Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bear Canyon Loop with Colorado Julie!

I've known Julie for over 4 years now. I met her in the Summer of 2008 when she was down from Colorado to stay in Tucson for 6 months with her children and husband (who was on a sabbatical). She had found my running blog and we hooked up for some trail runs.

I broke my wrist pretty badly that Fall and barely recovered in time to run with her one last time before she left Tucson. We stayed in touch and when she comes to visit her parents we try to hook up for a trail run or at least a bagel. Her and her husband Mike had us over for dinner one time when they were here, which was really nice. Mike is an excellent cook.

I went to CO to visit her in September 2011, but could not run with her because I had torn a ligament in my groin. I couldn't run with her in March when she came down, as I was recovering from OP 50.

So, I was excited to get to run with her when she was coming down to Tucson this Tucson to visit her folks. We usually run Phoneline loop, but I talked her into a longer run so I could show her our standard TTR Bear Canyon loop run. I knew she would love it.

Lots of rain and snow run-off made the 7 crossings before 7 Falls very wet and a little cold!

We took our time and enjoyed the views. We talked the whole time, of course. Lots of cloud cover, but it was the warmest day this week. We started at 7:30am, and it was around 48 degrees. By the end of the run, it was around 68. Perfect.

It wouldn't be a run with Julie without a 'Julie pose'. :)

I've got this one down!

The 8th crossing had water, but we were able to get across without getting wet (although my feet were still wet from the last crossings).

I jumped the gun on the 'top-out'. I told her it was at one spot, and then we kept climbing. Still made for a nice picture!

We finished the 17 miles and 3,000 feet of ascent feeling pretty good. I was proud of Julie! What a blessing to have her in my life. I learn more about her each time I see her and she is a really awesome gal. She has an awesome husband and kids, too.

After the rains this past week, the mountains were covered in snow, so it felt more like the holidays. However, even though Winter is officially here, it feels a lot like Fall here in Tucson. :) 

Hope everyone enjoys the holidays and remembers what is important to them. For me, it is people. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50k report

I signed up for this race the week before. Dallas was doing the 50 mile distance, and I thought it would be nice to join him for the road trip. The race takes place in Fountain Hills, which is about a 2.5 hour drive from Tucson. I wasn't going to be getting off of work until about 6-7pm on Friday night, so we elected to save the $100 hotel room cost and drive up the morning of the race.

We woke up at 3am and we were out the door at 3:55am, arriving at McDowell Mountain Park in Fountain Hills at 6:20am. Bib and shirt in hand, we then sat in my warm Subaru Outback (heated seats!) . It was cold! 

The 50 miler started at 7am, so we got out at 6:50am and Dallas went to the bathroom one last time. As he was still in the port-o-potty, the race started! He got out and scrambled across the start line, a minute behind the pack already. I felt bad for him and hoped it didn't ruin his race. He reported later that he quickly caught up to everyone and began passing people.

I got ready to head out on the 50k, which started at 7:30am. After the start, it warmed up quickly. We were in a train, and I wasn't passing anyone for a bit; I always start races out slow. I settled in to a good pace on the easy desert trails.

I couldn't tell you what trails we were running at first, but eventually, we got on the good 'ole Pemberton trail for a little bit, eventually cutting over to Dixie Mine trail and the aid station turnaround.  I saw the front runners of the 50 mile blow past me at this point (the were on a slightly different course). As I descended to the aid station, I was also seeing the front runners of the 50k, since this little section was an out and back. We had been climbing uphill slightly since about mile 3, so it was nice to drop into some downhill coming into the aid station around mile 10.5.

Heading into Dixie Mine AS

We had to climb back out for a few minutes, which is when I ran into Korey in 3rd place for the 50 miler! I didn't get to see Dallas on the course. :(

Around this time, some runner coming the opposite direction asked me, 'Is your last name Taco Bell?' I told him 'No!?!?' and kept going. That was so weirdly random.

I latched on to a guy (Jeff was his name I found out later) with a yellow shirt and yellow water bottles around mile 11, which is when some screaming downhill started. I would follow him fairly closely for the rest of the race. He was my pacer! When he ran, I made myself run. When he hiked uphill, I did, too. He was good motivation.

Climbing back up from Dixie Mine - there is Jeff behind me!

Even though it was downhill all the way down Tonto Tank trail, I was having energy issues until arriving at mile 19.5 aid station. I don't think I was eating enough. I filled my pack up again with ice and water and Hammer Endurolyte Fizz and downed my Perpetuem. I took about 5 minutes, my longest break at an aid station yet. A lot of people passed me, but within a few miles, I caught up to most of them.

Even though the Perpetuem helped a little, the last 12 miles of the race were brutal! Hot, lots of rolling hills, steep climbs and descents! We were on a competitive track for mountain bikers. 5.5 miles before the finish, you actually go into the finish line, then head out for another final loop. Some runners actually dropped here.

On this last technical loop, I was thinking of how cruel it was to end a race this way - then Jeff turned around and said, 'This is cruel!' I laughed. The climbs were 'put your hands on your knees' steep.

However, in the last 12 miles, I passed about 10 people. I may not be fast, but I'm consistent if I start the race at a reasonable pace.

I was so glad to be finished. We got a finisher's pint glass with pink lettering on it! 

Total distance: 31.56 miles
Total time: 6:05:49
Total elevation gain: 2,326 feet (not much for a 50k, but this definitely was no Pemberton 50k!)  All of the little rollers in this race really wore me out.

I was 6th female overall - 30th place.

I had to wait for Dallas to finish, so I showered, ate (thanks Patti Coury - homemade potato soup and quesadillas with avocado and salsa!) and yacked with other runners (one of my favorite things to do).

I got to see Korey Konga from our TTR group come in first place in the 50 mile! His first 50 mile finish and he wins it! Amazing.

Dallas came in at 10:25, looking dehydrated, but happy! He was 15th place! His first official ultra race since Javelina 100, which was 13 months ago.

We left Fountain Hills for our 2.5 hour drive home, stopping at In and Out Burger. I ate 2 burgers and fries! Dallas was still not feeling good - very nauseous, so he didn't eat much. We finally arrived back at Tucson at 9:30 pm, happy to be home.

I recovered very fast from this race - not much muscle soreness at all. However, I re-aggravated my right anterior tibial tendon where it hits the front of the ankle. I think I crunched it early on in the race with all of the little dips and turns in the trail. It isn't bad, not like it was in the Spring, for sure. So, two weeks off to rest. Two 50 milers in the next 6 months is the goal, so a little repair now will be good. I feel in really good shape and hope to go into this next running season injury free.