Run Through the Desert

This weekend, we were in Phoenix for a company trip and I took the opportunity to get a little running in. I have a college friend out there who recently started training for a marathon so I called him up for a trail recommendation. He ended up playing trail guide for John and me and the three of us did a 14 mile run on the trails that wind through North Mountain.

We started about 10am and in no time it was obvious we were at a higher elevation and in warmer temps. My HR was skyrocketing. My marathon friend was running all the uphills and was leading most of the way. I plan to walk the big hills in the 50k so I was doing the same there. With my HR high, I didn't fell the need to try to keep up. It's not like you can get lost on those trails.

I was tired at mile 5 and knew that wasn't a good sign. But we stopped at a park and refilled our water. I started getting hot, even though the temps were only in the mid-70s so I took off my shirt and ran in just a sports bra. That was the first time I ever did that. It was kinda nice, actually.

It was another 2 miles out and back to the end of our route. We stopped for water again and started the 5 miles back. By this time, everyone was slowing down a little. My marathoner had now slowed considerably and John and I led on the way back, still walking all the uphills. We kept him in eyesight since he wasn't carrying water. *Note: On runs over 60 min in the desert, always carry water. Better to be overburdened than under prepared.

Everyone made it back safely and I downed a liter of water and a bag of pretzels without a problem. John says congratulations. I then realized that is the longest I've ever run. I had never run more than 13.1 so 14 is a new record. I would have been more excited if I wasn't so busy stuffing my face with pretzels (Thank God for salt!).

It was a beautiful run, even if was exhausting. I don't think any of us could have gone farther without more water or food. We were all at the end of our lines. Going to higher elevation and hotter temps affected me more than I thought. But the good things was that even though I was tired at mile 5, I didn't get any worse through mile 14. I shouldn't write this, but the last 5 didn't seem to bad. We did 14 in about 3 hours with a few stops and walk breaks. I was pretty happy with that time. I'm hoping for a sub-8 hour finish at Psyco Wyco and that puts me way ahead of pace.

A sub-8 hour finish seems slow, even for 50k, but this course is brutal. Most of the women's finishing times from last year were over 8, so I don't want to get too ambitious. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be running in just a sports bra. I'll have to save that for the summer race. :)

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