Sunday, September 27, 2009

TTR Mt. Hopkins Ascent

This is a great run. It is almost 12 miles up to the top of Mt. Hopkins on mostly dirt road (almost the last 4 miles to the top and about a mile near the beginning is pavement). It gets pretty steep at the top, but otherwise, it is fairly runnable.

Total Distance: 23.7 miles

Time: 4:54

Cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 5,416/(5,394) feet

Elevation at start: 4,164 feet

Elevation at summit: 8,531 feet

Here I am at the top with Mt. Wrightson in the background:

The group had some concerns as fellow TTR member Kandi had done the run the previous day and had reported multiple sightings of bears with cubs. Everyone was keeping their eye out after our 8 mile aid station, as the last 4 miles to the top is where Kandi reported seeing them.

I leapfrogged with Gene and Wayne almost the whole way. A mile or so from the top, they passed me and good thing they did because...

The last bend before the top, Gene is faced with a bear and 2 cubs. He warns Wayne, who is right behind him. I hear him say, 'bear!' but by the time I was rounding the bend, I saw the bear leap off the side of the mountain through the trees! Whew! I had my camera out just in case, but it was too quick for me. At any rate, it was exciting, but about as close as I ever really want to come. Needless to say, Gene's heart rate was up a bit!
Before we saw the bear, the faster runners in the group returning downhill as we were headed up all reported, 'saw bears!' 'bears in trees!' 'bears in the road!' It was an exciting day for the group in terms of wildlife, that's for sure.

Looking back at my progress on the maze of road:
I would have made better time down, but we had a heat wave this week, and it was hot as hell. I could have really run faster on the downhill, but I kept overheating, so I would stop and walk.
I'm glad I have TTR to do these types of runs with. This group is making me stronger!
I've also decided
to do a few sessions of personal training to get some instruction on some new exercises I could be doing at home to help strengthen certain muscles. I'm starting to have a few minor aches and pains here and there...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Catalina State Park 8.35 mile Trail Race

Total distance: 8.35 miles (you could select a shorter option of 4.35 miles). My GPS said 8.28 miles.

In the past, this race has been a little longer (10.75 miles), but since I was planning on running almost 24 miles the next day, I was okay with that!
Finish time: 1:21
I was 3rd place in my age group!

Cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 1,522/(1,405) feet.

Got to see my good friend Steve, which I always enjoy.
The race photographer took a lot of pictures of runners (the pictures are free at the Everyone Runs races). He even got a picture of Steve taking a picture of me before the start! I'm wearing my two pom pom ponytails today.
This race has a few big hills and quite a bit of sand. We did two loops of the Canyon Loop trail and the Nature Loop trail. Super big thanks to Steve Landau at Everyone Runs for always putting on great races. The volunteers are wonderful, and you always get a mexican breakfast and smoothies afterwards! It was a beautiful day in the desert. Morning lows are finally dropping to around 60-65 degrees. I even wore a skirt to show my friend Kathleen in CO that I still wear them!
To top it off, after the race, Steve gave me a ride back to my car in his Cadillac so I didn't have to take the shuttle. I shared with him that I was born in a Cadillac, which he thought was interesting. Thanks for the ride in style!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mid-week trail run to relieve the stress

I rear-ended someone on the way to work this morning. Luckily, everyone was okay. No police called. Nothing wrong with the other guy's vehicle. My bumper on my 4-Runner is pretty messed up. I shook it off as best I could. Heck, there are other things more important to worry about.

Plus, I was actually getting off work early today after our work lunch, AND Shari and I were going to do a trail run! Nothing like a mid-week trail run to shake off the blues. We met at Yetman trailhead at Camino de Oeste and ran Yetman trail and part of Starr Pass trail.I love Tucson Mountain Park. You don't see too many people out there. Some cactus for my lovely friend Kathleen in Colorado:

6.2 miles, 1,339/(1,301) feet elevation gain/(loss). It was fun.

We barely got back before the sun went down.
Don't know what I'd do if I couldn't run trails. I sure hope God is hearing all my prayers. Some days, I just don't know. I could really use some divine intervention in my life...
I'll be switching back to evening running soon. Darkness is slowly stealing my mornings.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sabino Basin Run with TTR

Still a little tired from Imogene, but I joined the Tucson Trail Runners for a short run in Sabin Canyon. I did Phoneline trail to the Basin and back on the paved road. Most other runners did Phoneline trail back, but I knew I had to get back home that morning. Plus, there was homemade frozen yoghurt and ice cream waiting. Thanks Doug!!!!
Distance: 13.2 miles

Cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 2,748/(2,808) feet

Time: 2:51. I know, I'm slow. I do pretty well on the road, but I'm pretty slow on Phoneline... Here I am at the basin before the turnaround: So, I'm tossing around signing up for the Old Pueblo 50 mile race, which is in March 2010. Since I'm doing the 37 mile race in October, Tucson Marathon in December, the Ghost Town 38.5 mile race in January, and Pemberton 50k in February, it would be a good year to attempt it. Registration opens in about a week, and fills up the same day, so I need to decide soon. I changed the quote at the top of my blog, but it pretty much answers the question on whether I'll do it or not. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

First ever night hike

Went with the Tucson Hiking Meetup Group and did a night hike tonight (first night hike!) 4.25 miles round trip, Sabino Canyon Visitor's Center to Esperero Trail (out and back). I got to try out my headlamp, which I bought back in the Spring, but never used (I look like I'm getting ready to go spelunking!). It was cool! The desert feels like a whole different world without the sun. I should have brought my camera with me, but I thought it wouldn't take good photos in the dark. We saw a huge tarantula and then a few minutes later, a tarantula hawk (code for BIG BUG) hauling off another tarantula (here is a pic that one of the hikers took): The tarantula hawk paralyzes the tarantula and then takes charge. It is part of the circle of life, but always bothers me to actually see it!!!!
We also saw a rattlesnake (he was way off in the bushes), a scorpion, and some sort of night hawk. There were about 25 people on the hike, so I wasn't too worried about any big critters. 1,041 feet elevation gain. Not bad for 4.25 miles (up on the way out, down on the way back). Fun. Very.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Imogene Pass Run Report

I finished!
Here is the scoop:
Distance: 17.1 miles
Start point: Ouray, CO at 7,810 feet
Highest point: Imogene Pass at 13,114 feet
End point: Telluride, CO at 8,820 feet
Cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 8,201/(7,111) feet.
Course: 10 miles up to Imogene Pass, 7.1 miles down to Telluride, CO. Most of the elevation gain is in the first 10 miles. Mostly rocky, rutted jeep road.
Finish time: 4:38

My friend Christina (on the right) has been trying to talk me into it for a few years. I always said, "No way! Too much elevation! It would kill me." All of a sudden, this past year it seemed like a good idea. :)

Here we are at the start:
There are some runnable spots on the 10 miles up to the Pass, but it was mostly a LOT of hiking. My Mt. Lemmon run/hikes helped to prepare me as much as you can prepare for a race at 13,114 feet elevation!
These are the pics from the start of the race to Upper Camp Bird (7.6 miles). As you can see, it is quite a slog!Occasionally, I would look back towards Ouray at my progress towards the top:
The first cutoff is at 7.6 miles (Upper Camp Bird). It must be reached in 2.5 hours (if you don't make it in that time frame, they will not let you go further in the race). I arrived in 2:06. I was glad I made that cutoff.
View of Upper Camp Bird aid station as I'm leaving: Now for the pics from miles 7.6 to the top of Imogene Pass:
The second cutoff is at 10 miles (Imogene Pass summit). It must be reached in 4.5 hours. I arrived in 3:12. I felt so good about that! It is really a good idea to get up there as fast as possible before a storm hits..

The last mile to the summit was a death march. Nobody seemed particularly chatty at this point. Lots of grades over 20%. Not much oxygen either....

Some things that kept me occupied the last mile:
There was a guy that was playing the theme song to 'Rocky' on his ipod. Whatever it takes to get you there, dude - I loved it! Also, I saw a guy hiking close to the top with cheesy, cheap flip flops on. Crazy. Here he is. Another guy passed me wearing those minimal Keds sneakers with the dressiest pair of linen shorts. You see it all out there.

Looking back from the top, way above treeline:Greeted at the top with a theme (is it supposed to make it feel warmer up there?)...the volunteers are great.
I stayed less than a minute on the summit. It was COLD and breezy.
Here is a pic that the photo company took of me as I started on the downhill.
The downhill from the summit was screaming steep, with lots of scree!Soon, though, we were back below treeline, and it was so green and beautiful! Social Tunnel, near the last aid station at mile 14.3: The town of Telluride comes into view almost 2 miles before the finish. It gives you the idea that you are almost there. That last 2 miles felt LONG. I arrived at the finish line and Kenny was there to greet me. Thank you, Kenny! I had a Colorado peach and some chicken noodle soup, which was wonderful. The weather held out, with only a few sprinkles of rain at the end. The weather is really unpredictable in these mountains. I lucked out again on the CO weather.
I finished 53 out of 88 in my age group (60th percentile), 287 out of 484 female finishers (59th percentile), and 788 out of 1,127 male and female finishers (70th percentile).
One of the hardest things I've ever done.
Yes, I'll be doing it again next year. :)
And, by the way, I got into the Ghost Town 38.5 mile race, which is on January 17th, 2010. Troy is doing it, also. They only let 75 people in. It is held in NM in the mountains. Woohoo! Kind of appears that I'm on my way to training for a 50 miler, doesn't it?

How did I survive prior to the internet?

Well, my internet has been down for over a week and will be for a few more days. I've been out of town for some of it, but I was hoping to get the replacement Quest modem in the mail while I was gone.
Anyway, I feel like I'm in slight withdrawals....I'm at the library right now trying to read email and do the bare minimum until I can get reconnected.
I did finish the Imogene Pass Run in CO this weekend! It was one of the hardest races I have ever done. 17.1 miles over a 13,100 feet pass. I did it in 4:37:59.9. I'm recovering well - just a little sore. I'll post a race report with pictures sometime this week when I get internet access back.
I'm going to try to get into the Ghost Town 38.5 mile race, which is on January 17th, 2010. Registration opens at 8am Tucson time on Tuesday, September 15th. Looks like Troy is going to enter, too. Hope we get in! I'll have to get on the internet at work first thing in the morning...