Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hiking south of Dallas

As I'm spending the weekend in Dallas for work, I did what I always love to do on work trips yesterday - explore the local trails!

My hope as I researched parks in the area was to check out the Cedar Hill State Park, which hosts a section of the DORBA (Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association) trail network.  I planned to hike and maybe run assuming there wasn't to much bike traffic.  Unfortunately, when I called the park for information, I found out that the trails were closed due to the recent rain storm.  So disappointed!  So I found some back up options, and headed out.

First, I visited Boulder Park, which boasted 10 miles of mountain bike trail.  I couldn't get through to anyone for information on the park, so it wasn't until I arrived that I discovered that this was also part of the DORBA system, and therefore, closed.  Having made the trip there, though, I decided to just walk a little ways down the trail until I found a wet area, and then turn back.  I never found any mud.  The whole park was dry!  In fact, I would call the conditions perfect - not muddy and not dusty.  Just right!

Boulder Park Trail

The trail consisted of a main Blue loop with a number of more technical off-shoot Red loops.  In the interest of not getting lost, I stuck to the Blue loop.

Cactus and Wild Flowers

Texas Flora

The creek was running very low, but it contained fish, so it must run consistently enough to support them.  It must be an old creek, too, as it looks to have worn its path through the rocks over a very long time.

An old but living creek

I love trails!

I ended up hiking 4 miles at Boulder Park.

At this point, it was still early enough in the afternoon to check out another park only about 10 minutes from my hotel.  I was hoping Bear Creek Nature Park would provide a decent place to run during the next week, as the area around my hotel is all highway with no sidewalks.

Bear Creek has a small campground and an equestrian trail.  The website had mentioned hiking trails, too, but I think the equestrian trail is all they have, so I ventured out on that.

More Flowers!
The trail headed out around a meadow and into a somewhat forested area.  It was a much more dry, brushy park.

Bear Creek Trail

As I hiked, I started to see some familiar man-made structures - a mud pit, a climbing wall, a rusted out van with a cargo net over it...  They were the remains of an obstacle run!

Old Ford van with a broken kiln inside
As I was leaving the park, I found a flyer for the upcoming Down & Dirty obstacle run on June 2, 2013.  Looks like it's going to be fun!

I hiked an additional 2.5 miles at Bear Creek and then headed to my hotel to shower up and eat a meal.  It was a great day of sun shine and movement!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mountain Biking for Women

Hello from Dallas, TX!  I'm travelling for work again, and I can't wait for the weekend when I have a chance to find some trails, which seem to be a little more distant from my hotel than I want to venture after a long day of work.  I'll try to get some good pics and post a report later.

In the meantime, my mom pointed me to a nice article today by Teresa Edgar, founder of on the Weather Channel website (article and video here).  It's just a quick story encouraging women to try out mountain biking by taking it slow, relaxing, and getting to know the easy-going mountain biking crowd.  I found it very simple and positive.  Check it out!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Building again

The hubby and I are registered to do a Tough Mudder on June 29 near Jackson, MI.  For the unfamiliar, this is a 10-12 mile run interspersed with somewhere in the range of 25 military style obstacles such as wall climbs, tunnel crawls, jumping off of platforms into lakes, ice water dunks, and running through electrified wires.  I'm excited...but nervous!  Some of those obstacles scare me!

To train for this adventure, my hope is to build my endurance as if I was preparing to run a half marathon, build my overall body strength with some weight lifting, and practice some circuit workouts (running mixed with exercises).  I'm pretty confident that I could complete this thing with minimal training, but I'd like to do better than that.  So I got to thinking that I was the fastest I've been in recent years when I trained for a triathlon in 2010, so why not mix in some cross training for cardio variety and softer impact, too?

This seems like a decent idea for the hubby, as well, since he is recovering from some back issues and is not allowed to do high impact exercises like running or biking for a while.  As I put together a training plan, I'm trying to modify his workouts to include more walking and swimming least for a few more weeks.

I don't know how this plan will work to prepare us for the Tough Mudder, but hopefully it will at least be fun and help us get leaner and healthier.

A few things I've noticed as I've started training:

  • I'm starting to like weight lifting more.  I want to get a little bit buff and lean up those squishy areas!
  • I swam last night for the first time since my tri in 2010.  What a lung workout!
  • Aside from swimming and lifting, I would rather do everything else outside.  I cannot wait for the weather to improve so running and biking outside are more enjoyable!  We had two beautiful "Spring-is-coming" days last week, and it was heavenly!
  • I've never created a training plan for the hubby before, but he asked me to put something together that takes his back into account.  Now, how do I motivate him to follow the plan?!