I knew I wasn't ready for the 50k, but I joined the Tucson Trail Runners for as much of an out and back on the AZ trail (a lot of it on the Old Pueblo 50 mile race course) as I was able to do. I got up at 5am and headed over towards Sonoita (about an hour Southeast of Tucson) for the scheduled 7am run.
It was pretty dang cold at the start - about 35 degrees, but I kept the clothes down to a minimum (skirt, long sleeve shirt, thin gloves and my 180 degrees ear muffs) because I knew I would warm up. The high was going to be around 60 in that area today. I did stay cold for quite a while, but finally got a little toastier after about 5 miles.
It was an out and back course, with all runners doing various distances. My plan was to get to Kentucky Camp, an historical mining camp (there were bathrooms there, too!), which was 10 miles out, for a total of 20 miles. I decided to walk the uphills on the way out to ensure that I would save my legs for the distance. It has been a long time since I had gone that far, but I figured with some walking, I could do it.
Well, I never made it there. We did have a map, but I just couldn't seem to follow it well. Others got a little lost, too. A lot of illegal immigrants cut new trails around there, causing some confusion. Even after examining a map back at the beginning of the route, I'm still not sure exactly where I went wrong. Having a GPS would have helped things. At any rate, at some point, I made a wrong turn. I knew I was on the wrong trail when I didn't see any more AZ trail signs. I decided to follow it through, just in case. So I went about 1:55 out, doing some pausing for map reading and some walking on the hilly parts.
I headed back and at one point, the route did not look the same; I was along a frozen creek (very small one). I certainly did not remember that. I didn't think that I had made any wrong choices coming back, so I roamed around a while looking for an alternate trail, and sure enough, I found it. I realized that going through there on the out part that I was higher up; I didn't even see the creek. So, I jumped up to the higher trail and made my way back. I do think there were a lot of other questionable spots for getting lost. Well, like I said, I wasn't the only one. I'll try to pair up with someone next time. I seems as if I'm in the middle - not as fast as the speedy ones, but faster than others, so I seem to run alone on most of these runs.
Total time out on the trail - 3:51. This included about 15 minutes of 'pause time', which included trying to read the map, stopping and looking around and taking some pictures. I figured I walked around 20-30 minutes of it. With the remaining time for running, and without a GPS to back me up, I came to the conclusion that I did around 17 -18 miles. Not bad, since that would be my longest run since the Red Mountain 50k in May. I was up to 16 miles before I broke my wrist. I feel better knowing that I can get in enough training now for the Pemberton 50k on Feb. 14th.
I had a really good time and met a lot of new faces - Doug K., Tanja, and Julieanne, and got to see some other faces that I met at previous TTR events. It was really pretty low desert mountainous landscape - a lot of single track and jeep road, some uphill, some screaming downhill, a little rocky in spots, some super smooth trail sections - a little of everything.
It was fun to watch everyone come in; I was one of the first. Here are Ross and Steve checking out the munchies (they were out about 5 hours, so they were hungry!)
My wrist never hurt during the run, even though it was so cold out there, which was great! I'm all done with physical therapy, although I'm supposed to keep doing my wrist exercises. It does still get stiff from time to time. I'm back to my weight workouts, even though the weight is lighter than before for now.
Oh, I added 2 races to the 2009 race schedule. I'll be doing race #1 of Blue Pants Racing Winter Trail Series on January 10th. They are starting at 8am this time. Yay! It will be 9.7 miles in the Tortolita mountains, which are gorgeous, and then I'll add on the nearby 9 mile Dove Mountain trail afterwards for training. I've also put the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon (White Sands, NM) on, although I'm not officially registered. It is on March 29th, and will be my 3rd running of it. I love it! Lots of hills, sand, mountain views, and only about 8 -10 miles of it is on pavement.
I have a feeling I'll be a little sore, so I'm hopping in the shower and putting on my recovery socks. I felt like taking a nap on the way home, but now I feel pretty good, so I'll just get some stuff done for our upcoming trip (Christmas in CO!) and turn in early.
I do have other news, but I'm just not able to do that post just yet, so maybe in a few days. Nothing earth shattering, but it just seems we've had a lot going on lately. Running helps me cope with all of that.