Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunset Loops Recon/TTR Sunset Loops Run

Dallas and I went up to Mt. Lemmon on Thursday to scout out the route that TTR was doing on Sunday. We did it 'backwards' from the route TTR does, which is:

Sunset trail ~ Aspen ~ Lemmon ~ WOR ~ Marshall Gulch ~ Sunset (figure 8).
It was pretty - we ran into a few log jams on the trail on Wilderness of Rocks. 'Hmmm...what do we do here?'  

Dallas is a good trail steward - can't find a cairn? Leave one when you figure out the route!

I love this picture of Dallas on Aspen:

I found a log 'seat' that one of the trail crews made when clearing Aspen:

Dallas was chatting with one of the trail workers on Sunset - these guys have done a phenomenal job clearing trails quickly on Mt. Lemmon. Thank you immensely!!!!

Total time: 5:33
Distance: 16.6 miles
I had 4 injuries on this outing:
1. Tripped and almost fell, but jammed my leg up into my already sore SI joint. Ouch.
2. Whammed the TOP of my left foot on a rock - big bruise, very sore.
3.  Whacked my knee into a tree knob when I was going over a downed tree.
4. Scraped up the back of my leg pretty good trying to go over a downed tree. Man, that smarted.

Jeesh! I was hoping I was going to be okay to run it again on Sunday!

So, that was Thursday. I had a few days off of work to take care of various things. Friday, my divorce was final. Kenny and I are friends - I am so glad I didn't have the battleground that some people experience during this type of thing. I have God to thank for that. I left the courthouse (we didn't do lawyers, no need for that mess) feeling content, not sad, all grown up - it was a weird feeling. It just was. I don't have any regret - I've dealt with it all. I have a lot of hope for my future. Okay, back to the running...

Friday night, Dallas and I did another Sabino Canyon moonlight run - 7.4 miles on the road. Moon didn't come out until the very end. We did see a pretty big snake.
I don't worry about snakes too much - falling on the trail, now that is something I worry about!

On Sunday, Dallas and I headed up Mt. Lemmon to do Sunset Loops again! Only 5 of us and Ken, the run director, showed up, which was unusual.
Ken was doing the route, too:

John, Ken, Dallas and I were doing the full route and Kim and Constantino were doing the 10 mile option. John was running pretty fast, and so Dallas stayed back with me the whole time! Lots of running with Dallas this week!

Ken was behind us. He had taken quite a spill in the creek near Sunset and decided to shorten the route.

Aspen scenes:

On Lemmon:

I could run behind this guy until the cows come home... :)
At the WOR/Lemmon junction:

On Wilderness of Rocks:


We ran into a customer of Dallas' on Marshall Gulch and they took our picture.

Total time: 5:00
Distance: 16.6 miles

We were quicker this time! I think the faster route is the TTR 'official' route.
Injury report:
This time, right after Ken fell in the creek, I slipped on a rock and jammed my shin and big toe into another rock, and then I tripped and almost fell and jammed my leg up into my SI joint again. Ouch to the 10th power. My SI joint has been bothering me for some time now - this was just adding insult to injury.

So, I'm taking a few days off of running this week to rest up. I ran 51 miles this week and 51 miles last week, much of it at elevation and lots of climbing (SCA and two Sunset Loops). I've got the MMD 5k on Saturday and in two weeks, the Flagstaff 50k and Mt. Humphreys summit.

'How many roads did I travel before I walked down the one that led me to You? How many dreams did unravel before I believed in a hope that was true?'

~ Nicole Nordeman

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Santa Catalina Ascent Redux

Well, since Mark didn't make it to the top on the first Santa Catalina Ascent 3 weeks ago, and I didn't do the 'official' route (I skipped Butterfly and Aspen Draw trails due to route finding and snow), I decided we needed to do it again!!! Mark was working on doing the 4 summits around Tucson - Wrightson, Mica, Wasson, Lemmon - all in about a month or two span of time.

Today, the day started with smiles and ended with smiles. Dallas and I as dawn is breaking at 5am:

Here I am with Mark on the tram road:
At first, I blamed Dallas for starting this whole crazy idea, but then I remembered it was me! This is what I said in an email to Dallas:

'He (Mark) wants to try it again - got a free weekend that you'd like to try it again?'

Of course, being the crazy trail runner he is, he said yes.
And it was on.

Dallas coordinated the effort (Ross called him the 'run instigator') and by the time 3 weeks had passed, there were 7 of us 'Redemptionists' (another 'Ross word') that started. All 7 of us finished!!! Woohoo! It was a successful day.

Official route: Sabino Canyon tram road ~ Sabino Canyon trail ~ East Fork ~ Palisades ~ Bigelow ~ Butterfly ~ Sunset ~ Marshall Gulch ~ Aspen ~ Aspen Draw. Ends at the ski lift parking lot.

Distance: 26.5 miles
Cumulative elevation gain: my Garmin gives some ridiculous readings - it is about 10,000 feet of climbing. Jeesh!
Time: 8:25
Last year's time: 8:51
I was happy with the improvement!!! And, this year, there was some additional tree hopping that we didn't have to do last year.

We were going to stay together as a group, but Raoul and Mike (his first TTR run!) eventually went on ahead.

The fun started early - the 'helmet' story came up again - hysterical!!!!
Here we are waiting for Tonja and Stella at the connector trail. Mike has a 'no face' Facebook policy, so I figured I wouldn't show his face! He is in the red:

After the SC tram road, I led us for a while, but elected to drop to the back of the train - too many fast ones in the group!
Tonja and Stella eventually pulled away, and Dallas, Mark and I ran together for most of it. 
Dallas pointing to the old telephone wire on Palisades:
I'm short and avoided it, but everyone else usually 'clocks' themselves on it!!

Dallas and I on Palisades trail having a grand time:
Ross was our roving aid station, but we coordinated the food with him ahead of time. He was at Palisades TH (about 14.5 miles in) and Butterfly TH (about 20.5 miles in). We couldn't have done it without him. Thank you Ross!!! Here is the fearless leader himself on the right with Mark:

At the first aid station near Palisades (Ross said 'Act like you like each other', so we did!):

Some scenes from Butterfly trail:

I conquered Butterfly (or otherwise known as 'The 'Redemption' for me!):
We took a little break at the Butterfly aid station and munched down the delicious turkey wraps that Dallas made! Yum!!!
We didn't have to contend with the downed trees like last time either - trail crews had cleared Marshall Gulch and Aspen trails. It was wonderful. There were still a few on Sunset trail. Mark ended up on his rear end pulling this fancy acrobatic maneuver:

I, on the other hand, was much more graceful... :)
The weather was better than last time - not as cold.

However, by the time we reached Aspen trail (towards the end of the run), the wind was in a full roar - 50-60 mph. Not gusts, just constant wind. I almost fell over a few times.  Last time, the wind was pretty bad from early on in the run and was cold. Mark commented that it sounded like helicopters above us. It was loud! However, I've never had so much fun on Aspen! I love this picture of Dallas laughing.
We were cracking up laughing at the funniest things - Mark was really cutting up at this point (although he did have one of those Aspen trail 'moments' - no, he's not laughing here, he's doubled over from the steepness of Aspen!)

Mark and I climbing on Aspen:
Aspen Draw had some snow, but not like last time. I was able to successfully navigate this trail and complete the official route! Victory!
Here I am at the finish:

On Radio Ridge, before dropping down Aspen Draw, I parted with Dallas and Mark. Dallas went with Mark up to the top of Mt. Lemmon (Steward Observatory) so Mark could officially claim his summit. This added on about a mile onto their run.

They came in beaming.
Mark said it was one of the happiest days of his life - he had fulfilled a long time dream of his. We were so happy to be a part of it! It was a magical day on the mountain.

"Happiness only real when shared."
~Christopher McCandless

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Multiple Mt. Wrightson Massacre

Each year, TTR does a 'Multiple Mt. Wrightson Massacre', which is basically a challenge to summit Mt. Wrightson as many times as one can between dawn and dusk.
The record is 5, set by a guy named Wally; this year, Chase endeavored to beat that and do 6! Others were attempting 1 to 4 summits.

I decided to do it twice. I have only gone up Mt. Wrightson one other time (it was my first TTR run!) The elevation starts at 5,420 feet and Mt. Wrightson is at 9,453 feet. About 4,000 feet elevation gain per trip. Each round trip is about 10.8 miles.

Dallas and I headed up together a little earlier than the start time since we had a party to be to later on that evening (a no alcohol party, of course!) Chase, Steve, Bruce, Tonja and Stella headed up even earlier than us, as they were looking at a long day ahead of them.
Here we are at the start:
Dallas and I did the first ascent together and then we were on our own. Not far up the mountain, we ran into Chase on his first descent from the summit:

On the way up, we stopped and chatted with everyone else coming down. This was going to be a social event for sure! Here is Dallas meeting Kandi (she took me on Esperero for the first time last summer).

I love running with Dallas.
Dallas and I on the first summit. That's Mt. Hopkins on the left, which is another run we do in September.
Took about 2 hours to get to the top. Dallas went off on his own after that. I headed down behind him but slowed down quite a bit.
As I came down, I really started running into lots of TTR members, which slowed progress at times, but was so much fun!!!! Me and Mari - this was her first TTR run! She was so cute!
Mari also took my picture. I'm posing in the latest trail couture - my Moeben tie dye skirt! :)
I said this to Dallas in an email recently:
"I love to have fun and be kooky. I can be quite silly at times." To this, he replied, "Yes you can...Uh Lawt!" 
I ran into Dallas and he got a picture of me taking a picture of him!

I saw Patricia at the trailhead before heading back up the second time. She wins the award for the 'meatiest looking scrape from a fall on the trail'!!! Ouch!!!!

My second summit - I met Susanna, a really nice gal who was not with our group.
She heard what we were doing and decided to do a second summit of the day, too! Hopefully, she'll join us on future runs!
Many TTR's did one RT, Dallas and a few others did two round trips, some did three, Tonja did 4 (woman's record!!!! you rock!) and Chase did 4.5. He did not hit his goal of 6, but he really looked strong out there. He was the one who rallied all of us to get out there that day and do as many as we could! He always had a smile, either coming or going.
I ended up with  two summits and 22 miles even (I didn't stop my watch between my two summits when I made the trip to the bathroom at the trailhead). I took a 15 minute break at the trailhead between trips. My first round trip was 3:35.
I called it good - maybe next year I'll do three?
Total time: 7 hours and 45 minutes
All done and feeling great! I was really feeling good the last several miles downhill.
Pizza at the end! All sorts of food!
Raoul rocks as an RD! He even had a microwave out there at the trailhead - he made bean and cheese burritos. Eegees, watermelon, cantaloupe, all sorts of stuff.

What a great day! It got a little hot, but at least the trail is shady on certain sections. It is very pretty on the mountain. Thank you God for another beautiful day in your world with your beautiful people. It was one of those days where I felt wrapped in love and grace and I was filled with so much joy and hope.

I ran 44 miles for the week (well, okay, some were definitely 'hiked' miles). :)

'your love is a symphony
all around me
running through me
your love is a melody
underneath me
running to me
your love is a song...'
~ Switchfoot