I really had the best of intentions to run as much as possible as well as spend some time in Northern Arizona during my 15 days off from work, however neither has happened although I have run the last 3 days in a row. I usually falter during the holiday seasons when it comes to my running so I am hoping to get back on track and get back to 35-50 mile weeks to start the new year. Maybe a shot at the Sedona half marathon in 5 weeks. That should be doable.
My family went to the Fiesta Bowl parade a few days ago, fun but cold. And we got to see a car hit the light rail train at Central Ave and Indian School Road. Good times. Here are some pictures and another one of my cheesy time lapse videos.
Light Rail vs. auto collision
But first let me take a nature selfie. Most of these are from the long abandoned Prince Mine in North Peoria (this is actually probably part of the old abandoned Clementine Mine airport, but I have seen the area frequently listed as part of the Prince mine). There used to be a lot more trash but it has been getting cleaned which only means one thing, more residential development way out here in the desert.
Yep, “development” is coming.
Biggest threat to desert runners…urban rednecks and their shotguns.
Last weekend I ventured up to Flagstaff to again run Soulstice, which has become my favorite run in Northern Arizona, sorry Jim Thompson Trail in Sedona.
This year I didn’t have as much training as last year primarily due to so much going on with my family including my daughter doing very well in High School cross country and club soccer, my son playing football and my new job that does not offer the flexibility I had in the past-goodbye lunchtime trail runs. However I did feel pretty strong and was confident that I could beat last years time. I also bought the new GoPro hero a week before the race and had all kinds of ideas involving creating Oscar worthy videos.
Race day came and I was surprised by the balmy weather that was present. I almost ran without a long sleeve shirt but went with one and ended up being happy that I did.
The first loop was a challenge as always but I again was feeling strong even when needing to power hike up some of the steeper climbs. The main pack ahead of me faded further and further away until I ended up running with a group of 4-5 runners. My idea of hanging with the main large pack wasn’t happening.
I eventually got ahead of everyone in the pack before the start of loop #2 and I saw a few people up the trail ahead of me but I was only able to pass one of them before cresting the high point of the race.
Coming down the second loop my lungs were feeling the altitude however I swear that the Cordyceps helped out as I was never fully gasping for air. My legs got a good burn in a few spots and when I reached the 2 miles to the finish spot I remembered the beastly ankle turn, sprain, fracture I had going through that area last year. I did slow down a noticeable amount through this section as I didn’t want a repeat but I also was concerned about trying to beat last years time. When I got to the finish I was disappointed to see that I was about 2 minutes slower than last year. However when I got home and downloaded the GPS data then compared the last 2 years I was about 40 seconds faster this year. I don’t know how that happens but I am taking it. My goal for next year is to get a lot of hill running in and a few more trips to altitude before the race and try to take off about 1 minute per mile. That is reasonable if my training and diet is on point. Oh yeah, no raffle winnings this year, but some people were drawn multiple times and made off with some great prizes.
Still reading? I am impressed, thank you. So here are some pictures from this year and below are my cringeworthy videos. Bottom line is I had fun, a good hard run, and enjoyed a few brews once I retuned home to assist in the recovery process.
Click on the picture for a much bigger, better, beautiful picture!
The rental whip I drove up there. did surprisingly well on the rutted fire roads!
And some video:
and of most people that means that the running starts to ramp up for fall races. I am one of those people. With 3 races on my radar in the next few months and a few others that I may add at any time this is prime running season. I am also trying to wrap my mind around the reality that I am going to have a high school child in a week. Where does the time go. I ask the same question when a race arrives that I haven’t given it my all in training for, this leads me to thinking of joining a training group for some accountability. However I don’t know of any ultra training groups around here, so the next step would be a personal coach. I know that there are several good/really, really good coaches online so I might go that route. Some of them are pretty pricey, but what prices does one place on good coaching and accountability when it isn’t inherent? It looks like another 100+ degree day with higher humidity, lets let it rip on the trails.
In between my daughters soccer games a few weeks ago, I ran the trail that goes behind the Reach 11 recreation area. To the east the trail goes under the 101 and 51 freeways winding through desert terrain until it ends near the Mayo clinic. You can continue on from that trailhead on the streets or other unofficial trails but I turn around there. The trail is pretty flat packed dirt with desert vegetation all around, some areas have nice spots of shade from trees and large shrubbery. It us a nice run that isn’t very well travelled but I did see a few other runners and a few bikers.
Things at my work have been in upheaval for the past few months, we have pretty much been placed in a bag and shaken with the parts falling where they may. Long story short, my supervisors and friends to boot were performing a task that some people felt violated policy and even law. They were placed on leave pending an investigation and those of us who were left have been trying to wade through the much ever since. For the past few months I have dreaded going to work feeling like it was the worst task I could have. In fact I was looking forward to missing work to go to the dentist to have my teeth worked on a few times in the past few weeks.
Fast forward to the last few weeks there has been some direction and light shed on all of us and instead of taking the “this still sucks” approach I have been looking at this as a new opportunity with great opportunity and possible reward for me. I am going way outside of my normal comfort levels and applying for jobs well above where I would have imagined in the past. And you know what? I get the feel from those who would be doing the hiring that I have a decent shot at getting hired pending the interviews. I really think that changing my thinking and attitude has made these opportunities possible for me. Open doors and fresh horizons instead of another disappointment and failed interviews. 2 different worlds.
In many ways I am taking this approach to my physical activities as well. I am starting to look differently at my running, working out and self care as well. There is a great big world of opportunity and chance out there and only I can write my own story, and that is what I am setting out to do. I have to take chances to make chances, and that is not who I am wired to be but it is who I am trying to rewire myself to being. I am not trying to put the cart in front of the horse or anything, but trying to be realistic and optimistic. Fingers crossed and positive vibes. Oh yeah, some yoga too.
And here are the obligatory photos.
Bryan and ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly.
The tunnel to the ASU locker room. The Tillman tunnel.
Went out to run the Elephant Mountain 35K and knew from the start that it was not a good day. Every breath and stride was labored and heavy. I never got in a rhythm and at the halfway turn around I felt like tossing cookies. It was the wurst race I have ever had. Thankfully the race director was driving back and was nice enough to give my sweaty, stinky self a ride back. I was really upset, disappointed and embarrassed to get a DNF after 10 years of slow but fruitful races. At least I got some nice pictures.
how I felt at the turn around
I know that pst of the Country is covered in freezing weather and snow, but here in the Southwest we are pushing 90 degrees this President’s day weekend. Next weekend is the Elephant Mountain 35K, I had some ideas of trying the 50K, but in reality my training just wasn’t there. I am still thinking of the Mesquite Canyon 50K in March, but that last 5 miles is beast…from what I hear. Later in March is the Crown King scramble 50K that I would really love to do because of its history, and challenge but the logistic of getting picked up there in Crown King is just too much. I know there is a shuttle this year taking you back to Phoenix so I might consider that.
Last Sunday I set a PR in the half marathon, something that had evaded me for at least 3 years. Funny thing is I wasn’t even trying to run that fast it was just that everything came together for me. I do give a lot of credit to the UCan Super starch. I will be using it next Saturday in the 35K. Another thing is I ran the entire 15.5 miles with no music. Listening to my body….hmmm.
Things are going to get pretty busy here now as the state soccer season is ramping up for my daughters team as they push towards the state Cup, and my sons tackle football team starts 2 a week practices this week then games on Fridays. All of these activities make life seem to fly by, but I think they are worth it to give my kids a nice quality of life and activities that most of their friends parents don’t seem to want to be bothered with. Personal preferences I guess.
Pictures? I got your pictures right here. The first one is to Celebrate the winter Olympics. Go USA!
US Men’s hockey jerseys Here is how to keep busy when riding the train.
Cool ass sculpture, out there somewhere.