Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Real Start To Summer

Elev. Gain:2,000'
YTD Miles:259.7
YTD Time:42:03
YTD Elev.:35,600'
5/19/12 Treadmill 8 miles. Some inclined with some speed and heart rate concentration sprinkled in. It was a tough week prior with sleep, work, etc. so this was not ideal conditions coming into the new week.
5/26/12 South Mountain 6 miles, 1,200'. After a few nights of decent rest I had an open day to myself so after getting some errands done I headed out in the late morning for what I had hoped to be a 6 mile+ run at SMP. The relentless temps from the week prior I knew were going to relent so I knew that if my fitness held up that this could be a pleasing day on the trails. After realizing the park was quite busy due to the cooler temps I decided to do a reverse of my normal loop which would normally give me some time to myself but with the reversal I figured I may be able to avoid even more of the crowds which lined the roadway like the lines found at Disneyland. Luckily I was right. After gearing up for what I had hoped to be an hour to hour and a half trot, I headed out at a little bit slower pace than normal because I knew that even the low 80 degree temps could catch up with me soon in the somewhat weary state I found myself in. But, to my surprise I was able to hold my own throughout the first few miles, keeping both my breathing and my mind in the right place. It really was a pleasant day with breezes creeping in at just the right moments and the nice rolling terrain played well with my limited energy levels and fitness. I somewhat surprised myself with carving up a new trail that I had never laid foot on, this was not intentional, and found it to have a prolonged inclined stretch which lasted just a shade over a mile which seemed daunting at first but yet I found myself able to settle in at a decent climbing pace and tackle this stretch quite effectively. I was a bit astounded at my energy levels and found this to be quite endearing to my confidence moving forward. 
After a speedier decent off the back half of the loop back to the truck I rounded out the day by a good meal and a good flick with the old lady, Moneyball.
5/27/12 Papago Park 5 miles, 700'. I felt like I had some momentum on the heels of my last few runs so I headed into the closest set of tall rocks I could find in my immediate area, Papago Park. I have always found the Papago Park area of Tempe to be quite mysterious and astounding in that it gives the runner/hiker/walker a taste of all that a wilderness or state park has to offer in terms of flora and fauna as well as all that comes along with a water source and yet it is situated literally in the middle of a metro/dry desert area in the outskirts of north Tempe. I really do sometimes like to let my mind wander while I run under cottonwood trees and over rushing meadows all while being no more than 20 feet from a busy freeway linking Tempe to the local international airport. It was a treat. I was still a bit tired from the day prior's outing so I rounded out a sluggish 5 miles and headed east to my hut.
I really do feel like I made some progress in my health and fitness this past week. I cannot say that I have found a remedy for my insomnia other than just positive thoughts. I will try to post from across the pond in Great Britain over the course of the next few weeks. 'Til then, cheers. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Treading Water? Feels Like It Sometimes

Elev. Gain:1,900
YTD Miles:237.7
YTD Time:38:37
YTD Elev.:33,600'
5/10 Treadmill: 10.1 miles. Variable speeds and inclines. Boring as always but sometimes to avoid the 105 degree weather ya gotta suck it up and hit the 'mill.
5/13 Dreamy Draw Park: 3.0 miles, 500 ft. After a nice Mother's Day breakfast I decided it would not hurt to get out into the Phoenix Mountain Preserve for a few miles in the afternoon. I knew it was hot and I knew I had less liquid than I would of liked so I stuck to a nice slice of track that was somewhat flat and just kept it easy for a few miles around the base of Piestewa Peak. This trail and park holds some memories as this was the trails that I was able to share with Tony Krupicka a few seasons earlier. Overall a decent short run. Ran into a park ranger who after a short Q and A with myself was sold on the MT110's and said he was most likely gonna give them a shot. In my own little way I felt like an NB Ambassador for the day. Good feeling.
5/14 Black Mesa Trail: 5.0 miles, 800 ft. I try to always get one good trail run in on my weekends and even though I was still quite tired from some more insomnia like effects I headed out and took the Black Mesa Trail in the Superstition Mountains out for a nice 5 mile clip. It was hot and exposed for most of the run so I knew that even a 5 miler would take quite a bit out of me. The trail has so so footing throughout and this and the fact that I knew the rattlers were out and about made me a bit pretentious going into it but I enjoyed getting out alone and getting to take in the scenes of some trail I had never ventured into. Good day, a bit taxing.
5/17 Football Field: 3.0 miles, 300 ft. Used my spare time to get a nice, speedy couple in on the soft cushioned field. Temps hovering around 102 degrees.
It seems hard to tell if I am going to be 100 percent back to normal on the sleep and rest front considering I have had about 5 or 6 days now of only an hour or two of sleep each night. I am hopeful that this will pass and that I am on the right track. It is unfortunate that I had such high hopes for this year after a couple mishaps in the last two years, but I am hopeful that the coming trip to Europe will relax my head, heart, body and soul and get me back and yearning for more time on the trails.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Slow But Steady

Elev. Gain:2,100'
YTD Miles:216.6
YTD Time:35:12
YTD Elev.:31,700'

5/2/2012-South Mountain- Decided against staying home and taking it easy and made my way out to South Mountain for a run in the low 90 degree temps. Ran my normal 5k loop at a noticeably slower pace than normal. The heat did play a part but mostly just sluggish. My Garmin dying a mile into the run did not help mentally. Hills really took the wind out of my sail also on this day.

5/6/2012-Canal- I had an opening on Sunday so I decided to test my legs on the canal in Chandler on a muggy mid nineties day. Not a good idea. I knew from the start that I was a bit dehydrated and unenergized, but that never keeps me from making a dent so I pounded the dull as ever canal in a brisk pace for 4 miles. I found myself bent over and heaving 3 times over the short run which goes to show that pace and heat are not in the cards for me right now. I know I have a long road back to where I was in the last year but this was not a day to remember.

5/7/2012-Roads- I had the time to get a few miles under the belt so I hit the frontage road next to the house for a few miles in the dim light at dusk. Kept a good pace but was a little drained in all.

5/9/2012-South Mountain-Luckily I had more time to spare so I headed out to South Mountain in the rain soaked skies for what was to be a pretty nice little jaunt. Though the lightning bolted from the blanketed skies throughout I was able to make my loop with a small add on at a brisk, comfortable pace. The trails were nice and packed with the rainfall prior and during, and the brisk winds kept the temp well below normal, probably 65 or so. Legs and mind felt good throughout. Good day on the trails.

I know that my running will be affected by my sleeping disorder and the aftermath for quite some time but I hope that the soothing affects of my time on the trails and all the positives I am able to derive from it will speed up my recovery as well as the road to wellness moving forward in my life. I am grateful for everyday I wake energized and healthy and I can fully appreciate the little things which I took for granted in my past life. My life is enriched by the simple fact that my insomnia provided enlightenment in an area with which darkness crept before. I am grateful for the lessons and plan to learn to live by these experiences.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Start To Say The Least!

Elev. Gain:1700'
YTD Miles:203.10
YTD Time:33:07
YTD Elev.:29,600' 

Thursday- 3 miles on the treadmill. Easy.

Saturday-  3 miles at Pinnacle Peak in the northeast valley. I decided to test the legs after another sleepless night. I figured it couldn't hurt to try and get out for some normalcy even if my body never again provides it. I felt good in the initial minutes but the overall steepness of the peak really got to me and I had to cut the run short after a few miles even though I do love the trail conditions of nice flat, soft trails with abrupt switchbacks. Headed home a bit weary.

Sunday4 miles at Picket Post Mountain in Superior, Arizona. After a decent amount of sleep on Saturday night(thank god!)I decided that my open morning would be filled with another jaunt so I headed out east to a landmark that rises out of the desert south of the interstate. After a somewhat lackluster effort on Saturday I knew that I would most likely have a better day at Picket Post especially considering the temps would be about 15 degrees cooler at start. After avoiding a headless and tailless dead Rattlesnake at the mouth of the trail head I headed off the warning signs embedded in my mind which was to keep my head up and looking forward for any signs of movement, as well as bound around any large(r) rocks with any shaded areas. To my amazement I only encountered one rattler which was up on the hillside when I passed and he did not seem to interested in my pathetic fantasies of "Ultrarunning". I rounded out a few miles and decided to head back in as to not push the envelope with my weary and deprived body.

Overall I was happy with actually getting out and including a little bit of vertical into my runs after a day on the treadmill to get my legs back used to running. I am nowhere near through my current insomnia bout but I think I am on the right track. I will see how the second week goes with my progression.