Friday, November 6, 2015

My Cactus Rose 50 Mile trail run 10/24/2015, with Orlando

Cactus Rose 50 mile trail run highlights
Race started before the rain came.
Seeing Rosie!
Running with Orlando.
The rain came, without Lightning.
Listening to the wind howl through the hills.
Climbing ice cream hill with Rick Smith and Chris Russell.
Helping a runner who thought she was lost.
Again helping her and seeing her smile.
Playing Rabbit to Orlando on his first 50 miler.
Orlando and I leap frogging with two other runners.
Rebecca recognizing me and reintroducing herself.
Seeing Edward running in the rain wearing sunglasses.
Crossing paths with Jazzy and Jean and getting two BIG HUGS!
Reaching the half way point and getting out of the rain.
Seeing familiar happy faces. Sheila surprised that I was smiling.
Joe P. pointing to me and smiling.
Getting into a dry shirt.
Rani feeding me.
Eating half of a turkey subway sandwich!
Heading back out with Orlando on the second 25 mile loop.
Sheila coming up behind me running the second loop of the relay and pausing to give me a motivational hug.
Seeing Rosie coming down Cairns!
Chatting with Bear on Boyles.
Running with Rebecca descending Boyles.
Two pretty girls crossing my path saying Hi and one of them asking, What's that on your leg? As I looked in shock, she laughed, smiled, and said, Just kidding!
HA! I love it, I said.
Climbing Mount FUJI saying to Orlando, This is the last Fuji Climb.
Rebecca (not far behind) saying, Thanks for rubbing it in. She was doing the hundred and would see Fuji again. Twice.
Arriving at Crossroads being greeted by Rani, Jeanie, and JOHN! The Rockhopper Grand Puba!
Listening to Jeanie tell about how John restored order to Rockhopper Central after Rain and wind had toppled a Canopy and runners gear was rain soaked.
Rani ensuring I ate!
Heading back out for the last 15 miles following Orlando.
More Rain and Orlando saying, This is like when we were Kids running through puddles in the rain.
Orlando and I pausing at a stream to wash off the mud caked on our legs.
Seeing Julie at Crossroads and sharing Hugs!
Orlando's wife Elda meeting us at crossroads. Mile 45. She had so much food I couldn't decide what to eat! So I ate a little of everything.
Seeing Edgar in the field just before nightfall.
Running into Jean as she descended Lucky, with Kelli Newlon pacing her! More Hugs! Hugs are good medicine!
Recognizing Eliot In the dark as he came up on us running the third leg for his relay team. We shared a manly hug!
Orlando saying we had 8 minutes to reach our goal of breaking 15 hours with less than a mile to go and as we hit the thick, sloppy, quagmire. The shoe sucking mud leading to the finish.
Laughing together as we made our way trying to run on the grassy edge.
Reaching the chute to the finish, Orlando said, We have  a little over 2 minutes.
Sprinting in together crossing the finish at 14:58 and change with Elda greeting us there.
Greeted by Ben, Chris, and Rachel at the tent.
My old friend Gabe Ayson, a friend from Austin who was a big influence on me with regards to Trail running so many years ago, and who I had been thinking about recently, coming up behind me to say Hello.
Enjoying post run food and beverages with Orlando, Elda, and Tom.

It was a good run.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Lighthouse 20 miler

Things went so well at my latest race. The lighthouse 20 miler is held on a ranch north of Blanco Texas. The course is fast with most of it on a totally exposed jeep/gravel road, I made a comment to rick that it wasn't very scenic and he pointed out that the vistas from a top the hills were nice. They were. I think Rick was trying to tell me to "Look and you will find beauty."
The race began with great conversation while running with Rick and Cara. I thought this would last a few miles then we would part ways as the run went into the late miles. We stuck together through the first loop of ten miles sharing interesting stories. On the second loop it was Rick and I. At one point I thought I would slow down but Rick encouraged me to keep up the approximately 10mm pace while walking every single incline no matter how short. This worked well and led to my first negative split ever in a trail race.
Rick and I came in together in 3:25:20. He did officially beat me by 20/100 of a second though.
It was fun!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I'm not small.

This past weekend I ran 16 miles with friends at Hill Country State Natural Area celebrating a buddies birthday. He was running 49K to celebrate his 49th birthday.
I tried out my new hydration vest. An UltrAspire vest that holds two 24oz bottles at an angle behind the rib cage. I love it! But it fits too big. I ordered a large -XL. I could not see ordering a small-medium. But I guess I am. For so long, between the ages of 20 to 45, I was a LARGE-XL. Now after changing my diet and running like I do I'm a medium. I haven't been a medium since High school. My North Face medium trail running shorts feel too big, but I am not a small! No matter what my wife says. Big guys will be kicking sand in my face at the beach she says.
I ran with my buddy Lalo today! My regular running partner cancelled so I thought I would run alone listening to my iPod playlist. Just before I left work I get a text from Lalo.
We caught up. I hadn't seen him for awhile but It's always like we pick up where we leave off. Running, hiking through the woods. No rush, enjoying small talk. No, It was deep talk, deep thoughts, LARGE talk. We are not small friends. Our friendship is Large!
I have made some very special friends trail running. That's Large.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Just stay in the game.

Running up to a ridge in an open field Today. There he was. Descending from the hill. The legend.
Larry is known as the legend because he has run trails almost everywhere, day or night and in every weather condition. He has completed runs while injured and kept going when others would quit.
As we ran together our conversation started with the Legend telling me about his hip problems and knee aches. The banter about how now in his fifties, his body is beginning to break down, led to his plans for a possible run at the Javelina Hundred. Just to see if the fire to run long still burns inside him.
We spoke about training at a low heart rate. A new fad? An old idea rehashed? The thing to do at our age? Yeah, That's it. Stay at a Steady comfortable Pace.
I agreed with the legend on the point of our 50+ year old bodies slowing down. I have dwelled too long on just that lately. But for every story I hear and every story I tell about my own body resisting a physical load I am reminded of stories like the 90 year old woman running the Boston Marathon. More recently, the 70 year old completing the Western States 100 miler.
Also recently, I ran into an old friend. John Cantu. I met John over 25 years ago. At the time I had just begun to be more active bicycling and running. John challenged me to go longer on the bike and on the run. Now 65,  John was on a bicycle ride with his wife the other day. Later they were to go to their country home to mow before returning back to town where John was in the starting lineup at shortstop on his Baseball team. Not softball. Baseball!  John said, "I just take it easy now. Not wanting to be a hero. Just trying to stay in the game."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Life's a race. Isn't it?

Well it's been a while. Writers block and pretty upset with my last race.
The first weekend of this month I ran the Pandora's box 'o rox trail Marathon. I was looking forward to this race. The Granite rocks in this part of the Hill country I remember so vividly. Years ago my Dad brought our family to this area frequently to camp, fish, and swim.
My race did not go well. The first 14 miles were ok. But then I started to feel really bad. My head began aching as did the whole length of my back. Three times I stopped and laid down to rest. Runners going by asked how I was. One offered to share his orange. Trail runners are cool that way. The only thing that kept me going was knowing my friends were out there too. Three of my friends passed me at about mile 19. Their encouraging words and knowing my buddy Tom was at the last aid station kept me on my feet even though I felt like I was going to faint..
I finished and waited for others in Our group to finish. It was fun cheering them cross the finish line.
Two days later I felt like I was going to die. The headache persisted. As did the Pain in my back, legs and abdomen. Three days at home and I began contemplating the reason for running long distances. I shared my thoughts and the pain I was going through with close friends. Comforting to know they were understanding and cared enough to respond with compassion.
After two weeks of no running I met with a friend for a 5 mile trail romp at my favorite natural area. It felt good but I would only run one more time that week. Today I ran 4 miles . I began thinking two miles would be good enough but feeling ok, I kept going for two more.
I had been wondering, the last three weeks. do I want to keep running these ridiculous races? Maybe. Maybe not. I do very much enjoy the friends I have made running. And races are exciting. Watching my friends do well is the best part. We have a great group. Belonging  is very beneficial to my physical, and more importantly, my emotional health.
I think I'll stick with it. I don't have to run long. Running or hiking will keep me fit, and by belonging we can be part of exciting and fun events like races and the Wilderness survival course I volunteered for last night. 
My rescue team did well!
This course is taught by my a wonderful friend I've known for over 10 years. A friend I met running, and one of many  I have shared many thoughts, laughs, and tears with on the trail.
Yeah, I'll keep going. My friends will help with that. Maybe I'll run another race too. Not too long though. Just long enough to keep me well.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Joe T's 14 mile Boerne stage rd/Cascade caverns turnaround 04/11/2015

My buddies Joe T., Tom, Ed Souza, and I had a great run this morning on one of Joe's many training routes in the Leon Springs/Boerne area back roads. 
Although it was very humid the cool mist made for a comfortable run. Running on the bridge over IH 10 I couldn't help but wonder what motorists on the highway thought seeing four runners wearing headlamps crossing the bridge overhead at 6 AM. We stirred dogs and scared deer in the residential area we ran through making our way to Boerne Stage rd. Boerne stage road is a typical Texas hill country back road with gradual gentle inclines and lined with farms and ranches, although many new subdivisions are popping up. .
The Airport lights on the Boerne airfield, all three of them, weren't powerful enough to light up the road. Maybe the fog was too thick.  We turned left on a small narrow road for an out and back to add some mileage. The surrounding area looked spooky with that Scooby Doo like fog blanketing the fields. I said to Joe that this would be really scary running alone. Tom said it would be really scary if Zombies started coming out from behind the trees!
Back on Boerne stage road we shared our stories about Dog encounters while running. Joe had the best. He stopped and tried to carry the dog home. Tom had the most costly,  $100 in medical bills. For the dog!
At mile 7.5 and just before daybreak we found Joe's water stash. The next stretch took us up a two lane black top, past a few sheep ranches to cascade caverns. We also spotted a donkey hanging out with a few cows near Elmer's ranch (sign on the fence). The Donkey looked suspicious to me.
With three miles to go Joe tells us the last 1.5 miles is uphill. Reaching this point it seemed we all were determined not to fade. We kept a steady pace and actually ran the last mile faster than any of the previous miles (8:15).
But wait! The end of the run would be at 13.6. If you know Tom he doesn't round up. normally I do but this time I followed Tom and Joe for an out and back down Fair Oaks road to make it 14. Ed did better by going further to get his 16.
We celebrated with Recovery drinks of Coffee stout and Chocolate milk

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hells Hills 25K

 Rocky Hill Ranch is not very rocky at all but I'd forgotten how many rollers it had. I also had forgotten how pretty this place is. Before this past Saturday the last time I ran at this east central Texas locale was about five years ago. Most of the place is single track sandy loam terrain through piney woods.
I arrived early enough to see some of my buddies start their 50k. After that I walked over to my truck to try to catch a few Z's. I didn't sleep much the night before the race. Does anyone?
The 25K started promptly at 7 AM. The start began on a slight incline and for the first mile or so the trail was  hard dried mud full of holes and ruts of all sizes. We'd been warned. There had been a mountain bike race the weekend before with 600 riders tearing up the exposed trail. Luckily most of the trails are under a canopy of tall pine trees and covered with pine needles and leaves. There were some very small pockets of dried up hard mud and running water from springs we had to jump over but for the most part the trails were smooth. My plan was to walk every uphill no matter how short.
My buddy Mike and I leaped frogged throughout the race. It was nice having him around. We talked and pushed each other to run harder.
My left leg has been bothering me. I think it's my IT band and I know I should use my foam roller to massage my legs, but I don't. Favoring this leg led to me pulling my left calf muscle at about mile five. It hurt so bad. The next ten miles I hobbled as I ran trying to ignore the pain. It would hurt more if I walked too long. I'd find a rhythm now and then. My stomach started to turn at about mile 12 and I had to find a place far off the trail to lay some fertilizer. Thank God for Leaves.
Peering through the woods to find my way back to the trail, I see Tanya running at a brisk pace. She sees me and waves. Right behind her is Mike. I fall in and soon pass Mike. Later mike said he wondered, "how did Tony get behind me?"
I caught up with Tanya and hooked on to her pace. It's amazing how one can find energy feeding off of another runner. I don't know what the pace was but we were moving at a swift clip.
At about mile 13 the rollers get longer leading up to "The Wall", A short 20 yard  Very steep climb.
Coming out of the woods at mile 14 Tanya pauses and asks if I want to pass. "No." I reply, "I'm using you."
Tanya takes off and I am hot on her heels. I keep up until about 150 yards from the finish. I couldn't hang anymore. I crossed the finish line at 2:30:10. Mike was about five minutes back.
I hung out with the gang at "Rockhopper Central." Our groups canopy/tent/refreshment post at the start finish.
My left calf  has ached for two days. Feeling better though. I broke out the foam roller.