Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Trail Runner and The Mountain Biker

Today I had to do a 1 hr 15 min trail run on "difficult" terrain, according to the training plan. I decided the Redington area would do. Lots of climbing and descending in rocks and scree. Actually, I'd rather trail run out here anyways. With the mountain bike there's always a lot of hike-a-bike. This time I'd be free to run the entire way and not have to push a bike. So I threw the trail runners and hydration pack in the Jeep, and Zac put his bike on the roof rack. We drove up to the 3 Feathers parking area on Redington Rd. When we started at 10:30 AM, there was only one other car there. We thought that was kind of odd for a warm Saturday in January.

Zac took his camera and I took mine, so we have pics of me trail running and Zac mountain biking. I went ahead and started my run while Zac got the bike ready, as I figured he'd catch me soon. I walked for 5 minutes to warm up, then started my run. The Jeep road immediately heads downhill on steep, rocky terrain. Loose gravel covers the rocks, so it is super slippery. But this is what I was here to practice on. I made my way down the first steep section, then had a flat spot before "The Chute." The Chute is a large, steep rock formation that many 4WD vehicles play on. A white Jeep was blocking the route I wanted to take down, so I ended up staying far to the left along the hillside. I made my way down this section before the trail flattened out and started to climb. It was pretty much either climbing or descending while on this trail. I ran for about 40 minutes, with Zac leapfrogging past me on his bike. We would take pictures as he rode and I ran, and I got good at fishing my camera out of the front pocket of my hydration pack when Zac rode by.

At the 40 minute mark I turned around and ran back the way we came, figuring the trail was mostly uphill on the way back up. We only had 1 Jeep and 2 dirtbikes pass us while we were out on the trail. When we got back to the parking lot there were a ton of vehicles parking and unloading dirtbikes and quads. Looks like we had picked the perfect time to hit the trail. Overall on this technical trail I averaged a 13:15 min/mi pace. It was a bit slow, but my legs were also super tired from the past 3 days of workouts (A mountain hill repeats on Thurs, mountain bike time trials and run brick on Fri, and hard trail run today). I only had a few slides of the feet on the steep, rocky sections, but didn't crash. Thankfully tomorrow is an easy recovery road ride and TTG swim. The easy workout day couldn't come soon enough!

Johnny and Liane will recognize a lot of where these pics are from the many training rides we did out here this past summer. ;)

Trail running the Jeep trail:
Wee! A downhill!

Zac at the very top of a climb. Does he look tired?

Running past the cow pond:

Zac at the intersection of FR4417 and FR4426. And there's still a little snow in the Rincons!

Zac blasting down the downhill of FR4426:

Me crossing a cattle guard. It's much more difficult to run over these than to bike over them.

Saguaro and blue sky:

Zac enjoying the downhill:

Hiking up "The Chute."

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