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 one 100 miler and numerous other ultramarathon trail races and marathons. I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The All Night Training Run

Seriously? Who runs all night long? Well, I do when I’m training for a one hundred miler especially when heat is an issue. Last month I pulled several all nighters for the mental training needed to prepare me for what’s coming next week, the Javalina Jundred in Phoenix, AZ. 

Persuading someone to join you on a 12 hour training run at night is nearly impossible so you must be prepared to go it alone. Running all night really isn’t that bad unless of course you are afraid of the dark, can’t stand to be alone or...um...have an  aversion to zombies. In reality a zombie’s stare is much worse than their bite so don’t fear. Staying up all night can be fun too. Remember those days as a teen when you tried to stay awake all night with your friends?



On both all nighters I chose to run on the Rio Grande levee road and connecting canals because I had seen a lot of rattlesnakes on the mountain trails in my area. The evening went by fairly quickly and on one occasion I met up with my local running club at 5:00am to enjoy their comaraderie for the last several hours of running.


This is what the river levee looks like during the day.
The canals in the upper valley of El Paso, TX are perfect for night running because you are never far from help lest there is a zombie apocalypse. Worse than walking dead are texting drivers so staying off roads and highways is a must. The canals criss cross the many neighborhoods in the area and, other than a few road crossings, you are free from traffic.

Canal at night
Canal in the day
After running for half the night you will stop worrying about creepy things that lurk in the darkness because by this time you have become a zombie yourself. All that lack of sleep has turned you numb and you are now running on auto pilot dreaming of a rising sun. To combat drowsiness I like to have a caffeinated gel like a Hammer Espresso or Cliff Shot Mocha. 


The week before my 51st birthday I ran 51 miles in 12 hours feeling strong enough to cover the last six in a little over an hour. I completed this, my longest training run, about five weeks before my race so I would have the last month or so to taper. 

Here are 10 tips for running an all nighter:

1. Buy a good headlamp with both flood and spot light options especially if you run trails (look at lumens and battery life). The flood option will light the rugged trail and the spot will help you pinpoint skunks, snakes, lions, tigers and bears. Oh...and zombies.

2. Don’t use your house as a base for resupplying; you may end up saying, “SCREW IT!” at 3:00am and just crawl into bed.

3. Find a safe place to run. Contrary to popular belief, serial killers don’t typically hide in the mountains or backcountry because they are too lazy to hike that far (I’m going to get hate mail for that sentence), but mountain lions do. Personally, I’ll take my chances with lions over texting drivers. But that’s just me. Run where you feel comfortable. 

4. Don’t run a one mile loop (yawn!) unless that is “your thing” or the type of race you are training for.

5. Have an assortment of foods and drinks that you can look forward to when you return to your car/base camp. I like ginger ale (w/real sugar), salami, crackers, pretzel thins (everything flavor), oranges, bananas, cinnamon raisin bread, cream cheese. You know, the standard aid station fare.

…or make a run to the Whataburger that is close to the canals.
6. Have extra clothes, socks and shoes. Changing out of damp or soaked clothes will make you feel better, at least for a while, especially if it gets chilly as the night wears on. Changing socks and shoes once or twice may help prevent blisters.

7. Split your run up into manageable parts. I ran a 20 mile out-and-back along the river with my 3-litre camelbak and then ran a 12 mile loop with a hydration vest, then another 13 mile out-and-back along the river (opposite direction) and then a 6 mile loop with hand held bottles. The variety of hydration systems helped break up the monotony and gave my shoulders a break.

8. If running partners won’t accompany you all night, ask if they will start with you or meet you in the morning. (Just remember that your legs won’t be fresh if your friends are fast).

9. Use caffein if you so choose. Gels, soda, Starbucks, Red Bull, etc.


10. Most importantly, bring your sense of humor. After all, If you happen to run into anyone in the middle of the night they will most likely be laughing their ass off at you (or calling the cops.) Have some fun too. My favorite is switching all the republican and democrat yard signs during election season. 


See you on the trail.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Snakes!

Two snake encounters within five minutes of each other! That sums up my run in the Franklin Mountains. My running buddy spotted the first one in the middle of the trail and stopped in time for us to admire his black and white banded tail and rattle. We were about to turn around soon anyway so decided to head back the way we came so as not to have to guess where he was on the return trip.

The first one

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Two States Run

Hundreds of bats flutter above me as I run under a bridge that crosses the Rio Grande. I stop for a closer look and am amazed by the sound of thousands of fluttering wings. Suddenly I hear a screech and see an owl take flight. She continuously flies overhead while making an eerie call like fingernails down a chalkboard. I was once struck on the head by an owl protecting her nest. Although it is hard to see in the dark, I suspect this raptor is a barn owl because of it’s pale color and incessant screeching. 

Blurry bats
I’ve only been running for an hour having left my house at 3:30am because I plan to run to the next state; New Mexico. This 40 mile training run will take me from West El Paso, TX to Old Mesilla (Las Cruces) and should take a whopping 9-10 hours because of the August heat and humidity.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

St. Sebastian River Preserve


Ah, sunny Florida in August. This is the life. Nothing like relaxin’ on the beach where your only worry is a blown out flip-flop and maybe a lost shaker of salt. Indian River County is on the East Coast about half way down the state where there is an abundance of lush vegetation, tropical birds, dolphins, manatees and sea turtles that bury their eggs on the pristine beaches. Sounds like a tropical paradise until you try to run in the sweltering heat. The humidity is off the scale and you will be soaking wet if you make it to the end of your run.



Sandhill Cranes wander the neighborhoods

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bush Mt (Guadalupe Mountains National Park)


Why is it getting light outside already? I set my alarms for 4 and 4:30, but never heard anything. Epic alarm failure or was I in such a deep sleep that I just didn’t hear them? I rarely oversleep, but had a hard time drifting off last night due to thunder storms. Sleeping in my hatchback turned out to be a good idea. I don’t have to worry about breaking camp and should be on the trail by 6:00am.



Friday, July 4, 2014

Hillsboro Peak

CAUTION...watch for FALLING TREES, BLOCKED ROUTES, ERODED TRAIL. Well, I didn’t plan this one very well did I? The night before leaving for a camping and running trip, I decided to check the status of the Black Range Crest Trail (#79) in the Gila National Forest, NM. Status: OPEN (Hikers and horsemen should beware of the hazards in the burned area.)



Friday, June 20, 2014

Puebloans Ran Here

Not only did the Ancestral Puebloans run, but also scaled cliffs to reach the safety of their homes. Imagine climbing a 100 foot precipice each time you had to run to the grocery store. Well that’s what the ancient peoples who inhabited what is now Mesa Verde National Park had to do in the 13th century AD. 

Cliff Palace
Knife Edge Trail