Monday, March 23, 2009

Change of Venue

After 3 years, 400 or so posts and over 3,000 web hits, I've run out of things to say using this medium. I'm not stupid enough to say that I will never post again, nor am I ready to say that I'm shutting down my blog; however, at the moment, I don't have anything add to this great social discourse.

That said, like many of my dear friends in the blog-o-sphere, I've taken up residence in Facebook. The Facebook interface provides a crisp, clean form of expression and seems to suit me particularly well right now.

Drop me an eMail if you'd like help finding me.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Strange Days

Things just keep getting stranger and more stressful.

Running: 3.2 miles last week ... one run, on a treadmill. That's it, nothing more.

Yoga: 1 one hour session. Cool, but not enough. Just didn't have the time between.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Ostrich Festival 5K

Race Report: Yes, this is fundamentally a running blog and I am happy to report that I ran a race. A real race, with bib numbers and a clock and everything. Just like the big boys run.

There was another stunningly beautiful Arizona sunrise as I drove down to the Chandler, AZ this morning for the Ostrich Festival 5K. This is an extremely small race, probably less than 200 runners involved. The race ran straight up the main drag in the tiny town of Chandler, did a 180, ran south past the finish line, did another 180 and finished with a mad sprint to the line. Straight and Flat.  Flat, Flat .... really flat.

Gun time was scheduled for 8AM, but was delayed by 30 minutes. The folks with the barricades didn't show up until 7:45AM and the Chandler police wouldn't allow the race to start until all of Arizona Ave was blocked off in both directions. This was no easy feat. AZ Ave is the main thoroughfare through town and the police had to block off all the cross streets and businesses for 1.5 miles. The race director kept telling us that we'd start "soon" and then "relatively soon" for 30 minutes. All this time, I just jogged around near the starting line, trying not to tighten up in the cool Arizona morning air.

Finally, the starting horn blew and the really fast guys took off with me in pursuit (LOL). My breathing became labored quickly and I knew I was running way too fast, so I backed off a little. As I passed the 1 mile mark, I good looking (read - very fit) couple passed and me and I asked the guy if he took a split; "6:50", he reported.

6:50 first mile. No wonder I was winded. In the past three weeks, my weekly totals have been: 0, 8, 4; I wasn't up for an early morning 6:50 mile. My quads were squawking and my lungs were burning, but the turn around was less than a 1/2 mile up the road, so I kept looking forward, continuing to run as fast as I could.

The nice couple continued to put distance between us and I know I was slowing down because several more people passed me after the first 180, although I picked up an adrenal rush as I could now see the long line of people behind me on the opposite side of the road. I may be slow, but at least I wasn't near the end.

The leg back to the start line was about what you'd expect; left foot, right foot, repeat. Thoughts of, "what am I doing out here", swirled through my brain. Push, push,push, ever pushing forward. It's only 3 miles Phil, SUCK IT UP and get moving. I never did see the 2 mile marker, but turned it on over the last 1/2 mile in an attempt for a good showing at the finish.

The clock read 22:29 as I crossed the finish line. I think that works out to an average 7:15/mi pace. Since I ran the first mile in 6:50, I slowed to an average pace of 7:27/mi over the last 2.1 miles. Not exactly melting the rubber on my soles. But all-in-all, a good morning.

I even got a few pictures (you knew I would have pictures)

You can't have a race in Arizona with women with guns on horses

My best side

Pre Race Game Face
Warming up on a cool Arizona morning

Yoga: I'm keeping up with yoga as best I can. Work has been insanely crazy of late and I've missed several day time classes as a result. But I'm getting out and doing it. My only regret with yoga is that I didn't start it earlier.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spur Cross Ranch - 2nd Trip

Running: Ran an 8 miler through Spur Cross Ranch Conservation area this weekend. Started out at 1:30PM under clear skies and took a billion photos until the high thin clouds rolled in and ruined my perfect Arizona conditions. The first 2 miles headed north along Cave Creek. Filled with flowing water, I had 5 creek crossing to contend with. This was definitely strange for an Arizona trail run. But the trail was in great shape. Slightly up hill, but relatively rock free. 

The next 3 miles were flat out - unrunnable. Steep and rocky with Cholla and Prickly Pear hugging each side of the narrow path. The views were spectacular and the trail features no fewer than 3 natural springs; again, a rare site in the Arizona desert. I lost the trail 4 times in this section, usually miss-reading a narrow wash for the faint, unmaintained and relatively unused trail. 

I also discovered that the boys and girls at Maricopa County Parks and Recreation didn't bother to include trails they didn't want folks to use on the map. This presented somewhat of a problem for a first time trail runner. At one point, I knew I wasn't heading in the right direction, I got out my compass (part of my survival pack) and dead reckoned my way back to the real trail. Fortunately, the park service had provided a topo-map. Lots of fun though

I ran / walked the last 3 miles. Ran when the trail was safe and walked the steep / rocky section. All-in-all, a great day in the park. It was the best $3 I'd spent in a while. As always, I posted a ton of pictures below.

Yoga: I'm hitting the yoga mats again. I got to my yoga class on Friday and will make Monday and Tuesday this week. 


As with a lot of roads in Arizona, the road to Spar Cross Trail is dirt

Running along the 1st mile on the Metate Trail

The 2nd Cave Creek crossing, loads of fun:

A candidate for the hair-club-for-men

Gnarly Cactus along the Trail

Dead Saguaro along the Trail

Trail in Tonto National Forrest

Cave Creek Crossing, where did all this water come from?

The last Cave Creek Crossing ... I had no idea what lay ahead

Still looking confident after 3 miles:

Trail 252 .... holly crab ... what have I gotten myself into?

The Trail climb up and up

From 2009-02-28; Spur Cross Run

Phoenix is out there somewhere

From 2009-02-28; Spur Cross Run

Really big Saguaro Cactus along trail 252 ... still struggling with the trail

From 2009-02-28; Spur Cross Run

Saguaros needles glisten in the late afternoon sun

From 2009-02-28; Spur Cross Run

This trail is un-runnable

From 2009-02-28; Spur Cross Run

A last picture of the park after my run ... a great day

From 2009-02-28; Spur Cross Run