Saturday, December 26, 2009

Pemberton Trail Loop Run

Shari and I drove up to McDowell Mountain Park in Fountain Hills today (about 2.5 hours North of Tucson) and ran one loop of the Pemberton trail, which is about 15.5 miles. From the trail, you can vaguely see the fountain in town:

It was pretty cold at the start, but we warmed up as time went on. Both of us were a little tired from yesterday's hike/run. The course is fairly uphill/hilly for the first 9 miles and then it is pretty much downhill for the rest of the loop.

Shari is doing the Pemberton 50k, her first time doing the race (it will be my second time) and her first ultra, so she wanted to check out the course. We do 2 loops of this trail for the Pemberton 50k, which is coming up on February 13th. Taking a break...

Shari and I just talked each other's heads off the whole way up and back. We finished the run off with some fast food - I rarely do fast food, but I love a burger after a long run sometimes.
A little over 31 miles in 2 days. I feel pretty good!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Phoneline Trail to Hutch's Pools Hike/Run

Merry Christmas!!!!! Getting out on the trails is an awesome thing to do on Christmas Day...

I hiked out to Hutch's Pools via Phoneline Trail in Sabino Canyon with the Tucson Hiking Meetup group.  Shari joined me for part of it and my friend Sarah was there, too, hiking the whole thing.  Shari and I are fast hikers, but we were courteous and waited periodically for others. My friend Sarah is a fast hiker, too. I've never hiked all of Phoneline trail before; I've always run it!
Distance out: 8.38 miles
Time to get there: 3:41

It was 30 degrees when we started and we were in shade in the canyon for several hours. It felt like it got even colder in the canyon. We were bundled up!
Made it to Hutch's Pools and removed some layers for the run back!

I ran back by myself from Hutch's Pools via the trails to the SC tram road. I was having fun in the warmed up finally thankfully. :)

Distance back: 7.62 miles- well, a little shorter than that, but I looped around the bathrooms to round up to 16 miles. :)
Time to get back: 1:34

What a great time. It always seems like good enough weather on Christmas Day in Tucson to wear shorts. I'm wearing a skirt on the run back!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tribute to the dogs...

It was here for as long as it needed to be here, like everything or everyone...
Taylor, you were always my baby. You lost your eye when you were younger and you were still a happy dog afterwards. You also swallowed a cross stitch needle and had to have surgery! What a survivor. Taylor left us after 14 years on December 23rd, 2005.

Buster, you were always the insecure one - I really understood you. After your sister Taylor left, I felt so protective of you. Buster left us after 14 years in May, 2006.

Buddie, you were the character of the bunch and always took such good care of Yentyl. Buddie was always so happy to see us when we got home. "Roo Roo Roooooooooo!!!!!!!" Buddie left us after 14 years on December 19, 2007.

Yentyl, you were always more like a person than a dog. I loved the way you talked to us. Yentyl left us after 14 years on December 13, 2008.

It was hard to do this post. Especially when I already feel such a loss in my life right now. I am just thinking of them so much right now since we lost 3 of them during the month of December. But, these little angels  brought so much joy to me. Their memory makes me smile. Memories of someone or something that I've lost are always with me. Thank you, God, for all of the wonderful gifts you have given me, even if some of them were only with me for a short while. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Trail run for the soul

Recovering well from the Tucson Marathon, but I'm certainly taking it easy. I ran 3 miles on Wednesday, 3.75 on Friday and did a 6.25 mile trail run with a group today. It has been 3 weeks since I have been on the trails. It really lifted my spirits. A mile into it, I said, 'Hello, old friend, good to see you.'

Jeanne and Pete from Fleet Feet organized it and there were 10 of us that showed up. I drove over there with my friend Shari and was suprised to see my friend Steve there, too! Very cool. I also saw my friend Tom from TTR at the end of the run, but he was cycling up Mt. Lemmon, not running.

We started at Molino Basin (about 6 miles up Mt. Lemmon) and ran west on the Molino Basin trail (past Prison Camp).  The trail is gently rolling and pretty good terrain to run on. The pace was easy, it was a beautiful trail, the runners were friendly, got to see my friends Shari and Steve, and besides being a little chilly in the beginning of the run, it was pretty much a perfect Tucson Winter day. What more could a trail running gal ask for?
Yeah, don't answer that.
Hope all of my wonderful friends and family are well and get to spend time this week with the people they love.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tucson Marathon 2009 Race Report

Sub-4 marathon!!!! Woohoo!
Had to get up at 3:15am and drive to Oro Valley to catch the bus at 5am that takes us to the town of Oracle, where the race starts. There, we sat on buses for 1.5 hours  and had ample time to stand in line at the porta potties (twice!) I mostly hung out with Boone and Steve, which was a lot of fun. I still can't believe you ate a can of corn before the race, Boone. Here he is ready to race:

Here I am, fresh and ready to go (my upper arms might look lumpy because I have gels in my sleeve pockets):

It was packed at the start of the race - took almost a minute to cross the start line. Here are the stats (Hey, I'm an accountant, what do you expect?!?):
Total Time: 3:59:20
Total Average Pace: 9:08
Age group (40-44) place: 26 out of 73 (36th percentile)
All women placement: 155 out of 520 (30th percentile)
Overall placement: 520 out of 1,246 (42nd percentile)
I like percentiles. I may not be first, or even close; but hey, I beat 70% of the women on the course, and 64% of those in my age group! I'm thrilled with my time to say the least.
Well, my goal was 3:50:59, which would have qualified me for Boston.  Obviously, that didn't happen. Here is some breakdown:
Overall pace at 6.6 miles: 8:44
Overall pace at 10.8 miles: 8:46
Overall pace at 19.2 miles: 8:51
Well, you can probably see what happened. I went out a little fast. My quads locked up at mile 18. The headwind started around then and did not let up for the rest of the race. It was hard to run at times because the wind was blowing so hard. I was at 8:48 pace exactly at mile 18 or so and did not have enough gas in the tank to keep up that pace for the next 8 miles, which is the pace I would have needed to BQ. Maybe next time. My 2nd goal was sub-4, and I got it! I told myself to not be too hard on myself if I couldn't BQ with everything else going on in my life. I still did awesome!
Me, at the finish with my copper cactus medal:

Racing a marathon is hard. Pavement is unkind. But, gosh darn it, I did it! :) :)
Funny that I'm standing next to an ambulance at the end. Good thing I didn't need one.
They had tortillas with Nutella on them post-race along with other good stuff. Yes!
I also drank some whey protein afterwards for muscle recovery and I'm now drinking turmeric root (fresh) tea for inflammation.
Congrats again to my friends Shari, Boone and Steve. What a feeling of accomplishment.

This is my 5th marathon and fastest to date (4:19 was my previous PR).  I've now done 9 marathons/ultramarathons (I did 5 this year alone!) After March, it will be 12 total! I have 3 more big races coming up: 5 weeks from now, Ghost Town 38.5; 4 weeks from then, Pemberton 50k; finally, 3 weeks from then, the Old Pueblo 50 miler. The countdown is on.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Friday.

1st good day from start to finish that I've had in a while. I'm not sure why. I just had a good day. It has been two weeks since I moved into my new place. Each day presents a different challenge for me. I've been driving a variation of the same route to work for 8.5 years; not anymore. And my routine has been shattered like this over and over...
I'm living in the house that I helped renovate last year. Here I am in my kitchen (it's kinda a mess, but I just finished cooking a solo Friday night dinner - my favorite - whole grain pasta, steamed broccoli and carrots, sauted heirloom tomatoes, and a little parmesan cheese and butter):

The house was built around 1940. It is a cool old house with wood floors.
The PINK shirt I'm wearing is a SAINTS jersey - Reggie Bush #25. Go Saints! (I was born in New Orleans, after all.)
Ran a big 3.5 miles on my lunch on Thursday. Tucson Marathon on Sunday. Gotta get some rest. Off to bed.

"...and through all the tears and the sadness and the pain comes the one thought that can make me internally smile again:
I have loved."

From 'How to Survive the Loss of a Love' ~ Bloomfield, Colgrove and McWilliams.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thankful for friends....

Shari talked me into joining her for a run this morning. I have not run since last Sunday - the depression is setting in. I'm being swarmed with love from friends near and far, but I guess I just have to walk through this and feel whatever it is I need to feel. So...I got up in the cold weather, drove over to my old house and picked up Taos dog (I don't have her anymore, I just borrow her) and met Shari and some other gals at the Rillito River path.
TTR was running a trail today, but I opted out because I didn't want to do anything strenuous the week before the marathon.
We cranked out a big 9.3 miles. It felt good. Thanks Shari. I think Taos had a good time, too. Shari was trying to get a pic of us and had a hard time getting Taos' attention...

I was the only one wearing a skirt, but I warmed up after a bit. This skirt goes out to my friends Julie and Kathleen in COLD Colorado!
You just can't beat Tucson weather in the wintertime.
So...I ran 9.3 miles for the week. Quite a taper for the marathon. :)
I'm so thankful for tons of friends. I couldn't go through all of this without you.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

TTR Reddington 50k (well, 27 miles as it turned out)

After spending most of the Thanksgiving weekend moving into my new place to live, I woke up pretty exhausted for this run (I moved after living somewhere for ELEVEN years. I had accumulated quite a bit of stuff to say the least.)
Since most of my stuff was still in boxes, I had a hard time finding everything I needed for the trail and I barely made it to the Prison Camp trailhead in time to take off with the TTR group. Moments before our fairly large group took off, it started to rain/snow/sleet/hail, but off we went anyway!

It only lasted about 20-30 minutes, I think.
Ross took some videos of us at Molino Basin (about 30 minutes into the run?), which were like interviews (so, tell me, why are you here?) Anyway, check the interview of me out here for a laugh. I was a little crabby to say the least.
Wet and tired:

The skies cleared up and we were treated to a light dusting of snow and hail over the mountains with the sunrise. Beautiful.

It is an out and back run, and pretty shortly into it, I realized I would be cutting it short. It is a pretty good push up and over a saddle and I knew it would be uphill on the way back, too.
Me, dry, but tired:

The 'aid station' set up by a TTR volunteer was at the 13.5 mile mark; runners could do an additional 2 miles out and back for a total of 31 miles. I turned around at the aid station and ran back for a total of 27 miles. I was good with that.
Happy to be at the aid station...

Ross calls me 'stylish'. :)
On the way back, I ran into another storm and got pelted with hail. It passed pretty quickly, but the sky was fairly ominous looking for a while.

Running behind Dallas after the hailstorm...

We were gifted with a beautiful rainbow, though!

It was a sunny day at the end!

I finished the 27 miles in 6 hours and 39 minutes. Took forever, but I finally got it done.

Although my Garmin has some fantastic elevation gain to it, I show a cumulative elevation gain of 6,929 feet.
This run was on Soldier's trail, Bellota trail and Reddington Road. (much of it on the Arizona trail).
This was a good trail run, but mostly I just love hanging out with the people. I got to run a bit with Troy, David, Wayne (I followed him the longest, about 6 miles) and Dallas. Hanging out and chatting with Ross (our fearless leader), Jane, Patricia, Joel, Joe, Gene and others was just awesome. I feel at home among this lunatic fringe.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

TTR Mt. Lemmon Ascent

What a beautiful day, with the most amazingly beautiful weather (morning was around 45 degrees, high expected around 75 in the valley, 60 on Mt. Lemmon). I joined TTR for my first running (uh, hiking) of the Mt. Lemmon Ascent.

This run/hike starts at the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center, goes down the tram road 3.7 miles, then takes the connector trail to Sabino Canyon trail and into Sabino Basin.

From there, we all headed left on the West Fork trail, passing Hutch's Pools, until we reached Romero Canyon trail, which connected shortly to the Lemmon Trail. We took that to the top of Mt. Lemmon.

Time: 6:01
Distance: 19.05 miles (seemed to vary among everyone - 18.6 - 19.8)
Starting elevation: 2,696 feet
Ending elevation: 9,111 feet
Cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 10,370/(4,053) feet

There was about 15 people doing the run, most of them faster than me! I wasn't used to the elevation, and it got to me a bit.

It is pretty runnable for the first 10 miles or so, and then the hiking starts. Miles 13 and 14 are big elevation gain - 1,005 and 1,331 feet, respectively. I really didn't do much running at all from miles 13 to the end. I think my mental energy was elsewhere; it really wiped me out! That is definitely some tough hiking, with lots of crumbly stuff. My legs became pretty scratched up from the sticker bushes, too. Not sure if I'll do this one again. I know, I know, I probably will!
Thank you to all the TTR members who gave us all rides down the mountain! On the way down, we saw a coatimundi. He was too quick for a camera shot. Coati are mammals in the raccoon family (larger than raccoons, though), with super long tails. They are so cute!
Total miles for the week: 39. Didn't get in as many as I would have liked to. Got a 50 mile week next week (last week of marathon training). Between that, and moving, I should be sufficiently wiped out after Thanksgiving weekend. I'll have to go back to work to rest up. :)
Thank you to everyone who has been so loving and supportive to me during this time in my life. I truly am blessed to have so many beautiful friends and family.