Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fun Run for human trafficking

I've never done a fund-raiser run, but I'm planning on one for 6/4. Our church youth group is sponsoring it to raise money to aid victims of human trafficking. Funds will go to "Sower of Seeds" ministry.  I plan to run at least 50K (31.2 miles). If 20 of you pledge $1 per mile, that would be enough money to rescue a girl and support her for 3 months. Can I count on you? For details, send me a note or go to

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Nice Place to Run: Sansom Park

This morning I met up with a couple dozen new friends and familiar faces at an NTTR club run at Sansom Park.  Fred and Char Thompson organized the run, fresh off their epic Rim to Rim to Rim Grand Canyon adventure (this is one run I'd love to do one day; read about the Thompson's experience at  We met up at the parking lot in progress and hit the trail at 8.

For some reason, I have never made it over here before.  It's about as far from home as Cedar Ridge or Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, if not a little closer, and every bit as enjoyable.  It's more technical than Oak Cliff, maybe not quite as technical as Cedar Ridge.  The advantage it has over Cedar Ridge is that it drains much better.  We've had some pretty good rain the last couple of days, but the trails were in great shape.  It was just muddy enough to keep the mountain bikers home, but not so muddy that runners ended up with mud bricks over their shoes.
Trail running at its best: single track through leafy woods, hardly a flat spot in sight!
As is often the case with trails like this, created and maintained by mountain bikers, there are lots of loops and interconnecting trails.  The big loop the Thompsons marked out was about 8 miles, but you can easily find longer or shorter routes.  The first loop I ran with a couple of different people, then set out on the second alone.  I was going so slowly, and stopping to take pictures, that I thought surely someone would catch me, but they never did.  I would have liked someone to pace with; the second loop ended up being as much nature hike as trail run.
This is a beautiful spot, located near the dam where Lake Worth spills into the Trinity River.  The cactus blossoms have come and gone, but the yucca and lots of wildflowers were blooming.  I saw some squirrels, of course, saw several cardinals, caught a glimpse of a pair of deer bounding away through the underbrush, and scared away some lizards, who scurried away in the leaves.  There are views of Lake Worth and Carswell Joint Reserve Base, and of the waterfall just below the dam.  Most of the time, there was so little noise I could convince myself I was miles from civilization, until the silence was shattered by a jet taking off from Carswell!
Waterfall and a fishing spot just below the dam.
Another view of the waterfall.
It got a little hot and humid by the time I was done, but this was a great run at a great spot.  I'll have to come run there again soon!
Bluffs above the trail.
It's hard to see them in this picture, but this hillside had lots of little flower.
 And here are more flowers:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back-to-back half marathons at Lake Whitney

This weekend was the sort-of annual Lake Whitney State Park camping trip with a bunch of friends from church.  At least 20 families went this year, the biggest group ever.  There were kids running around everywhere, the weather was perfect, and I think everyone had a blast.

Before we left, I e-mailed Phil, whom I met at an NTTR trail run a few weeks ago.  He lives in the area and had told me there were some nice trails near the state park.  He didn't steer me wrong!  Just a couple hundred yards from the entrance to the state park, there is a wildlife management area gate.  I don't know the full extent of land this leads into, but there are miles and miles of single track, double track, equestrian trails, game trails, and cattle trails where someone can run for hours.

On Saturday morning, I ran from our campsite, found the gate, and explored the trails for a bit before circling back to pick up Kurt.  He said he normally runs only about 5 miles, but he ran a good 9 miles this morning, about 6 of that on trails.  My Garmin read 13.3, but I ran a quarter mile or so before it picked up the satellites.

On Sunday, I met Phil at the gate.  He was running 20, as he is training for a trail marathon in 3 weeks.  I didn't think I was up to 20, primarily because of time.  We ran together for 12 or so miles (15.6 total for me).  He runs here frequently, and knows the trails well.

This is a delightful place to run.  Totally flat, but with good variation in surfaces.  I didn't run in any sand with Kurt, but with Phil we got into some sections that had pretty deep sand.  As much as I don't like sand, I was reminded that Vibram Five Fingers are the best for sand.  (I haven't posted an update on my Treks.  I love them!  Update coming soon.)  There are some nice views of the lake, plenty of cows, and a few deer.  We saw bobcat and turkey tracks; some bow hunters were out there looking for a turkey dinner.  We ran through pastures, saw scrubby mesquite and blooming cactus, and followed trails through thick canopies of trees.  I wish I'd brought my camera to get some shots of the trail.  If this were closer to home, I would definitely become a regular.  In any case, I will have some good trail running to look forward to on our next Lake Whitney camping trip!

Oh, yeah, I can't forget Kelly.  Both days I left before she got up, but by the time I got back she had gotten the kids up (rather, the sun had gotten the kids up and the kids had gotten her up!) and dressed and fed them breakfast, and had breakfast waiting for me.  She tells me she's happy to do it, so I'll take her word for it!  Thanks, Kelly!

This is the course I followed with Phil.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On the road again

Slowly but surely, I've been getting back into my running groove.  I had 3 decent runs last week, and, although I was slow getting started this week (still getting in some O.T.), I should get 3 runs in this week.  Getting up early, running in my neighborhood, even though I struggle to get out of bed, is a great way to start my day.

However, I was struck this morning that summer is around the corner.  Since I missed the chance to register for Jemez (which I'm sort of glad of now; I'm in no shape to run a 50Kin the mountains!), my next race is Capt'n Karl's at Inks Lake on July 16.  This is where I ran my first real trail ultramarathon in 2009 (report here).

Late July sounds like it's ages away, but the race is only 10 weeks away!  It's definitely time to put together a training plan and get on some trails.  It's certainly easy to step out the front door and run on the flat streets of my neighborhood, but Inks Lake is rugged and a bit hilly.  As always, I'm in that place of preferring trail running but stuck doing most of my training on roads, just because that's where I am.  Come race day, we'll see how ready I am to hit the trails!