Meet Me at La Encantada

I’m well into my tapering phase now, and I can’t believe I leave for California so soon. I also can’t believe I haven’t finished planning for the trip yet. Blah.

Tonight I did a quick 3-mile group run with the Meet Me at La Encantada group here in Tucson. The group that organizes this run/walk program also does Monday night run/walks downtown (one of which I attended) and organizes some local races. We had gorgeous views tonight and the 5:50PM run was perfectly timed to get the best of the sunset. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take pictures because I was running… but here’s a view of the mountains behind the mall taken on a previous visit. I’m definitely a solo runner at heart, but sometimes it’s nice to get a glimpse of the running community as well.

La_Encantada

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Next Stop: Disneyland!

Seeing blog posts and tweets all weekend about the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events in Orlando has really started to get me excited about the upcoming Tinkerbell Half in Disneyland! I’ve finally got my butt in gear about making plans, and today I did my last long run. The Tinkerbell Half Marathon starts at 5:00AM in California, but with the incredibly cold weather here in Tucson today I think it was a fine dry run. Check out these times:

Mile 1–10:03

Mile 2–9:41

Mile 3–9:37

Mile 4–9:37

Mile 5–9:44

Mile 6–9:51

Mile 7–9:40

Mile 8–9:45

Mile 9–9:47

Mile 10–9:49

Mile 11–9:52

Mile 11.1–9:10*

Total: 1:48:23

If I can manage this pace again next weekend, it will be no problem to cover the last two miles and finish in under 2:10, which is my goal. I’ve felt like I slacked off a little on training over the past week or two, but today’s run gives me confidence. Next stop: Disneyland!*

(*After I finish a full week of work, that is. Blah.)

Random Running Thoughts

Screen shot 2012-12-03 at 10.53.26 PM

 

I promised to get back to posting about running soon so here it is. November was lighter on miles than the last few months, coming in at just under 70, but considering that I twisted my ankletwice, that I had an unexpected visitor for the last two weeks of the month, and that I made a whirlwind road trip (pictures forthcoming!), it wasn’t bad overall. I got in some hiking miles too while the weather was good, and it’s still sunny and in the 70s here in Tucson for a few more days. Yeah, be jealous.

I’ve already exceeded my milage goal for the year so anything I do in December is a bonus, but ultimately I would like to maintain 20 miles/week on average this month with no further injuries. I need to get serious about training for the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon in January, though the 9-miler I did this past Sunday was a big confidence booster. Maybe one more race before the year is out? Who knows. It’s also time to start considering 2013 goals. Is it time to start training for a full marathon? Should I sign up for a spring half with my friends instead? Or do I need to spend less time thinking about running and more time working on my dissertation? (Spoiler alert: Yes.)

…All this and more, plus pictures of Northern Arizona coming soon!

Thanksgiving Cross-Country Classic 5K

Yesterday turned out to be a decent Thanksgiving. I ran the Thanksgiving Cross Country Classic 5K, organized by the Southern Arizona Roadrunners Club. The SAR puts on a lot of great events which I am rarely able to attend, but the registration fees were reasonable at under $20 and, at the time I registered, it seemed like a good way to force myself out of the house on Thanksgiving. It was also hard to resist the appeal of a cross-country race that boasted hay bales and water jumps.

 

I hope to have some pics from this race as soon as my father is able to download them from his camera. The end results:

  1. I got a time right around 28 minutes, which is not too shabby on a tough course like this. Loads of hills, obstacles, and uneven terrain.
  2. I had a great time and did something fun and interesting on Thanksgiving.
  3. I saw a handful of people I knew, and promptly tried to hide from them all.
  4. I fell in a ditch and twisted my ankle. Again. This brings me to the point that people with recurring ankle problems perhaps should probably not be running x-country races through ditches.

So… my ankle is several colors and all kinds of swollen today. Walkable, but no good for running and my hopes of getting any significant mileage this week are shot. A couple of days’ rest might not be a bad idea, given that I am still trying to catch up on work and to deal with entertaining my unexpected houseguest. Dad and I had a great Thanksgiving meal at Pastiche here in Tucson; he went with a traditional Thanksgiving meal and I got something more friendly to my dietary needs. However, the task of finding things to do with him, finding things to feed him, and getting my own work done is still sapping my energy a bit. My parents are so settled in to their lives in small-town NY that everything here is overwhelming to my Dad, and everything at home seems to overwhelm my Mom when she’s alone. More on that later, I’m sure. Some big doings are planned for tomorrow…

Be Careful What You Wish For (and, A Hike at Catalina State Park)

After repeated conversations with my parents last week about being depressed, afraid, and worried about being alone, my father decided I was genuinely too depressed to be alone and came out to see me. It is the first time in 4.5 years that any of my friends or family from New York have come to visit. I’m feeling a lot of things about it: happy not to be alone, frustrated to be ambushed and kind of babied (since no one actually asked if this was OK and I was only told about it when he was already on his way), annoyed at being distracted, but relieved to feel loved by someone (a human being) for the first time in months. The panic and depression is less this week… but only because I’m completely being distracted at every single moment.

Anyway, today’s distraction was visiting Catalina State Park in the north of Tucson. What’s great about this park is that it offers a range of trails for everyone from beginner to expert, and even for horseback riding! My father is not much of an athlete, so we just did two easy trails: The Birding Trail, which offers mountain views and a range of birds if you come early in the day, and the Romero Ruin Trail, which offers ruins of an ancient Hohokam village and early Spanish ranch. If you’re into more advanced hiking I recommend taking the trails to Romero Pools, but today this was enough. The entrance fee to Catalina State Park is $7 car, $15/night for camping, but my father’s verdict is that it was well worth the money for great photos. I only took a few, but here are a couple I like. Plus some chocolate dreidels from nearby Sabino Artisan Chocolates. Yum!

“Fun” with Fives

I hate five-mile runs. I don’t know why. Maybe because:

  • They are just long enough to seem quite tedious on the treadmill
  • They push the limit of how far I can run and still be relatively speedy
  • There is no good loop in my neighborhood that I can run which is exactly five miles

So, in the name of forcing myself to do things I don’t like, I decided to make this a week of fives. Normally I try to do one five miler mid-week, and I go to great lengths to avoid it by running, say, two 4.5 mile runs instead of a 4 and a 5. Yes, it’s crazy. But so am I. This week, though, my walking 5K on Sunday put me behind on weekly miles and I got the idea to try doing four five milers back-to-back. Today was my third run, and it’s actually been going better than expected… aside from some slight malfunctioning with my Garmin. Again.

Slightly old picture of Old Main on the University campus

I did my first run South from my house to the University of Arizona campus and back, but I had to tack on an extra block at the end to bring it to 5 miles. My second run, yesterday, was North to the Rillito River Path, where I normally do my long runs. Today I went to campus again on a slightly longer loop and got to five miles just as I was reaching home. Tomorrow I am debating whether I want to run outside in the morning, go later on the treadmill, or drive myself to a park or somewhere exciting. The weather in Tucson on Monday and Tuesday was great; I was able to run mid-day on those days, but temperatures are creeping up again now. Overall, I can’t say that running fives will ever be my favorite thing, but for this week it’s been quite manageable and a useful distraction from chaos that’s swirling around. More on that later, I’m sure.