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!


HappyTrails said...

Sounds like a wonderful day - great job on cutting so much time off of your previous try at the route! Beautiful photos - looks like you've got lots of water - did you mind running with water logged shoes and socks??? Hope you have a fantastic week!

Renee said...

Nah - I'm used to running in wet feet! Toe socks are the best when it comes to wet feet....