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.

Time to Run

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It’s here, the night before the run. Everything is packed, timing chip hung on shoe, alarm clock(s) set. I’ll be getting up in time to get to ASU at 5:30am, hop on the school buses that take us to downtown Phoenix, and hang around for the race start. Having done this 3 times before, I know what to expect (and not to try peeing in ther parking lot, I got nailed by a Court guard one year).

I’m eager to see how it goes this year; my training has been fair, but I’ve not gotten in all the longer runs, and I am not having any dreams of running this one faster than any previous one. I’m aiming to finish, period.

The last time I ran (full marathon in 2008, that is one thing I shall never do again), I carried a phone with me, and even managed to send a few twitter messages (once while waiting for a bathroom, 2 while doing a walk break). This time I am not taking a phone; I have the iPod Nano for music and Nike+ tracking, and I prefer not to carry much extra. I am, however, going to try taking my old Canon pocket camera (fits in the hand well) and hoping to document the journey… I am thinking it it will give me something to distract my mind,

I did, however, sign up for a service that is supposed to send text messages of my status to a fewfriends, and my sister in Baltimore. Apparently, it is able to track the chip thing on my shoe. Two of my friends will be on the course, and this will help them know when I am getting close, and they may even tweet out my status for me.

I’m just focusing on getting to that lovely finish line.

I want to send a thanks to all the people who sponsored my run for Team Diabetes, where I was able to raise $2610 for the American Diabetes Association, most of it coming in the first few weeks I sent out requests (I begrudgingly admit that facebook was pretty effective).

I wonder what the next blog post will say?

Too Much Taper

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I’ve not run since last Wednesday’s long training, the 12 miler. This is, after all, part of the important “taper” down in training which Coach Dave says has been shown to be effective for the body repairing damage done by the months of training. I’ve taken a bit too much taper…

right down to zero.

Thursday I was still pretty damned sore from the long run. Friday and Saturday I “cross trained” by doing some intense physical activity- splitting, stacking and moving a 1/2 cord of firewood.

Yesterday, I finally got outside for a 90 minute slow hike up and down the Pine Trail, off of AZ 87 just south of Pine. I’d done this one last July, when I ended up running (hah) down the trail to avoid the thunderstorm that was coming,

The trail was super muddy, but I was blessed when I saw a big old full moon rise just over the edge of the Mogollon Rim:

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That was pretty damned amazing.

And tomorrow is Tuesday, which means I ought to be tapering up to the schedule! That is, if the forecast rain/snow showers is not too accurate…

Hiking Break

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After yesterday’s run, it was nice to change up the routine with a hike at South Mountain Park in Phoenix. Its been a while since I’ve done a hike, and today’s walk with my friend Sian (we could walk from her house). We headed up the trail from 24th Street, a nice trailhead I’ve never even seen before, up the Mormon Trail to the junction with the National Trail, then up even further to the other end of the “Hidden Valley” trail.

This short little section is just a natural playground, with a narrow pass the requires a side way passage– called “Fat Man’s Pass” plus a few more passage ways that require crawling or sliding down granite boulders smoothed by seasonal floods.

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What a great break from running! I think the miles still count…

Water from the Sky: What a Concept

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I’m in Oregon on the first leg of a multi-faceted 2 week trip. I arrived last night into Portland, picked up a rental car and headed to Eugene to visit my friend Tim. He said the weather was perfect… last weekend.

In first light, it was a promising day; we relaxed and took it casual. I went downtown to meet a colleague I knew from Maricopa who retired up here a few years ago; John and I enjoyed coffee, but before we were done, the skies had rolled gray and rain was gushing down. That scuttle my plans to go running by the river.

So I had to relent on running today, instead using an elliptical trainer in Tim’s basement for a 50 minute workout (followed by 30 minutes in the outdoor hot tub!)

Tomorow should be “less rainy”…. we’ll see.

Cross Training (or “anything but running”)

I opted to substitute some other exercise for today’s scheduled 40 minute “recovery” run– it certainly was a variety of activity. I can already tell I am getting wary of repeating the same local running routes (only so many ways to mix it up in a small town that has lots of hills.

Anyhow, this morning, it was physical labor outside. With the decreasing evening temperatures, it is soon time to light up the wood stove– well it will be after I return from a ten day trip October 10-23 as we should be into nights that get near or below freezing (it was 42 the other night).

So today I was organizing the firewood; returning the equipment to near the stove, piling up the firewood so it is ready to burn, and filling my auxiliary supply below the deck, which meant a bit of fun swing the axe to split wood– now if I had a blog for that, it would be, called “I Love Whacking Logs With an Axe” — and moving it around the house a few wheelbarrow trips.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I don’t know how to put miles on that activity.

After lunch, since it was such a sunny looking day, I opted to do something I’ve not done in months, take the kayak out to a lake. So I loaded it up on the car and headed north to Uppler Lake Mary, near Flagstaff, and scooted around the lake for a while, chasing herons, and enjoying the last bits of summer-ish weather (it was pretty windy, so not exactly summerish)

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

It was a beautiful day, but now the kayak is stowed to Spring 2010 (sometime well after I finish that… that… half-marathon!

Yard Workout

I made a personal substitution for today’s scheduled 35 minute relax run by doing some strenuous work in the yard; afew hours of moving rock, racking, and shoveling to finish off a project of widening and improving my driveway.

No miles, but some upper body work.

Back to the running thang Tuesday! And Wednesday! And Thursday! And Saturday! Yep, Coach Dave has amped us up to 5x running days per week. It’s going to be interesting to stay on schedule with the next 8-9 weeks of travel, with two trips coming up out of the country…

Cross Training – Backpack Trip

I’m in the early portion of a nice long 12 day vacation up at our cabin in Strawberry. Yesterday my wife and I (and our dog) ventured out for an overnight backpack, actually not very far away, to hike up Strawberry Mountain (which we can see from our place) to camp.

The hike in was not far at all, about a mile, but almost al vertical climb (700 feet), and wore us out! After relaxing, we hiked around 4 miles exploring the ridgeline and the views from up there. We intended to do more today, but were way low on water, so had an easy hike down.

It felt good to give the legs a different task– but back to a run on Thursday!

Stair Stepping in Frisco

I am in San Francisco for a work meeting at the lovely Grand Hyatt near Union Square. I wake up early, yet even at 6:00 Am the small fitness center is jam packed, and the 3 treadmills are in motion with what looks like a line.

Sigh, I resort to one of the other LifeFitness machines, one of those ski/stepper like ones. Even with my iPod I am bored silly, and manage to do about 35 minutes worth, and according to their mileage, about 2-3 miles worth.

Oh well, it counts, eh?

I Like Hiking

It’s been a long, long time since my wife and I did a desert hike, so today was a cross training today as we did the new Sunrise Trail on the east end of the McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale. This is part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a refreshingly outgoing effort by the city to keep tens of thousands of acres of beautiful desert free from development and asphalt.

This trail is no flat desert wander– it climbs 1200 feet in 2 miles to Sunrise Peak, which offers a commanding, sweeiping view of all of Phoenix, Mesa, out tot he Superstitions (the top of Weaver’s Needle), 4 Peaks, Fountain Hills, and the rugged wilderness to the north.

It was a great workout for the calves, and for the spirit as well- the desert is just life giving to me just by being there.