Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July! I celebrated with a trail run, of course...

I was off work today, so I thought it would be a great day to get some trail running in (day off = trail running, right?) Boy, does it feel good to have 3 days off. I am really busy with work right now, so I anticipate having to work a few weekends in July. That being so, I'm taking all 3 days to rest, have fun, and catch up on some overdue tasks around the house. Bliss.
My friend Martinho and I did a trail run this morning at my favorite place, Tucson Mountain Park, which is on the west side of Tucson. Martinho was the one that helped me out when I had that bad fall on a run on Phoneline trail back in November.We went in at the Camino de Oeste trailhead on the Yetman trail and looped around on the Yetman trail to Tucson Mountain Estates and took the Starr Pass trail back to the Yetman trail. I was planning on doing about 8 miles, but we ended up doing 9.5. It was a hard run! Plus, it was already pretty hot, about 85 degrees, when we started and probably about 95 degrees when we finished.

I did my usual stop at the Stone House, so we hammed it up for some photos.

Martinho had a Garmin, so we were able to look at the data on his computer after our run. It was very interesting! Sometimes our pace was 12+ min/mile pace (sometimes 20 min/mile on the really rocky uphill walking parts) and other times it was 7-8 min/mile pace, depending on whether the hills were up or down. Some of the grades on the uphills and downhills were 20+%! We were screaming on the downhills! He even clocked a 6:50 pace a few times on his Garmin, but I'm sure it was only for a few seconds on a downhill portion. At any rate, my overall pace was higher than usual because of Martinho. He is fast!

So, my legs got a great workout, and hopefully not too much, because I'll be running about 11-12 miles tomorrow with the gals (a redo of last week's run with the trails/hilly road, which was fun).

I'm beginning to think I have rubber ankles; on the trails, I am constantly rolling them or crunching them on the downhills, but I never seem to have any problems afterwards. I think the trails are strengthening my ankles, feet and legs in a way that the road doesn't seem to. On that note, here are some comments on trail running from skirt, which is where I buy my a lot of my running skirts and tops:

The soft dirt of a trail run is far kinder on the hips and knees than either pavement or concrete sidewalks. Plus, over time, the constant balancing act navigating through uneven trails, avoiding rocks and tree roots can actually help improve balance and strengthen the muscles around the ankle decreasing the likelihood of future injuries. Of course, there are a litany of other benefits to trail running. Solitude. Solidarity with nature. The need for complete and utter focus. Biodiversity. Fun furry animals.

Here is what my friend Kathleen said to me about trail running:

You get to go out into the quiet and see wonderful scenery. Your legs are much more beautiful and shapely due to all the rock and root hopping, powering through sand, uphill and downhill running we get to do. Your lungs are happier. You don't have to breathe in exhaust fumes. Your joints are happier. Pavement/concrete is hard on the body regardless of how good of shoes we have. Yes, I know there are very scenic paved trail and road routes, but overall, trails are going to offer the superior outdoor sensory experience!

You said it ladies. See, this is why I so much love trail running. This trail run was very challenging, with the heat, rocks, sand and hills. It is so gorgeous and pristine out there and I feel alive and strong and in touch with a power that I can't even begin to define but that I know is there, watching over me, protecting me.

Have a great 4th of July, y'all. See you later alligators....

1 comment:

HappyTrails said...

Trail running IS awesome! Glad you have a long weekend to recharge your batteries. Your photos are great - the desert is so beautiful. You even got some good action shots! :-) It looks like Martinho has the same Garmin we have - it is a fun toy to have!