Saturday, February 25, 2012
Esperero Trail to Ventana Canyon Trail
Pusch Ridge Wilderness
Mileage - 18.1
Time - 5:48
AEG - 5,332ft
Mark and I wanted to go for something big (in terms of elevation) today in Tucson, and the route up Esperero to the Window seemed like a fitting choice. We even added in a side trip to summit Window Peak during this rugged, yet beautiful trek through one of my favorite places to hike in the entire state; the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. The extra mileage resulted from our decision to walk back to the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center on the road, instead of taking a cab from Ventana Canyon. As temperatures neared 80 degreees, we enjoyed the warm weather and a great hike in the mountains.
Window Peak - 7,466ft
Monday, February 20, 2012
The gun fired and the race was underway! As always, everyone goes out at a faster pace than they can sustain, myself included, so I backed off the throttle a bit. I settled into a nice rhythm and ran effortlessly downhill to the highway at mile 7, averaging a 6:05 mile pace. I worked my way up from somewhere around 15th to 7th in this time, and tried to gain a little ground on the guys in front of me without over-exerting myself. That didn't seem to be happening until mile 11 when I closed in on the first person I had seen in 5 miles. Moving past him on the big hill, I took advantage of the downhill section this course offered because the last 10 miles appeared to be rolling uphill for the most part and would certainly slow down my pace. For me, the toughest section of the marathon came between mile 16 and 19 as I ran uphill against a slight headwind, with noone around. My legs felt heavy and breathing labored, yet I pressed on.
The mile 19 turnaround provided the motivation I needed. The 5th place runner looked fatigued, and even though he had at least a quarter mile lead, I knew I had it in me to make a move late in the race. Then it happened, at the mile 22 aid station I surged and never looked back. Oddly enough, the final four miles was where I felt the best all day! I guess you could say it was entirely mental from that point on. Approaching the last turn I could hear my name and the cheers from friends that gave me a final push to get across the finish under 2:46. Brittney also set a PR on a very challenging half marathon course. After it was over, we laughed in pain and agreed to never run this race again!
To everyone that came out to support us at the race (Mike, Lisa, Courtney, Danny, Brandon, Lindsey, Emily), thank you so much, it really means a lot to have you there! I also appreciated the calls, texts, and emails from everyone else! An even bigger thanks to Michael Carson for my race aid and encouragement along the way, what a difference that made!
Pre-Race 4:15am - 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal & 1 Liter Water
Pre-Race 6:45am - 1 Hammer Vanilla Gel
Race - 3x GU Vanilla Bean Gel
Race - 1x Powerbar Vanilla Gel
Race - 1 Bottle HEED Lemon Lime Electrolyte