Friday, April 18, 2008


Other than working on my long race report, what have I been doing since C2M, you may ask.

Well, I headed to Costa Rica immediately after for some serious R&R in the sun. I did end up doing some running (6mi on the beach and 3mi around my brother-in-law's neighborhood), but mostly I just chilled out, ate and drank (probably too much of each). It was a short trip, but we had a great time including other activities such as swimming, zip-line and ATVs. My recovery from the 100-miler was pretty quick and I was ready to regular running within a week.

The weekend right after that I ended up heading down to Tucson, AZ to visit my son in college who was having a father-son weekend at his fraternity. Knowing that he wouldn't be up early on the weekend, I planned to get some runs in the beautiful Arizona desert on Saturday and Sunday morning. I took some recommendations from local resident (and blogger) Angie. On Saturday, I headed to the Saguaro Desert where I'd run before.

I decided to follow the Douglas Spring Trail which I had done a 12 miler on the last time I was there. I didn't bring my hydration pack, but should have as I wanted to do a longer run this trip. With relatively mild temps and an early start time, I hoped that two water bottles would suffice. I immediately forgot how tough the start of this trail was with the first 2 miles filled with many large rock steps (some above knee height). I decided to work on my run-walk-run transitions and power-hike anything with steps over mid-shin. Eventually, the trail smooths out and becomes much more runnable. I hadn't been up above the campground which is around 6.5 miles so I wanted to go beyond this point. I went about another mile and a half before turning around. The weather was cool and there was a nice breeze up higher (about 5500ft elevation, 2800 up from the start). The terrain changed here and became more lush with actual trees alongside the cacti. I wished I'd brought my pack, but with limited fluid (and even more limited fuel), I had to turn around. The downhill is a blast at least until those last couple miles where the rock-hopping slows the pace dramatically. I finished with drained bottles and it was warm, but not hot so I wasn't too beat up, but felt well worked by the 16 miles and 3000+ft

On Sunday morning I headed over to Sabino Canyon where Angie recommended some trails. The first was Telephone Line Trail that heads along the main Sabino Canyon and had a trail around mile 5.5 leading down to the canyon road where water would be available so I used only a single bottle and had food in my car where I planned to head after the out-and-back and before taking another trail for an out-and-back to add mileage. Unfortunately, the water was off so I took the risk of filling from the creek. It was either that or run the road back and the trail that I had run out was just way too incredible to resist. It was technical and challenging, but totally runnable. In fact, I had a blast pushing the pace on the gradual downhill grade. I returned my car at a little under 12 miles and ate and drank my fill. It was starting to warm up and pushing the pace took a bit of a toll. It was a bit of a challenge to get going again. I planned to head out on the Bear Canyon Trail to Seven Falls for close to 20 miles total. This trail was much less runnable with some sandy sections and many creek crossings as well as some rough trail going up and down the side of the canyon wall. It was also getting quite warm and I splashed myself with water a few times, but eventually decided that turning around before reaching the falls would be prudent. I stopped at a good sized pool, dunked my head and turned back. There is a water spigot a couple of miles into this trail so hydration wasn't an issue. However, I was certainly not heat acclimated. I trudged through the final few miles totaling a bit over 18.5 for the day, but feeling like I had put much more on my body as the temps were approaching 90. I was worked! With a weekend total of 34.5 miles and over +/-6000ft, I had definitely gotten a workout. However, the desert running was just the thing I needed to confirm my recovery from C2M.

The following weekend I was scheduled to run the Diablo 50 miler. However, when I signed up for this race, I didn't had the weekend before open in my schedule. This meant that I would have to celebrate the plethora of family April birthday's (wife, mother, nephew, mother-in-law) on this weekend. Furthermore, my son had basketball practice and a parent's meeting on Saturday. It was clear that priorities would have to override the race plans. I really want to do this tough and beautiful race, but it will have to wait for another year. I managed to get an 11.5 miler in on Friday afternoon on Mission Peak and would have to fill the rest of my weekend running on Sunday as Saturday was all about family. I headed over to Pleasanton Ridge for 9.4 miles of at a stiff 9:30 mpm pace while my son was at practice. I then filled the rest of my miles (just over 14) back on Mission Peak in the afternoon. Both the Sunday runs were in warm temps, but I actually felt a bit more adjusted than the previous weekend.

Finally, I needed something to replace the 50 miler that I missed at Diablo. My son is heading to Colorado this coming weekend for a tournament so I have an open weekend at home. I decided to do a race that I would normally never put on my schedule. With an near-urban setting that consists of flat, circular loops around a 4.5 mile course, the Ruth Anderson race is the polar-opposite of Diablo and not the type of running that I generally enjoy. However, the new RD, Rajeev Patel, is a friend and I know others doing the race so I am going to treat it as just a fun time running around a lake. I am signed up for the 100K, but the race allows you to change your mind when you reach either 50K or 50m. I plan to do at least 50 miles and expect a PR based on the course, but I am trying very hard not to go into this with any expectations but a good time and a long run.


angie's pink fuzzy said...

YAY for desert running! :)

miki said...

Sounds fun! It's funny, since I'm back in the low mileage life, I read posts like yours and think "dude, you're crazy for running so much". :) One day. One day... Have a great time running Ruth Anderson.