Saturday, March 31, 2007

Shots Fired

Friday is a rest day (thank god), but Thursday was pretty busy. I had planned to get up at 4:45, run 10 miles and get to my office in north Phoenix by 7:00 AM. I got up at 4:45 and was on the road for my 10 miler before 5:15; however, after 3 miles I knew 10 miles wasn’t in the cards. I was trudging along at a 9:30/mi pace and my heart wasn’t in the run. I finished a couple of more miles and went home.

My daughter had soccer practice on Thursday night which offered me another opportunity to get in the 10 miler. Her practice field is near a trail that runs along the AZ 51 Freeway. The trail has bridges over all cross streets so there is no traffic for miles and miles. The trail dumps into a desert park at the far north end which offers more miles of running of dirt trails. A dropped my daughter off at practice, ran over to the trail and headed north. It was dark by the time I started; fortunately, I remembered to bring my head lamp.

I reached the park after 3 miles and headed into the dark desert. Running in the desert at night is definitely creepy and it’s the rattle snakes that freak me out. I’ve seen plenty of them while running in this area when it’s light and I can see clearly, but the thought of seeing a 6 foot long snake with its tail rattling suddenly coming into view directly in front of me kept me on edge. Of course, I made it to the turn-around point and started the 5 miles back to my car without seeing anything and only hearing small animals rustling in the bushes as I passed.

Everything was going well on the return and I was actually starting to relax when I heard what sounded like a shot-gun go off a little way up the trail in front of me. Oh great, here I am worrying about a random snake and some idiot is out shooting up the desert in front of me. Hearing gun fire in Arizona isn’t that unusual. We’ve got plenty of guns in the state; in fact, it’s legal for anyone to walk around with a gun as long as it isn’t concealed. However, I still didn’t feel like getting shot.

Of course, I was cruising along feeling pretty good and wasn’t about to stop. Just before I got to the end of the dirt trail and rejoined the path along the freeway, I heard another blast and then voices. As I turned the last corner, I saw three kids scurrying up the path in front me. I quickly caught up with these guys and passed them; they were probably 13 or 14 years old. After I passed them, I realized all they were doing was lighting large fire crackers under the freeway overpass. The last thing they expected to see was some maniac quickly heading towards them with a bright lamp attached to his forehead. I’d run too if saw me.

The run was pretty good. 9:01/mi avg pace on the outbound and 8:41/mi avg pace on the return. I pushed the last couple of miles harder than I should and pushed my HR well about 150. My right foot went numb again on mile 4, but completely cleared up by mile end of mile 5. All in all, a great day. It’s been a long time since I ran a double.

Have a great weekend.


MON: Travel Day
TUE: 8.0 Miles w/10x100m strides; 9:01/mi avg pace; HR-142
WED: 5.0 Miles, recovery; 9:06/mi avg pace; HR - 145
THR: 5.2 Miles, recovery; 9:25/mi avg pace; HR - 135
THR: 10.1 Miles, medium-long; 8:54/mi avg pace; HR - 148
FRI: Rest Day


Laufenweg said...

what adventures you'd had because of running!

Ewen said...

Great 10 miler after the morning 'warm-up' Phil.

No such problems running here at night - guns (and fireworks) are rare, and you just have to watch out for the 'odd old' man (large) kangaroo that won't move off the trail.

Neese said...

glad it turned out to be firecrackers! Nice avg. pace on a 10.1 miler!

Hilda said...

Well, you are still brave enough to run out there in the dark and specting to find snakes, running there should be a whole adventure!

Wish I could run a 10 miler with that average pace.

Laurie said...

I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for all of your wonderful and supportive comments on my blog. I am happy to know that people appreciate what I write and can sympathize from time to time.

Nice job going out for a 10 miler after 5 miles in the morning. I would have *maybe* done 5 more in the evening and called it good. That is if I could actually run that far! Nicely done.

Bruce said...

Nothing like the thought of dodging snakes & gunfire (or crackers) to keep you on your toes. No snakes here in NZ fortunately. Interested to hear that you get a numb foot. I get that too sometimes. Any idea what's causing it?

Anne said...

Sorry, Phil, but as temporarily traumatic as that must have been, I can't stop laughing. To think you were as afraid of kids setting off firecrackers as they were of some guy running around in the dark with a head lamp. I can just picture it....

Lana said...

I can't believe you run out there with the rattlesnakes! I have nightmares about stuff like that! You are really something else. And I thought walking around in the midst of some ticks was bad!! You never cease to inspire me, Phil.

Amy said...

When I run at night (which is very very very rare!) I'm always scared that a car is going to come from behind, cross the street, and run over me. Or that I'm going to get chased by a dog. Now, I'll add snakes to that list...hadn't thought of those!