Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saguaro West trail run - 23 miles

Headed out to Saguaro West for a planned 22 mile loop trail run today with David M. from Casa Grande. David is great to run with and we are both about the same pace (although he shows off a lot on the uphills!) We ended up doing about 23 miles, as we missed one of the trails at some point. Bonus mile! I absolutely love the Tucson Mountains - more saguaro cactus than anywhere in Tucson.

Here was the run:

We started off of Picture Rocks Road on the Camboh trail. Ran that trail to the Ringtail trail, then to the Windmill trail (this is why they call it the Windmill trail):The Windmill trail eventually ran into the Gila Monster wash. Well, we were supposed to hook up to the Thunderbird trail and ended up running about 3 miles in the wash instead (or more? It seemed like FOREVER). Wow, that was hard, but we both concluded it was good training for my upcoming Bataan marathon, which is located in White Sands, NM (lots of sand on the course!) The wash popped out right about the El Camino del Cerro trailhead (thank goodness!) so we hopped onto the Sweetwater trail for our ascent of Wasson Peak.

Sweetwater trail is fairly runnable, but soon starts ascending upward and we did some fast hiking instead. The last 1.2 miles was pretty much a hike, as we connected onto the steep Hugh Norris trail. We made it to the top!
It was a little cool and windy at the summit, which is at 4,687 feet elevation. You can see for miles.

We then descended (I love running downhill!) on the Hugh Norris trail. I originally thought there was about 3-400 steps in a previous run of this trail. However, I counted them this time - approximately 1,220 steps (I'm such an accountant)! My legs didn't feel too bad after the steps like I thought they would. We then turned on the Hohokam Rd. (dirt), and connected with the Golden Gate Rd. (also dirt) all the way back to Camboh trail. The last 6 or so miles of dirt road was a little hard (I was getting a little tired), but we knocked out a few fast miles at the end (9:04, 9:17) even after all of challenges of the run.

Overall, it was a fantastic trail run, with lots of small hills in the first section, followed by the sandy/rocky wash, then the ascent of Wasson Peak, then 1,200 steps down, and a slightly hilly dirt road to finish us off. I did lose my map and my lip balm (yeah, I lose one on almost every long run I do). I need to put some velcro on the pocket of my hydration vest - the pull string closure doesn't appear to be too effective.
David is a good companion on the trail; always in a good mood and ready for an adventure. The runs I plan always have some sort of kink in them (okay, we really weren't lost - just not where we wanted to be, or as David says - we're not lost, we just don't know where we are!). It is hard to find someone willing to deal with that.

Total time out (not including the long break at Wasson Peak, but including all other breaks): 5:15
Total cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 4,896/(4,956)
My legs felt good - no nagging physical problems, and my ankle/achilles ache did not bother me a bit during the run (although it still feels stiff when I'm not running). Yay for strong, sturdy legs!

David R. from Sierra Vista is running Old Pueblo 50 miler today, as are a lot of the TTR group. I hope everyone finished without injury! I have a tentative plan to do that race next year (after doing the Ghost Town 38.5 miler).
Next week: running with TTR - 21 miler in Esperero Canyon. Lots of elevation gain. Should be fun (and hard)!

1 comment:

RunningTroysLife said...

looks like your really putting in the miles! Nice work with the 19/19.

Have fun on esperero.
Last year it snowed a bit and got very cold.
It was alot of fun.