Monday, July 25, 2011

Humphrey's Peak. Take Two!

Felt like posting some snaps from my buddy Rob and I's recent hike up Humphrey's Peak in Flagstaff. Note the shaded, pine cushioned singletrack. As good as it gets in Arizona!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Total Distance: 5.2 m
Time: 51:00
Location: Treadmill, South Mountain Park(Pyramid Trail)
Total Miles: 223.00 m
Total Time: 34:57
Total Elevation Gain: 800 ft

The last week and a half has been pretty unspectacular. I had planned on reintroducing myself to the alpine forests of Flagstaff this past weekend with the hopes of getting in atleast one longer run either before or after my friend Rob and I hiked Humphrey's Peak, the highest peak in the state. This was not to be. I had packed all my running gear and headed north with anticipation of the hike and the impending run. Upon arrival we found that Weatherford Trail, the main trail to the summit, was closed due to logging somewhere up along the first ridge so we had to head down to Humphrey's Trail to make our connection to Weatherford, then to the top. It was a hot day, about 85 degrees or so, so I knew that that would take a little extra effort on both our parts to make it in one piece to the summit. I realized soon after we had started that Rob was not going to make it to the top this day. He was complaining of a headache and further up started to cramp up so I knew that this was going to take a little longer than expected. We made it to the first saddle which lies about 400 feet from the summit in good time but I knew that it would take a miracle to coax Rob into making it that last 400 feet which I knew he was capable of.
In summarizing the day, Rob said "No Mas", around the 12,500 feet mark and I proceeded to tell him to stay put and I would be back down in a jiffy and I darted up the rugged talus field hopping, zig zagging to and from. After reaching the top I took in the views and decided to get back asap. No more than 15 steps from the summit I stepped off of a rock and turned my ankle in the loose volcanic rock bed that covers the summit. At first I did not think it was a bad sprain, which in hindsight is was not, but as I tightened my shoe and put on my game face for Rob I realized that I would have to hop on one leg for the next 4.5 miles back down to the parking lot. Not cool.
I will spare you the long, gory details of agony, etc. and just say that it was a long day. So to make a long story short, no long awaited Flagstaff trail run ensued. So, after a week of no running or physical activity at all for that matter I was able to make it out to South Mountain for a shorter heat drenched jaunt on Pyramid Trail in the center of the park. It was hot, I was out of water, and I did not have the mental toughness to push through a medium length run so I called it a day after just 3.2 miles albeit with a decent amount of uphill.
I am looking forward to the remainder of the summer though.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2+ Weeks Of Running....

Total Distance: 16.8 m
Time: 2:49
Location: Treadmill, Phoenix Mountain Preserve, San Tan Regional Park
Total Miles: 217.80 m
Total Time: 34:06
Total Elevation Gain: 1996 ft

I have been pretty off and on with my consistency in regards to running the past few weeks. I don't really have any good excuses since the weather has actually cooled off a bit and I have actually had some spare time, not a ton, to hit the trails. I think I am just waiting for that one good chance to get a longer, more meaningful run in and then I think I will be back on track mentally to start putting in more time. We will see, right?
I was able to get a few runs in on the dirt though including a nice few miles with my older brother Sean at Dreamy Draw Park within the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and another morning out in San Tan Regional Park in Queen Creek. My run at Dreamy Draw was supposed to emulate the run I did with Anton Krupicka back in June. Unfortunately though I was not able to pick up Anton's Trail Minimus footprints and we strayed from that route over the course of the run but all in all had a great early evening run along the flowing ridges that shoot up from the park surface. In reality, I do like the Phoenix Mountains, atleast what I have seen of them, and hope to get more time in on them this year because of their gradual hills, and sprawling, open valleys. They are a treat.
I was also able to make it out to my buddy Rob's neck of the woods for a run in the San Tan Mountains. I had never been into the park so I was a little green in the gills as I left the truck early in the a.m. I had told Rob that if I had not phoned him within a 4 hour time window then for him to come looking for me. My goal was for 10-12 miles, a lofty one huh? I wanted to see where I was in regards to the run that I had planned in Navajo country in September so I needed to try and get in a longer run on the trails to test my endurance. I think I am clinging to a thread to be honest. I had not planned well enough since I had forgotten to bring a couple of GU gels along with me, so I basically was planning on running for 2+ hours with no calories to hold me over. I knew I would be in for a long morning early on when I came through a clearing and realized that the next portion of the trail would be in a deep sand wash. This next mile took alot of energy and leg strength, and that combined with my lack of calories pretty much set the tone for the remainder of the run. I was able to push myself along but I found myself struggling with the full CamelBak strapped to my back and the combined heat/energy lul. The trail proved to be so-so, with the majority of it just slow rolling trails that contained no sign of life. After a sluggish 7 mile trek I collapsed on the bench in the parking lot in the 99 degree heat, which felt a heck of a lot hotter, and eventually chit chatted with a nice young park ranger before hitching a ride with Rob back to the bustling city, cooking in the distance.

i feel like my attraction to the mountains has somewhat hampered my ability to run consistently since I now primarily only run on that surface. I have noticed that the mere thought of running the roads makes me nauseous. Though, in the long run I think it will be the better alternative considering I have been able to maintain a honest love for running since I made the transition of road to trail running. My goal this week is to get in 2 mountain runs, with a long 2 hour run, and maybe one long treadmill run at incline. I am also venturing to the only true alpine zone in Arizona this weekend to conquer Humphrey's Peak once more, Flagstaff. Wish me luck.