Sunday, September 22, 2013

Running Around Dallas, TX

I headed to Dallas for a short weekend trip and had the opportunity to do some great running (and eating!). Dallas is actually a great city for people who like to keep in shape. On a Saturday morning, you'll catch tons of fit runners and bikers bouncing around. Apparently, olyn Austin outstrips Dallas in terms of sporty-ness. Be sure to dress to impress though-- both men and women (though particularly women) wear their finest sports gear and will hang around town in them all day.

The first great running spot I headed to was a little outside of Dallas at a lake and park known as Whiterock. Whiterock has a giant man-made lake and a 9.3 mile bike and running path that circles it. When I headed there on Friday morning, it was cloudy and misty. The heavy rains the night before caused the lake to swell a bit and the overflow portion behind the dam was raging-- a very cool sight to see. On a cloudy and rainy day, there are not many people, which was nice to have so much freedom. Everyone there is very friendly so be sure to say "Hi!" as you pass by (or, when I'm tired, I try and give a friendly smile and a thumbs up, which always boosts my mood too and helps me to pick up the pace a little). The the paved trail follows the lake the whole way around, dipping a little into a forest-like tree line, but always coming back to the lake. Sights around the lake that made it enjoyable were a small sailboat marina, a nice pedestrian bridge, the dam, and the nature. Since there weren't a lot of people around, I caught a beautiful crane hunting (and catching and eating) a fish. Definitely a spot worth a visit!
Aerial view of Whiterock Lake

Right in Dallas is also the Katy Trail. This trail was apparently a former railroad track and is a great escape from the city, while still staying in the city. As such, there are always tons of runners, bikers, and walkers on the trail at any time of day and especially on the weekends. The trail is about 3.5miles one way. Because it gets so congested, I would suggest checking it out early in the morning if possible. Alongside the paved trail is Turtle Creek, a nice and small little park that can be accessed from the trail. I would suggest hitting this up too if you have a chance-- I didn't, but I could see it from the trail and it looked very charming!

Popular Bar right off the Katy Trail

Running, however, was not the main focus of this trip. There was a LOT of eating involved. Food highlights include jalapeno skins (a jalapeno popper but instead of a breaded outside, it was a jalapeno with cream cheese wrapped in bacon!), the Dank hamburger at Kung Fu (Definitely check this place out-- they have free arcade games! And the burger: onion rings, grilled cheese sandwiches for the bun, so much cheese, two beef patties stuffed with jalapeno... Amazing!), brisket enchiladas at Meso Maya, and fried pickles. Tates has really beautiful cocktails, so definitely stop there any time of day. We also went on a private 2 hour Segway tour (, ask for Cameron, he's awesome!) and saw pretty much everything. If I had more time I would have checked out the art museums there, so if you have time definitely check them out!

The Dank

A unique event going on was Redbull's Flugtag. Flugtag (pronounced "flooh-tahg") is when you make flying contraptions and you have a team of friend push the contraption off a ramp and into water and see how far they go. It was, needless to say, hilarious! It was only in 5 cities in the country and they do it as an annual event (I think). Redbull also sponsors it around the world and there is a flugtag world record. Teams get really into the event by dressing up and putting on a skit before shoving their craft off and into the lake below. The craft is also creatively done up and the skits and team members all go with the theme. One of my cousin's friends was on a team and actually was the "driver" who was shoved off with the craft. They had a plane that was designed to look like a space ship and they had the crowd roaring when they danced around in their space suits and ran around with an American flag (which was naturally pinned to the front of the ship and launched off as well). One of the funniest ones was a portapotty (seriously, it was a portapotty with wheels). For the team's skit, they played the 90s song, "Everybody dance now" (you know it, just google it!). But when the lyrics played they had signs that went up "Everybody pants down" and ripped off their pants to expose nude colored leotards and then they just danced around really crazy. At the end of the skit, they pulled some lever that caused the walls of the portapotty to fall down into wings and expose the driver sitting on the john (pants down). They then pushed the portapotty over the edge and he then plunged face first into the water. Epic.

I would definitely go back to Dallas! It was awesome!

Special thank you to Seth Gold for giving to my fundraiser! Don't forget that if you give more than $26.20 ($1 for every mile) you will get a FREE T-SHIRT! Woo! Hope to have the design out for everyone to see soon! :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Running in Oregon

Oregon is an amazing place to run, not only because of the beauty of the land, but also because of its rich running history. The famous middle and long distance runner Steve "Pre" Prefontaine was a track star in Eugene, OR at the University of Oregon and was trained by the equally famous track coach Bill Bowerman. Bill Bowerman first introduced Pre to a new kind of sneaker made specifically for running by a fledgling local company, Nike. Today, Nike is an international running powerhouse but it still keeps its roots in Oregon, keeping its HQ in Beaverton, just outside of Portland.

During the time that I was in Portland, there was a festival called Music Fest North West going on. Nike was one of the sponsors and they had a really cool and unique idea to give some of the tickets away by having festival goers participate in sports events. The night that I arrived, Nike sponsored a midnight 5k through Portland that resulted in the finishers getting tickets to two shows: Diplo on Thursday night and Flume on Friday night. I really wish I could have run it-- I would have loved it! Unfortunately, my flight arrived at midnight to PDX so I didn't make it. But what a great idea!

I had the opportunity to run in Beaverton, just outside of Portland and where the Nike campus (aka HQ) is located. If you're looking for a scenic, wooded run or bike, definitely check out Tulatin Hills Nature Park. The park consists of "primary" and "secondary" trails. The primary trails are totally paved and the secondary are either gravel or dirt, but they are immaculately maintained, which is amazing because moss grows like crazy there so I feel like it must be hard to keep everything so tidy and not slippery. When you arrive at the parking lot, there is a great "interpretive center" (I guess a nature center?) and there is a information board with great maps that I highly encourage you to grab. These maps give great detail for distance, so it'll help you to figure out how far and fast you ran. There is really only one large loop you can do, but its only about 3miles, however that only really covered half the park, so definitely feel free to just run around for an hour checking out all the trails, you just might have to double back a few times since they're not all connected and there aren't a lot of loops.
Tulatin Hills Nature Park main path

At the end of one of the trails in Tulatin Hills

What's really awesome about woods running in Oregon is that you feel as if you've been transported to an ancient land. Because Oregon is so wet (it's technically a rain forest!), everything is insanely green and covered with moss. The trees all seem to have that iconic dark, reddish-brown trunk that us easterners think of when we think of western tress (especially redwoods and sequoias). What's nice about the nature park is you get a slice of wilderness in a very urban area. There were definitely a good number of people around, but not so much that you had to stop running to let people pass. I would say the whole half hour I saw about 10 people.

While in Beaverton I also had the opportunity to run the Nike Campus. Just as a warning, if you go on a weekend, most of the buildings are closed, but if you need to use the bathroom then if you run to the back of the campus at SW Walker Road and the main building there should be open to the public. Running around the campus is a great way of scoping it out; I was really impressed by the size and beauty of the campus and on the weekend there was no one around so I could pretty much run anywhere without hassle. There is a beautiful man-made lake with a gravel path around it, outdoor seating that overlook the lake, and cool bronze statues that overlook the lake as well. They have all kinds of neat things, like tennis courts and soccer fields, and there is a nice trail that goes around the outside of the campus and you can run over bridges that are elevated over the entrances, so you get to go high up which is kind of fun. Across the street from the front of the campus on SW Jenkins road is a woodsy 1.5 mile path, which I saw one distance warrior doing repeats on.
The gravel trail around the man-made lake at the Nike Campus

A statue at the Nike Campus by the lake

The running path across the street from the Nike Campus

Another great place to run at (though I didn't) is Hagg Lake, about 45 minutes from Portland. It is a massive man-made lake with beaches, boat launches, fishing, hiking and more. I feel like my photos don't do it justice at all. It was such a warm, sunny day and the lake was such a nice relief. It' really safe there too with not a lot of people, even on a Saturday, so you can go for a really hearty swim across the lake if you like. I could really see a great triathalon happening there. If you do go, its $6 for parking and I suggest parking at Boat Launch C, where there are beaches, picnic tables, boat rentals, and a snack stand. From there you can jog down the road and you'll see lots of trails into the forest. I really wish I had gone for a run, but I also loved chilling and swimming with my friends, so that was a good "cross training" day. 
Beach at Hagg Lake

If you are visiting Portland and want to scope out more running spots, I would definitely check out Arlington Heights, near the Oregon Zoo, which is much more accessible by public transport. I didn't have the chance to run there this time, but I've gone hiking there before and it's great-- and huge!

Please be sure to add your email to my email list to get more great running travel updates! Also, please consider giving to my fundraiser for UNICEF (read a great article on UNICEF here: ! I am running the NYC Marathon in order to raise $3,500 for this amazing, life-saving organization. Read more about my fundraiser here:

Please consider contributing at least $26.20, one dollar for every mile I run. If you do, you will receive a really cool t-shirt that is being designed by screen printer Made in Truth. If you have a business, we can add your logo to the back of the shirts for a donation of $200 or more! Feel free to contact me at KGrennan1 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Special thank you to Bob Ferguson, Christopher Mortweet, Elizabeth Norman, Maryliz Uihlein, and Beth Seickel for contributing to my fundraiser this week! You guys rock!

Monday, September 2, 2013

NYC Marathon 2013 for UNICEF!

I have some very exciting news to share! I have decided to run the NYC Marathon on November 3, 2013 with the UNICEF team! As a result, during the next two months I will be writing about interesting running locations around the US. In September I will be visiting Oregon, Texas, and Georgia and more locations to be announced at a later date! My travel blog will become a travel running blog!

I have teamed up with Albany-based Made in Truth Clothing to print t-shirts to the first 150 people who sign up to give at least $26.20 ($1 for each mile I'm running!). MiT will be designing a personalized logo and printing the shirts! More details to come.

Are you familiar with the work of UNICEF? The United Nations Children's Fund is a United Nations Programme headquartered in New York City, that provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. You might be familiar with the UNICEF collection boxes that children carry around during Halloween. Well, those collections go to assist millions of families worldwide.

Since 1970, the number of deaths for children under 5 years old has dropped from 17 million to 7 million in 2011, with every region in the world seeing marked decline. Those are amazing results, however at UNICEF they believe in zero, particularly in polio, measles, and maternal/neonatal tetanus. 1 child under 5 still dies every 5 seconds, and to UNICEF and their supporters that is a tragic number.

That's why I've teamed up with UNICEF. In just 2 months I will train to run 26.2 miles through all 5 boroughs of New York City. Besides pushing myself to get into shape, I'll be pushing to fundraise $3500 for UNICEF. To show all of my appreciation to my supporters, I will continue to look for great incentives! Right now the incentives are:
  • Give $5 or more and receive a personal thank you card from me after we've completed the NYC Marathon!
  • Give $26.20 and receive a great t-shirt! (More details to come on the t-shirts; expect shirts to ship in December of 2013)
  • Give any amount and receive access to track my run during the NYC Marathon to follow my progress and realize that each step we took together and brings us closer to a world of zero preventable child deaths in the world!
  • The highest donor will get a personal phone call or video chat from the NYC Marathon as a special thank you for their support!
  • The first two people to give to my fundraising page online will receive a free UNICEF t-shirt to be received immediately!
You can give directly on my fundraising page here: as well as through my blog ( on the right-hand column.

You are my teammates and together we really can work to achieve this amazing goal. I cannot cross that finish line without you and you will be there with me the whole time! Stay updated via this blog on interesting runs around the States (as well as any marathon or UNICEF updates) by adding your email to our email list, on the right hand side of the blog. Thank you in advance for your support!