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.
Last weekend we took some time off to head over to Texas to attend the wedding of one of my cousins. Lisa and I decided to make it our summer trip and extended the time away from home in order to have a little fun in Texas. We are outdoor folk so we opted to do a little camping on the beach in Galveston, but first: the wedding in Houston.
Hot and sticky Houston.
We camped overnight at a KOA in Arlington on our way to Houston. It was there that I encountered my old nemesis from the Midwest: Humidity.
The air was still and thick. I was instantly reminded of sleepless nights in Minnesota trying to sleep, praying for AC, or a breeze through the window.
The girls slept decently well, as did I. Lisa struggled a bit though and she grumbled at us in the morning but some Starbucks coffee helped to settle that out.
We spent some time in Houston wandering around Discovery Green, which was near our hotel. Local eats and a splash park makes for a good time.
We even managed to creep on my mother and sister arriving to the hotel. Spotted them right from our room and then sent them sinister texts.
The wedding was beautiful and low-key but still fancier than I ever dress up. City folk! I pretty nearly tore the head off some of the bridesmaids as we were walking out. They were bitching about how the people with babies couldn’t keep their kids quiet and how they would never let that happen at their wedding. (the italics = snobby voices).
It wasn’t my kids but this selfishness and ignorance pissed me off. These young assholes have never had kids so they don’t fucking know. They don’t know. I had to mentally restrain myself from ripping them a new one. Lisa could see it in me and appreciated my restraint. It happened again at the reception but Lisa reminded me it was not my day.
We let it pass and spent the time at the reception catching up with other family members who had traveled for the event. It was good to see everyone.
Prior to the wedding we spent the day at the Downtown Aquarium. Not the fanciest aquarium I’ve seen but in good shape and just big enough to keep you and the kids busy for a while. We skipped the rides and stuck with the fish. And the tiger. Seriously why a tiger? It was pretty though.
Unicornfish because DnD
Decent looking Mayan glyphs
Sleepy but beautiful tiger.
Galveston Pleasure Pier
After the wedding it was OUR time. We chose to head down to Galveston Island to enjoy the Gulf. Animal had only been to the ocean once and doesn’t remember and Sweetums had never been there. First stop the Pleasure Pier.
Note this is the girls first amusement park. We are either terrible or amazing parents. Take your pick.
It was pretty fucking hot. Lisa melted a little I think.
We had a good time on the rides but it was more fun playing in the waves on the beach. After a day in the heat (and humidity) we headed for the beach and set up camp. It was much cooler with the constant breeze from the water. The girls fell asleep pretty fast but Lisa and I read a bit.
In the morning I had a relaxing 6 mile run on the beach. I did it barefoot which was fun. and the view was pretty good too.
I met up with Lisa and the girls after and we spent the day playing in the waves. Animal is one hell of a body surfer and Sweetums plays in the surf with the best of them. We even made a couple little friends.
An old friend even decided to swing by and say hello!
I do want to say: Lisa and I made some amazing little humans. They were patient and excited and amazed throughout the entire trip.
On our way home we stopped and got a treat. Lisa looks suspiscious but Animal looks happy. Sweetums is drinking my milkshake!
Despite all the fun and ice cream, we were happy to make it home to dry, arid (4% humidity) though still hot New Mexico.
Enjoy your summer. Stay safe and cool in the heat.
I’ve been a bit silent on my running habit lately. I think. Well even if I haven’t here comes a quick update on that.
Back in April I completed the Cedro Peak 50k as I previously mentioned. That was my last official race and I don’t have anything on the books until La Luz in August. So I’m just running my daily schedule.
Work held a company 5k at the end of May. Not many of the engineers decided to come out but it was fun. Good weather and a fast flat course. Same as last time. This time however I was the winner. I finished in 20:56 which is about 20 seconds faster than last time. I even sprinted at the end. It was fun.
If you haven’t seen it yet Strava is holding a Mile PR event for June. #mymile they are calling it. Just run a mile and do what you can. Might even win some shoes.
I figured I’d give it a shot because I run every damn day anyway (not Mondays though, those are rest days). So last Wednesday I booked it during the last of my mile intervals. According to the Garmin on my wrist I achieved a PR of 6:12. Strava doesn’t account for the 1 min rests after each of the four intervals so I looks like I’m a bit slower.
Anyway I’m pretty happy with that. I’ll try again next Wednesday.
Holy shit I can ramble. The whole reason I hopped on here was to make a quick blup about today’s run because I had such fun. I’m adding up the miles and the elevation in prep for La Luz. Last week that meant 11 Miles round trip up La Luz Trail itself.
Today I ran out my front door and up Bear Canyon and Embudito Trail. Just beautiful. Hot and lots of up but beautiful.
It was fun. It was hot and horrid but such fun and so much beauty to experience. Oh and I think every cicada in ABQ is alive and buzzing up the canyon. They were so LOUD you could have heard them through your earbuds. Glorious.
I pray you get out and enjoy that which fills your bucket.
Not really any shenanigans but plenty of fun. Last week saw both of our girls celebrating birthdays. Yes they are five years and two days apart. Yes it is fun but also kind of a lot. Mostly fun though.
Animal turned twelve this year. She’s a “young” twelve though. I think so anyway. She’s not into the pop culture and drama that seems typical of preteens and teens today. I know it’s coming but for now I’m happy to encourage he to keep reading a book a day. Srsly.
Animal made her own cake with a mold recently sent by my mother. She’s really good at this stuff.
Animal didn’t want a party. Too cool for that I guess or maybe it’s not cool enough? I don’t know, I heard that somewhere.
Anyway she will get a day to herself where she gets to dictate the meals and events that take place. Probably we’ll end up at home reading then watching Avatar: Legend of Korra. Sounds good to me.
While we were at Sweetum’s party I did manage to snag a picture of her that, well it is just beautiful:
Two days later on Friday was Sweetums birthday. She’s seven now. Damn they grow fast. They also made a cake with the mold sent by my mother. It turned out as great as Animal’s cake. These ladies are strong bakers.
We met her at school during the day for a special lunch (Blake’s Lotaburger), followed by donuts for the class as a treat. In turn they treated me to a concert of sone songs they had prepared for Mother’s Day that I (as a dude) did not get to see. Great fun!
Saturday we held a big party for Sweetums. She basically keeps asking for the same party so we keep delivering. As long as she likes it she will get it.
Sweetums party recipe: Jumper, Party Games, Food.
That’s it. A hot air balloon themed jumper which is fitting for New Mexico. Kids love that shit. Lisa put together a number of games for the kids to play. Water Balloon toss, Donut eating and Something about pouring water over their heads into the cups behind them. I dunno where she got them all but the kids loved them. Messy silly wet fun. What else do you need to keep people happy?
They kids and the adults had a lot of fun. Lisa has received a number of compliments of the party. No one has said shit to me. I didn’t do much planning, just set up but still why assume she did all the work? The nerve!
I am incredibly grateful to have Lisa here to plan and coordinate such events. I am a lucky husband and father to such amazing girls.
Happy Birthday everyone!
What are your favorite party games from childhood?