Crazy Spring – Finished the race and then lots of Snow

What a crazy week. It all started Saturday with the Collegiate Peaks 50 Trail Run. I’d run most of the course and while it’s not technical, there is a fair bit of climbing and a 12 hour cut-off. The weather was fantastic for the starting 72 runners. I finished the first half in 5:15 which put a lot of pressure on the 2nd half. I fell behind the aid station cut offs mid way through the 2nd loop but after sprinting the last 6 miles, I finished DFL in 24th place, 2 minutes and 32 seconds before cut-off.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
11:57:15 11:20:48 52.20 13:44 5:35 7,302.49
hours hours mi. min/mile min/mile ft.

The forecast called for a Winter Storm Warning on Wednesday so I decided to make vegan lasagna. I made far too much so I gave some away and froze the rest.

Our neighbors, who are also from Austin, were in town so Wednesday night we decided to drink whiskey at DeerHammer. The snow started while we were walking there.

This is what it looked like walking home 2 hours later. The snow was really wet and heavy and the forecast called for it to snow all night.

The next morning, it looked like in addition to the snow, high winds had ripped through. The trees were sagging with a lot of broken limbs and some even completely down. There wasn’t any wind, just really wet heavy snow. About 8-10 inches came down on May 9th.

The dogs didn’t know what to think. They seems to love running in the snow.

These trees are the primary shade for the dog park. They were sagging so much under the weight of the snow that I thought they were going to come down completely. Luckily, they didn’t fall over, but the picture below this one shows how many limbs have been snapped.

On Friday the snow finally stopped and Mt. Princeton poked out from behind the clouds.

Great days

We’ve gotten into a routine which includes walks to the dog park at first light. The mountains seem to look different every morning.

The afternoons usually include a hike. On this particular day, I tried to see how far I could get up Little Browns Creek trail. I was able to make it to 9850ft before it flattened out and the snow pack set in.

We also climbed Midland Hill several times.

This morning we woke up to a couple inches of snow. It will melt quickly, but it’s a reminder that summer isn’t here yet.

The dogs love it here. They can’t get enough of exploring under every rock.

Half week of sunshine – other half snow

This was a strange week. I had looked at the weather forecast so I knew to expect some awesome days and then awful days. I spent two days running in the Four Mile area where my upcoming 50 miler takes place. The area is deceivingly tough. While it looks flat, there is nothing flat- the trails roll in and out of small drainage’s which make it really tough. The area has little cover so the wind whips up a lot of dust. I also took the dogs up Midland hill and there was still a lot of snow up on top, but the river was still needed when they got down.

When we got back, the dogs took advantage of the new grass in the courtyard.

The warm weather brought out the ground squirrels so the dogs have been obsessed looking under every rock

And then, the second half of the week came. We walked back from Whiskey Wednesday in the snow.

The poor weather gave me an excuse to cook. I made 6 wraps of campfire salmon and a giant pot of veggie chili. To give a little perspective, I put my large Yeti cup next to the chili pot.

The dinning room chairs also came so I had another project to keep me busy while inside.

Even though I’ve been to yoga everyday this week, being cooped-up was driving me nuts so I went out for a run today. The weather was high 30’s and sunny when I left, but when I got to the top of Midland hill 49 minutes later, a snow storm has set in. It was snowing fairly hard for about an hour and then cleared up so I extended my run north on the Broken Boyfriend Trail. I put my Strava feed for the climb below since this is my benchmark to beat this summer.

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
00:48:55 00:46:15 2.87 16:08 6:14 1,690.94
hours hours mi. min/mile min/mile ft.

BV Time

It’s time to head back to BV but Preston and I had a 30k the day before. We both did well. I set a new PR for this race and even though Preston hasn’t run a 30k in 6 years, he came in less than 20 minutes behind me.


The next morning Tracy and I left for BV. Since I’m here the entire summer, every space in the truck was packed but Darby still managed to spread out on her bed for the trip.


We did make it to Deerhammer a couple nights for drinks. It’s the shoulder season in BV so a lot of the restaurants are closed and many locals are out of town.

Over Thanksgiving we bought a pass for Mt Princeton Hot Springs and we finally got a chance to try it out. It’s pretty cool to lay in Chalk Creek and feel hot. It was a great day to be outside.


Afterwards we sat on the deck with a drink. Izzy enjoys watching the people walk in the park.


Tracy left on Friday but I had deliveries of new chairs and a new dishwasher. I managed to get it installed without much difficulty.


On Saturday, the dogs and I drove out to Avalanche Trailhead. The trail lived up to it’s name, as the other side of the canyon had experienced two massive slides. The trees that were plowed from the road are stacked 15′ high on the shoulders. We were able to get to the top of the ridge before the snow got too deep- Darby enjoyed rolling in it. They both had a blast, especially when they found the dead frozen squirrel in the snow.

When we got back, I ripped up one of the flower beds and replaced it with some fake turf for the dogs.

Getting ready for BV

This Monday we are heading back to BV. I plan on being there for the summer, but Tracy will be back and forth. This spring has flown by. I’ve been staying active and ran the Tinjas 50k again. I also have the Tangle 30k Sunday.


I ran down to the park to meet Tracy this weekend. It must be a sign of luck having a Cardinal perch on your car because this little guy didn’t want to leave. He danced around on the top of the roof

Today I power washed the pool filters. The blue is a piece of blue plastic that dissolved in the filter. It was everywhere and stained the pool rocks. It took a couple hours but I transferred it all from the pool to me. Meanwhile, Izzy was a sun dog watching me.

This year, I’m running the High Lonesome 100 again. The race director put together a promo spot based on last year’s race. You can see me a few times at the start line.

Spring is coming

It’s been a busy new year. The first weekend was the annual Bandera 100 race. Unfortunately, the venue changed again to Camp Eagle. The loops were similar to Cactus Rose, just 5 miles longer with more climb. It was much harder than Bandera so I finished a little longer than usual.

We’ve had some cold days and Izzy took full advantage of the fireplace.

I got some work done around the house which included sanding and painting the railings

I did a little work around the house which included sanding and painting the railings. We also had the trimmers come and take care of all the trees. It’s pretty crazy how they scale everything to thin out the trees.

We’ve had a lot of rain so our trail trips were less frequent than previous years due to the flooding. Izzy still managed to get her sun in the yard.

I did a little cooking and took inspiration from Tracy’s sister’s veggie chili recipe. I also joined the NAU board foundation and made a quick trip to Phoenix for the first meeting. NAU rented a suite at the Suns stadium. It was nice meeting other alumni, but the Suns lost big.

Our furniture was scheduled to be delivered again in BV the first week of February. We had lunch with our friends, Dave an Jani. Coincidentally, their daughter was working in the doctors office in our building. We also made 3 trips to our favorite watering hole, Deerhammer.

Mid-week, we got a lot of snow and the dogs didn’t know what to think of it.

Our furniture finally made it and I took a picture of it with the drone.

When we got back to Austin the weather was incredible for a few days and we put in some miles at the trail.

We replaced the rug in the living room with one Tracy had ordered to BV

The Holidays

The holidays flew by. We did our yearly jello shots at our neighbors White Elephant party.

The three of us rode our bikes down to the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park.

For the last week, we were at Tracy’s sister’s house. Her dog Tucker is the laziest dog I’ve ever met. He loves to lay on the love seat in all kinds of crazy positions.

He’s actually asleep in the picture below.

On Christmas day, Tracy and her siblings always take a picture holding the Joy pillow.

Last week in BV

Our 2nd week in BV was colder and we got a little snow.

Most of the days were sunny but the mornings were really cold.  We headed up to the mountains for a little hike, but ended up getting the truck stuck and had to be pulled out.

The dogs got lots of walks and the mountain air made them tired.

We visited the local distillery, Deerhammer, often.

The last day there was the BV Chocolate Walk.  We got a scorecard from the community center and walked the dogs all over town collecting stamps on the card and chocolate.  That evening there was a parade that started in front of our house.

The trip home was uneventful, but it still made Izzy tired.

On a sad note, Uncle Ed passed away this week.  He was a very kind person and will be missed.

Edward Benz Obituary

Edward Edward Benz passed away on Monday December 3, 2018 at the age of 92. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 71 years Lillian, son Charles, daughter Diana, two grandsons Ryan and Randy and one great grandson Ryan Matthew. Edward was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters and one brother. Edward loved sports and will be deeply missed. According to his wishes cremation has taken place and no services will be held.

Published in Grand Rapids Press on Dec. 9, 2018

Back in BV

The three of us and the dogs drove to BV for the Thanksgiving break.  Preston had the whole week off of school so he had a full 6 days here.  He left this morning on the bus.  We are expecting several delivery of furniture next week so we’ll be here a little longer.

The weather has been awesome and we have been walking the dogs everyday.

We climbed Midland hill earlier in the work.  Darby had a couple adventures chasing deer.

Our neighbors in BV are also from Austin and they took us to an arch that is only a couple 4wd miles from the house.  We climbed up on top and the views were incredible.

The setting sun behind Jim

A short trip to Mexico

We took a short trip to Playa Del Carmen.  The weather was perfect everyday.  We didn’t do much but play in the ocean, sit on the beach, and run the coast.

I tried to be out every morning at sunrise for a run.  Tracy would follow 30 minutes later and meet me up the beach.

We didn’t spend a lot of time in the room, but the view was nice.