I drove out of Tucson a little after 6am this morning, picked up David M. in Casa Grande, and we were off to McDowell Mountain Park in Fountain Hills to run the Pemberton trail (about a 2.5 hour drive from Tucson). We'll be doing the Pemberton Trail 50k race on February 14th, so I wanted to check out the trail for a test run. David has done both the Pemberton 50k and the Javelina Jundred (yes, 100 miles) races, which are on this trail, but he joined me anyway, which was great! His pacing kept us going at a pretty good clip most of the run. The trail and surrounding area are beautiful; lots of cactus and mountain views.
We did one full loop (about 15.3 miles) and then went about 5.5 miles out on the loop again, but cut back through the loop on the Tonto Tank trail for a total of about 24.4 miles (David had about 24.6 on his Garmin). The trail was a little harder than I thought it would be. The first 8 miles are fairly net uphill. We started out a little fast, and after already running 21 miles this week (including 6 miles yesterday), getting in 2 solid one-hour weight workouts this past week, and doing a little yardwork yesterday, my legs felt very tired. I finally got with the program and the other 7 or so miles of the loop were downhill, which was great (although downhill is relative at Pemberton; there are just a lot of rolling hills). Here I am at mile 5.5 of the run, looking fresh and posing Dirt Diva style:After the first loop, we then refueled, refilled our Camelbaks, took a pit stop at the restroom (where David disappeared for a while...I thought he fell in) and were off again on the loop. Here we are before we headed out again (David is holding a gel - Gu brand - in hopes of getting sponsored by the company). He doesn't have a blog yet, but with a nickname like Mountain Goat, Jr., I think he needs to start one.I was getting pretty tired about mile 18. We finally made it to 20.5, where we took a break and I ate. My fueling had been pretty good so far (some Clif Blox, raisins, fruit leather and some Perpetuem) but obviously, I was a little late on this fuel stop, because once I ate, I felt extremely better. We then headed down the Tonto Tank trail, which was gloriously downhill, and were running 9-10 minute miles (yeah, I know, that is not that fast for some people, but if you are reading this, you already know I'm not an elite!) I was like a horse running for the barn.
So excited to be done! It was really hot out there for a January day, but I wasn't complaining too much. I was really good about hydrating today after last week's mishap. Overall, besides being a little slow here and there, I was very happy with the run. It was my 5th longest run EVER. The only runs longer than this one today were the 2 marathons I've done (26.2 miles), and the two 50k races I've completed (31 and 33 miles). So, I was pleased and feel I'll do pretty well at the race. The endorphins were flowing, because I felt really high energy afterwards.
I did have my Garmin on auto pause during the run, which stops the clock when we stop, so I ended up with actually total running time of 4:14:40 for a 10:25 min/mile pace, although total time out was a little longer. Total elevation gain was 2,400 feet and total elevation loss was 2,461 feet. Sure felt like more than that.
David was a great trail partner and we had a super time. Have I mentioned that we both share the same birthday - October 20th? He is one year older than me. How wild. We had a lot of fun on this run. He is spunky and full of good stories. He has a very mischevious grin that always makes it look like he is up to something. We went to Wendy's afterwards and scarfed some burgers - we were so hungry! I drove David home and got back to Tucson around 5pm - long day. My legs are fairly sore, but I'm confident I'll recover quickly. I have about 2 more weeks of solid training for Pemberton, and then it will be time to taper.
Total miles for the week - 45.5.