Sunday, January 25, 2009

Piestewa Peak

Another good week. Although I only got in 25 miles this week, I managed one fantastic hike through Piestewa Peak Park in Phoenix on Saturday. A friend from work and I hike the ultra-crowded trail to the summit and then the longer (and tougher) circumference trail around the peak.

As always, I took a ton of pictures.

From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


Yours truly along the Piestewa Peak Summit Trail

From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


My friend standing on top of Piestewa Peak - note the woman checking out his butt.

From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


Parts of this trail are steep. It rained the night before and the air was hazy with water vapor

From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


The White Tank Mountains 30 miles to the west. The smoke plumes are condensation caused by the cooling towers at Palo Verde Nuclear Power Station - 60 miles to the west.


From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


Self-portrait from the top

From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


Phoenix through the haze

From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


The sun finally broke through the morning clouds. The "V" shaped shadow is the top of Piestewa Peak

From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


Fields of Saguaro Cactus along the Circumference Trail (Trail 302)

From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


Camelback Mountain off in the distance

From 2009-01-24 - Piestewa Peak Park


You just can't get too many cactus pictures

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Superstition

I promise, there will be no more heavy or opaque (boarding on obtuse) posts for a while. Although I can't say that I've got everything under any semblance of control, life is, in general, good. Today, for example, I went hiking in the Superstition Mountains. I've lived in Arizona for 30 years and I've never once hiked in these hills. I haven't a clue why. When I lived in north Phoenix, they were only 60 miles away. I'd driven to the Grand Canyon, 200 miles to the north, more times than I can count, but I hadn't taken the time to hike in these hills.

I'm glad that I finally to the time. The hike was gorgeous. The temperature peaked at 75F (24C); the sky was nearly cloudless and visibility approached 100 miles. In other words, it was a perfect day for a hike.

My overall health is doing great. My weight is hovering around 170 pounds (+/- 2 pounds); I've kept up 3 times a week core strength training and I'm still taking a Yoga Class once a week. I'd like to find the time to do more yoga; but so far, I haven't managed to fit it into my schedule; and, although I bailed on my planned marathon scheduled for the end of the month, running is going well as well. I'm getting in a solid 30 miles a week and really enjoying each run.

I have an 8K trail race scheduled in 4 weeks and I ran the course this morning - it's going to be tough. The trail has 100 yard (plus) stretches of sand as the trail winds through washes and other areas that are severely torn up by horse hoofs. But, overall, the course is flat and rock free - a hard to find combination in central Arizona. I also worked out my entire race schedule for the year and I'm really excited. This should be a great year.

Hope you are all doing well, especially my friends living in the colder regions of North America. I realize that I'm down here on the deserts of the South West US running in a singlet and shorts while you're worried about freezing off your tender bits ... but it is exactly this sort of weather that allows us to survive the 110F+ heat of the summer :)

On to the pictures.

PERALTA TRAIL - SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS - ARIZONA

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail

From Superstion Mountains - Peralta Trail


Great hike - 1400 foot vertical climb in 2.2 miles - Great weather - Great scenery - nice aerobic workout.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Life 101A

Life is funny isn't it. At one moment, you are confident that you understand your future and everything is laid out in front of you in an orderly fashion. The next moment, you are jolted out of complacency and realize it's all an illusion as some random event drives you in a completely different and unexpected direction. Life is about choses. We don't get to pick the questions, but we do get to choose the answers.

On the running front, I'm getting back into the swing of things after a slower than expected December. I'm still running injury free and I've worked my way back up to 30 miles per week. My weight is down to 172 pounds; just 4 pounds above where I was when I graduated from college over 30 years ago. Being lighter, I'm running faster at a lower avg heart rate. This morning, I ran 10 miles and kept my HR right around 135 BPM. My avg pace over 10 mile = 9:36/mi. Two months ago, I ran a similar run much nearer 152 BPM. I'm still not ready to take on a marathon; but I have signed up for a shorter race in February. It's all good.

Hope all of you are off to a great start for 2009. It should be an exciting year.

Cheers

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Desert Run

Took my black lab out for a nice 6 miler through Piestawa Peak Park this afternoon and took an awful lot of pictures. My left arch is sore from all the pounding on the rocks, but it was worth it. I'm still on a high from last night's 3 mile PR.

Instead of bunch of words, I'll let the pictures do the talking:

I took way too many Pictures of my Black Lab; but, with the sun low on the horizon, I actually got a few good shots. He often simply blends into the background:








Of course, after hamming it up for the camera all afternoon, I couldn't get him to turn around to take a picture with me:




This whole area is real pretty with rolling hills, rocky trails, beautiful vistas and plenty of Saguaro cacti.







I think this is what is left of a Palo Verde Tree



You can see "4 PEAKS" in the background ... over 50 miles to east:





Have a great week and a fabulous year!