Sunday, November 27, 2011

Esperero and AZ Trail runs

Dallas and I ran/hiked Esperero Canyon on Thanksgiving. I elected to leave my camera at home, which I am sorry about, as Fall was in full swing on this run. Lots of golden/reddish leaves the whole way.

This is a 21 mile distance with an accumulated elevation gain of about 5,500 feet. It tops out at the 8 mile mark on Cathedral Rock trail at just under 7,000 feet, and is mostly downhill after that. So, most of the climbing is in this 8 mile section. It is steep going up and steep going down.

I said to Dallas on the steep downhill (which is loaded with loose scree), "This trail is dangerous and I'm never doing it again!" He just laughed. Esperero will make me swear. The runnable trails of West Fork and Sabino Canyon are a nice enough reward that you forget all about the pain by the time you return. We finished in 6:40, just in time to get showered and find our way to a friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner!

However, my quads were sore for about 5 days afterwards. I was favoring one leg in the 'braking' going downhill. One good slide coming down from topout could have you going off the edge, and I wanted to make sure that didn't happen!

Even with sore quads, we went out for the TTR run just 3 days later. It was an out and back 50k, but we were only going to do one way - 15 miles.

We got a ride with Harry to the 'out' point aid station and ran back to the start. We were happy about this, as it was freezing and the wind was really howling at the start - our original plan was to run out to Harry and get a ride back. When we started at the 'out' point, there was no wind and things warmed up nicely.

Much of this run is on the AZ Trail, which also happens to be part of the Old Pueblo 50 mile course. It is a little hilly - about 2,000 feet of elevation gain one way. It passes through Kentucky camp, the start of Old Pueblo.

It is a combo of nice single track trail and dirt roads. That's one of the reasons I like Old Pueblo - it has a little bit of everything and is very runnable.

Big 'D' - all recovered from his 100 miler

We were able to see all of our fellow runners coming towards us, which was great!

Took us about 3:40 - I did a considerable amount of hiking as the legs were still sore from Esperero. I'm still getting my running legs back - I can get a little tired running up hills, so I tend to hike all of the hills at this point.

Not bad - 3 separate run/hikes in 8 days. 18, 21 and 15 miles, with about 10,000 feet of elevation gain total. This was all right after El Tour, where I cycled 63 miles! My fitness is pretty good, the injury has healed and as Gene said, "You are back!"

I've been warned, though, to take it easy. I did overdo the mileage a bit, and although a lot of it was hiking, my shin was a little sore. I'll rest a bit the next week. I don't need another injury to sideline me.

I'm signing up for Pemberton 50k. It is very runnable, and getting in 31 running miles 3 weeks before Old Pueblo 50 miler would be perfect!

I'm back! It was a long road, but I had a lot of people supporting me and I was patient and persevered. I learned I had more in me than I thought. If I am willing, I can learn so much from the things in life which at first appear to insurmountable.

"Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path and you will find you have crossed the mountain." 

~Author Unknown

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