Thursday, January 31, 2008


50 Mile Race

50 Kilometer Race

Are you crazy? No, I'm not doing this race. But Angie is doing the 50k! The 50 mile is supposed to be one of the hardest 50 milers in the country, and the 50k is the first part of that course! I'll be pacing Angie from mile 16 to 32 (I know, I thought a 50k was 31 miles, but I guess that is where the next aid station is!)

It will be April 26th in Payson, Arizona. I'm excited and feel honored to be a pacer. It will be a tough race for her (for anyone!), but I know she can do it. We'll be running a double Phoneline trail run (up Phoneline trail, down tram road, up tram road, down Phoneline trail) together on February 17th to help us get ready (we'll be doing about 20 miles that day).

I'm looking forward to it, Angie!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jury Duty Interferes with Marathon Training!

Yes, I had Jury Duty on Tuesday and I got selected for a short criminal trial, which should run through Thursday (how exciting!) So, I am a little behind my mileage since I couldn't run yesterday. I got out of court in time today to run and hopefully, I'll get out in time on Thursday as well. I'll just try to make up for the missing day today, Thursday, and Friday by running a little extra, if possible. I won't be running Saturday, because of the Arizona Trail Race on Sunday. Taking the day off might give me fresh legs!
Today I ran 8 very COLD and WINDY miles on the Rillito River Wash. It was still running from all the rain we had earlier in the week (here in Arizona, washes are normally dry most of the year, except when we get a decent amount of rain). It was really flowing on Monday when I ran, but I didn't have my camera.
Last winter I tended to blow off a lot of cold, windy days in favor of going home after work and getting warm! This year, I'm heading out anyway because I don't want to miss my runs. I usually warm up after I run a mile or so, but today, even dressed all toasty, I stayed cold! Call me dedicated or addicted, pick one.

It should be warming up soon, though - we have a little cool weather system blowing into Tucson, followed by a slight warmup (70 degrees!). Check out the lovely Catalina Mountains, on the North side of Tucson:

My husband says I look more like a runner when I wear pants than I do when I wear my running skirts. I said, "Yeah, but you can see my amazing trail runner calves in my skirts!" He always jokes that I actually have calf muscles now that I run. I have always had 'chicken legs' since I was a child, so I would say he is right. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Winter Trail Series - Race #3

Final race in the Blue Pants Racing Winter Trail Series - Race #3 was a resounding success! The distance was about 7 miles. We went on the Alamo Springs Trail out (short route) and came back on the Wild Burro Trail.

The scenery in the Tortolita Mountains is just breathtaking. The race today had an extremely steep climb which forced most runners to fast hike, but what an excellent workout!

I won 1st place in my age group for all three races and received a lovely cactus as my award (you had to do all 3 races to be eligible for awards). I wasn't particularly fast, because I was running more distance after each race, but I still got an award (because I was the only one in my age group?) Who cares - I was excited to get that little cactus!

Laszlo, the RD, did an amazing job. I think he is planning on doing it again next year, because I noticed that his Blue Pants Racing website already had the 2009 dates. Right on! I think the food he had at his races was better than a lot of other races I go to! Thanks Laszlo!

Laurie and I went on to run more after the race. Laurie ran about 4.5 more and I did 9 more for a total of 16 miles. I lost all my energy at about mile 14 (it was really getting hot out there today) but suddenly my energy returned and I felt great! I am experimenting with Hammer products for proper fueling and I think it helped.

I met a lot of new people and got to know a few I already knew a little better at this trail series. Here is my friend Steve - he is a great guy and super fast. Runners are nice people and trail runners are no exception.

I love trail running! I have gone on more trail runs in the last month than I ever have and I am completely hooked.

Next up: The Arizona Trail Race on February 3rd - 8 miles.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Arizona Trail Training Run

Laurie and I did the 8 mile training run for the Arizona Trail race today. The actual race will be on Sunday, February 3rd. It was a little cold at the start, but I wore a skirt anyway and we were burning up before long. We kept an easier pace since we had run 10 miles yesterday. Laurie got a Nathan hydration vest like mine so we were 'matchy matchy' today. The elevation gain over the 7 miles is about 1,300 feet. We felt it after yesterday's run!
It really is an unbelievably pretty area. It is way out East in Colossal Cave Park at the La Posta Quemada Ranch area. There were about 25 fellow trail runners out there.

What a great trail running weekend. Feeling very blessed to be getting out there on the trails a lot lately with all the new trail races. I'm hooked!

I got in right about 40 miles this week. Some miles were much harder than others!

'The road to hell is paved.' ~ Unknown trail runner

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Winter Trail Series - Race #2

Today was the 2nd race in the 3 race Winter Trail Series here in sunny Tucson, Arizona. This one was out in the Tucson Mountains - the 36th St. trailhead. It was freezing - about 30-35 degrees at the start. Very beautiful, though! Lots of rolling hills and dense cacti forest. The single track trail was fairly narrow most of the way with a lot of loose rock. We did a loop in combination with an out and back on one portion. Here is the start of the race:

The last mile had a hill that I had to walk up - it was brutal! Here it is:

The race was about 4 miles, but my friend Laurie and I ran 6 more afterwards for a total of 10 miles today. I'm supposed to be doing 16 miles this weekend for the marathon training, but I wanted to do an 8 mile training trail run tomorrow morning for the upcoming Arizona Trail race, which will be held on February 3rd. So, I'll get in 18, but not all at one time. I'll be doing a 16 miler next week, and starting in February (after the Arizona Trail race) I'll be doing 18-20 mile training runs. I love the longer runs - I think I was built for distance, not speed! I registered last week for the marathon I am training for - the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon (26.2 miles), which will be on March 30th in White Sands, New Mexico.

When Laurie and I got back from the additional 6 miles, Laszlo (the race director from Blue Pants Racing) had left a note and some goodies on my bumper. How sweet!

All done with the run. Time to go home and eat. :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Official! I've registered for the PCTR Forest Park 50k!

Yes - 31 miles. In Forest Park in Portland, Oregon on May 25th.

I'm very excited. I'll get to meet up with my friend Lisa, who moved to Bend, OR, and I hope to get to meet a fellow blogger, Sarah, who is doing the race, too!

The elevation gain over the 31 miles is 3,185 feet.

Everything I do this Spring will be training to get me ready for it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Gauntlet Trail

Webster's Dictionary - 'Run the Gauntlet' - to face an ordeal in which gunfire, blows, criticism, etc. come from all sides at once.

Okay, I guess I'm not sure why they call this trail the 'Gauntlet', but it was pretty rocky, with some steep up and downhills. It is located behind Pima Community College West here in Tucson. I ran about 6 miles on it today. It is a series of overlapping loops - you really can't get lost because you are actually 'in town' but you can end up running shorter or longer than planned if you take the wrong turns. Great run!

It is surrounded by views of the Catalina Mountains to the North, the Rincons to the East, the Tucson Mountains to the West, and a view of Tumamoc Hill to the South. Lovely!

At the end, I was treated to a lovely sunset over the Tucson Mountains. The Winter Trail Series race #2 will be in the Tucson Mountains this Saturday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

First Ride for Dixie Dog in the New Machine

Okay, well, it is not 'NEW', but it is new to me (2006).

She LOVED it. Yes, she is excited, but it is hard to tell - she has that face all the time. We ran about 5 miles on the Rillito Wash trail.

I LOVE my new vehicle, too.

Dixie might have Valley Fever. We are waiting for results back from the vet. It is very common in Arizona - dogs get it from the dirt and treatment is expensive and lengthy. Some dogs can die from it, so we are hoping for the best. That is why I only have been taking her once a week. She gets tired really easily and sometimes limps. Last year she was doing about 20 miles a week, this year only 5 or 6. We finally decided to take her to the vet this week. We love her so much!

Sore from Saturday's run for a few days (well, I stacked a weight workout on top on Sunday, which prolonged the soreness). Feeling stronger each week, though. I love training!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Winter Trail Series - Race #1

What a great trail race! This is race #1 in a series of 3 in January. Originally, this one was supposed to be 7 miles, but when we arrived at the Wild Burro Trailhead in the Tortolita Mountains, which is NW of Tucson, Laszlo, our RD (Blue Pants Racing) informed us that it would be around 9 miles. At the end of the race, one of the participants said it was actually 9.7, according to his GPS, which was great! I added some running on after the race for a total of 3 hours running today (no, I'm not crazy, I'm training for a marathon - well, okay, I am crazy).

Not a great picture (a little blurry), but here we all are at the start - about 20 of us. PF Chang's Rock 'n Roll Marathon/Half Marathon in Phoenix conflicted for a lot of people, so we had a small turnout. They expect bigger crowds for the next two trail races in the series.
The course was tough - lots of steep, rocky climbs. We took the Wild Mustang Trail out and looped around to the Wild Burro Trail back. It was an unsupported race (no aid stations), so participants carried their own water (It was only $25 for all 3 races, so what do you expect? At least we got t-shirts and breakfast!) We were rewarded at the end by a fairly flat trail through a wash and some gently rolling hills for the last 3 miles. I ran pretty much the whole way with some people I had just met - Andrea, Glenn (he has done the Western States 100 mile race - amazing!) and David. They were great and we all took turns leading and staying on the trail (we almost got lost a few times!)
It was an absolutely beautiful day out there today. It was around 40 at the start, but warmed up to 55-60 by the time we finished. I love Tucson in the winter. :)

There is a stone house out on this trail just like the Yetman Trail in Tucson Mountain Park. We stopped for a photo op.
I absolutely had a blast today! My only regret is that my friend Laurie, who was going to do the race with me, came down with a bug, and was unable to come. Otherwise, great opportunity to meet new trail runners and experience a new trail. God sure has graced me with such an abundantly wonderful life.

'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.' ~ Aristotle


Here is a picture from the race, right at the finish line (coming in with Glenn, Mr. Western States)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

But Sometimes Change is Good.

First run with the new 4 Runner...

Nice ride. Great run today. My life is good. What more can I say? "I decided to go for a little run." ~ Forrest Gump

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Change is not easy.

Saying goodbye to a good friend - my '95 Toyota 4 Runner! I had a hard time letting her go today. She has taken me to great runs, races, hikes, camping, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and all around Arizona. I love the old 4 Runner style, but it was accumulating too many expensive mechanical problems to fix.

Here I am with it before I traded it in at the dealership today:

Dixie seems sad, too. She doesn't know it, but there is a nice, shiny one in the driveway now just waiting to carry her and I to our next run! She loves riding in the back and making other drivers smile at her.

We had a great run today. I resolved some problems this week with my sister and with work and I'm feeling a little more connected to the world and full of energy! When I am filled with conflict, it robs me of energy. When I own up to the weight of my own spiritual suffering, which I cause myself, I am free.

Tomorrow - pictures of the new ride!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Next Up....

Race One — January 12, 2008
Tortolita Mountains, Wild Burro Trailhead: Wild Mustang Trail (7 miles)

Race Two — January 19, 2008
Tucson Mountain Park, 36th Street Trailhead (4 miles)

Race Three — January 26, 2008
Tortolita Mountains, Wild Burro Trailhead: Alamo Springs Trail (6.5 miles)

Tucson has finally added some trail races to the race calendar here this past year!
Since I'm training for a marathon, I'll be adding some mileage on to these races, to get in my long run each week.
Total mileage for the week - 35 miles.
I ran a long run yesterday with Nancy and Sheryl of 15 miles, so starting next week, I'll be upping it to 16 and on from there.
Here was my fortune cookie saying last night:
'You are protected by silent love and friendship near you.'
Made my day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Phoneline Trail - Sabino Canyon (back to the scene of the crime)

Happy New Year!
I made a return to Phoneline trail here in sunny Tucson, Arizona with Laurie this morning to start the New Year off right. This was the first time I had been back since my accident in November. I had a little fear about returning to the trail that sent me to the hospital back in November, especially after I fell at Catalina State Park just 2 days ago. I asked God to keep me and Laurie safe today. I can't stay afraid, because how do you get better at trail running? By doing more trail running. That is how life is, too.

Laurie and I had so much fun and I paid serious attention to the ground in front of me the entire time and had no falls. It is a very rocky and steep trail that runs along a ridge with a fairly good dropoff to the left.

Here is Laurie leading the way. I love running with her - she runs at a good pace and loves to talk. I don't think Laurie likes it when I take back shots of her, but I think she looks like a strong and sturdy athlete when she is running trails, and that is what I want to be. :)
We did around 9 miles.

It is a very beautiful canyon. We ran back on the road and got our feet wet on the creek crossings. I didn't care though, because it was good to be out in nature, enjoying what God gave us to enjoy.