Monday, February 27, 2012

A Look Towards March 25

Elev. Gain:2,600'
YTD Miles:162.3
YTD Time:26:39
YTD Elev.:24,700'

Superstition Mountain Park; Treadmill-

My week was somewhat clogged with prior engagements which probably worked in my favor considering I had a high mileage week for my standards last week, 34 miles, and this gave me a reason to somewhat lay off the trails for a few days. I did however get out twice on the trails with the first being a bit of a downer physically since it was the warmest day of the year to date and that along with the fact that I had a rushed lunch at nearly 3pm, 1 hour before I hit the trail, this made for a disastrous day on the trails for the most part. I didn't hydrate enough prior and when I did it was with milk and soda in the hour leading up to the run. I sometimes think I can get away with crap like that and it needs to come to a screeching halt if I really want to get over the hump that hides the next level of fitness. I rounded out the week with another trail run and a few more speed intervals on the treadmill for an overall low key week.

I believe the next race I want to enter is the Xterra Trail Run Series-Arizona Black Canyon, in Black Canyon City, north of Phoenix off of the I-17 freeway. It looks like a killer course and it has a killer luncheon following it at the Rock Springs Cafe in BCC. I will post more details. It should be a blast.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Very Promising Outing

Elev. Gain:1,700'
YTD Miles:140.3
YTD Time:23:14
YTD Elev.:22,100'

South Mountain trails;Treadmill-

So after a few shorter runs on the treadmill I headed out with the intentions of doing a long run at SMP since I had not gotten in any longer runs over the few days prior. After initially deciding on a 12 miler I told myself "Why not go for a half marathon?". So my plans changed and I decided to go for 13.1 if my health provided me the chance. Luckily it did and right from the start I could tell that for whatever reason I felt super chipper which calculated to super speedy. I noticed early that I was able to comfortably keep a 9:00 to 9:15 pace for the first few miles without much effort so I decided that I would try and shoot for a fast time. It was a little warm but not too bad with little cloud cover and a slight breeze so the elements played no factor and I soon found myself at the 6.5 mile turnaround with still quite a bit of reserves so I munched down some salted almonds and graham crackers and chugged about 5 oz's of water and steered my way back down the zig zagging maze back to the parking lot. I honestly never felt like my legs or my energy levels were low or tiring so I continued pushing and rounded out the run in 2:03 and change.

I think I can honestly say that I have never felt so in control of my actions and movements on the trails before as I did yesterday. I really believe I could have knocked off another few minutes if I really had known my levels would hold up as they did yesterday. It was a great run and a great mental boost going in to late winter and possibly a few races to motivate myself.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Taking It Nice And Easy

Elev. Gain:1,300'
YTD Miles:124.2
YTD Time:20:42
YTD Elev.:20,400'

Treadmill/South Mountain Park Trails-

After suffering a decent sized blister on my right heel early last week I decided to try and take a step back running wise to give it some proper time to heal properly. Of course that means just a few miles here and there since I found it extremely hard to not hit the trails since I had started to physically see some improvements in my mountain fitness over the last few weeks or so. But all in all I was able to back off a bit and today I finally headed out for a 7 miler in the northern end of the park and found it to be quite pleasant with a brisk breeze swirling and a vacant trail system for the most part on the north side. It did however feel as though I was favoring my left foot/plant too much trying to avoid the impact on my right foot and the blister that was still peeking through the overgrown scar tissue surrounding it. But after a relaxing but somewhat quick 7 miles I was left with a sense of closure on the heel. Good news.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vertical Has Its Downside

Elev. Gain:4,200'
YTD Miles:111.2
YTD Time:18:41
YTD Elev.:19,100'

Mesa Neighborhoods/'Mill/South Mountain Trails-

So this week was a relatively productive one in that I made it out for a couple of longer runs and one or two shorter runs on the treadmill and along the canal. My running has been coming to me a little easier as of late and I think I am finally starting to notice a change, albeit slightly, in my overall running fitness. I headed out to SMP for what was to be a 10 miler along National Trail along the rocky ridge that lines the center of the main range in the park, but after entering from Central I noticed that the normally gated off roadway leading down to the San Juan Ridgeline of the park was for whatever reason open today. So, I veered right and decided I would try something new just for the sake of going out of my comfort zone. Isn't that what life is about? After a few miles of twists and turns along the desolate roadway I found a lot adjacent to Alta Trail which traverses the western most line of mountains in the park, the San Juans. After hopping out of the truck to check the trail head sign I decided that I was gonna give it a try. I would ascend the range and follow it all the way down to the San Juan Lookout which was a 9.6 mile round trip loop. With my fluid amount in hand that did not seem out of touch so I ate half a banana and chugged some agua and out I went.
Right from the start I did not feel too great. Also, the trail seemed to annoy me with it super rocky/jagged terrain right from the get go so I was unable to really get into a solid rhythm from the start but I motored along and before I knew it 22 minutes later I was atop the ridge. The views up top were definitely a welcome site to the normal sights and sounds from the eastern side of the park with wide expanding views of the Estrella and White Tank Mountains in the distance. The trail, surface wise, was not spectacular and left me without any kind of pace I was looking for throughout. I actually found myself having to literally climb certain points of the trail on all fours which finally talked me into throwing out any time goals I had and forced me into the reality of just finishing out the loop at a moving pace. However, that did not happen either. I turned at the 4 mile point as the trail literally started falling apart as well as descending at a fast rate.
I noticed at around the 6 mile mark that my right heel was rubbing considerably on my heel cup and as I made the final descent to the truck I was in considerable discomfort but pushed through to the truck. This was maybe a mistake. I have never been one to let pain or discomfort keep me from something I love to do so sure enough I was out on the mountain again yesterday and on the treadmill today for some shorter runs. I have decided that running some flats with my elastic ankle braces on for the next few days may give my foot time to heal up. We will see.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Elev. Gain:1,600
YTD Miles:93.2
YTD Time:15:39
YTD Elev.:14,900'

Mesa Canal/South Mountain Park-

After punching out a measly few miles yesterday because I had the time, today I took to South Mountain for a run under the perfect late afternoon February sky. I love days like today where you find a rhythm, you find a trail, and before you know it you are gliding under the open sky in absolute silence. The trails this day were super packed, well atleast the parking lot was, but after clawing my way out of the bowl surrounding the lot I found myself all alone in silence with only the sound of my controlled but always improving breathing echoing into the city to the west.

I am hoping to make it to the McDowell's to the north manana. We will see what unfolds.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 1

Elev. Gain:1,000'
YTD Miles:85.30
YTD Time:14:17
YTD Elev.:13,300'

Superstition Wilderness/Dutchman Trail-

My friend Nathan and I decided to head out to the trailhead after work so that he could scope out the trail for a possible hike with his "Old Lady" this weekend. I figured I would go out for only 5 miles since he was still basically a newbie to running and the trails in general in this area so I just stuck to a decent speed and wound my way through my afterwork hotspot all while catching the views out my peripheral. I really do love the calm that surrounds this stretch of trail, it is unparalleled. Soon after a run with no mishaps we were back at the truck making our way down the dusty road back into civilization. I sometimes wonder why I go back to civilization.

Month Of January

Elev. Gain:700'
YTD Miles:80.10
YTD Time:13:25
YTD Elev.:12,300'

Mesa Canal System-

So my goal of reaching 100 miles for the month was not met because of a few stretches of very little running which I can only blame myself for. The month started off very promising with a few longer runs(for me atleast) and some decent vert. But towards the middle of the month I found myself not scheduling in my normal mid length runs and a few longer weekenders and before I know it my month was a little disappointing. I understand that life comes first but I do blame myself mostly for not prioritizing something that I find so fulfilling.

Meanwhile, I ended the month with a nice 6 miler on the gravel pathway alongside the freeway, doesn't that sound like a great running destination? I decided to pick up the pace a bit just to see where I was physically and ended up with a 8:15 pace over the 6 miler with not too much effort so that was a good sign. I am hoping that my fitness progresses to the point that I can enjoy maybe a 20 miler this coming month at some point so I can really see where I am in the big scheme.