Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

First ... I want to wish a happy Father's day to all the dads out there. I hope your special day goes well and that you get to spend some time with your kids.

My two younger daughters are still sleeping. In fact, it appears that my 18 year old daughter had a sleep over last night. I found her on the couch this morning and discovered two guys sleeping in her room. I assume I know them; guess I’ll find out in an hour or so. Since everyone was still asleep, I slipped out and headed back to the "land of the howling coyote".

I got a late start this morning and didn't get to the trail head until 6:30. The temperature at the Phoenix airport was already 82, so I imagine the temperature out there was close to 80. This is Arizona after all, so there isn't a cloud in the sky for 60 miles in any direction.

Today was a day for a free run. I ran my 7.3 mile figure 8 loop through the park without my heart rate monitor nor did I pay much attention to Mr. Garmin. I had the Garmin 201 turned on to record the miles, but I didn't slavishly monitor my pace. I just ran.

After 5 miles I knew I was running faster than I should in 80+ heat. My legs started feeling a bit heavy as I passed under 56th street heading back towards my car parked at the trail head, but I pushed on. When the Garmin beep to inform me that mile 7 had finally past, I stopped running and started my cool down 0.3 miles early. This gave me a chance to take a 6 minute cool down; 1 minute longer than normal for a easy run.

My friend the howling coyote showed up again this morning, but wasn't nearly as aggressive as yesterday. Although I jumped 3 feet in the air when he let loose with his first howl, I kept on trucking on the down the trail and didn't pay much attention to him. He followed along a safe distance (for him) behind me and my dog and seemed content to keep his distance while barking is displeasure with my trespass.

After a couple of miles of this, a women on a mountain bike passed going the other way. She had heard the coyote barking and howling as she approached me and the coyote was apparently more interested in a cute girl on a bike than an old guy and dog. He immediately started following her and lost all interest in me.

I'll be kicking back today and enjoying the day (although I do have several hours of work to do tonight). I hope you all (and I mean everyone) have a great Sunday as well as great week of running in the days ahead.

Keep running

Training for the week

Sun - 7.0 miles, easy, 9:06/mi pace


Runner Chic said...

I must admit that I am a bit jealous of your running location. Trails…. Mine are all pretty much city streets. I try and stay off of the sidewalks as much as possible. Now the coyote is something that I could do without seeing. Maybe that is all I need to pick my pace up a bit.

Phil said...

I only run the trails on the weekends. My daily easy runs are on city streets + a small park with a 0.7 mile fine gravel trail. In total, I run just over 2 miles on gravel, 1 mile on concrete and 3 to 4 miles on asphalt. Nothing special.

Although the trails in the Reach 11 park are great, most of the trails around here are brutal; rocks, rocks and more rocks. These trails tear up your shoes, trip you up when your tired and generally beat the crap out of you as you're running. I decided after a nasty fall last year that I was getting too old to hurt myself running rocky trails, so I stopped completely.

Even though this trail is graded, you are out on the desert where little creatures live. I've talked about my run-ins with Mr. Coyote recently; but I've also run into rattle snakes while running, which are more of a problem than the coyotes. At least the coyotes will let you know when they are nearby. The snakes, on the other hand, lay on the trails sunning themselves and it takes my feeble brain a few seconds to discern the difference between a broken tree branch and a living animal with poison tipped fangs. I haven’t run over one yet, but I’ve come very close. I also run in the occasional tarantula or scorpion on the trail. But these animals are relatively slow and don't pose a big threat.

In the end, running on dirt / gravel with no cars beats running on the street with traffic any day. Unfortunately, I only have time to drive to the trails on the weekend, else I'd probably run out there every day.