Monday, December 26, 2011

Proposal Run 'Redux'

One year ago today, the day after Christmas, Dallas and I went on a 25 mile trail run. On that run, he asked me to marry him!

So, we decided to do the same run again to celebrate - Bear Canyon Loop and Sycamore trail. A friend of ours, Jim, just broke his hand in the creek in Bear Canyon - he slipped on a rock covered in ice. We've had below freezing overnight temps all week.

Therefore, we did the loop backwards, starting with Phoneline trail, to give the ice a chance to melt. We stopped in Sabino Basin - where he asked me to become his wife! He recreated the heart that he has always made when he goes through the basin.

Dallas - hopeless romantic

One lucky gal.

What a memory! Now, we are married a year later! I love being married to Dallas. It is everything I dreamed a marriage to be. :)
Sycamore Reservoir trail was a little hard as there is definitely some elevation gain/loss on this out and back. We also ran into some ice on the trail in various spots. We took Sycamore to Prison Camp and back, which adds on 7 miles.

It was fun doing the loop backwards from how we usually do it - we got a different view of Bear Canyon.

View of the switchbacks towards 7 Falls

At the end, instead of trying to navigate the 7 creek crossings by rock-hopping, we just waded through the water. One crossing was up to my thighs. It felt so good at the end of a warm run.

Total distance - 24.8 miles
Total elevation gain - 5,492 feet
Total time - 6:53

What a difference a year can make. I sadly lost my Mom suddenly in March and my beloved dog Cracker in May. Dallas and I married in May and became co-administrators for the Tucson Trail Runners, which we love so much. I was injured over the Summer with a ligament tear in my groin and didn't run for 4.5 months - it forced me to crosstrain and I completed my first 60 mile cycling race in November. I had struggles with work and with friends. I felt like giving up at times.

It was a year of joy and pain and I came through it all with renewed determination to keep on loving and keep on hoping. There really is no other choice.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

TTR Loma Alta/Quilter/Grass Shack

This was a new trail run for the Tucson Trail Runners; everyone who ran it today loved it. There were many variations; some ran shorter distances, and one person ran to Manning Camp (and encountered quite a bit of snow!) Dallas and I decided to run to Grass Shack Campground, via Loma Alta, Quilter and Manning Camp trails. Quilter trail is a newer section of the AZ trail that connects with the upper trails in the Rincons. Thank you Chase for coming up with this run!

1 spectacular sunrise...

21 miles of pretty runnable terrain. I got a lot of running in, which I really needed for my training.

Nice view of fog over the city.

3,796 feet of elevation gain. We did some climbing, that's for sure, but it didn't feel too hard.

Big kitty paw prints along the trail. Glad I was with Dallas!

Mike says mountain lions like pink...

1 fall with a bruised up knee.

Lots of large Saguaros in this area.

We crossed water several times. It had rained like crazy earlier in the week. It was supposed to rain the day before our run, but it didn't, and then the revised forecast indicated that we would be running in rain the whole time. Thankfully, that didn't happen either, and the rain held off until that afternoon when we were finished.

I was leading us on the way back down and I missed the turnoff to the Quilter trail (I was in a trail trance - dancing downhill on a rocky trail). We ended up running a bit towards the Madrona Ranger Station, which added on about a 1/2 mile. Dallas kept yelling at me until I stopped and turned around - he was a little behind me. We got back on track and it was all good. Finished in 5:05.

This run gave me the confidence I needed to continue my training for my two 50 mile races in the Spring. I got in a lot of running today - it is slow running, but running. Everything feels good. I am happy.

"I want you to be everything that is you, deep in the center of your being."

~ Confucius

Sunday, December 11, 2011

TTR Trail Work Day

The Tucson Trail Runners set aside one or two days a year for a Trail Work Day (TWD). As heavy users of trails, this is our opportunity to give back by putting in time to maintain or improve various trails surrounding the Tucson area.

Also, many of our members need to satisify trail work requirements in order to register for some 100 mile races.

For today's TWD, we worked out in the Rincon mountains, on a newly created AZ trail segment - the Quilter trail. This is a beautiful area.

We spotted a pretty unique multi-armed Saguaro cactus. Chris got this great shot.

About 11 TTRs showed up, as well as people from various other agencies. We broke into 3 groups, with each group hauling tools from the trailhead - pulaskis, McLeods, pickaxes and trimmers. Our group went the furthest, about 4 miles from the trailhead.

Chain Gang

We cleared brush, trimmed, built cairns, did some erosion control and a little trail grooming.

The Bohemoth Cairn!

I learned a lot! I primarily run on trails, and it was time to start understanding what went into creating and maintaining them.

Old Management-Ross-works while New Management stands around! :)

We were told that being trail runners gives us a great perspective on placing trail markers, etc.

We'll be running on these trails next week for the first time as a group, so it was exciting to get out there and check it out.

What a fun day. Giving back is so important! Just knowing that some of the things we did will be enjoyed by many people in the future makes me happy!

"The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."

~Nelson Henderson

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Snow and Douglas Springs

TTR had a run planned to Cowhead Saddle in the Rincon mountains (18 miles RT). A storm came in for several days prior and dropped a lot of snow onto the mountains surrounding Tucson. My plan was to go to the saddle if the conditions weren't dangerous.

Snow topped Catalina Mountains in the distance

About 3 miles up, snow started appearing in the desert. About 6 miles up, ice was evident on the trail and the snow became heavier. I elected to turn around at Douglas Springs, which is about 6.75 miles up (13.5 miles RT). I didn't want to fall and injure something else, so I felt that was a good decision. Other TTRs fell that day.

It was beautiful, though. On the way down, the fog moved into the mountains from the city and gave the trail an eery feel.

I felt slow and discouraged. It took me 3:22. My legs were very sore this day - calves and shins tight as could be. I had used the roller quite a bit the day before, so maybe that was it. Returning to running has been hard, in that my fitness level definitely dropped. I need to start running mid-week. I haven't been doing that, since I was doing the bigger hikes recently. Also, my sore shins last week gave me the idea I shouldn't run all week. Those are feeling better, so I need to slowly increase my mileage.

I've been doing a lot of runs/hikes that have elevation gain - today was about 2,000 feet of climbing. Douglas Springs is hard as it starts climbing right off the bat, so the legs don't have time to warm up. At any rate, I'm getting in quality exercise - I just need to work on the running base and eventually, picking up the pace.

It is just so good being out on the trail.