Monday, April 25, 2011

2011 Cave Creek Trail Race

So my first race is in the bag. I placed 2nd in a field of several hundred runners, on a pretty difficult course (see race results here). Definitely a lot of positives about this experience. I'm certain I won't become a regular in racing events... but its something i wanted to do out of curiosity, and now i know. All positives aside.... I had a less than ideal couple weeks of training coming into the race weekend. I've been experiencing a rather disturbing knee injury that prevented me from going about the last two weeks the way i would've liked. I fear i might be dealing with a serious knee issue that could become quite problematic. I've experienced lots of injuries along my running journeys the past couple years, but its funny how everything seems to work itself out. And just a little background info... I've had right knee issues since i was about 10 years old, but its nothing that was ever serious enough to keep me from pursuing the various athletic endeavours that I've participated in through-out my life. It'll be interesting to see how/if it bounces back in the coming weeks and months (fingers crossed). But i managed to make it through the race in tact, and no worse for the effort. Although in the following days it hurts to even walk. Back to the positives... this was a well organized event for a great cause... a great course that was well marked, and lots of awesome volunteers. I'd like to say I'll be back next year, but we'll have to wait and see. For now i just want to get healthy enough to return back to running the mountains of northern Arizona!

I also want to congratulate everyone who participated... you should all be very proud! And i especially want to congratulate my main competitors... 1st place Chris Wolf, this guy is an elite elite runner, check out his amazing race resume. And 3rd place Nathan Marine, also an accomplished runner.. he placed 1st in the 2010 Cave Creek Trail 5k. It was a huge honor finishing in the top 3 next to these runners! Great job guys... hopefully our paths will cross again one day.

A few pictures from the day:

Beautiful Cave Creek sunrise

About 10 minutes before the start
How about those bright fluorescent green nikes!
The first one out
Cruising along
Mens 1st, 2nd, and 3rd

Monday, April 11, 2011

weekly summary: Apr 4-Apr 10

Mon-PM: 7 miles- Cave Creek 10k Trail Course, 1000'
Traveling down to Phoenix for a couple days for work related distractions. Decided to check out the Cave Creek Trail Course. This was a hot evening run before dinner. Definitely a gnarly little course.... very few straight sections to gain any real speed. Should be interesting on race morning with a few hundred people thrown into the mix. I also ran an extra mile just checking things out.

Tue-AM: 2 miles- Phoenix streets around hotel, 0'
I had something more substantial planned, it just didn't turn out that way. I was feeling a bit off.. plus my left hamstring was tight/sore. Decided to just take it easy and enjoy the rest of the morning back at the hotel with my babies.

Wed-AM: 6 miles- Hotel treadmill, 0'
This was more of a caution decision than a convenience decision. I wanted to make sure i didn't wonder out onto some desert trails with this lingering hamstring issue. As it turns out i had no problems... other than the obvious annoyance of the wretched contraption i happened to be running on.

Thu-AM: 10 miles- Chuckwalla Mesa/jeep roads/old mining trails, 1600'
Ahhhh... first run back (in a few days) on my usual Mingus Mountain trails. Felt great this morning.

Fri-AM: 8 miles- Chuckwalla Mesa/jeep roads/Silver Spring Gulch, 1000'
Super windy this morning, gusts around 30 mph. Very hard to get a rhythm/groove in weather like this. Looks like a big storm blowing in.

Sat-PM: 2 miles- Chuckwalls Mesa, 100'
Very cold... with blowing rain, sleet, and snow... Nasty winter storm. I opted to not have a slog fest and take it a little more conservative for a big run tomorrow.

Sun-AM: 18 miles- Black Canyon Trail, 3200'
This one definitely goes into the "special" category! Just amazing for numerous reasons... I was supposed to run in Sedona with Mary and Tony, we ended up deciding to do Black Canyon instead, Perfect! I got to the trail head around 8 am, Mary and Tony were coming from Flagstaff... Mary showed up about 20 mins. late letting me know Tony would be even later, and we should start without him. We hit the trail by 8:30 with a plan to trek the 7 miles to the end of the trail and back. It was an amazing weather day with the previous days storm still lingering around Mingus Mountain. It was cold and sunny at the base while the mountain disappeared into the low hanging clouds. We started the ascent literally climbing into the clouds.. it got more and more dense as we climbed until we popped out at the saddle 5 miles in, and it was calm, still, with brilliant blue and sunny skies. Once we descended into Gaddes Canyon from the saddle it was ankle/shin deep snow... fun fun! We made it to the turn around at Allen Springs Rd. downed a gel  and began the 7 mile return. We got just below the saddle almost 2 miles back where we met up with Tony who had gotten a later start due to his travel/weather delays. Tony wanted to continue on to the end of the trail where we just came from. We decided to make the turn around as well... adding several miles, and several hundred vertical feet onto the day. Not a problem at all as I've been wanting to hit the 18 to 20 mile mark for several months now. We hit the turn around (me for the second time) and began our 7 mile mostly decent back to the base of Mingus.. where my jeep awaited with some much needed bananas and water. This was a great run for me. The awesome feeling of being back on my favorite trail was only amplified by extra miles and vertical.


-Miles: 53

-Vertical: 6,900'

An interesting week... this was my second week in a row of being out of town for work distractions, which always screws up my running in some way. It was also (not coincidentally) my second week in a row with two runs of zero climbing. And it was the second week in a row of zero double run days. Mostly my mileage decrease was due to early week travel coupled with my trying to accommodate a long run. While I ended up a little short on miles, I got to check out the course I'll be racing on in a few weeks, and i got to have an amazing long run on my favorite trai/mountain. More changes will come as i put the various pieces of this puzze together.

Monday, April 4, 2011

weekly summary: Mar 28-April 3.... and March wrap-up

Mon-AM: 8 miles- Chuckwalla Mesa/jeep roads/Silver Spring Gulch, 1000'
An ok morning run. Still feeling a bit off. Got this in before taking off to Tucson for a few days.

Tue-AM: 7 miles- Tucson streets, 0'
This was what it was. I never run this much on pavement anywhere... not fun, but really the only option i had given my time constraints.

Wed-AM: 5.4 miles- Mingus Union High track, 0'
Early morning speed session. 1 mile warm up... 5x1000 w/100m jogs... 1 mile cool down. So this was my third speed work out, and third variation of type of work out. Not my favorite one of these, but again its all for a specific reason.

Thu-AM: 8 miles- Chuckwalla Mesa/jeep roads/Silver Spring Gulch, 1000'
Nice temp run... felt great!

Fri-AM: 8 miles- Chuckwalla Mesa/jeep roads/Silver Spring Gulch, 1000'
 Perfect weather this morning! Solid run.

Sat-PM: 10 miles-Chuckwalls Mesa/jeep roads/Silver Spring Gulch/FR413, 1300'
Not feeling well most of the day... opted to skip my usual morning start. Kept it casual and felt great. A beautiful Arizona evening.

Sun-AM: 11 miles- FR 152/Vultee Arch Trail, 800'
This was a beautiful morning run in Sedona. Met up with Adam and Lindsay, owners of the new store... Sedona Running Company. These two are a couple of badassezz for many reasons... very cool people, and awesome runners!! I had the privilege of meeting them last week while checking out the new store. A few emails exchanged and they were nice enough to invite me for this beautiful run. Hope I'll be getting together with them for regular outings.


-Miles: 57.4

-Vertical: 5,100'

Just a slight decrease in both mileage and vertical. Its all good... it was a deliberate decision to cut out my evening runs. This is mostly me trying to figure out whats the best combination, and use of my week to reach specific mileage/vertical goals. I was also taking it down a notch to give myself a very slight bit of rest, plus i was traveling early in the week. I'll be traveling this coming week as well... but i have a few cool trail runs scheduled. So hopefully it won't be much of a hiccup. Strange that this was my second week not making it up Black Canyon Trail... its ok, I made the sacrifice to run with Adam and Lindsay in a beautiful part of Sedona, which was well worth it. I have a feeling they'll be joining me on a few jaunts up my favorite trail soon enough.


A quick glance at March:

-Miles: 263.8

-Vertical: 32,400'

Not bad! I feel very happy with these numbers. Definitely my most consistent month. No days off, most mileage for a month, and certainly most vertical for a month.... I'll take that, and hopefully keep building.