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!