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."

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Year in Review 2015

I hope you enjoy this slide show of my favorite pictures from 2015 (Click HERE if you can't see it.):




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Black Friday

I scored some really great deals on Black Friday. We spent the weekend at the BR Ranch in West Texas and, of course, had a traditional feast on Thanksgiving with our family. The following day, I had to fight an unruly crowd as I was trying to get my shopping done. After lacing up my running shoes, I tried to get out of the ranch house door, when I was overrun by six excited dogs who wanted to tag along with me. 

Sierra

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Inaugural Franklin Mountains Trail Runs

This past weekend I participated in the inaugural Franklin Mountains Trail Runs, but not as a runner. What? I know. Well, this was a perfect opportunity for me to give back to the sport I love by volunteering at the race throughout the weekend. The event was organized by Trail Racing Over Texas, a husband and wife team, Rob and Rachel Goyen, who are very passionate about trail running and ultramarathoning. 

The race was run in Franklin Mountains State Park on a 50K loop with over 6000 ft of elevation gain, including a climb to N. Franklin Peak (7192’). Since the race is run on gnarly, rocky, technical single-track trail, several shorter distances were also offered, a 5K, 10K and half-marathon. The shorter races also included plenty of climbing and knee scraping rocks, giving finishers bonafide bragging rights not to mention some colorful bling. 

Nice!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rattlesnake Bite, Again!

While I was out of town running my 50 miler last month, my personal trainer and number one running partner was bitten by a rattlesnake. Cara and Maddie went to her parents’ ranch for the weekend since I was traipsing around in the mountains morning, day and night. Our dog Lucy, along with six other dogs were out on a walk with the family when Lucy started to limp while holding her front paw up. On closer inspection, the family noticed she had two puncture marks on her front leg. 



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Deadman Peaks 50 Mile Trail Run

Deadman? I have no idea who the dead man is, but I can’t wait to start running the Deadman Peaks Trail Run a few miles outside of Cuba, NM. I have been freezing all morning since the mercury dipped to 35 F last night. What a rude awakening I had; especially since the high was 90 a few days ago in El Paso. I rolled into Northern New Mexico last night and simply blew up an air mattress that lay in the back of my hatchback. It’s surprisingly roomy and I didn’t have to worry about setting up a tent.


This morning I was greeted by a star filled sky as I did my pre-race preparation to include attempting to poop in an upended wooden coffin outfitted with a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat placed on top. I checked in at the race start and dropped off several drop-bags with some extra shirts, shoes and socks in case I get drenched by storms that might come through today. I spent the rest of the time shivering in my car trying to save precious energy. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Guns, A Millionaire and Ladybugs

Any race with the words “Dead” or “Death” in the title should make for an awesome running adventure, don’t you think? That’s why I signed up to run the Deadman Peaks 50 Miler, a 53 mile journey along the Continental Divide Trail in Northern New Mexico next month. To get ready, I have been putting in a lot of miles at the base of the Franklin Mountains with occasional trips to the top of N. Franklin Peak (7192’). 

Training for a Fall race is challenging in West Texas though because heat is off the scale especially in August when humidity adds to the swelter factor. In fact, a French couple tragically perished this summer just up the road in White Sands National Monument while hiking in the hottest part of a 100 degree day.  About once a year I have a really bad day while running at the end of the summer. This time it happened while running with a friend on the Sierra Vista National Recreation Trail in New Mexico. 

White Sands National Monument

Monday, September 7, 2015

Polly Wants a Cracker?

A saying amongst ultrarunners goes, “If you run long enough something is bound to happen.” Sometimes weeks go by without anything out of the ordinary happening on my runs, but occasionally I see something quite unusual. Last year I was running under a bridge several hours before sun-up and discovered a colony of bats returning to their roost. In fact,  just the other morning a friend and I were stopped dead in our tracks by a rattlesnake crossing the trail, although that really isn’t that unusual for those of us who run trails in the desert. 



Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Top of New Mexico

A few weeks ago I went to Taos, NM to run the Ski Valley Up and Over 10K (see my previous post below). Since Wheeler Peak (13,159’), the tallest mountain in New Mexico, was looming above the village where we were staying, I decided to give it a try. The loop trail is about 12-13 miles long, but there is a shorter out-and-back route that starts near the Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant.




Sunday, August 9, 2015

Taos Ski Valley Up and Over 10K

Last weekend I drove with my family to the Taos Ski Valley in Northern New Mexico so I could run the Up and Over 10K. I usually don’t travel for such a short race, but this one takes you up to 11,000 ft elevation making for a tough climb in thin air. Besides, any excuse to travel to the “Land of Enchantment” to beat the West Texas heat is an opportunity not to be missed. The trip itself is worth the effort because you travel along the Rio Grande which is much more grande the closer you get to its source which is actually in Colorado. The Rio Grande Gorge is on the way and you can see the large gash in the plateau, which resembles a mini Grand Canyon, as you approach Taos.



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why I Run

Too Much Running Tied to Shorter Lifespan, Marathon Runners are no Healthier than Couch Potatoes, The Hidden Health Risks of Jogging. These are just a few running related news headlines I saw in the past year. Why do I run for so long then? People ask me this all the time. Most articles in the news and on the internet seem to assume several things about people who run —that they run to live longer, get healthier or to lose weight. After all, running is such a miserable activity that no one of sound mind would ever do it for fun, right?

Mammoth Rock, Franklin Mts State Park

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Yellowstone National Park

Last month I wrote about my grandparents who took a road trip out west in the 50’s. I shared a few of my grandfather’s photos of the Grand Tetons. Cara, Maddie and I also went to the Tetons (See my post: Tetons) and then went on to Yellowstone for a few days. Since I didn’t have time to write about the Yellowstone part yet, I thought I would share some photos I took and a few of my grandfather’s from the 50s.

 (Photo: Ernest Dawson)
Grandma Bea driving through Wawona Tree
in Yosemite NP. It fell over in 1969.

(Photo: Ernest Dawson)
Grandma at Devil's Tower, WY 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bighorn Wild and Scenic 100 Mile Trail Run

The course is wild and scenic traversing territory inhabited by elk, deer, moose, bears, cougars, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes with the potential for wildlife encounters with runners…runners may be subject to extreme temperatures of heat and cold, hypothermia, heat stroke, kidney failure, seizures, low blood sugar, disorientation, injury, falling rock or trees, wild animal or reptile attack, or even death from their participation in this event.
—Bighorn Trail 100 Race Packet



Well now, this certainly is going to be an adventurous run don’t you think? The Bighorn 100 has been on my list for some years so I’m excited to finally be here in Dayton, WY.  The 100 mile course is an out-and-back across the Bighorn National Forest. It feels strange to be waiting at the starting line at 10am for an 11:00 start. What do you do with all that extra time in the morning? Stress out! I know I’ll calm down once I get on the trail and start ticking off some miles.

Tongue River Canyon

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Tetons

Sometime in the 1950s my grandparents from Pittsburgh, PA took an epic road trip out west to experience the premier national parks of America. My grandfather was an avid photographer who took many photos of flowers, mountains, waterfalls, rivers; you name it. Does this sound like someone else you know? I suppose it runs in our genes. My mother sometimes says that people used to complain because so many of his pictures were devoid of family members. I will admit that I too am guilty of taking a lot of pictures of rocks and mountains. 

My Grandparents


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jemez Mountain 50 Miler

“Third time’s the charm”, as they say. Well, I hope they are right because I’m about to attempt the Jemez Mountain 50 mile course for the third time. My Jemez Mountain Trail Run history goes something like this: 1st year, DNF at mile 32 (altitude sickness); 2nd, DNS (Injury); 3rd, 50K finish in 8:30 (YAY!); 4th, snowstorm called off race; made it to mile 32. I have yet to finish this 50 mile course so hopefully today is my day. What could possibly stop me this year? Wildfire, earthquake, volcanic eruption?



Monday, May 11, 2015

Shhhhhhh...Quiet

Shhhhhhhhh…Quiet! Do you hear that? I hope you are hearing what I heard while running the remote sand hills of the Wild West which was the sound of nothing. For Mother’s Day we got some much needed peace and quiet at the BR Ranch while spending time with family. Luckily I was able to sneak off for a few early morning runs while Maddie and Cara slept in. The ranch is in one of our nations least populated counties in far West Texas where cows outnumber humans.


In fact, while out on a run, I didn’t see another human being for over three hours and was able to take in the sounds of my surroundings which was almost nil. I didn’t hear any noise of passing cars or car alarms which would be outlawed if I were King. I didn’t hear the rumble of helicopters from Ft Bliss flying overhead or the exhaust from a Harley. Nor did I hear little Maddie screaming (in a descending minor 3rd interval), “MOM, MOM, Mom! READY FOR A WIPE!” 
No barking dogs, loud music, leaf blowers or garbage trucks for three solid hours.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

N. Franklin Peak X 2

Lately I’ve been making trips up N. Franklin Peak (7,192’) to get ready for the Jemez Mountain 50 Miler next month in Los Alamos, NM. Yesterday I ran for nine hours including two climbs up the mountain. Now, I could give you a blow-by-blow account of my run including how I gagged on chia seed gel at 4:15am or accidentally blew a snot rocket onto my shoulder at 10:35. I could talk about how I tripped over a rock and almost fell into a cactus six times or how I was so hungry after the seventh hour that I actually considered eating at an all-you-can-eat buffet when I finished. I could also brag about how bad-ass I am because I ascended the mountain twice in one morning albeit very slowly. So slow in fact, that I think your grandmother passed me on the way back down. No, instead of boring you with all the trite details, I figured I’d just show you some pictures of the day. 

See you on the trail.

The start at 4:00am

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bataan Memorial Death March 2015

The Bataan Memorial Death March was extra special this year because my running buddy, Ryan returned to run it with old friends. We had a great time hanging out over the weekend and then met another friend of ours, Mike at the race. Run El Paso Club and Team RWB friends were also there so it turned out to be a great big party. Kind of like Woodstock, but without the sex, drugs and rock ’n roll.



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sierra Vista Trail 50K

“I forgot to post on Facebook I was running…All that training for nothing!” I laughed (or should I say LMAO) when I saw that meme on a friends FB wall this week (thanks Vince). Well, that is how I feel this morning while fiddling with my phone, frantically trying to get my Charity Miles App to work. It seems they’ve upgraded the program and now I don’t know how to work it. If you aren’t familiar with Charity Miles, it donates 25 cents to your charity for every mile you run and then you get to post your run on FB. I always run for Team RWB, but my race starts before I have time to figure out the new “improved” app. 




Friday, February 20, 2015

On Plantar Fasciitis

Recently I was I asking my better half to help me come up with a title to a blog post I was writing. After some discussion, she said, “Don’t worry too much about it, only three people read your blog anyway.” Ouch! Unfortunately, she is mostly right, BUT, I have noticed that I get a lot of hits when I write about plantar fasciitis (PF), that dreaded ailment that causes so much heel pain.

If you search the internet for plantar fasciitis advice, you will certainly find thousands of articles, forums and products promising cures, instant relief and prevention tips. It seems that everyone suffering from it turns to the web for answers.



Friday, January 16, 2015

Bandera 100K

“This sux. May drop after 1st loop”, says my text to Cara. This is how I’ve felt all morning during the Bandera 100K. The weather is cold and dreary and I can’t seem to get warm or pull out of a funk. It rained this morning making the trail conditions treacherous. I slept in my ice encrusted tent last night and, although I was plenty warm, couldn’t sleep because I was too worried about how miserable today was going to be. Ironically I started out overdressed and, working very hard to climb several steep hills, sweated through my layers making me feel damp and miserable. 


Friday, January 9, 2015

San Antonio River Walk

Running in the inner city poses many challenges because of traffic, crowds, smog, stray dogs and other perils. I learned to deal with the problem in my former job where I traveled extensively for 20 years including four years in Europe. Unfortunately, we didn’t have smart phones or Google Maps in those days, so I would simply go to the front desk of my hotel and ask for a map or directions to the river. Many cities have recreation trails along their watercourses and I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to run many of them; the Potomac, Mississippi, Danube, Rhine, Rio Grande and Colorado to name a few.
San Antonio Riverwalk at night during the Christmas season