Sunday, November 29, 2009

TTR Reddington 50k (well, 27 miles as it turned out)

After spending most of the Thanksgiving weekend moving into my new place to live, I woke up pretty exhausted for this run (I moved after living somewhere for ELEVEN years. I had accumulated quite a bit of stuff to say the least.)
Since most of my stuff was still in boxes, I had a hard time finding everything I needed for the trail and I barely made it to the Prison Camp trailhead in time to take off with the TTR group. Moments before our fairly large group took off, it started to rain/snow/sleet/hail, but off we went anyway!

It only lasted about 20-30 minutes, I think.
Ross took some videos of us at Molino Basin (about 30 minutes into the run?), which were like interviews (so, tell me, why are you here?) Anyway, check the interview of me out here for a laugh. I was a little crabby to say the least.
Wet and tired:

The skies cleared up and we were treated to a light dusting of snow and hail over the mountains with the sunrise. Beautiful.

It is an out and back run, and pretty shortly into it, I realized I would be cutting it short. It is a pretty good push up and over a saddle and I knew it would be uphill on the way back, too.
Me, dry, but tired:

The 'aid station' set up by a TTR volunteer was at the 13.5 mile mark; runners could do an additional 2 miles out and back for a total of 31 miles. I turned around at the aid station and ran back for a total of 27 miles. I was good with that.
Happy to be at the aid station...

Ross calls me 'stylish'. :)
On the way back, I ran into another storm and got pelted with hail. It passed pretty quickly, but the sky was fairly ominous looking for a while.

Running behind Dallas after the hailstorm...

We were gifted with a beautiful rainbow, though!

It was a sunny day at the end!

I finished the 27 miles in 6 hours and 39 minutes. Took forever, but I finally got it done.

Although my Garmin has some fantastic elevation gain to it, I show a cumulative elevation gain of 6,929 feet.
This run was on Soldier's trail, Bellota trail and Reddington Road. (much of it on the Arizona trail).
This was a good trail run, but mostly I just love hanging out with the people. I got to run a bit with Troy, David, Wayne (I followed him the longest, about 6 miles) and Dallas. Hanging out and chatting with Ross (our fearless leader), Jane, Patricia, Joel, Joe, Gene and others was just awesome. I feel at home among this lunatic fringe.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

TTR Mt. Lemmon Ascent

What a beautiful day, with the most amazingly beautiful weather (morning was around 45 degrees, high expected around 75 in the valley, 60 on Mt. Lemmon). I joined TTR for my first running (uh, hiking) of the Mt. Lemmon Ascent.

This run/hike starts at the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center, goes down the tram road 3.7 miles, then takes the connector trail to Sabino Canyon trail and into Sabino Basin.

From there, we all headed left on the West Fork trail, passing Hutch's Pools, until we reached Romero Canyon trail, which connected shortly to the Lemmon Trail. We took that to the top of Mt. Lemmon.

Time: 6:01
Distance: 19.05 miles (seemed to vary among everyone - 18.6 - 19.8)
Starting elevation: 2,696 feet
Ending elevation: 9,111 feet
Cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 10,370/(4,053) feet

There was about 15 people doing the run, most of them faster than me! I wasn't used to the elevation, and it got to me a bit.

It is pretty runnable for the first 10 miles or so, and then the hiking starts. Miles 13 and 14 are big elevation gain - 1,005 and 1,331 feet, respectively. I really didn't do much running at all from miles 13 to the end. I think my mental energy was elsewhere; it really wiped me out! That is definitely some tough hiking, with lots of crumbly stuff. My legs became pretty scratched up from the sticker bushes, too. Not sure if I'll do this one again. I know, I know, I probably will!
Thank you to all the TTR members who gave us all rides down the mountain! On the way down, we saw a coatimundi. He was too quick for a camera shot. Coati are mammals in the raccoon family (larger than raccoons, though), with super long tails. They are so cute!
Total miles for the week: 39. Didn't get in as many as I would have liked to. Got a 50 mile week next week (last week of marathon training). Between that, and moving, I should be sufficiently wiped out after Thanksgiving weekend. I'll have to go back to work to rest up. :)
Thank you to everyone who has been so loving and supportive to me during this time in my life. I truly am blessed to have so many beautiful friends and family.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saguaro West (Wasson Peak) run

First - TTR cancelled the run, but I decided to go anyway. Guess there was nobody to direct it. :(
Second - forgot my Garmin GPS watch, but at least I had gone to the Map and Flag store and got a good map. And, another TTR member gave me some general directions, which were super helpful.

Jerry C. showed up, so I knew I wouldn't be totally alone for the run.  Jerry is new to TTR, but is already fitting in well.
We met at the Cam-boh picnic area off of Picture Rocks Rd. and ran South through the Tucson Mountains on beautiful trails with tons of saguaro cactus. The run started out cool (42 degrees), but I quickly shed my sleeves and gloves as I warmed up.
Route I took:
Cam-boh trail to Ironwood Forest (IF)
IF to Brittlebrush
Brittlebrush to Thunderbird
Thunderbird to Sweetwater
Took Sweetwater trail to the top of Wasson Peak (elevation 4,398 feet)
Then I ran down the Hugh Norris trail (over 1,200 steps! Good Tucson Marathon downhill training) and connected with the Hohokam Rd, and then the Golden Gate Rd. (both dirt). I finished on the Cam-boh trail.

I only ran with Jerry for about 4-5 miles (right into the sun most of the time!)

He was ahead of me and then I finally lost sight of him. I had a feeling that he had  missed the trail at some point. He came off Wasson Peak and went down Sendero-Esperanza (SE), which is about 5 miles shorter than my route. He did 18 miles total, so I guess I did about 23 miles.

I was sure hoping that he wasn't lost and was worried that I would get back to the truck and his vehicle would still be there. Had thoughts of sending out help, and then voila! there he was around the SE trailhead taking a break! So, we ended up doing the last 4-5 miles together. He did say he had taken some breaks and got off course for a few minutes, which is probably when I passed him. He said that my sign in on Wasson Peak was about a half an hour ahead of him.

So...I ran about the middle 14 or so miles by myself. It was really peaceful out there in the desert. I got to Wasson Peak as a bunch of hikers were leaving. One of them snapped my pic and I had the peak to myself for a bit. Nice.

Wasson Peak is at 4,687 feet. I think this is my 4th time up it.
Total time out: 5:15
Total cumulative elevation gain: Approximately 4,800 feet (from the last time I did a variation of this run).

Guess I'll have to do that run again since I don't have accurate run data. :)

Actually, it was nice not having the watch - I didn't know how fast I was going, what time it was, how far I had to go, bla bla bla. I ought to do that more often (well, as long as I know where I'm going!)

Today is a milestone in my life; 14 years since I quit smoking. I used to smoke 2 packs a day. I started smoking when I was 14 and quit when I was 28. Hard to believe I used to smoke that much and now I run 23 miles!
Next up: 2 big runs with TTR the next two weeks, then taper time for Tucson Marathon. I have a lot of runs and races to look forward to in the next 6 months. I'm glad, because my life feels so sad and hard right now. I feel like God is carrying me through though.
I move into my new place in 10 days. My new life will start and I will find strength in God and all of my friends and family. I have hope that like every other difficult time in my life, I will heal and become a stronger woman.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Change of the seasons

Oh mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Mmm mmm I don’t know...

~Stevie Nicks, 'Landslide' lyrics excerpt

I had a hard time getting out and running yesterday because it was so gloomy (so I skipped it and came home!) With the change of seasons, the cool weather is moving in and I miss the heat. Yet, the change of seasons always gives me hope. Things don't stay the same forever. I won't feel a certain way forever. This season of my life has been hard but I will get to the other side.
Not much out of me lately, but I've been running!
After the 60k, I ran 17 miles the 1st week, 22 the second week, and then 34 last week (19 miler on the Rillito River path with Shari). I'm slowly working back up the mileage and dealing with a very sore hip and foot. They are both getting better. I did force myself out the door today for a 6 mile run with Taos dog, which I really enjoyed. The cloud cover makes for nice temps to run in, but I have a hard time with motivation when it is so overcast.
Anyway, tomorrow, I'll head out by myself on a 22 mile run in the Tucson Mountains, rounding out the week with 40 miles. This next week, I should have around 45 miles, and then the next week, around 50 miles. Then, time to taper for Tucson Marathon. Most people train with more miles than that for a marathon, but I really want to make sure I recover well from that 60k and don't get injured.
I had a dream last night that I was attacked by a baby bobcat. I was okay, though. Yikes! Hope I don't see any tomorrow - part of the run is through a fairly quiet area of the Tucson Mountains. Lots of saguaro cactus, which I love.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Everyone Runs Half Marathon (13.1 miles) Race Report

Still taking it easy this week. I only ran 2 times during the week (4.5 miles each). I got a killer massage yesterday from the best massage therapist in the world - Dan. He is great at sports massages and worked on my hips which have been screwed up since the 60k. I felt much better - he really worked my legs over good.
Of course, I went and wrecked that nice massage by running a half marathon today - on pavement! By mile 5, my hip was sore and by mile 9, my left foot was bothering me (like it has been since the 60k).
Nevertheless, this race is awesome.
I showed up early to help with registration - I got up at 4am and the race started at 7:15am. It was pretty cold out there on the football field. I was bundled up in jackets, pants, and gloves up to the start of the race.
Saw lots of friends - Shari, my trusty trail running partner, who is looking pretty svelte these days:

Also, I saw my friends Steve (x 2), Boone and Joel and some gals I've met at other trail runs - Becky and Missy.  Steve got 1st in his age group - Joel was 4th overall!
My time: 1:56:56.

I was 4th in my age group out of 15 people. Just missed 3rd place by a little over a minute. I was averaging about 8:48 (which is what I need to do for Tucson Marathon to get 3:50) until mile 9. Then I slowed to 9-9:10 minute miles and ended with a 8:56 average overall. Not bad for being 2 weeks out from my 60k. My fastest mile was 8:36; I know I could get more of my miles faster if I just did some speedwork.
The half marathon course starts on the track at Sabino High School, which is near the Catalina mountains. Beautiful! The course is fairly flat with some gentle rolling hills-less than 1,000 feet elevation overall. It winds around local streets and residential areas and finishes back on the track. We received a long sleeve technical shirt at the finish line.

There were 8 aid stations in the 13.1 mile course. I didn't take any water along with that many aid stations.

And the music! There were all sorts of folks along the course playing musical intruments and singing. Bagpipes, guitars, banjos, violins. It was awesome.
I won a monster canister of Cytomax sports drink (I think it was a random raffle?)
And, we all got a mexican breakfast and Robek's smoothies afterwards.
What a great race. Big thanks to Steve Landau, the RD. I'll definitely do that race again.