleveland National Forest sits at almost 6000 ft above the sea. Two nights ago I nearly froze in my tent so I bought an ear warmer headband for the night portion of today’s 100 mile race. I’m sitting nervously in a rustic lodge waiting for the race to start. I’m early as usual so I position and pin my bib #110 on my shorts and then re-position and re-pin it. This goes on for a good 10 minutes.


For the last time before race start I ponder my “what-if” list. What if I twist my ankle, what if my Camelbak leaks, what if I get bit by a snake, what if it gets dark before I pickup my headlamp, what if there is an earthquake, wildfire, the sky is falling?  After all, if you run long enough something is bound to happen, right?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Jemez Mountain 50K

The Jemez Mountain Trail Run is the only race I didn’t finish (DNF). Several years ago I attempted the 50 mile course, but only made it to mile 32 due to altitude sickness. This morning I will try the 50K course knowing that; even with nausea, headache, and rubber legs; I can make it 32 miles. The race starts in Los Alamos, NM at 7300 ft elev. and takes runners through the scenic Jemez Mountains and over the Pajarito Ski Area at 10,400 ft. The total climb and descent is 6800 ft so this will be a perfect training run before I tackle the San Diego 100 miler in several weeks.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Peaks in My Backyard


I’m very lucky that I get to play in my “backyard playground” almost every day. I don’t have to travel far to reach a trailhead that leads into the Franklin Mountains of El Paso, TX. 

The red thunderbird overlooks my neighborhood
The closest peak to my home is S. Franklin Mountain (6791 ft). In fact, the red thunderbird formation on the western face overlooks my neighborhood like a sentry keeping watch over the inhabitants below. The Ron Coleman Trail is a 4 mile route that climbs from the east side of the mountain, traverses the ridge line and descends to a high pass along TransMountain Rd. (375). A series of chains takes the climber up to a window where he can peer through to get a great view of El Paso.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cedro Peak 45 Miler


If I lose my footing and slip, I’m going to tumble to the bottom of this rocky gulch faster than it takes to say, “that’s going to leave a mark”. I gingerly place each step working my way down the slope. My friend Ryan and I started the Cedro Peak 45 Miler at 6:00 am just east of Albuquerque, NM in the Cibola National Forest.



Sunday, March 31, 2013

Trail Maintenance


Almost everyday I run on rocky rugged technical trails and afterwards wonder why I didn’t eat it. I navigate rock gardens, “speed” down steep terrain and slip and slide on loose gravel. Somehow my foot knows just where to land so I don’t take a digger...usually. It’s much like a flying helicopter. How does it keep from crashing? No one really understands how it works; it just does. 


Rock Garden

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bataan Memorial Death March 2013


We're the battling bastards of Bataan;
No mama, no papa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces,
No pills, no planes, no artillery pieces.
And nobody gives a damn.
Nobody gives a damn.

—Frank Hewlett (WWII War Correspondent)


So goes the poem that represents the Bataan Death March of April 1942. Following a four month battle in the Philippines, where US forces surrendered to the Japanese, thousands of US and Filipino soldiers were taken as POWs including almost the entire New Mexico National Guard (1800). Hundreds were marched over 60 miles through the sweltering jungle with little food or water. Any man who lagged behind or tried to stop for a drink was shot, tortured or left on the road to die. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Back-To-Back Long Runs


Training for a 100 mile trail race is a daunting task so I have enlisted the help of a coach and a personal trainer. Because we manage on a shoestring budget, I have had to get very creative to make this happen. I will tell you more about that later, but for now, I’ll give you an idea of how I’m getting ready to run some serious mileage on some rugged trails.

The Lost Dog Trailhead, El Paso TX (His name is "Lucky")

Monday, February 18, 2013

Is it Low T?


Are old men the only ones who watch the nightly news? Is it me or is every other commercial for some prescription medicine? Arthritis, hypertension, overactive bladder, ED,  low T. Seriously, low T? Is this a good idea? The way I see it, younger guys have more testosterone and older men less and that’s what keeps the universe in equilibrium. Let’s not go tipping the scale here. If you do decide to use low T gel make sure to read the fine print on the instructions, “Do not apply to any other parts of your body, such as your...is flammable... let dry before smoking...etc.” Like I said before, is this a good idea?



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sugarloaves’ Ultra Vista (S.U.V.) 60K Race Report


Sugarloaf: 1. refined sugar molded into a cone  2. A hill or mountain shaped like a sugarloaf Miriam Webster Dictionary

Sugarloaves’ Ultra Vista (S.U.V.): A crazy long desert foot race to a sugarloaf and back three times followed by a shorty loop. —Greg



The Sierra Vista Trail connects the Franklin Mountains (El Paso, TX) and the Organ Mountains (Las Cruces, NM) and passes through Vado, NM somewhere near the half way point. That is where my Sugarloaf adventure begins this morning on another beautiful weather day here in the Desert Southwest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

El Paso Puzzler Trail Marathon Race Report


The Puzzler —the toughest trail race in Texas. Organized by the Borderland Mountain Bike Association, The Puzzler Endurance Weekend includes biking and running events that are held in the Franklin Mountains State Park in the West Texas town of El Paso. Having run most of the 26 mile course in training, I know how brutal it can be climbing over the mountains, running the western flank and climbing back over again. I know that this race is all that it is cracked up to be. 



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Eyebrow Trail


He swore at them in French and broken English just before three shots rang out. It was the day after Christmas in 1894 when Francois Jean Rochas, simply known as “Frenchy”, died in his little rock cabin at the mouth of Dog Canyon where present day Oliver Lee State Park is located near Alamogordo, New Mexico.

"Frenchy's" cabin

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Picacho Peak


Saying Picacho Peak is like saying the Rio Grande River or River Big River, because picacho is to peak as rio is to river. It seems redundant to say Peak Peak so I will just say Picacho.