Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring in the Sonoran Desert

I stayed in town this weekend and set out to run the trails both Saturday and Sunday.  I chose two different areas north of the valley. Saturday I ran a 10-mile out-and-back on the Gooseneck trail, starting from Tom's Thumb trailhead. Talk about smooth! This trail is like running on a nice, crushed gravel walkway with very little elevation gain or descent. I think I averaged close to a 7:00/minute mile pace for most of the run.

I took the advice from my buddy Ryan and started a 14-mile loop on Sunday from the Apache Wash trailhead in north Phoenix. He said to run the Ocotillo/Sidewinder loop, so I did exactly that. This trail system was developed just a few years ago and has quickly become a weekend hotspot for mountain bikers. Not my preferred trail companions, but they have just as much right to be there as anyone else. Unseasonably warm temperatures made for an early start, even at 6:30am there were numerous people out and ready to go. Another reason I wanted to get off the pavement and into the desert was the early rattlesnake activity happening this year. I was hoping to see some up close in the more remote areas of the preserve. After I finished my run this morning I had pretty much given up...until I began driving away from the AW trailhead. I spotted a diamondback in the road with oncoming traffic approaching quickly. I made a u-turn and threw on my hazards, then I jumped out of my Jeep and stood in the road to deter the cars from running him over. I was excited to see my first rattlesnake this year and even happier to get him to safety.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kiss Me I'm Irish 8K

Kiss Me I'm Irish 8K
Westgate Center
Glendale, Arizona
Mileage - 5
Time - 27:22
Pace - 5:30
Place - 2nd Overall

I was supposed to be in Boston this weekend and had every intention of running a St. Patty's Day race in the city. Plans changed and I found myself out in Glendale Saturday morning for a nice alternative. They offered a few options in distance from 1 to 17k, I chose the 8k and decided to make a nice tempo run out of it.

My plan was to run 5:30 pace and see what happened. Ronnie Buchanan (overall winner), and I ran the entire race together and managed to lock in that pace with a negative second half split. Around mile two I made a comment about the effort feeling pretty good, which it did until the last 1-2k. My legs are turning over great, yet something isn't quite right internally. Possibly allergies or a lingering respiratory issue, I'm just not certain. Whatever it is, my lungs aren't able to supply my working muscles with oxygen and once again I was out-kicked at the finish.

There were quite a few issues at this event, especially with the course, so its a good thing I didn't take it seriously. It was fun, and I met some great people. Perhaps some new running partners.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Phoenix Marathon 2015

BMO Harris Phoenix Marathon
Mesa, Arizona
Mileage - 26.2
Time - 2:41:28
Pace - 6:10
Place - 14th Overall

Six months of training went specifically into this race, and unfortunately the wind called the shots today. My goal was to finish in 2:35-2:36, after turning Southbound around mile 14 I knew my second half split wasn't going to be pretty. It was a bummer because I came through the half marathon mark in 1:17:30, right on track.

The wind picked up and my mile pace became worse than the uphill sections when taking the blustery conditions head on.  I had a hard time recovering from the labored running and couldn't seem to get my pace back down to 6:00/mile. In a nutshell, that was the story of the second half. Finishing the marathon felt good, especially given the conditions and a calf problem that concerned me over the last couple days. This was the first time I actually worried I may not complete a race before it even started.  Not the right mind set for a PR.

Best part of the day was hanging out post race with friends and sharing the experience. I love hearing everyone's story! A few changes to the event from 2013 that were less than ideal, but overall, a great race from the Phoenix Marathon.

Finish chute - photo by Pete Weldy