Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring Cross Country Classic 5k

I PR'd!!!! That means 'Personal Record' for all of you non-runners. Fastest time on a 5k yet.
I have only done a few 5k's - I'm definitely not a fast runner. And, my focus has been on slow, long runs, not fast, short ones! But, there were no TTR runs this weekend, so I figured why not? Plus, it is a no-frills $7 race (t-shirt grab bag, potluck). Couldn't pass it up. I'm taking it easy this week after 3 weeks of going at it and next week's big TTR event...
Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 25:00:22 (8:06 min/mile)
I placed 2nd in my age group (40-44)! Woohoo! I got a ribbon and 3 packs of Shot Blox, which pretty much paid for my entry!

I came in 22nd out of 108 women finishers (20th percentile). Yay for Renee!

This is a nice course at Lincoln Park, mostly dirt and sand, hilly, with the mountains and desert as a backdrop. It was a blast. Neat race - the guys have their race 1st at 7:30 and the gals start their race at 8:15. So, I spectated the guys race first, watching for all of my friends. My friend Steve rounding one of the last corners with the mountains in view:
I started out a bit fast and was pretty swept up in the excitement:

mile 1: 7:54
mile 2: 8:14
mile 3: 8:16

I slowed it down a bit after the 1st mile - I knew I couldn't keep that pace up!
I'm the pink shirt in the middle waving and smiling to my friends cheering me on:

I was hoping to break 25 minutes, and I was pretty close.
Got to hang out with some friends afterwards and watch the egg toss, which is a hoot.
Wayne, a very good long-time friend (1st in his age group! He is super fast and hasn't even been training):

Steve, who has made more than a few appearances on my blog over the years (good to see you, my friend, as always):
Some of the 'Slow Old Goats', Steve, Boone, and Joe (who runs with TTR a lot). Trust me, there is nothing slow about this crew of guys. They are a force to be reckoned with... :)
I also saw my friend Joel from TTR - he was not running, but is on the injured list. :(
I was a little tired after my effort today. I actually went home and took nap for over 2 hours!!

Life. Jeesh. Who knew it would look like it does today. One year ago, I was in so much emotional pain!! Fixing what was wrong with me on the inside had to happen first, and then I was able to take the actions that were necessary for me to move on with my life. Thank you God for your help with all of it. I couldn't have done it alone. I needed your power and love.
Spending time with friends today, I realized just how lucky I am. I am surrounded by so much love in my life!

'Took a chance looked inside
Didn't know who I'd find
Standing on the corner of hello and goodbye
All alone it's there I made up my mind
I'm one step closer
With my arms open wide...'
~ Bon Jovi

Sunday, April 18, 2010

TTR AZ Trail 50ish K

This was a Tucson Trail Runner group run on an out and back section of the Arizona Trail down near Patagonia, AZ, about 1.5 hours Southeast of Tucson. Dallas and I traveled down together, leaving Tucson at 5am! The run started at 7am, but we weren't sure how long it would take us to get there - Highway 83 is under construction. We made it there before 6:30 and got to chat with other TTR members before the run started. Yeah, Dallas and I are hanging out a lot these days! He is UH LAWT of fun.

Me and Patricia (good thing one of us is smiling - what's up with my 'if looks could kill' look?):

Dallas and Darrel (I love watching people laugh):
And, off we go onto the Arizona Trail (Jerry on the left and Dallas on the right):
Distance: 28.38 miles (I added on a few tenths by missing a turnoff)
Total time: 6:34
Total cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 5,283/(5,268) feet.
A bunch of pretty good climbs, but lots and lots of small rolling hills. I think those hills are going to cost me my baby toenail. We'll see. It is super sore.

There were 8 of us that did part or all of the run - me, Dallas, Jerry, Doug, Darrel, Ken, Patricia, Wayne and Ross. Wayne and Patricia were the run directors, and thankfully, Wayne ran ahead of us and flagged questionable spots with orange tape. Last year, a lot of the runners got really lost. He did a really good job.

Doug, Jerry and Dallas tackling one of the hills - some of the views on this run were incredible... :)
We were blessed with cloud cover most of the day, although the temperature was supposed to be around 86 degrees. Fooled me - I didn't wear much sunscreen and I got burned!
Some red dirt/rock on parts of the run, which were cool.
My legs felt dead from all of the running I've been doing. But I perservered and kept going! 

We ran into Ross (our fearless leader) at some point - he was headed in the opposite direction, only doing one way. We were happy to see him!

He got a picture of me taking a picture of him. I love the dueling camera fun!
Jerry and Dallas hung with me for about 10 or so miles until they finally pulled away (shortly after Doug caught up to us - he started a little late).
I finally made it to the aid station (the out point), which was about 14 miles.

Thanks Wayne and Patricia! I chatted with everyone for a few minutes, refilled my water and headed back onto the trail. The sign says 14.5 miles, but it is about 14.
Lots of wildflowers out there today:

I ran out of water the last 4 miles. It was really getting hot out there and I was slurping it down. Time to start carrying a handheld along with my hydration pack. Thankful to my iPod - I put on Nickelback and just tuned out the negative thoughts. It was more psychological than anything else - I was pretty hydrated at that point. But, it did slow me down quite a bit. At least someone (nobody in our group fessed up to it) left a small bouquet of flowers in one of the gates, which made me feel good!
I finally arrived back at the starting point and was greeted by everyone (I look pretty happy to be back!)
I drank some water and had a few snacks and was all better...big thanks to Wayne and Patricia for setting up the aid for the race!
Dallas and I went for hamburgers back in Tucson - Ft. Lowell Depot. Yum! Big, messy burgers with sweet potato french fries. Made the run all worth it! :)
Ran 49 miles for the week. Need to rest up - Santa Catalina Ascent is in 2 weeks - with over 26 miles and about 10,000 feet elevation gain, it is a tough one. I tell ya, TTR is really making me a stronger runner!

'Music fills the infinite between two souls.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Copper Basin 50k 'Fun Run'

This 'fun run' was put on by Aravaipa Running and held up in Prescott, AZ (about 3.5 hours Northwest of Tucson). Jamil and Nick Coury of AR were the only aid for this course. These guys are just awesome - not only are they super fast runners, but they are very nice
This was a supported (with aid stations) no-fee run in the Thumb Butte area.
The run had 3 options: 50k, 36k, and 19k. It consisted of 2 different 'out and backs' on the presently unfinished Prescott Circle trail. Eventually, in several years, this might be a 50 mile race! That would be cool.
I drove up on Friday night and stayed with my friend Christina and her niece Cat. Here we all are at the start of the run:
Distance: 32.81 miles (got off course - more on that later)
Total time: 7:07
I was 7th out of 20 finishing the 50k (although many of us did more than 31 miles - some doing up to 34 miles.) I probably would have placed later had others who were faster not gone off course so far. But, navigation is part of any trail run - I'll take the results! I was happy with my total finish time.
Total cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 6,172/(6,212) feet. Only a couple of fairly decent climbs, but lots and lots and lots of rollers...
At the first aid station (around 6 miles):
I fell two minutes into the run! Right over some rocky stuff - just bruised my knee and a few nicks on my hand. But...on the way back (the first out and back), I fell in exactly the same spot. This time, I did myself in, scraping both knees and both hands up pretty good. I was right near the aid station though, so I used some paper towels and water and mopped up the blood and got the grit out of the wounds. Yeeeouch!!
I dropped my long sleeve shirt, sleeves and gloves and donned the tank top for the rest of the run. After a 5 minute 'get myself together' break, I was off again for the second out and back. The first out and back was a little over 12 miles. It was a really pretty section of forest.
I got off course on the next section. Apparently, someone moved ribbons on the course (some rogue hikers?!?) I actually took a left on the course where I saw some ribbons and ended up wandering around on some lightly traveled forest trails. After a half a mile or so of that, I concluded that I was lost. No people, no ribbons, super sketchy trail. I managed to find my way back to the place I got off course and saw runners. A little while later, I ran into about 10 others who got lost on another spot! The course was very well marked. But, sometimes these things happen...
Beautiful forest trails! The mountain views were just lovely. I loved this area!

There were 5 aid stations. On the first out and back, which was about 6 miles out, there was an aid station with a bunch of water set up, but it was unmanned. The second aid was back at the start - Nick Coury manned this one, and there were tons of goodies! The third aid station was a full one as well, with sports drink and food. It was at about mile 18, which was manned by Jamil Coury. The fourth aid station was at the second 'out' point, which was unmanned and had only water. I was slurping up the water out there - it was getting hot! I got to see Jamil again when I headed back -  he was also the 5th aid station.
He had fig newtons; my second favorite aid station food (behind boiled potatoes and salt!) I ate 4 of them, refilled with water and was on my way!

I ran the last 4 miles with a gal named Shawna. She was excellent company. It was tough at the end; we were ready to be done! My friend Christina was there with a lot of others when I came in, and they were all cheering us on!
I got to see a few folks before and during the run that I had met at Cave Creek and OP 50 - Stephanie, Donovan and Jeff. Feels like I'm part of one huge ultrarunning family...
I had some chicken soup, a tortilla, some chocolate, and I was on my way back to my home in Tucson.

Great run, great scenery.
I love doing different runs! Totally worth the drive. Big thanks to Jamil and Nick - the aid stations were totally stocked, you guys were so friendly and it was a great course. I'll be going up to Flagstaff on June 12th for another Aravaipa Running 50k 'fun run'. Should be awesome! I think there are still a few spots open...
Got to see some pink flowered trees up there, too. Awesome!!! You know I liked that. :)
'In your reflection are you sure that you see
The person that you've always wanted to be...'
 ~ The Outfield

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Change of the seasons - morning running again!

It is just about that time of year - I've started running in the morning to beat the heat. The heat is already here...
I'll miss my old running route - since I've moved, I'll have to figure out my new morning routine. I now live in the center of Tucson and I'm a little farther from dirt than I used to be. So, instead of running from the house, I'll just be driving up to the Rillito wash.
It is nice to see the sun come up...
This week, I ran two mid-week morning runs of 6.84 miles and 6.74 miles, keeping the average pace at 8:50 and 8:56, respectively. Not bad considering I just did Esperero Canyon loop on Sunday and all of that other running last week. My quads were super sore from Esperero and these two runs didn't seem to work out the soreness a whole lot - but it felt good to be running....

"Self-destructive is doing something to hurt yourself. It is doing permanent damage to yourself. I have done neither. As for being obsessive, I am. I love to run."

~ John Barltrop

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Esperero Canyon Loop trail run

This was my second running of this. Dallas, my friend from TTR (my trail running group), offered to take me on this very difficult, steep trail loop, which starts in Sabino Canyon.
TTR had done this run recently, but I was unable to do it with them that day. After running so much this week, I was leary of my ability to handle this set of trails with one of the fastest members of TTR. I think some people call him the 'hotshot'...  :)
But, I finished and under the 6 hour window of time I had hoped to get!
Here's the scoop:

Total time: 5:55
The first time I did it with my friend Kandi was last June - it took us 7 hours and 15 minutes. So, I was proud of the improved pace! Dallas is a much faster than me - he has done this loop in 4 hours and 45 minutes!

Total distance: 21.2 miles

Total cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 6,598/(6,612) feet (Wayne Coates' site reports it at 5,579 feet gain - likely a little more accurate - hand held GPS units are more accurate than the Garmin 'watch' type).
Highest elevation: 6,894 feet

Trails - Esperero to Cathedral Rock to West Fork to Sabino Canyon trail. Return on Sabino Canyon tram road.

View of the twin spires:
I had a mini-meltdown on the very steep, rocky portion of the run - the first 8 miles of the loop contain most of the elevation gain, and it is steep. I was feeling the effects of running the 5k yesterday, Phoneline on Friday and the tram road on Tuesday. Every muscle in my legs was screaming. I did a little shouting and some minor cursing (minor...) and got through it! Dallas was very patient and just let me slog along and did not give me a hard time.

Reminds me of that quote: "You hear about how runnin' ultras is all mental; well, I sure wish it would hurry up and get mental, cause it's feelin' awfully physical right now."
~ Ken Loveless

I love that! I was so glad to get to the top and start heading down. I was in front of Dallas on some of the downhills, but otherwise, I let him lead because I was slower.
Lots of water out there from the melting snow. A little bit of snow is still up there on the North facing slope:

We saw a beautiful waterfall with a rainbow! Rainbows are so wonderful! The last time I can remember seeing one was at the Reddington 50k after Thanksgiving. I had just moved out into my own place and it was one of the saddest times in my life. That rainbow gave me so much joy and hope that day! A little more than 4 months later, I am feeling like a strong woman, capable of overcoming so much more than I ever thought!
Here we are surveying and crossing Hutch's Pools (about 2/3 the way through the loop)...
The water was fairly deep in spots, so we had to pick our crossing carefully. It was so freezing cold that I actually had to take a few minutes to rest on a warm rock to thaw out! Cold snowmelt water. Brrr! The rocks in the water were slick.

Taking a break at Sabino Basin before heading back:
Lots of wildflowers along the way.
I ran out of water about 6 miles from being done (I only had 2 liters). It got really hot out there! It was 84 degrees at the finish. Luckily, Dallas was not drinking as much, so he shared some of his water with me. Every 10 minutes he would remind me - time to drink!

What a great trail run. We had fun - we told stories and I tortured Dallas for a while singing songs from the Outfield. Thank you Dallas!

I ran 44 miles for the week - 3 of the runs were trails/hills.

"Dear God...I still don't understand you and how you really are in control of things down here, but I know you're up there ~ I feel your presence in places I like to go to. I hope you don't mind if that's where I like to go to feel your presence ~ I don't feel it anywhere else actually..."
~ An awesome friend

So true. I mostly feel the presence of God out there in the great outdoors. I should - I believe he created it all!