Saturday, June 28, 2008

Combo Cactus Forest trail run/Saguaro loop run

Well, my week has been absolutely crazy, so I haven't had much time to blog. I have worked through some of the things which were bothering me last weekend after some self examination and discussion with others. I came through this week with a new attitude, my runs have been great, I'm solving some of the remaining problems with the rental (almost done!) and Kenny and I got our $1,200 economic stimulus check (like a gift, it just dropped into my checking account via direct deposit!). With all the guys I have working on various things both at the rental and at my own house, I'm doing my share to stimulate the economy here in Tucson.
I did get about 35 miles of running in this week and about 3 miles of walking. I'm working back up to 40 miles a week, but I wanted to ramp up slowly and give it time to let all the creaks and aches to dissipate from my marathon/ultra blitz this Spring. I'm back to my twice a week weight workouts, which feels great. I try to do a variety of weight exercises for both upper and lower body, but I'm also trying to up my situps (did 100 on the ball) and pushups (3 sets of 10 on the stands). I may throw a 3rd weight workout in during the week, but I also know I need to make it back to Bikram Yoga (I'm feeling too creaky).

I had the most fabulous run this morning! I ran about 12 miles and ended up walking almost a mile in the middle for about 13 miles total. At the end, I was ready to do about 5 more miles! I was surprised about that, because I have been getting about 6 hours sleep a night, which just isn't cutting it. I'm hoping to catch up on my sleep tonight.

Anyway, back to the run: Shari, Sheryl and I met at the Broadway trailhead entrance to Saguaro National Park and ran the Cactus Forest trail to the Saguaro National Park paved 8 mile loop (about 1.7 miles). There was a sign that warned of mountain lion activity, but the trails affected were a a bit more east of us, so we went on and just stayed aware. We were pretty far from the water source (the dam), which is near where the lions were spotted by others.

Nancy, Lisa, Sue and a new gal Cathy (new to me) ran from somewhere else to the beginning of the park, so our plan was to hit the loop from the trail and run backwards to them, which we did. We didn't want to get too much running in, so we ended up doing a little walking until we ran into them. We found them and continued to run the loop until we reached the Cactus Forest trail from the other side of the loop (Cactus Forest trail starts outside the paved loop and runs right through it). We then ran back on the Cactus Forest trail all the way back to the trailhead (about 4.2 miles). Lisa, Nancy, Sue and Cathy continued on the loop. In addition to the trail, the part of the paved loop that we did is super hilly, and we got a phenomenal workout! The 8 mile loop is the course for the Saguaro Labor Day run, which I just signed up for (my 4th running of it). After the run, I went and signed up for the Everyone Runs 11 mile Catalina State Park trail run, which is on September 27th. Got some cool schwag for getting there early to register (a pair of Everyone Runs socks and a $10 Robeks smoothie gift card!) Looks like my 2008 race calendar is shaping up.

Great picture of Shari and the new gal, Cathy. They'll be doing a half Ironman in July.

It was really a fun run today; lots of chatting and laughing and I guess I have just decided to let everyone be who they are and have fun, too. Lots to be thankful to God for today: a man who truly loves me, great friends, being able to run like the wind, opportunities for spiritual growth, and the ability to think of others on occasion and how I may help them.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Road running vs. trail running

Well, I joined the Chiclets (Sheryl, Nancy and Lisa) this morning for a 12 mile run on the Rillito River path. I passed up the opportunity to run a trail with Shari because it was Nancy's birthday this week and I wanted to be there to celebrate with her. We started the run at 5:30am and we were finished before it got too smoking hot. It will be 111 degrees today, so we wanted to beat the heat. The Rillito is good because, even though it is paved, there are plenty of spots that have a dirt path next to the paved sections, so I was a happy camper. It was a good run, but I felt pretty uncomfortable off and on throughout the run, and I'll explain why in just a second. Here I am at the end, all salty:

So, this brings me to the title of my post. The Chiclets say they don't read my blog, which is fine (and some of them don't want their pictures on my blog anymore either, which is fine, too). So, I don't feel too weird talking about the whole road running/trail running thing here, because they will most likely never read it.
I started road running (by road, meaning streets or paths, paved or concrete) about 5 years ago, but really started running more than 5-7 miles a week about 3 years ago. I found this group of Chiclets shortly after getting serious about running and have been running with them almost weekly until the beginning of 2008, when I started doing so many trail races and trail runs. Since then, I have only run with them about once a month, if that. I just so much love to do trails! I started trail running about 2 years ago, and the obsession has just grown from there. I still do road races (heck, I'm signed up to do the Tucson Marathon in December, which is all road), but given my preference, I would much rather be on a trail.
I've gotten a weird feeling from them the last couple of times I have run with them. They have made comments about my trail running and racing and my running blog, and well, frankly, I just don't feel a part of the group anymore. Looking at my own side of the street, I thought to myself, have I made any negative comments about road running? Yes, I have. I struggle so much with running on hard surfaces, both in a physical way and a spiritual way, and I don't always keep it to myself. I need to stop that.
I wonder if they resent that I have chosen trails over them many times (and of course, trail running friends over them, too). So, does the running community have to be divided like this? It does seem that I have 'crossed over' to a different group of runners (those crazy trail runners), never to return back comfortably to the road runners. I still feel like a hybrid (mostly trail runner, sometimes road runner), but I'm sensing it is hard to be both.
Anyway, there is my ramble for the day. I'll have to sort it all out later. At any rate, it looks like I'm pretty hooked on trails, so I see the situation resolving itself in the long run (no pun intended). Change, while it is a wonderful thing, is never easy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bear Canyon Trail Run to Seven Falls

I joined the Blue Pants Racing group bright and early today for my inaugural run of part of the Bear Canyon Trail to Seven Falls in Sabino Canyon. I have never run this trail before and it was a blast!

The Blue Pants Racing group was small today - just me, Laszlo, Natalie, and Jeff. My friend Steve was there on his own, and he was planning on running the same trail with Cameron at 6am, too, so they joined us!
The six of us took off, with the 4 guys in front and Natalie and I in the tail section. Natalie had already run 5 miles and was going to log 2 more for a total of 15 today for her marathon training, so she was pacing herself. I, on the other hand, was slow for no reason! Actually, I felt like I was still recovering from my racing this Spring. It is a tough trail, crossing the very rocky, sandy creek beds many times before arriving at Seven Falls. It was like a big step workout. Seven Falls was not running because of the lack of rain here in Tucson. See? Dry as can be:
Bear Canyon trail continues on, but we just did the out and back portion of it to Seven Falls. It was about 8.5 miles round trip, although it took about 1:45 for me. The guys were faster, but they were gentlemen and kept stopping periodically to let me and Natalie catch up. The end of the line! Counterclockwise: Cameron, Steve (with the victory pose), Jeff, Laszlo, and Natalie.
Here I am posing in front of the not-so-lovely 'pool' of water at Seven Falls. None of us decided on going for a swim or even a dip in the algae-filled swampy water.

Fun run! I haven't done much hilly trail running in a while, so my quads were sore the next day. I love trying out new trails.

I logged about 28 miles this week; keeping the miles down for one more week to recover. I plan on ramping back up to 40 in the next few weeks and holding steady there for the summer.

It is hotter than Hades here in Tucson. About 106-108 for our daily highs right now. I call it 'two showers a day' weather.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

If this is as good as it gets, I'm good to go...

Happy Anniversary to us! Kenny and I celebrated 8 years of marriage and 10 years of being together today, June 10th (our dating anniversary is also our wedding anniversary).

Our marriage keeps getting better and better over the years. Thank you Kenny for the best 10 years of my life.
Marry your best friend if you can.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Meet Me Downtown 5k race report

I was almost late for the race! Traffic was hectic Downtown, and I arrived at the start line with 5 minutes to spare. I had to use the restroom, but there was no time for that! The race started at 6:30pm. It was super hot (around 95 still), and although there were 2 aid stations along the course, I only drank water at the mile 1 aid station. Mile 2 aid station was a little behind the ball and did not have water poured in cups ready to go, so I just passed. I was doing about a 8:10 mile average until mile 3, when I became so overheated and thirsty, that I just slowed way down. The course snakes through Downtown Tucson, through the courthouse buildings and through the Downtown Barrio, which is a historic neighborhood. A lot of the residents come out to drink beer and cheer the runners on!

I finished in 25:47, which was faster than my time of 25:56 last year! That is an 8:17.9 min/mile average. Not bad for running 9 miles this morning and still recovering from my marathon and ultramarathons blitz! I was number 191 out of 827 finishers overall and 8th in my age group (W40-44) out of 59 women. So, I was happy. It is always fun to see how I do against the crowd, but I don't get too hung up on it. In the end, the race is always against myself, I believe.
There was plenty of food after the race from the local Downtown restaurants-shrimp ceviche, pizza, bean salad, brownies, oranges. I tried it all. I got to visit with many of my running friends; I chatted a lot with Sheryl (picture, right), Steve, and Martinho (pictu
re, left), who all ran a fine and fast race. I saw Glenn, Marcie, and David from the trail races this Winter, too. This race brought so many of the Tucson runners out.

Kenny came to support me and we went with the after-race crowd over to the Fox Theatre to see the movie 'Spirit of the Marathon', which was complementary with my race entry. The movie followed a range of runners as they trained for the Chicago Marathon. There were also interviews of many of the top runners in the USA, past and present. It was very cool. Just sitting in the Fox Theatre is neat. My husband was probably a little bored, but he got brownie points
for his effort. I think he also got a little insight into my love of running. I had a great time, but I also realized that I just love running the longer distances, so it might be my last 5k...

One Lovely Little Tortolita Preserve Trail Run on National Trails Day!

My friend Shari and I celebrated National Trails Day today with our inaugural running of the Tortolita Preserve Trail. It is a 9 mile loop trail slightly North of Tucson off of Dove Mountain Blvd. near the Tortolita mountains. It is fairly flat desert landscape, with a few rolling hills, which is what I was looking for today, since I'm also running the 5k race tonight. We had a great time, as usual (great friend, great trail, what's not great about that!) It was super hot, so next time, we'll get out earlier (we started around 6am and it was already past 70 degrees and it was around 85 when we got done).
We didn't do the whole loop, however; we got about halfway through and seemed to lose the trail. It was going through a wash at that point, and after some stops and starts, our investigations resulted in a decision to head back the way we came. So, we still got 9 miles in, but only half the loop. Next time, we'll start from the other side of the loop (which is the side mountain bikers are instructed to start on) to see how it connects up. The side we did was mostly jeep-type dirt road; the mountain biker side of the loop starts out as single-track trail, which looked like more fun! We'll try and go back in about 3 weeks or so to attempt it again. We were both surprised at how difficult it felt; we think it is just slightly, but constantly, uphill, so our breathing stayed pretty heavy for a while.
After we got done, we talked for about an hour, since we hadn't seen each other in a while, which was so fun! What a great morning. I am so glad to have hooked up with Shari as a running partner! She is always up for an adventure.
Happy National Trails Day everyone!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Need a second job to support my running

I registered for the Tucson Marathon this past week, which is on December 7th. It is all pavement, but I wanted to see how I would do on a fast (downhill) marathon course. I have run several days this week, about 5 miles each, and everything feels good after my ultra recovery. I should have about 28 miles for the week, after I run tomorrow morning, Saturday morning (trail run maybe for National Trails Day?) and Saturday night (5k). I'll be bumping it back up to 40 miles a week for the Summer to keep my base up. I'll also be sending off my registration for the Pemberton 50k soon, because I hear they fill up fast and I want to make sure I get a slot. That race is on February 14th in Fountain Hills, AZ (about 2.5 hours from my house).

I might be pacing Troy for the Javelina Jundred trail race, which is held on the same course as Pemberton (15.5 mile loops). The JJ is on November 15th and 16th. He'll be doing a 100 miles total, but after 62 miles (the first 4 loops), he can have a pacer. Not sure if he needs me or not, but I'm willing! He has some other people who are interested in helping him as well. I haven't run in the dark for 15+ miles before, so I'll need to try that before then! A pacer is good after dark to keep the runner alert, safe and entertained.
Not sure what other races I'll do in the Fall; depends on cash flow! This is tentative:
1. Saguaro National Park 8 mile race on Labor Day (would be my 4th running of it)
2. Catalina State Park (reverse the course) 11 mile trail race
1. Get Moving Tucson 10 mile race
2. Oracle 10k
1. Rails to Trails 11 mile race in Prescott (only if I don't pace Troy at JJ)
Trying to save cash, so I'll have to reign myself in as far as races go. I'll be going to Colorado at the end of August to see my husband in Silverton and we'll be going back there at Christmas time to enjoy the snow. Can't do it all, but I try.
One of my favorite quotes:
"You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tucson Summer Trail Series - I'm registered!

Race One — August 2, 2008
Mount Lemmon Summit: Wilderness of Rocks Trail (8.6 miles)

Directions: Drive up on Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, continue up on the Service Road. The trailhead will be on your left.

Race Two — August 9, 2008
Tortolita Mountains, Wild Burro Trailhead: Alamo Springs Trail (7 miles)

Directions: From Tangerine and Dove Mountain Road drive North. The trailhead will be on your right, 1/2 mile past the Gallery Golf Club.

Race Three — August 16, 2008
Mount Lemmon, Palisade Ranger Station: Butterfly Trail (10.2 miles)

Directions: Drive up on Catalina Highway to the Palisade Ranger Station. The trailhead will be 1/4 mile before the Ranger Station, on your right.

Blue Pants Racing puts on quality events, so I couldn't wait to sign up! I did their Winter Trail Series back in January of this year. I'll be camping out on Mt. Lemmon for those races, because it would be quite a bit of travel for me in the morning before the race (at least 1.5 hours of travel to the top of Mt. Lemmon for the first race). The races start at 6am. I'll just sleep in the back of my 4-Runner! It will be an adventure. Mt. Lemmon is a great way to escape the heat of Tucson summers. Anyone want to join me? We could have a little pre-race meeting on Friday night and it could be a lot of fun. Not sure if there is room in the back of the 4-Runner for anyone else, though. You'd be on your own for the camping part. :).

I haven't run at all since the Red Mountain 50k last weekend. I did do a short hike the day after the race at Zion, but since then I've just been resting and recovering. I figure there was no hurry to get out there since I don't have any big races until the fall. No sense risking injury. So, I've been catching a few extra z's by sleeping in an extra hour in the mornings. I also worked both Saturday and Sunday (all day) at the rental house. Sanding, painting, raking, cleaning - it really is never-ending over there. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. We should be done in about 2 weeks. We've already shown it to a few potential tenants, so I'm confident that someone will pan out. We are just trusting that God will place someone in our life that we can help and that can help us. People tell us to be careful picking tenants and we will be; we hear horror stories about other tenants from so many people. I guess I just believe the world is a good place and it seems to be just that for me.

I'll be running a few days this week, and then my next race until the Tucson Summer Trail Series is the Meet Me Downtown 5k (only 5k!) race next Saturday night. They'll be showing the movie 'Spirit of the Marathon'.