Sunday, January 4, 2009

TTR Wasson Peak Run

Despite some misgivings about the 50% chance of rain today, I joined the Tucson Trail Runners for a run up Wasson Peak, which is the highest point in the Tucson Mountain range. About 15 people showed up. Julie, who I've been running with for a while now, was sick with strep so she wasn't able to go. It would have been our last long run together before she leaves to her next destination, so I was pretty bummed. I will certainly miss running with her - I can't believe she will be gone soon. I plan on visiting her up in Colorado on one of my trips up this year, which I'm excited about. Not too often that I really connect with someone, but I sure did with Julie.Anyway, back to the run...
It was just getting light when the run started a little after 7am. The sun was coming over the mountains (we started on the West side of the mountains, which are on the West side of Tucson) and with all of the clouds from the weather system moving in, we were treated to a lovely sunrise. I quickly hooked up with Missy, a new face in the group, who seemed to be about my same pace. I didn't want to be alone for the whole run or get lost again and she was very friendly. Her husband Darrell was there, too and they are both doing Pemberton in February. We chatted the whole way up.
And boy, is it up. I have hiked Wasson Peak twice before, and if you had told me I would be running it one day, I would have said you were crazy. We did hike up quite a bit of the last 2 miles, which were steep. Missy admitted she was a little slow on the hiking, but she had a really good running pace. I felt like I could have gone a little faster on the hiking part, but all in all, the overall pace was good - wasn't looking to kill myself today.

It was super cold and windy the closer we got to Wasson Peak, which is at 4,687 feet elevation. The view from the top was beautiful; the wind was moving the storm clouds in fast, though. We stayed a few windy, cold minutes and headed on down. Once we started really running again, we warmed up, but both of us had freezing toes, fingers and knees for a little bit. View from the top:

We must have missed a turnoff, for as we were headed to the peak, we were running into people returning from the peak. This was supposed to be a 'figure 8' loop to the peak. So, instead of a 14ish mile distance, it turned out to be around 12.5 miles. We ran mostly on the Sendero-Esperanza and Hugh Norris trails. The downhill was crazy! There must be 3-400 steps going down Hugh Norris. At least we were going down them and not up! Missy really hauled on the steps, but I was shortly behind her, and Darrell right behind me.

We did the entire distance in 3:08 (3:25 total time out). Seems a little slow, until you consider the elevation change, which was a gain of 2,787 feet up and 2,753 feet down. My legs were pretty tired, and I felt like I had a good run.

It was starting to sprinkle the last part of the run, but it really didn't get raining until about a half an hour after we finished. Perfect! What a fun run. I got to yak with others from TTR afterwards, and there was a lot of broken bone stories exchanged (hmmm...this trail running must be dangerous). Beverly, one of the other women on the run, broke her arm on the same trail I broke my wrist (Charoleau Gap).

It is nice to meet new faces all the time - I used to be so afraid of meeting people. Well, the truth is, I still worry about what they think of me, but that happens less and less as time goes on. And, I just take the action of showing up in spite of my fear.

Here I am with Missy after the run: Here comes the storm - got out in the nick of time:
What a great workout! Even though the run was shorter than planned, I felt the distance was good considering the climb. I plan on doing the 9.9 mile Blue Pants Racing trail race next Saturday in the Tortolitas, which will be fun! I'll follow it up directly with a 9 mile round trip on the groomed Dove Mountain trail, so I'll be sure to get in almost a 19 mile run next week!

1 comment:

Marathoner in Training said...

Great recap of your run, glad you met some new people. Glad to see you have found your running strength after the broken bone.