Saturday, March 8, 2008

Last long run before I taper for my marathon...

Out at Tucson Mountain Park, of course. I LOVE that place. Most of the trails are very runnable, but I still get the up and down hilly action that my legs crave. I ran so many trails in the park today - Yetman trail, Yetman Link trail, Starr Pass trail, 36th St. trail and many other small offshoot trails that aren't marked. What a blast! I ran for 4 hours and 1 minute (I was out there for about 4.5 hours, with breaks and chatting with other runners and mountain bikers). I figure I did about 21-22 miles, based on looking at the map and my approximate speed. I ran at a pretty good pace most of the way, except a handful of 10-20 feet rocky spots that I chose to hike rather than chance injuring myself.

I started out on the Yetman Trail (Camino de Oeste trailhead). The stone house is a little over a mile in.
I continued on the Yetman trail after the junction and then did the loop to Tucson Mountain Estates to the Starr Pass trail (after doing the Yetman trail link and about 4 other offshoot trails).Not sure if my fueling was off, but at about 1.5 hours of running, I wanted to quit. I would eat some Clif blox (and I was also using Hammer Heed in my hydration pack) and then I would feel better. I mixed some Hammer Perpetuem at about 2 hours and felt much better after that. However, my energy was still up and down the whole time. I would have surges of energy followed by moments of feeling extremely spent. I think I may have not been hydrating enough; I was worried about my water supply, so I was trying to be cautious. I'll be ordering a bigger bladder for my hydration pack before my upcoming races. I also know my legs were tired, which I suspect was due to taking 10 days off of running from being sick, in addition to the steep run I did on Wednesday this week. I did almost trip and fall about 4 different times - once I got so close to the ground and was able to yank myself back up without falling (whew!). I think I was just tired.

But, wow was the desert green and full of wildflowers! I'll have to do a separate post on the wildflowers I got pictures of. We had a wet Winter in Tucson this year, which always means a wildflower filled Spring.

I then continued on to the 36th St. trail and ran to the trailhead. This sign is completely inaccurate (.9 miles, right...), because it took me 25 minutes to run it at a good pace! I think it is more like 2+ miles. The sign is leaning into a tree, so not sure what that means. Anyway, if you see this sign, make a note to self on the actual possible distance.

About half of the trails out there are full of loose rocks, especially on the hilly sections - training for ZG 50k? I did run into (no pun intended) a trail runner today that had a ZG 50 mile t-shirt on. I asked him about the race and this is what he said:
It was horrible. Barely runnable. This area out here (referring to Tucson Mountain Park) PALES (emphasis by me) in comparison. There are very few flat spots - it is all up and down the whole way."
Well, I still haven't registered yet, so I either have to figure out a way to get my legs in 'hiking' shape, or else not do it. His comment did worry me, but I'm concluding that since he did the 50 mile and I'm only doing the 50k, that it will be a better experience for me. Yeah. I'll just keep telling myself that. :)

All in all, it was a great run, even if I was by myself. I suppose I'll be 'by myself' during the upcoming marathon, so it was good to see how I would cope. I felt super endorphin rushed driving home (jamming to Boston's 'Peace of Mind'). I felt pretty strong and now I am ready for my marathon, which is 3 weeks away. Now begins 'taper madness', where I'll start to cut back on my mileage and intensity to get my legs 'fresh' for the marathon.

However, I am doing the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon (Valley of Gold) in Oro Valley, AZ next weekend. Sort of impromptu - I'm running in the place of my friend Laurie, who is injured. I'll be running with my friend Lisa, which will be fun! It is on pavement, so I stopped by the Running Shop here in Tucson and picked up a new pair of road runners - ASICS Cumulus 9. My other 3 pairs of road running shoes are stacking up the miles (I used them to run the Rillito dirt/pavement trails mostly). I'll try them for a quick run or 2 this week to make sure they work, but I'm confident they'll be fine - I've worn about 8 pairs of the Cumulus, which are fabulous for pavement running. They are so beautiful and white, but not for long.
Thanks Laurie for the wonderful opportunity!
Thank you, God, for these wonderful places to run.


Sarah said...

Don't let that guy discourage you...its just his opinion! From what I gather Zane Grey is really rocky and hilly. Get in a few hikes in the Catalina's and I'm sure you'll be ready! : )

angie's pink fuzzy said...

in his own weird way, i bet he was bragging :) it is crazy rocky (i've swept the last 17 miles) and i wouldn't do the 50 miler, but 50k? no sweat. you've got plenty of time even if you have to hike it in. and you've done lots of trails, which is good. you might want to hit up blacketts some or cowhead saddle to get some more elevation in one fell swoop...