Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Capitol Butte - Sedona

Capitol Butte Hike
Sedona, Arizona
Mileage - 4.4
Time - 4:21
AEG - 1,930ft

Capitol Butte, or "Thunder Mountain" as its commonly called, sits directly in the middle of Sedona, Arizona and captures your attention from any direction in town.  I've heard this mountain described as "majestic" and given the vibe emanating from Sedona, it's very fitting.  Not only are the colors and formations visually stunning, Capitol Butte has a prominent summit just begging to be climbed!

Once my hiking friends found out I would be moving to California before the end of January, a trip was in the works.  Since it would be my farewell outing, they left it up to me to choose the destination.  I didn't hesitate for a second.  A little research into the trail and a meeting location were all that was left to get this one underway.  On Sunday morning I met Brian, Duane, Wally and Reena (the warrior princess) at Starbucks in Anthem and we took Brian's vehicle from there.   
To be clear, there is not a designated route to the peak, though a faint trail does exist with intermittent cairns to guide you most of the way up. From the trailhead off Dry Creek Road, we briefly followed the Lizard Head trail towards the Lizard Head for a photo opp.  It wasn't until you get past the "spine" that the adventure begins as you navigate your way up a 3rd class scramble on the final half mile to reach the peak.  I've been to Sedona at least 15-20 times in the last 6 years, and until Sunday, I have never seen a view quite like this!

If someone asked me what a perfect day on the trail would be like, I would have painted the picture of today's hike.  Great friends, great weather, a challenging climb with the big payoff being one of the greatest views in Arizona, possibly even the entire United States!

The Lizard Head

Eastern View from the Summit

Looking North at Mt Humphreys near Flagstaff
Wally, Brian, Boone, Duane & Reena

Sunday, January 19, 2014

PF Changs Rock 'n' Roll Arizona - 2014

PF Changs Rock'n'Roll Marathon
Phoenix to Tempe, Arizona
Mileage - 26.2
Time 2:38:08
AEG - 250ft
Pace - 6:02/mile
Place - 11th Overall

If I was going to drop my marathon time below 2:40, today had to be the day.  All the pieces fell into place leading up to Sunday morning and I pulled it off!  I had a great year of running in 2013 leaving me with a solid mileage base, especially during the previous three months.  No injuries, illness, or any other hang ups kept me from being prepared on race day, it was solely on me to make it happen.  That's always easier said than done.

Jon and I met in Tempe to leave my car near the finish and drive downtown Phoenix to park, since the course is point to point. We arrived around 6:30am to warm up and prepare before our 7:50am start time (above).  Today's forecast was perfect, never too hot or too cold, which made the morning prep quite pleasant. Once I found corral number one, I was surprised who I saw at the starting line and knew this was going to be a fast race.  I just kept rehearsing the game plan in my head, "don't worry what everyone else is doing, 6:00/miles will get you under 2:40."  Fortunately for me, there were a few other guys with the same idea in mind.  So we hung together until mile 23.  The five of us passed some, gained some, lost some, yet managed to hold a sub-6:00 pace through 23 until the little hills between 23-25 broke up the pack and we all paced ourselves to the finish.  I can certainly attest to higher weekly mileage volume as the sole reason I was able to run at that pace for that long, and it felt great nailing my goal time!

It was a solid day of PR's all around as Jon shed 17 minutes off his previous best to beat a goal time of 3:30 by 30 seconds!   Thanks to all those that came out to support the race including Brittney, Tyler, Danny, and Bob and Sara Silver.  Now it's time to get some rest and start lining up the calendar in 2014. 

Danny and I post race at Tempe Beach Park
Results Page: