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!

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