...is not so fun. Did a bit of dodging traffic this morning but at least ran some different roads than normal. I hitched a ride with Susan to the school where she teaches and ran home. Cold at 8 degrees. Got some good beard and eyelash frost going.
Today: 7.5 miles (school to home) and 2.5 miles (to work and home (added some blocks on the run home to get the extra 1/2 mile)). Total=10 miles
Fingers crossed, I will get in a groove again with my running now that I feel recovered from my 'slip' and being a bit under the weather. It's been two weeks now with minimal running and I'm feeling the pressure of wanting to be in some kind of shape for the awesome running to be had in the canyon and other desert areas before the heat of summer hits, not to mention getting a good base for Leadville in August. I would really like to get back up to about 50 miles this week and then continue upping the miles and also start getting in some faster runs (I probably sound like a broken record on this but the last few weeks have set me back some...).
As a side note to trying to get more miles in...I am also really craving some long running adventures. Besides being extremely lucky to run some in the Dry Lake Hills around Flagstaff this winter (usually, not really possible with winter snow), I haven't been able to get out on the trails anywhere for many months. I am really feeling that a couple good long, hard efforts in the canyon (Grand Canyon) and Sedona are in order in March. I have been keeping it local a lot more this year than in past years because of work and other responsibilities that have made it unrealistic to drive to run. Maybe in March I'll reward myself a bit...adventure is calling!
Friday: 2 miles (running to work and home)
Saturday: 5 miles (running around town doing work errands)
The last week has been an interesting one. I always try to stay positive and use my experiences for learning. Well... this last week has given me a few things to learn from.
1. I have got to be more careful around ice in the winter! I have been very lucky so far, especially with the fast recovery of my right leg after my 'splits fall.' My leg is way, way better already. I am pretty amazed by the recovery, actually, as I thought I was going to be out for a while. Instead, one week later, I feel pretty good and am ready to start building the miles again. I think I just plain got lucky! Injuries are very scary and I don't want to push getting a silly one again this winter just because of some ice.
2. I need to start choosing my trips more wisely. During my younger years I would go on climbing trips with people no matter what the weather (no joke) and sometimes had to literally talk climbing partners into going. Sometimes we got lucking with weather and sometimes we got the shaft. I didn't care back then because it was all I thought about and I had a ton of free time. My attitude was like "What else am I going to do. Sit around and wish the weather was better and not go? Life is short, I want to go climb!" These days I don't have the luxury of the massive amounts of free time I had back then to blow multiple days on bad weather and sitting around. It seems there is just too much for me to do and better ways to spend my time these days. You know...the old, where did all the time go, thing that we adults slip into with work, chores, relationships, etc (although, don't get me wrong, I don't find myself complaining...I like all the new challenges. It's good stuff.). Well, I was reminded of how I should spend my time more wisely this last three day break as the weather in the whole southwest pretty much sucked and in Tucson the weather only mostly sucked so I talked Susan into going for it and trying to climb down there so we tried. Looking back, it was pretty forced and made for a trying weekend. We dealt with rain, cold, more rain and then finally the last day got to the crag to try and climb with warmer temps and sunshine only to have Shiloh step in a Cholla Cactus and then proceed to bite it off her paw and freak out chewing the crap out of it while trying to get it out of her mouth. Basically, the thing exploded in her mouth and it was quite horrible watching her bleeding, yelping and generally freaking out in pain while I could only get the big chunks off (...she is doing way better now and we have gotten most of the Cholla out. Poor dog!). So, the only activity we got in Tuscon was hiking in Pima Canyon (actually, quite beautiful) for part of a day and then hiking to the crag and turning around with a broken Shiloh and walking with our tails between our legs (all of us) back to the car and going home. I definitely pushed it on this trip and I plan to try and make better choices on trips in the future. (man, that paragraph was way too long...)
To top it off, today I feel a bit sick. Gotta take care of myself so I can get back to running and climbing well. The trails and Sedona Traverse keep calling...although the Winter weather is back and making it a bit harder than usual right now. I'll do what I can and try not to 'push it.'
So, Running Log wise...
Last Week: About 10 miles (about 8 on my scary 'did the splits' run and a few more miles on Friday just stretching the leg)
Sunday: about 4 miles in Pima Canyon (we hiked/ran about 8 miles so I'll split it even)
Tuesday: 7.5 miles (ran around downtown and campus for 4.5 and then ran to work, home and then work again for another 3 miles)
Oh yeah... looks like the Leadville 100 Mile Run is full at 750 runners. Glad I entered a few months back and got in! It still amazes me that 750 people would sign up to do a 100 mile run. Pretty rad!
Two more pitches went in a couple days ago (pitches 4 and 5). Jeff and I finally got our schedules to match up and made quick work of 'em. The two new pitches were a pleasure to bolt and climb. The moves and position were really, really good and the grades were moderate, keeping the stress level low, even though they didn't look like they would from the ground. A great day out!
So, the new pitches grades are...ummmmm...probably both in the 5.8ish range. We'll see after climbing them without all the extra gear on us. Good stuff.
Looking down the wall, it seems that the next few pitches will stay under 5.10 and then the business gets real again with a long section (3 or 4 pitches) of 5.10 or harder climbing before it eases off again for 2-4 more pitches. Hopefully they won't be too hard to keep the fun factor high. Traversing hard climbing is kind of sketchy!
Can't wait to get back up there and continue the adventure!!! One more pitch and we can call ourselves half way across the wall and half way done...well, I don't know about half way done...but at least half way across the wall. This route is sizing up to be AWESOME!
On another note...my right leg seems to be getting better much faster than anticipated. I even climbed a couple easy routes in the gym to see how it felt for our climbing trip this weekend (weather permitting) and it seemed to do o.k. as long as I didn't try too hard and didn't climb anything steep. Looks like the week will be all about recovery and hopefully climbing this weekend. No, or very little, jogging this week. Oh well. It is what it is. It could be way worse! I could be laid up, hobbling around for 8 weeks recovering. I feel very lucky right now!
This morning I got up a couple hours before light to squeeze in a 20 mile run before work. My plan was to run from the house out to Fisher Point and The Pit area and then circle around and head back.
All went well, running in the cold, crisp starry night by headlamp, feeling great as I got warmed up. Then about 5 or 6 miles into the run, for no particular reason more than it was the standard icy out, I miss judged a step, slipped on the ice, and literally did the splits and found myself in serious shock and pain grasping at my right hamstring while lying in the dark on the icy ground.
The first thought I had was "Oh my god! This hurts like @#!?#!." My second thought was "I am so, so stupid for not being more careful through this section of ice." My third thought was "I might not be able to walk!" My fourth thought was "How the hell am I going to get back home."
Luckily, after lying there for what seemed like an eternity staring up at the stars in shock and too scared to move, I tried getting up and it was doable. Amazing. I thought there would be extreme shooting pain in my leg as I tried to get to my feet. Instead, I was able to walk with minimal pain. Wow.
For about ten steps I was so impressed with the lack of pain that I considered continuing the run (I was about 5 or 6 miles in...) but then thought about what more trouble I could get into if my leg started hurting more later as it tightened up (which I assumed it would). I turned around and decided to consider myself lucky and go home.
Very luckily, I was able to mix walking and slow jogging all the way home with minimal pain. Mostly, I had that super stretched, sore, ache going on that as long as I didn't push it was kept at bay.
I most definitely did something in my right hamstring on that slip but I feel very lucky right now it wasn't worse! I made it home o.k. and am icing as I write this. It definitely feels like I did damage but hopefully it will mend quick. Man that was scary.
That run reminded me big time of how, in the icy winter, just one wrong move can be catastrophic with that pesky ice. I thought about getting micro spikes after this run but realized that 80% of the trail was dirt and only bits were ice and snow (as are all of the trails in Flagstaff right now). Micro spikes would be useless. But it did remind me that on runs of this length out in the woods, I should have my phone with me, no exceptions. If I fell like that again, injured myself and couldn't have walked I would have been screwed. It would have taken me forever to get out. Good lesson but a hard way to learn.
Yesterday: 5 miles on mesa in am (super slick in places on Urban Trail on the mesa but the trails and dirt roads up there are in great shape...) and 2 miles (run to work and back home)=7 miles
Today: 9 miles on mesa in am (Great run. Started out at 6 degrees but warmed quickly and I ran the second half with no gloves or hat. Urban Trail on mesa is loosing more ice and getting less treacherous. I saw my first herd of elk of 2011 while running a nice section of single track in the sun on the west side of the mesa. Really, really cool. Stopped for a while and watched the elk. Got 800 feet of elevation, climbing the mesa twice.
Week Total: 47.5 miles
I really shouldn't run anymore this week as I have already totaled 47.5 miles. With running 36 miles last week and 27, 25, 23.5 and 18 mile weeks, counting back to the beginning of 2011, my last few weeks have jumped significantly in miles over previous weeks. Mostly, this is due to my knee feeling better but I need to be careful. I don't want to add to many miles to quickly and have my knee start bugging me again. ...must show some restraint! Things are looking good though and I think I'll try to put the mileage right around 50 next week as long as it feels good and squeeze in there a 20ish mile run at the beginning of the week to start it off. Can't wait.
This morning I had planned to run up Elden Lookout Road but after a mile, running up the road, realized that it was not in the cards. The wind was super strong up on Mt. Elden, way stronger than in town when I left the house, and I had some serious issues with making any kind of actual running pace. The wind was hitting me square in the face and I was sure that I could have walked faster than I was running. To add to it, the wind made it really, really cold and I was way under dressed. It wasn't looking good. Yes, I could have continued up to the summit but I'm not sure what I would have proved to myself... I would have just froze my ass off.
Instead, I cut left and bailed onto the Brookbank Trail. I figured that I would head up into the Dry Lake Hills and see if the hills and trees would give me some cover. Luckily, I made the right choice and it was way better. Still cold but at least the wind was minimal.
I had a really good run and the snow was in great shape for running. I only punched through a few times on Little Gnarly, the worst section of the run (which wasn't bad at all!). As a bonus, I got to follow some fresh animal tracks (the only fresh tracks on the trail) for the whole length of Little Gnarly. Kinda cool.
In the end, it was a good run even though it was still a 'jogging' pace. I felt good and the knee continues to feel like it can take more miles. I think that next week I will start putting in a 'faster run' at least once a week to add to the growing mileage.
I will admit that I am having a harder and harder time motivating to run in the super cold though... I had dreams of running in the warm sun of Sedona this morning. Man, I haven't been down there to run for a while.
Here are a couple shots from the run this morning...
(Top of Little Gnarly)
(Great running conditions on packed snow part way down Little Gnarly)
Yesterday: 0 miles
Today: 10 miles (Parked at Elden Lookout Road gate and ran Elden Lookout Road, Brookbank, Little Gnarly, Schultz Pass Road, Rocky Ridge Loop in 1:48 with 1,500 feet of elevation gain).
This morning I felt the need to go for a run over 15 miles and had a hankering to get on some trails so I ran from my house to the ever classic Rocky Ridge, Lower Brookbank, Little Gnarly, Schultz Trail loop. I was a bit sluggish on the climb of Brookbank but other than that felt good on the rest of the run. I never pushed to hard and just let myself run naturally, jogging most of the time.
The going was pretty easy as far as trail conditions because there is barely any snow in the dry lake hills now. The only areas that had any troublesome snow that wasn't packed down for good running were a couple sections at the dry lake above Little Gnarly and only a few spots on Little Gnarly. I punched through a bit in these sections but as long as a person runs this early in the morning 95% of the loop is in excellent running shape.
Yesterday: 1.5 miles to run an errand down town.
Today: AM 17.5 miles from house to Dry Lake Hills Loop and back with about 1,500 feet elevation gain in 3:05. Good to be out for more than a couple hours. Beautiful morning. Knee feels good. PM 2.5 miles with Susan on the mesa in some serious muck. Mental note: Trails are not in so good shape after everything melts in afternoon.
Note: It was great getting a longer run in after the extremely lazy weekend that Susan and I some how found ourselves in. Lot's of staying up late, parties with friends, sleeping in, not exercising and generally feeling like lazy bums. We haven't done that in a long time so it was probably much needed...it just threw us way out of our normal routine and made us feel poopy. It's good to get back in the regular routine again and be a productive person!
It's amazing how good 30 degrees can feel when your used to it being in the negative! I ran on the mesa this morning at 8 am in 30 degree HEAT and I didn't even need gloves or a hat. Luxury. It felt downright warm out!
On the run, I felt pretty sluggish and it took me a while to get into it. In fact it took me all the way to the last mile or so before I felt good. Man, just no energy this morning... seems like a trend in my running this week.
It was still worth getting out though as it was beautiful and warm. As a bonus to the amazingly good weather, I saw some wildlife in a rabbit and some deer. Cool. I haven't seen any animals besides birds while running in quite a few months.
Yesterday: 0 miles
Today: 7 miles in 1:10 on the mesa and 2 miles running to work and back home
Week total: 36 miles (knee still feels great so I think I'll continue to add more miles each week and maybe I'll be able to add some faster runs in there soon (icy trails and knee willing))
Oh yeah... I had a conversation with a fellow Flagstaff runner yesterday (identity not posted to protect me more than him...) about running in the canyon and he knew some pretty darn fast people so I was wondering what his take was on the 1 hr 8 min ascent of the S. Kaibab trail that I read about recently. I was interested in if he thought that was fast or not and if he knew anyone who had done it faster.
He responded that he didn't think that was all that fast for the mileage and the elevation gain. He said that his brother had probably done it that fast and so he texted his brother about it to see what he had to say. His brother responded pretty much the same except that he added that a 1 hr 8 min ascent of the S. Kaibab wasn't anything to brag about and that people shouldn't think that is a very fast time. WOW! Either these are misguided words or I need to reevaluate who my running hero's are. Damn.... I want to know who these people are that can run the S. Kaibab so fast...or he is blowing hot air up my you know what.
He then went on to claim that people have run the R2R2R faster that the record and just haven't bothered to tell anyone! I have heard the claim before but no one has come up with any names of people that have done it. You would think that in this day and age of the internet, texting, tweeting and all that some one would blabber about their friend breaking the record and it would get around. Hmmmmm.....
Some conversation. I'm sure that this is boooooooring to most people but I love talking nerdy running stuff about the canyon and this conversation kind of blew me away.
This is COLD for Flagstaff. My morning run temp was 1 degree/-22 with wind chill. Wow. Believe it or not...it wasn't that bad, probably only because I had a trillion layers on with only my eyes naked to the elements. I only went 4 1/2 miles though. I'm not sure how a longer run would have played out. Good stuff and easily the coldest day of running of my life.
Today: 6 1/2 miles (4 1/2 on the mesa and 2 miles to work and back)
Gotta love running in the early am. Super cold! Especially in the last few days with winter showing it's frigid head again. Night time temps have been down to about 5 degrees. Beard frost is just part of the deal.
Not as bad as in Boulder, Colorado right now so I won't complain. I was just reading some running blogs where people have been running in -17 degrees!
Today am: Ran about 11 miles in 1:45 linking (from my house) the urban trail to Schultz Pass Road, then out the Elden Lookout Road to Lower Oldham Trail and through part of the loop of Buffalo Park and back home. Felt pretty tired the whole time and seemed to trip a lot...I even fell on my ass in one spot on the ice (funny...because I was walking through the section where I fell trying extra hard to be careful of the ice). Oh well, first fall of the winter. Not to bad. I'll try not to read to much into how I felt on the run either. Just one of those tired days. Still great to be out though. Beautiful morning.