My Main Street Takes You To A Canyon

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Today was Long Training Day. I was not feeling up to waking at 4:30am to join the Team D training, so I was only my own to pick a 20 mile route. One option was to repeat the loop I did two weeks ago around Strawberry Mountain, but double back to repeat the loop (done that one, not too inspired). Another plan was to start in Pine and follow Highway 87 almost all the way to Payson. Walking on a narrow shoulder on a well traveled highway was not sounding thrilling at all.

Plan C was to follow the main street in Strawberry, Fossil Creek Road, all the way out of town (I had down a 4 mile outward trip last month)- 10 miles would take me all the way down the steep switchbacks to the bottom of Fossil Creek Canyon. I was a bit wary of being far out of range should I need help, but thought it was not much different than taking the hiking trail down and back up, something I’ve done quite a few times.

It ended up being 19 miles in total, but I figure I traded that one last mile for doing an 1800 foot descent into the Canyon and the same ascent outward. Here’s the map from RunKeeper:

I’m glad I opted for the warmer top layer as it was pretty cold in the shadows going down, and the sun was reluctant to show until after mid-day.

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I only saw one car on the road all the way down; there were a few parked at the first parking area where you can access the river. I forgot how far down it looked when you started- coming around that forst curve at the top of the Canyon, you cannot even see the river at the bottom. I measured it as 4 miles from that first view, but really its about a 5 1/2 mile down hill from the top elevation past the last houses in town.

But I made it to the river, and took a short rest and snack.

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It’s very peaceful by the creek, and a better trip might be driving down and hiking the creek.

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But I had a mission and had to get myself home, so I put the legs in low gear and trekked upward. Actually the pace felt good climbing out, and maybe I got lost in thought or music, but the trip out seemed shorter.

I’m glad I clocked the long walk in- and oh are my legs tight now, but I feel pretty good.

With the longer time planned on route for the big walk and the trainings, I’ve made a few gear adjustments. To have my iPhone bater last, I am using it solely for tracking the route with the RunKeeper app. Before leaving, I turn off wireless, 3G data, notifications, and quit all apps in memory. I figure I get about 3 hours to a charge. But I have added an Splash O2 Lite battery case, which adds an extra full charge. It’s similar in function to the Mophie I had for my iPhone 3G- the Splash specs seem like a bit more juice. The downside is that it means I have to stretch the rubber case on my Tuneband carrier to get the thing on my arm strap. For music, I am using my IPod Nano 3G, which has batter life galore. So my arm band is geeked out.

I was somewhere 10% battery left when I got back after 5 1/2 hours, so I dont know what to do for the Marathon day. I will either charge of my Solio charger so I can charge the phone or consider getting s Second Splash unit.

I am carrying my pocket Canon for doing photos- I really want to use the iPhone only for running the GPS tracking.

It’s all downhill now in the training taper.

I Meant It! Now a Change of Plans

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I really mean it about the title of this blog. I have tried and tried, and I failed to come to a joy our even tolerance of running. It’s been a while since I made this decision, but am late in catching up. I ran 5 miles on my first day in Spain in early October, than was out three weeks with bronchitis. I got a few more runs in after that, but was not feeling any motivation to go out, and then felt guilt because I was not staying up on my training.

This seemed counterproductive, and I full reached acceptance of my disdain for running.

So I hatched a new plan, since I was committed to completing the PF changs in January, especially as I had lined up sponsors.

My new plan is– rather than run (badly) a half marathon, I decided to walk the full (26/2 miles). This is not just slacking off, as it is not easy. You have to be off the course in about 7 hours, meaning I will have to aim for 16 minute miles.

But doing walks instead of runs means I could do more hikes, which I have missed doing. I got a great walk in for a 15 mile hike- form Strawberry down the forest trail to Pine, than round HardScrabble Road, taking Forest Road 428 behind Strawberry Mountain and back to Strawberry.

So I am on to I Like Walking.

Retired Shoes

2010/365/326 Retired Shoes
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I replaced the Nike’s I ran last year’s half marathon in with a new pair of Saucony shoes. These ones will become my new slip on and work in the yard shoes

My running shoes were definitely on the worn side, and this is good timing (I hope) to break in the new pair before January 19. I’m not too fussy about shoes- I’ve had Ascis, Saucony, and last year Nikes- none really hurt my feet and all felt good when they were new.

The bib from the Phoenix 10k I ran 2 weeks ago had a 20% coupon on Saucony shoes from Runner’s Den in Phoenix, and on Saturday I “ran” over there (I drove) and got some great help picking them out. My 20% savings went back to the store in getting some new socks and runner’s goo.

I’ve not been regularly blogging the runs here, though I do update in DailyMile (shows up on the sidebar), my Google Spreadsheet that automatically updates my totals, and since I am using RunKeeper on the iPhone, it posts an update to my Facebook page.

On Saturday, I repeated the week before’s adventure of a 2+ mile neighborhood loop and then taking the 3 mile downhill from Strawberry to Pine to meet friends for our regular breakfast at the Randall House. My sweetheart was here and drove the car down, afterward we had to drive to the Phoenix airport to send her on her way home.

I hung around Phoenix on the weekend with friends, and made excuses not to run Sunday or this morning. I was at the airport by 11 to pick up my Mom who is here for her annual Thanksgiving visit.

The weather here in Strawberry is dipping into the colder temps again, will be trying to pry time to do mid-day runs when is at least sunny and in the 50s or low 60s. Bring on the snow!

Running Down to Pine

Running From Strawberry
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Part of today’s training run was a 3 mile descent down AZ 87 from Strawberry to Pine.

What was that low distance whistle blowing this morning? Could that have been the excuse train? It id not ride close to my house, but its wail is distinct.

It was a great day to mix up the running routine, get out of town. The training schedule called for 8 miles today, two notches up from Sunday’s 10k run. I devised a plan/challenge. When I am in town, I meet friends for Breakfast in Pine at the Randall House at 10:15am. My idea was to incorporate in the run the long hill down from Strawberry to Pine– I measured it in my car the other day, and clocked 3 miles from the intersection fo Fossil Creek Road to the Randall House.

I prefixed the fill by doing a 1.8 mile loop around my neighborhood, just in case my energy waned, I would not by stuck down the hill. I felt okay, so I hit AZ 87 and climbed this side of the hill to the crest.

Going down felt great! There was not a whole lot of traffic, and I ran on the left side, facing oncoming traffic, so I could dodge to the thin to non shoulder if vehicles were approaching.

There’s very little good running surface once you hop off the road, a few short patches with some firm footing, and the one passing line, but the rest is slopping gravel.

I got down to Pine, passed the restaurant and continued south until I got to the Rimside Grill, and turned back, to stop at the Randall House (which, by the way, is the best place in town to eat!). I clocked 6.7 miles, which is okay.

And no, I did not run back up the hill, not this time (probably not ever); I got a ride home with a friend.

If only all runs could be downhill….

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Phoenix 10k

Phoenix 10k
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Thanks to snafu with the clock on my iPhone I almost did not make it to the start line (it made a daylight savings time adjustment although Arizona does not do that).

As is I did not have time to check in at ye TeamD booth, I forgot to adjust the basal rate of my insulin pump (I remembered a the 1 mile marker), and I never was able to untangle my iphone headphones.

But I just plodded along and did my 6.1 miles, at pretty much my usual turtle pace. It was weird at about the 2.5 mile marker when all of these really fast runners went by; then I realized it was the front of the pack lapping me (this route is a 5k loop down twice). They were like a heard of gazelle (and I was the hippo in the pond, standing agape).

The weather was warm and sunny, the course flat, and most importantly, I finished. I need to get back to the define training schedule and maybe I can feel more comfortable come January 17 going double this distance/







It was about 49 degrees at the outset, and felt good to be running again in sleeves. Once the sun poked out it was nice. I started out on my usual loop, but spontaneously decide o go in a different direction, and found a nice new shortcut that removes some running along our busiest street in Strawberry (busy means 1 car every 15 minutes).

Took on some hills on this one, had a few good spurts.






Up From Zero

This is the giant flat bottomed divit in my training:

Two Three weeks ago was my last run- 5 miles in Barcelona. Three days later I was coming down with something, on the long flight home (the last leg in a 29,000 mile trip in two weeks), I knew I was falling to the mat, a TKO. I got to Phoenix Wednesday night, coughed all night at a friend’s house, managed to drive home, and spent 8 days hacking and not sleeping. My doc diagnosed it as a secondary bronchial infection riding on a normal virus.

I feel like I am still getting out of it, but know I need to ge the shoes back on the road, so just set out for an easy short loop. Just to see if I could.

Actually, it was not horrible, but need to climb back up the curves; was planning to do the Phoenix 10k next week.

Pine Creek Canyon Hike

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To mix things up, and ease into the schedule, and heck, to avoid the drudgery of running, today I went on a casual hike with friends into Pine Creek Canyon. A friend who lives near the entrance knows the people that run the private church camp at the end of the road, so we felt ok walking through camp. The canyon was gloriously lush with fall yellow colors, giant sycamore leaves, even the ferns had some autumn color.

I’ll stretch and count the miles here. Who cares? I am not training for the Olympics.

On the Brisbane Waterfront

After breakfast and a walk with my local friend Cyprien, I had a good sense this would be a great route- mostly flat and a lot of visual stimuli to occupy the mind. There was some sort of rock concert going on at the stadium across the river, lots of colorful people strolling about!

Given Coach Dave’s pace advice, I took it easy on the pace today, but just t make sure, I found a little kick at the end.

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All in all a good outing today, although I collapsed back at the hotel after a long shower. I’m clinging to hope that I do not catch the virus that was swirling at my friend’s house I stayed at for my first night.

And I cleared 10 miles this week, the weekly distance plots will keep arcing upward!

Running Down Under

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It’s upside down here in Australia.

Or maybe I am.

I landed this morning (which technically is yesterday afternoon) in Brisbane, Australia, after a 25 hour plus jaunt the included a bus ride to San Francisco airport, a short flight to Los Angeles, a loooooong flight (12 hours) to Auckland, and another 4 hours to Brisbane.. I feel good for getting at least 6 hours of sleep on the long haul.

But I was determined to get some exercise in today. I am staying tonight with a colleague, Phil, who technically lives in “Indooroopilly” (gotta love the names of places here), and he advised me of how hilly it was around here. He was not kidding, but suggested a walk up to the reservoir, where there was a great view of the city:

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and then explore running through some of the neighborhoods and up a trail to the peaks of the hills of a large city park area. I ended up walking up the trail parts, because it was pretty damned steep. But it was lovely terrain:

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And I jogged gently back down the steep parts.

So today was more run walk, then run, but I got in 3.5 miles and was out there more than an hour.