2014 started with a groin injury and ended with a 100 mile race finish so I can’t complain too much. My first race of the year, Bandera 100K, was scrapped for the 50K distance since I hadn’t been able to train enough leading up to it. I didn’t attempt a 100 miler this summer because I wasn’t sure how my training would go coming off an injury. Most summer 100s require early planning to ensure you have a slot, so I waited until I was on the mend before planning too many races.
Enjoy a slideshow of my favorite photos from 2014: (Click Here if it doesn't load)
I did manage to prepare for the Jemez 50 miler which I dropped out in a few years ago because of altitude sickness. I thought this would be my year to finish it, but a freak snow storm caused the race director to close the course when I was at mile 32. This is when I decided to register for the Javelina Jundred 100 miler. I worked very hard in the summer and early fall and was able to finish the race beating my goal time by several hours.
Otherwise, I ran a few local races and enjoyed the camaraderie of my fellow Team RWB members during some of their running events. The Bataan Memorial Death March was especially meaningful as always. This is the one event I plan to run or participate in every year as long as I’m able.
I experienced many other exciting running adventures throughout the year. The reason I love trail running is that it takes me to many interesting places; National Parks, wilderness areas and other natural features. I enjoyed running at the BR Ranch over the Christmas weekend where I was accompanied by six dogs.
While running a twisty caliche road in one of our least populous counties of Texas (Hudspeth), I discovered a strange green ball growing on some otherwise brown leafless trees. On closer inspection I realized it was mistletoe, so of course I couldn’t resist picking off a few sprigs for our Christmas celebrations.
Mistletoe is a parasite that grows on the branches of trees sapping the host plant of moisture and nutrients eventually killing it. Although the plant is poisonous, it has been used for medicinal purposes including fighting cancer. The plant produces small white berries that are very sticky; so much so that they stick to a birds feet and feathers when it’s feeding on them which is how the plant spreads.
So where does the custom of kissing under the mistletoe come from? In ancient Norse mythology the mistletoe was a symbol of love and friendship and the custom was handed down through English and European culture. When I returned from my run, we hung our sprig up in the doorway of the living room. My find was a big hit with the family and, needless to say, I kissed a lot of girls this week; the youngest was four and the oldest 86.
The dogs and I also ran a fence line that runs parallel to the Quitman Mountains. Many dry arroyos run down the slopes leading into the Rio Grande so we had to run up and down many steep rugged drainage banks. This was excellent training for my next race in a few weeks, the Bandera 100K in the Texas Hill Country. Bandera, TX is the Cowboy Capital of the world. Yee-Haw!
The running weather was mostly cold and windy with a few days of rain and wet snow. A warm fire in the wood stove with a hot cup of coffee never felt better after running a 20 miler in a stiff West Texas wind.
Spending the Holiday with family was very special and I enjoyed several beautiful sunrises and sunsets at the ranch as well as a dusting of snow on the mountains. 2015 is stacking up to be equally as wonderful as 2014. Other races I have planned for this year are the Bataan Death March, Jemez 50 Miler and the Big Horn Wild and Scenic 100 Miler in Dayton, WY. Happy New Year!
See you on the trail.