Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zane Grey training run

Dallas, Tom, Mike, Sarah, Chris and I started at the 260 TH, which is the 'end' of the Zane Grey 50 mile race (near Payson, AZ, which is NE of Tucson about 3.5 hours). We planned to run 17 miles to the Fish Hatchery TH - we had stashed a car there with aid - and run back for a total of 34 miles.

The sections we were running are from AS 33 to AS 44 (Fish Hatchery to See Canyon) to the finish of ZG (mile 50). Fish Hatchery to See Canyon is one of the most difficult sections in the race. Some really steep parts. I had already seen the first 33 miles 4 years ago, but I knew I needed to check out the rest of the race course to be mentally prepared for race day.

Dallas ran with me. I knew the other guys would be much faster than me, so we tentatively decided to stop on the way back at the See Canyon TH, cutting off 6 miles for a total of 28 miles. That is what we ended up doing. Mike, who finished the whole thing, came and got us, Chris and Tom. Sarah only went one way. I love run logistics!

There was a big snow storm the week before. We still had some snow on the ground in some places, but mostly MUD. Lots of it.

The creeks were flowing pretty good from melting snowfall, but we managed to get across them all safely. Cold water - good for the legs!

About 6 miles from the finish, my ankle started bothering me. This slowed us down quite a bit. We also got off trail 2 miles from the finish. We wandered around for about 10 minutes, backtracked and found the spot we got off. Otherwise, we had no trouble following the trail in these sections. Even with the ankle and the wandering, my attitude stayed good pretty much the whole time.

This really is a beautiful course. Magical to me - although someone I know called it masochistic. It is that, too!

An unbelievable amount of rocks and hills. It really is kind of ridiculous how many rocks are out there. This run took its toll on my ankles and lower legs. I've been doing the Stepmill at the gym, so my glutes didn't hurt me near as much on the hills. The rocks are brutal.

Hands on legs, head down - up, up, up.

Can't someone rake some of these off the trail? :)

Some downed trees, although not many. This course has a reputation of having many downed trees, most particularly in the burned section prior to AS 33. A lot of people have been doing trail maintenance on the course prior to the race each year - thank you!

We got to the out point - Fish Hatchery - in 4:55! Geesh. We resupplied and headed back to See Canyon. The last hour I was doing a lot of walking - because my ankle pain really flared up. I did something to it at Old Pueblo - well, nothing I can really remember, but it started hurting me there.

Much slower than I thought I would be. I'll need to pick it up a bit for race day. This race is one up and down after another. Can't even run a lot of the downs very fast - piles of rocks everywhere!

Total distance - 28 miles
Total time - 8:45
Total elevation gain: 4,843 feet (seems like it should be much, much more)

I'm just going to remember the good things about it...

Diagnosis this week from the sports medicine doctor for the ankle - anterior tibial tendonitis, caused by imbalances in the lower legs. Rx - lots of calf stretching and Nsaids.

Zane Grey 50 mile is on April 21st - I will try and continue to train through the tendonitis, but I'll have to see how it all plays out.

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