Saturday, December 29, 2018

Holiday Hustle 8K (Plano, TX) Race Report

When I started to run, I had a website,, that I kept up with my times and then I started a blog.

It became pretty well followed and opened the door for me to eventually write for Texas Runner and Triathlete.

I’ve gotten away from the simple race (or event) report over the last couple of years; therefore, I’ll get back to my roots and discuss this morning’s race in Plano.

It was a race in my 153rd Texas city, town or census designated place and 328th community in north America.

It also became the 206th Texas city, town or CDP that I’ve put down a mile or more in.  I may chase some more today.  We’ll see when I’m done writing this, get cleaned up and checked out of my hotel here in Plano.

I had targeted the Holiday Hustle 8K, produced by the Plano Pacers Running Club and held in Bob Woodruff Park, as part of a holiday trip between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Wednesday, I ran a mile-plus in five new Texas counties, taking my count to 116, and spent the last two days covering Texas private and parochial high school basketball games in Tyler and Fort Worth for the Lone Star Christian Sports Network (

If I don’t chase miles today, I’m probably going to head to Ruston, Louisiana to see Louisiana Tech host University of Southern Mississippi in men’s basketball to see a game in a new arena.

I could see two good games in Stephenville, Texas, but I’ve been to the arena at Tarleton State.

Again, we’ll see.

I’ve known about the Plano Pacers Running Club since I started running in 2003.  It is one of the largest clubs in the D-FW Metroplex along with the Dallas Running Club.

They produce a monthly club run that is open to non-club members, who are charged a $10 fee.

For that, you get a well laid-out and marked course, the race is timed and there are food goodies after you finish.  (There might be awards, but I didn’t stay this morning.)

In fact, one of Texas’ course measurers Ken Ashby sets out their course so I have it on good belief that it is/was accurate from a distance standpoint.  And I hope it is/was, because I ran well.

What happens when you commit to improving your health and you drop some weight.

It was cold and windy this morning and the only negative was that the race didn’t start at 8 a.m. (i.e. on-time), but the spirit provided by club members was excellent to mitigate most of it.

You do a loop in the parking lot and then it is almost a complete out and back on the trails and sidewalks that run through and along the park.

The 8K and the 3K start together and when you get a little way in and around the lake in the park, the 3K runners turn around and head back to the finish line while the 8K runners keep going.

One of the Dallas’ best all-time veterans runners, Linda Kelly, was at the 3K turn around.  She and Ken are both Texas running legends.

I tried to not go out too hard and fast and I passed the mile one marker in 9:25.

I’ve done that a lot over the years, regardless of my weight, but now I can hold it.

There weren’t a lot of curves in the first mile, but in the second there were and knowing that Ken laid the course out I ran as many of the tangents as I could. 

I might not be fast, but I know how best to run a legal course.

Mile two came in at 9:35 for a cumulative 19:00.38 – 9:30 per mile.

The third mile included a turnaround and a long, slight incline.  The turnaround was about two-thirds of a mile in according to the pre-race instruction. 

There was also a water stop in this mile – and the beginning of the fourth mile – that you could partake of twice.  I did going out.

I remember seeing 6:25 in mile three at that turnaround, but finished at 9:33.11 for the third mile (cumulative 28:33.49).

With 1.97 miles to go (remember an 8K is not five miles exactly), I would have been perfectly pleased with a 47:30.

However, I passed a young woman around Waverly’s age or a little older and a guy who had passed me at the water stop going out.

Then came a little downhill and I started to work some.

I really didn’t think I was going faster, but everything started to feel like I was running in quick sand towards the end.

There was no mile four marker for some reason – although I suspect it might have been on the 3K turnaround sign (and was picked up), but a guy passed me – who must have been sandbagging – coming back around the lake.

Nonetheless, I kept pushing through what I was feeling and when I could see the clock for the first time I was treated to a little bit of a surprise.

It turns out that the 1.97 miles came in at 18:01.48 for a total time of 46:34.97.  Call it 46:35.

Was it a PR today?  Possibly.

In 2013, I ran the Run Free Texas 80’s 8K in Cedar Park, which was a little hilly, in 48:02.

In 2017, I ran the Law Week 8K in 49:21.

On February 19, 2005, I did the Hermann Park Conservancy Park to Park Run 5-miler in 47:06.7.

So maybe it was a PR today.

Nonetheless, I’m most pleased that I ran well.  Sure, the conditions were in my favor:  cold (and I could have done without the wind, but it wasn’t that bad.)

I ran in shorts, had two tech shirts on (one of my old Space City 10-miler white shirts with the newest Waco Stampede 10K grey tech shirt on top from this year’s race) and my black gloves from last year’s Bismarck Marathon.

Hope you enjoyed the write-up.

Stay active, have fun, find a race that you enjoy and run it and when you can, please volunteer for one or more.  You’ll be glad that you did.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

2018 Year In Review

100 events.

That's how many races that I either ran, announced or was in attendance for in 2018.

I ran 66 races this year.

It certainly could have been more, but various life decisions came in to play to overrule that notion.

I announced 23, which is down from the 37 in 2015.

It could have been a couple of more, but I stopped announcing Run In Texas races after the No Label Brewing First Street 5K in Katy the Saturday before Father's Day.

I will be dropping the Galveston Marathon and the Space City 10-Miler in 2019 as well as the Sylvan Beach Duathlon / Triathlon.

None of these race directors do I have any issue with other than paring back how much I'm doing.

I simply have gotten to the point that I'm either not having the same type of fun that I've had in the past or my interest level has waned.

I literally had discussions with three of the groups that I remain with about what the impacts would be of me not announcing and when I needed to let them know of my decision.

The bottom line is that if you're not having fun at something, it is probably time to stop completely or cut back.

I spectated at nine different races - four of those were of the TWRC Sunday Night 5K variety.

I worked Barry Blanton's aid station at Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas for the fourth consecutive year by announcing as many names as possible as they came in and out.

And finally, I legally paced Waverly 11.2 miles during the Chevron Houston Marathon, her first marathon finish.

As far as racing was concerned, I ran a race in 27 new cities -- 12 outside of Texas and 15 in.

Those 11 cities outside of Texas came in 9 different states.

I ran a race in my 50th state on Sunday, June 24 with a 5K in Rhode Island - one of three races that I ran with Waverly this year (other than the marathon).

The day before I checked off state #46 in half marathons with a finish at the 25th annual Westfield Half Marathon in Massachusetts.

State #47 came in early November when I returned to Rhode Island to run the Colt State Park Half Marathon in Bristol.

My last seven races that came over the last two months were the best six.

Four half marathons, two 5K's and a 10K.

Most of them came on cool or cooler days.

The last three came in Nike Air Zoom Vomeros that I was given for working the Nike Cross Regionals South for The Woodlands High in late November.

They produced a 28:24 5K, a 2:11:14 half marathon on a hilly course in Tyler and a 2:06:58 half marathon on a flat course in Galveston.

The number of short or long courses that I dealt with this year was frustrating.

Waverly and I ran three races together - other than the marathon - and I got to announce her finish of four races:  Green 6.2, Independence 8K, Ten For Texas and Run Thru The Woods.

We raced against each other three times and she came out on top twice with wins at the SAGU Half Marathon in Waxahachie Half Marathon in February and the Springwoods Village 5K in March while I picked up a solid win at the Memorial Park Conservancy Brunch Run 4M in between.

Toughest courses of 2018?

First place definitely went to Running The Rose 7K trail race in Tyler on Saturday, January 27.

Paint Palestine Pink 10.5-miler around the Loop that goes around Palesting on Saturday, October 6 was second with the Joplin Memorial Run Half Marathon in mid-May in third.

Both Tyler races - the Fresh 15K in March and the inaugural Tyler Half Marathon in December - were close behind.

Do run the Fresh 15K if you have the chance.  Do not run the Tyler Half Marathon.

And the Westfield Half Marathon in Massachusetts wasn't exactly a walk in the park either.

Running a bunch of races in a short period of time is fun -- and I do it fairly frequently.

These were the highlights, in those regards, from 2018:

1.  Four races in four days over Memorial Day weekend in Pennsylvania (Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday).  The last one came in my hometown, the Joshua House Memorial Day 5K in Tyrone.

2.  Texas 10 Huntsville 5M and the Bearkat Bolt 5K in Huntsville on the same morning.  Less than 30 minutes between the finish of the 5-Miler and the start of the 5K.  (I had run the 2.77-mile 5K at Nike South the Friday night before these Sunday, September 30 races.)

3.  The Firemans 4 Race in Port O'Connor and the Stars and Stripes 5K in Eagle Pass in the same day -- with 287 miles between the two cities.

4.  Actually kicked off the racing season with a 373-mile jaunt from Galveston - after running the Friends of Galveston Island State Park New Year's 10K - to Arabi, Louisiana for the 111th Anniversary Jackson Day Race 9K the next morning.

5.  Three night / morning race combinations -- Eastland / Dublin, Frisco / Saint Jo and Sealy / Center.  The latter involved 223 miles of driving.

6.  Three times I did a Run For Wellness 5K on a Sunday morning and a TWRC Sunday Night 5K in the evening -- March, April and June.

7.  Finally, on Saturday, July 28, on what would have been my sister's 46th birthday, I ran the Mosquito Chase 5K in Clute pretty well in the morning in 30:19 and the Howl at the Moon 5K in Waco in the evening.  Time was 29:28, but I'm pretty certain it was short.  However, it was 254 miles from Clute to Waco.

I ran the last version of the Outrigger's 5K on the Bay in Seabrook in early August.

One of the most fun races to be a part of was the Moore War Run 5K in Moore, Oklahoma on Saturday, August 25.  It was centered around a high school football rivalry.  Wish we could see a lot of that here in Texas during football season.

I ran a lot of and announced a few 5Ks.

I announced a 6K, and 8K and a 12K while running a 7K, 9K and 10K this year.

The races that take the most out of me to work - but that I get the greatest personal fulfillment from - are the cross country meets that I do.

I do two for Sam Houston State University and two for The Woodlands High School.

On the former, I get to work with an NCAA Division I cross country and track and field program and receive a lot of credit from their head coach for keeping the meet humming on-time and running smooth.

The latter?  I have the opportunity to work with one of the top boys' cross country programs in the United States and get to announce one of the seven Nike Cross regionals (two regionals are held at the same location).

My announcing there at NXR is witnessed by a lot of people -- and to my surprise this year was all videod during the awards ceremony.

That doesn't necessarily make me nervous, but rather it drives me to do very well.

Of those 66 races that I ran this year, 42 of them were new races.  And that's not even my record!

Two years ago, 48 of the 65 were new to me and last year 38 of the 66 were first-time affairs.

So, that's 197 races in the last three years and 128 of them were new to me.

The four years prior, I raced 37 in 2012, 44 in 2013, 50 in 2014 and 63 in 2015.

391 races from 2012-2018.

Somewhere I have an estimate of what I've done from 2003-forward.

All good fun, I guess.

I hope that 2019 will be more of the same for me as well as for you if you're reading.

Thank you for your friendship.  I really appreciate it.

God bless you and your family in the coming year!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Ultra Expeditions Race History

Upcoming Events
1/26/19 - The Urban Ultra - Dallas, Dallas (5k, 10k, 13.1mi, 26.2mi, 50k)
2/16/19 - The Border to Badlands Ultra, Seminole Canyon State Park, Texas (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2, 50k, 50mi)
3/30/19 - The Southwest 100, Fort Davis (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2, 50mi, 100mi)
4/13/19 - The Wild Canyon Ultra, Quitaque (5k, 10k, 25k, 50k, 100k)
TBA - The Plano Half Marathon (per website on 10/16/18)
Past Events
10/20/18 - Oktoberfest Trail Run Festival, Farmersville (5k, 10k, 13.1mi, 26.2mi, 50k)
11/10/18 - Barrier Island Ultra, Port Aransas (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2, 50k, 50mi)

11/10/18 - Barrier Island Ultra, Port Aransas (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2, 50k, 50mi)
5K - 11 finishers (6 women / 5 men)
10K -16 finishers (12 women / 4 men)
Half - 26 finishers (17 women / 9 men)
26.2 - 6 finishers (4 women / 2 men)
50K - 5 finishers (1 woman / 4 men)
50M - 4 finishers (1 woman / 3 men)

10/20/18 - Oktoberfest Trail Run Festival, Farmersville (5k, 10k, 13.1mi, 26.2mi, 50k)
5K - 21 finishers (15 women / 6 men)
10K - 24 finishers (16 women / 8 men)
Half - 61 finishers (38 women / 23 men)
26.2 - 25 finishers (7 women / 18 men)
50K - 21 finishers (2 women / 19 men)

9/22/18 - The Piney Woods Ultra, Tyler (5k, 10k, 25k, 50k, 100k)
5K - 17 finishers (12 women / 5 men)
10K - 67 finishers (44 women / 23 men)
25K - 85 finishers (46 women / 39 men)
50K - 49 finishers (24 women / 23 men / 2 unknown)
100K - 6 finishers (1 women / 5 men)

4/21/18 - The Wild Canyon Ultra, Quitaque
5K - 32 finishers (18 women / 14 men)
10K - 45 finishers (32 women / 13 men)
25K - 100 finishers (47 women / 53 men)
50K - 24 finishers (7 women / 17 men)
100K - 5 finishers (5 men)

4/22/17 - The Wild Canyon Ultra, Quitague
10K - 16 finishers (9 women / 7 men)
25K - 27 finishers (15 women / 12 men)
50K - 22 finishers (6 women / 16 men)
100K - 4 finishers (2 women / 2 men)

Santa Hustle Galveston Finisher Numbers

Half Marathon
2012 - 639 (378 women / 261 men)
2013 - 956 (593 women / 363 men)
2014 - 1,350 (998 women / 441 men)
2015 - 1,182 (772 women / 410 men)
2016 - 933 (593 women / 343 men)
2017 - 725 (457 women / 268 men)
2018 - 746 (430 women / 285 men / 31 unknown)

2012 - 1,566 (1,015 women / 551 men)
2013 - 1,959 (1,295 women / 664 men)
2014 - 2,853 (1,899 women / 950 men)
2015 - 2,959 (2,105 women / 854 men)
2016 - 2,369 (1,687 women / 682 men)
2017 - 2,420 (1,680 women / 739 men)
2018 - 2,446 (1,676 women / 736 men / 34 unknown)

2012 - 2,205
2013 - 2,915
2014 - 4,203
2015 - 4,141
2016 - 3,301
2017 - 3,145
2018 - 3,192