Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Bear Canyon!!!

My first go at being a Run Director for TTR. I've been in the group for 2 years and thankfully, have been reliable enough that Ross and Gene asked me to take a run.

Being a Run Director for TTR is fairly simple:
1. Send out a group post during the week to remind the group about the upcoming run
2. TTR members RSVP to the run to let you know they are attending
3. Bring snacks and drinks for runners to have after the run
4. Bring sign up sheets - need emergency contact info, etc.
5. Bring maps of the trails being used

Well, usually our runs are fairly small, but I had almost 50 people RSVP!! I ended up making a lot of cookies and turkey wraps (yes, Dallas helped me - and he made banana bread!) and buying lots of soda, chips and snacks.

Since it was Halloween, I urged people to dress up! So, I just pulled a few things together and so did Dallas:

Dallas sent our picture in to the guy who makes the 'Run or Die' shirts we are wearing and we got our picture put on the Team Ink 'n Burn website! Very cool.

I think Mari dressed up like me with all the pink. :) Too cute.

All in all, 49 people signed in for the run. It was crazy! I barely had time to give a quick trail briefing.

Joe the Jester to the left...
...and everyone was off into the sun about 7am, most to do the 17 mile loop that me and Shari did the day before.

Nice hair D.
 After everyone left, I ran an out and back on Bear Canyon trail for an hour. Then, it was time to get back and set up the food and drinks.

I think the Pink hair added a little pep in my step!
Runners started coming in shortly after that from shorter trips to 7 Falls and Phoneline trails, and then Doug arrived from Bear Canyon loop first at 2:28!! The runners just kept coming. I was checking runners in, writing down times and chatting up a storm!

Anyone who knows me knows that I ♥ LOVE ♥  to talk.
 I had some bumper stickers created from something Gene had said several times over the Summer:

I credited Gene with a tagline on the sticker. Unfortunately, although Gene has run Bear Canyon Loop 474 times, he was unable to be at the run as he was out of town! I handed the stickers out to everyone as they finished the run; I hope everyone liked them. I sure do love TTR. My sticker is on the back of my new Subaru Outback!

Dallas came in from the loop wearing his costume! He only wore it for the last little bit of the loop - I think he scared some ladies on the tram road...

Yeah, I'd be scared, too.
I think I had a pretty good spread of food and drink for everyone.
Good job Steve. Always good to position yourself next to the food. :)
My friends Steve and Boone signed up for the OP 50 mile race in the Spring! I think Steve caught the 'ultra' bug during the Summer running with TTR. He and Boone are strong runners and will do great! I'm so excited!!

All in all, it was a success! No runners really got lost, only some minor flesh wounds, and everyone was accounted for. I was there from 6:30am until about 2pm. The last runners came in and helped me clean up and pack everything into the car. I didn't run very long today, but I was tired! 

I love being of service, though. I cannot continue to take without giving back if I expect to live long and happy in this world. What a great feeling I had after this weekend!

The only thing missing guessed it. Gene.
Gene, I hope you enjoy your next trip on Bear Canyon - #475. :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bear Canyon Loop....

....with my wonderful friend Shari!!
Damn girl, looking good!
Shari had never done this trail loop before and I wanted to check out the condition of the trails. Being the run director for this loop for TTR the next day, I wanted to make sure I alerted everyone if I saw anything strange or dangerous or whatever.

It is beautiful.

This loop is through Bear Canyon past 7 Falls on Bear Canyon trail out of Sabino Canyon Recreational Area. Bear Canyon trail hooks up with East Fork trail, which connects to Sabino Canyon trail. We took the tram road back. About 17 miles total. Thank you Shari for running with me! We took our time and took in the sights along the way.
And right when we got to the basin (at the intersection of East Fork and Sabino Canyon trails), look what I found!

A love note from Dallas! He left it when he ran the loop on Thursday. ;)
That made me happy! Thank you Dallas!

What a great run. Didn't see anything unusual - lots of cairns for questionable spots (Dallas made a few) and some of the best views around. I love being on the trail with my friend Shari. :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sweeping the Javelina course

Dallas and I headed up to Phoenix to help out at the Javelina Jundred, a 100 mile race held on the Pemberton trail. It is a 15.4 mile trail loop - so runners do 6 full laps and a shorter lap on a different trail. People dress up for this race in costumes, because it is near Halloween every year (they call it the 100 mile Jalloween party). For those of you non-Westerners, the 'J' is pronounced like an 'H'.

We volunteered to sweep the course, which means we'd be picking up trash and pulling the ribbons and signs that were marking the course.

We arrived around 8:30am, which meant that plenty of runners were already in (they started the day before at 6am). However, we were there in time to see our friends Mark and Wayne cross the finish line! We then got our free long sleeve race shirts from Jamil for volunteering - they were super nice tech North Face shirts and were awesome!

Then, I got to meet Catra, aka the 'Dirt Diva'.
I've read her blog for about 4 years - she was what motivated me to start trail running! Plus, I love her sense of fashion - all about the pink!! :)

We ate a little food and got started on the loop in a counter-clockwise fashion a little after 9am. We would see no runners as the race ended at noon, and some were starting their last short loop from the opposite direction. We carried small drawstring bags to drop trash/flagging in.

Dallas and I had so much fun!
Will sweep for free shirt
What a ham.
I've never been on the Pemberton trail when it was this quiet! The only people we saw were on mountain bikes - all the runners were in. It was very peaceful. We had to stop pretty often to pick up small pieces of trash (there wasn't much, just very small wrappers/gel tops runners accidentally dropped) and pull the ribbon flagging, but we really enjoyed being of service and being out on the trail.

We did have a tough time getting flagging off of the local fauna. One of the people who flagged the course tied quite a few of them around cactus!! Our hands were pretty torn up after it all. Jamil promised that he would talk to the flaggers next year about that!

We got back after about 4 hours and they were breaking down the tents and going home. We had parked a little over a mile from the start/finish line (where runners were shuttled to/from), so we headed back on foot to the vehicle and got cleaned up before our 2+ hour drive back to Tucson. The total distance was about 18 miles.

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mt. Lemmon Marathon Race Report

Total Time: 5:18!!! I was shooting for a 5:30 finish time. I had done 6:21 on my first training run up the mountain and 5:58 on the second. I was thrilled with my finish time.

I came in:
1. 6th in my age group (40-44) out of 20
2. 27th out of 115 women
2. 157th out of 394 overall

Dallas and I got up super early in the dark and headed to catch the buses to the start. I got to meet Jamie, a fellow blogger, which was cool! She was volunteering at the bus pickup. Nice to meet you Jamie!

Dallas' plan was to run the whole race with me!!! I was excited about that. Here we are at the start, looking pretty sleepy!
We ran into a lot of our TTR friends at the start and even saw a bunch of trail running friends from Phoenix!
Boone Ebel from Phoenix - he's a fast one!
 The race commenced at 6am, and we were off!
Can you believe I got to run with this gorgeous man for 26.2 miles?!?
I was having fun, although it was becoming apparent that my low back pain/referred leg pain was going to give me problems during the race. I just tried to ignore it and enjoy the beautiful views!  I was in a significant amount of pain during this race, though. A lot of this stuff really is mind over matter. My friend Kathleen in CO signs her email with this quote:

"When life gives you lemons, throw them back and demand chocolate!"

Very quickly we hooked up with Chris, a recent return to TTR after a hiatus. We ran with him until about mile 20. He was a talker, which was fun.

This is my favorite part of the course - right after Windy Point
It was awesome running with Dallas, my best friend! ;)

Ahhh....some downhill!
This race has about 6,000 feet elevation gain, but there are some downhill sections here and there. Right before the last drop into Summerhaven, the end of the race, we have to head uphill for almost a mile! That was hard - I had to walk a lot of that portion. But, we got to see some friends heading down - one, my friend Steve, who did spectacular.

Dallas and I crossed the finish line together! The photographer got pics of us crossing - however, I just ordered the pictures, so I'll add more to the blog when they come in.

Wow - what a day! We got a silly t-shirt, and a homemade medal, which was neat.

Congrats to all of the TTR and Phoenix finishers!

The downside of this race - someone messed up and the busses stopped running. So...we were stuck at the top of the mountain for quite some time after we finished. Luckily, our friend Ross had stashed his car up top and we got a ride down!

The upside - the race organizers handled the traffic well. One lane was closed down for runners and the other lane was managed using a pilot car. There was very little traffic overall, and I felt safe during the race.

This was one of the most beautiful races I've ever done. You just can't beat those views.

Pinkcorker - 3!!
Catalina Highway - 0

Sunday, October 3, 2010

TTR Mt. Hopkins run - for the record

This run wasn't notable at all for me. I was still pretty wiped out from last week's 12 hour night run, and my legs felt like concrete blocks. I was fairly disappointed with my time. 3 minutes slower than last year. But, I wanted to get it down for the record. I like looking back at my times and this is the best way to do that. I do keep a mileage log, but that is mainly to track mileage on my shoes - no records of time or type of run it was.

Total time: 4:57

It is about 4,500 feet of elevation gain. 12 miles up and 12 miles down. About 2/3 is dirt road and 1/3 paved road. The views are great.

Dallas, however, smoked the course in 3:56. Dallas just ran his longest run ever the week before! Here I am catching him as I am going up and he is going down.
Very cool adventure duo! (That's what Darrel said about the pic!)
Nice view of Mt. Wrightson from the top. Boy, did we see the top of that mountain a lot this summer.

I was one of the last ones in - everyone was so fast today! I shouldn't get down on myself about the run, because of the 47 mile run I did the week before. However, I just see other runners and how strong they are and I want to be better. So, I'll work on hills over the winter and see what I am really capable of. I just have to remember this:
"The real contest is always between what you've done and what you're capable of doing. You measure yourself against yourself and nobody else."
~ Geoffrey Gaberino