Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trail run in the Huachuca Mountains

Early this morning, I joined David R., who lives in Sierra Vista, for a trail run in his own backyard. I had previously met David at the Blue Pants Racing Summer Trail Series last summer (which you can now register for this year's races here).
We had tentatively planned on running 18 miles, but I was really suffering from severe fatigue today. David, who is a Physician's Assistant in S.V., had read on my blog in past postings that I have dealt with an iron deficiency at times. After relaying to him all of my symptoms, he mentioned that it could be anemia. Bingo! All of a sudden it made sense. So, I am back to taking my iron supplements (which I had inadvertently discontinued months ago) and adding more red meat back in my diet. I should feel better within 5-7 days if that is the problem. Of course, it takes a while to really get the iron stores back up, but I can expect pretty rapid improvement if that is what is really going on.

So, we only ran 15 miles. First, we ran 9 miles on the Perimeter and John Cooper trails near Miller and Ramsey Canyons in the Huachuca Mountains. The elevation gain on this loop was 1,843 feet. There is actually a race (you can either hike, run or mtn. bike the trail) on this trail - it was last weekend - but I had never heard of it before. The views were just fabulous, although the trail was very narrow with steep dropoffs at times. I'm not so sure I'd race this trail with mountain bikers.
Needless to say, I was sucking air on this loop, partly due to the elevation (highest point 6,108 feet elevation - hey, I'm a flatlander!) but I suspect a lot of the heavy breathing is due to the possible anemia. There was one section, a dirt road, that just headed straight up for about 2 miles. I had to walk it, but at least I got to enjoy the views.
Then, we drove down to the San Pedro River area (picture above) and ran 6 more on a relatively flat dirt trail/road. This area is filled with lots of birds (Southern AZ is known for the many species of birds). I saw a whole bunch of pretty yellow-bellied ones, whatever they were. You can tell where the river (creek) runs by the line of cottonwood trees in the background of the picture above. My Garmin had locked up on me for this part of the run, but David said we ran about a 9:43 min/mile average, which I was surprised about, given my extreme exhaustion by this point. Here I am in front of a HUGE cottonwood tree:

I had a really great time! I'll have to head back down there sometime again - it was very fun and definitely beautiful country. I feel bad that I slowed David down so much, but he is so nice and friendly, that I never got the sense that it annoyed him. He was a great trail guide! He loves to talk nutrition, which is a blast for me! I don't think much could bother him today; he appears to be in love. I'm happy for you David!

I ran 33.5 miles for the week. Not bad for feeling so exhausted! There is nothing like your health when you don't have it. By the way, iron deficient anemia is common in women runners. So, note to self ladies!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A 93 degree Sweetwater Preserve trails run

With the sun beating down at 93 degrees at a little before 5pm today, I headed out on the Sweetwater Preserve trails - without a map this time. That darn trail system is a bunch of little loops (I've accidentally repeated a loop, even with a map), but I just stayed to the right and basically ran the circumference of the area for a total of 7.5 miles. I haven't done a trail run in a while and it really fixed me up mentally and spiritually. I had a hard time at first with the heat, but my body finally got with the program.
The cactus are blooming and the desert is really pretty right now! Sweetwater Preserve is loaded with saguaro cactus and the trails are pretty decent - just a little rocky and a little hilly. I just love saguaros. They are so beautiful.
I didn't do anything real amazing last weekend - just out to Tumamoc hill again for 8 miles of hill repeats and hauled a ton of large rip-rap rocks in my backyard to create a rock garden (dang, I was sore on Monday!). I ran about 30 miles for the week - was hoping for 40, but just couldn't fit it all in.
This coming weekend, I head down near Sierra Vista to join David R. for a trail run in the Huachuca mountains. Yay! I've never been to those mountains before, so it will be a treat. Not sure what we'll do; David initially suggested a 10 mile loop; when I asked if we could do a longer one, he said we could do up to 20 miles - just let him know (I knew he would be game for a longer one - he is doing the Jemez 50k in May). So, I'm not quite sure of the distance yet - we may do an out and back so we can choose how long we run depending on how we feel.
Off to watch Lost and do a weight workout. I just ate a frozen yoghurt to cool down from my run. Now if only I didn't have to work today, it would have been a really good day! :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

As soon as you state your plans, there they go...

Well, no TTR Mt. Bigelow trail run for me after all. After quite a bit of rain on Saturday, and snow up on the Catalina mountains (behind me above), the highway up was closed. So, either I chose to do the round trip unsupported (31 miles) or nothing at all, since there would be nobody to take me back down. I know a handful of TTR runners did the round trip - what a hardy bunch - with one guy (Bob B.) doing 31 miles both Saturday and Sunday!
I chose to stay in the valley instead and did another round of hill repeats on Tumamoc Hill for a total of 10.75 miles (same as yesterday!). Total elevation gain: 2,990 feet in the 10.75 miles. Good training!
Oh yeah - I forgot to mention that I saw 2 deer hiding in the brush eating cactus and a baby bobcat crossing the road. It was the first time I've ever seen a bobcat.
Total miles for the week - 28.5. I think I'm offically recovered enough to really step things up again now.

I'm wearing my race shirt from yesterday's Catalina State Park trail race (isn't it cute?).

Hope everyone had a nice Easter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Catalina State Park 10.75 Trail Race

Me and my friend Steve, the self-proclaimed 'Slow Old Goat' (although, in truth, he really is pretty speedy). It is always good to see you, my friend. Hope your travels in Bangkok go well and your shin splints are history soon.

Distance: 10.75 miles (although you can choose a 5.5 mile distance).

Finish Time: 1:40:03 (9:18 min/mile pace) Last year, my time for this race was 1:46:48 (9:43 pace). Yay for improvement!

I was 61st out of 111 people. It was a fast crowd out this year. I got third place in my age group (40-44).

Quite a few people turned out, although it had been raining hard most of the night, and up until race time. The rain pretty much slacked off for the race, although it was freeeeeezzzzing!!! I warmed up quickly on the run, shedding my rain jacket (thanks Shari for hanging on to it for me!) after the first 5.5 miles.

The 10.75 mile is 2 loops of the 5.5 mile race. Even after all of the rain, there was not much water on the creek crossings. Tucson needed it, although I think the race director was panicking a bit! The great thing about all the rain is that it really packed down the sand, so it was much easier to run those super sandy trails.

After the race, the rain clouds moved in and boy, did it really get cold! I hung out for a while, but I guess there were some problems with the race timing, so they weren't able to give awards out at the race after all. The results are all fixed and posted now. I'll have to pick my award up, which is fine! I was just thrilled to do better this year. However, they did give out prizes and I won 2 free smoothies from Robek's!
I got out of there just in time for it to really get raining. Thanks to Robin for letting me sit in her car to stay warm and for giving me a ride back to my car (I took the shuttle to the park).

Cool note: the women's technical shirts this year were actually women's cut and sizes! Steve, the RD, will be doing this from now on for the Everyone Runs races, which is a good reason to register. Good job Steve. I will be wearing it in my Sunday post (it fits so nice).
BTW, his next race, Run with the Roosters, will be on Sunday, July 12th. It will be a 5 miler near Old Tucson, and will be held at 5:15 am to avoid the heat.

Friday, April 10, 2009

If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans...

Well, I recovered pretty fast from the Bataan marathon. Although I didn't run the 5 days following the race (too much overtime at work), my legs felt great 2 days afterwards. It felt good to know that I'm improving both my racing times and my recovery times.
After taking the 5 days off, I ran 7 miles on Saturday and on Sunday, I did a 'triple Tumamoc hill' (3 trips of the 3 mile round trip Tumamoc Hill) followed by about 20 minutes of stair climbing at the parking garage next door. Tumamoc Hill is about 700 foot elevation gain up, so I did about 2,100 feet of climbing in the 9 miles. So, I got in about 16 miles the week following the marathon.

This week, I ran 7 miles on Wednesday and here are my weekend running plans:

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 11th, Catalina State Park 10.75 mile trail race. A wonderful individual took care of my race entry fee. Thank you so much - you know who you are and I really appreciate it! It is supposed to really rain in the morning, so the race should be interesting. I know there were a few spots left in the race, so come on over and join us! My legs feel ready to race.

Sunday, April 12th, TTR Mt. Bigelow Ascent - 17 miles. There is supposed to be snow encountered during this run, since we'll be headed up over 8,000 feet elevation from Sabino Canyon. Hope I don't get lost. :)

Sunday, April 19th - Possibly a long trail run in the Huachuca mountains with David R. from Sierra Vista, but I haven't heard back yet from him (could be on April 26th instead).

Sunday, May 3rd - TTR Santa Catalina Ascent - 25+ miles with a smoking lot of elevation gain. Let's just call this what it is - one big, long hike. I could only hope to run parts of this. We'll see.

Saturday, May 9th - TTR Mt. Wrightson Massacre - 10.4 miles (one round trip) is all I'll be doing, but others will be doing multiple trips up and down.

Saturday, May 15th - Grand Canyon R2R - 21 miles. This will be my first time in the canyon (I've stood on the edge of the North and South rims, but never have gone on any trails). This run is what the other runs I have just mentioned will prepare me to do.

Well, there you go. I feel good and happy today. I hope to enjoy all of my future planned runs this Spring and meet some new friends in the process. I'm watching my money, so I'm doing more group planned runs as opposed to races. If you are interested in any of these runs, e-mail me and I'll tell you more about them.
I going to have a cup of Yogi brand Kava Stress Relief tea (really makes me dream a lot!) and off to bed I go. Life feels simple in a cup of tea.