Another weekend long run come and gone. I’m very much enjoying all the time on my feet. It’s been four weeks in a row of actual long runs. Over the last months I’ve been keeping to the weekly mileage (40-45) but I had skimped on the long runs. Saturdays that should have been 25-35% of weekly mileage (11-15 miles) I had not gone much beyond 9 miles.
So here I am, week four. I decided to head south this time. Simple route: up to Tramway, south to Commanche and then up into the Foothills and onto the trail. After that head south and make a loop back up. Some elevation gain but mostly gentle ups and downs with some technical terrain.
The first section of trails was in a narrow corridor between houses and the mountains. I had one scare where a rock loomed up out of the dark and made me think it was a mountain lion. It wasn’t.
In the end it was 2 hours and 50 minutes for 16 miles. I’m happy with the Average HR (151) and Average Pace (10:39). This placed me solidly in the Aerobic Zone for most of the run. I guess that makes for a strong workout.
It was pretty damn beautiful out as well. Desert mornings are the best.
I can take a hint. Back down to the road and off to home.
Keep running folks. Or walking. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I’m pretty happy with all of this. I’ve gotten faster each time, which means the intervals are paying off. and I always feel like I am just getting started at the finish which means all those long runs are paying off.
Speaking of intervals. Today is normally Workout Wednesday where I run about 8 miles with 4x1mile intervals. Not wanting to drop my mileage only to add it later in the week I still woke up and ran this morning.
So my time today in the 5k is after getting up and (very casually) running 5 miles on the trails the same morning.
I’m happy with that.
Keep on keeping on people. Doing that daily work pays off in increments.
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For all you audiobook types, the GODSGRAVE AB is sounding AMAZING. There’s a 7 minute sample for you to listen to here.
Quick update to report a successful long run today. It has been a few years since I ran all the way up to the ridge in the Piño Trail here in the ABQ foothills. A running acquaintance I know just did and up and down which promoted me to try it again.
I am currently trying to stick to a schedule where even on the weekend (Saturday) I will get up at 4 to start my long run early. That way I can spend a few hours running and still be home before noon. I get more family time.
I was out the door just before 5 this morning. It was cool and clear. The moon was a thin crescent just above the mountains as I set trundled towards them. I made a new friend along the way (vinegaroon or whip scorpion) and after viewing the lights of the city below watched the sun color the sky above the mountains.
It’s been a couple years but I don’t remember the trail feeling this hard. Part of it was running much of it in the dark which makes every trail run an adventure. There were a couple moments where I was spooked by noises in the trees but I attribute that to my current read which involves jungle exploration and poisonous snakes and jaguars. None of that here. Only bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes.
It took 2 hours to reach the ridge from my door. Not too bad for 7.8 miles up a mountain. Lots of sweat though. I took a short break to eat and drink and head back down.
Long run today ended up at 16 miles in 3 hrs 30 minutes. Lots of work but it felt good to be on my feet and see the sights.
It is all training and joy anyway is it not?
I pray you had a wonderful weekend. What did you do outside?
Race start was at 7am. Lisa dropped me off with the throng of runners and support peoples heading to the line. I passed a buddy who was waiting for the bathroom. He joked about me being shirtless but I pointed out how nice it was and they give you a shirt at the top!
Race conditions were about perfect. Cool 62º and shady and almost no humidity (desert life).
I tried to just run the race. I have a tendency to go faster than I should on the first 1.5 miles of steep road, but it burns me out for the incline near the crest. I think I did well. I jockeyed past a few folks but mostly just chugged along at my own pace like the Little Engine that Could.
Once I hit the trail section I was pretty much in my place. Sure there were a few places could have passed folks but there are not many opportunities and I’m not aggressive enough to make more. It’s fine. We’re all going to the top anyway.
Taking my time gives me the opportunity to chat with folks around me. I had a fella right behind me for a while who grew up in ABQ but now lives in Durango. Behind him was a young man recently moved to ABQ from Atlanta. How the Fuck he’s running up a mountain after only 6 months at altitude I don’t know but good for you Atlanta!
I made good time to the Rock Slide and by then I power-hiked a bit to get through all the switchbacks on technical boulders. Then run/walks to the crest.
I made it in 2:08:07 (by my Garmin). Honestly I am surprised and happy. Last year was 2:17 and the year before 2:15. Meaning I cut about 9 second off my previous year!
I did a good job of sticking with my training, not 100% but life gets in the way sometimes. I attribute this most to spending all that time on me feet. Mostly 40 mile weeks leading up to this and many were going up the many sides of the Sandias.
I look forward to carrying this progress forward into my training for Deadman Peaks 53 miler in Nov and perhaps Dead Horse Ultra a couple weeks later.
Here I am coming across the finish. Photos courtesy of my kiddo.
Here it is folks, the ABQ run of the Summer: the La Luz Trail Run. It might be the iconic race for ABQ but honestly it’s just such a fun and pretty run. It is also exhausting and pretty much straight up a mountain.*
*I know it’s not straight up, there are switchbacks but it feels like it’s straight up. I mean you gain about 1000′ elevation in just the first two miles on the road and then there are the stairs AFTER you run eight miles up a mountain.
The damage is done now. Race day is a week from today. I’ve been running 40 or more miles per week for the last five weeks and it feels really good. Last year at this time my mileage was really inconsistent. So we’ll see what benefits that reaps.
Yesterday I ran my final training run up La Luz. I did and up and down from the trail-head to the peak. 15 miles round trip. It doesn’t include the road on which the first two miles of the race take place but I have also been running up and down the Road specifically for a number of weeks (not as consistent as I’d like but hey!).
I’m shooting for faster than last year (2:17) and I’d honestly like to break 2 hrs but any finish will be worth it. I will not be running with my camera (pronounced: smartphone) so I took the time on this last up-down to snap a few from my favorite spots on the trail and the Crest. Enjoy!
I was going to take an after selfie but I forgot. I’m sure I was a sweaty mess anyway.
Thanks for reading folks. Wish me luck next week! Recap/update to follow.
Happy Weekend everyone. Just a quick update to say this Fourth of July we are sticking close to home and relaxing as much as possible.
You runners know what relaxing means right? Getting outside and getting the miles in. I enjoy my running solo more often than not, but it can get lonely sometimes, be sure to bring a friend.
Along those lines: Animal had mentioned to me recently that she wanted to go hiking like we had a few times before. I was a bit surprised at this as she is twelve now and not likely to want to have anything to do with her boring stinky old dad.
Yesterday am instead of heading out the door in the am I asked her if she wanted to hike and off we went! Of course we left a note for Sweetums and Lisa.
We took a short but fun route up to a nearby rock formation I’m fond of. Pretty level at first but it gets steep on the way up.
She took a breather at the top to meditate so I naturally took a Christ-like picture. Because I could.
On the way home we made a new friend!
We returned home unbitten but with a few surprise cactus needles in us. Breakfast and then off to the rest of the day. Not a bad way to start a holiday weekend.
I did get out there to prance around the foothills on my own yesterday and today. It feels like a reward to get some sun on my back after running in the dark every morning before work.