Saturday, May 19, 2018

This Week in Running 5/2 - 5/19

Yearly Total: 723

This Week in Running

Well, I have made it to Arizona and am residing near Arizona State University.  I am slowly transitioning into life as an Arizona-ian.

That means I've changed up my runs.  With daytime temperatures in the mid 90's it means I need to get up early and to get my miles in.  Generally I wake up around 6:15 and am out the door within 10 minutes and hit the Tempe Town Lake Trail.

It isn't a bad place to run but totally exposed.  There is one yucky porta-pottie about 2 miles into the run and another set of bathrooms another mile further along the trail.  There are also a few drinking fountains.  I always carry water while I run now.  While the air temperatures are in the low 70's, the sun is pretty intense.

There are some other runners on the trail, but not as many as I thought there'd be.  It is also fairly popular with people using their boats on the river (as I like to call it) and cyclists.  The trail is safe and flat and easy to navigate.  I managed to run 11 miles on it and wasn't bored.  I do, however, miss my Jordan River Bike Trail.

Perks at the New Job

Perks at Work

I have started a new job in Chandler, Arizona.  This was the primary reason why I relocated here.  And with it comes many new challenges (like coming up to speed on a new system).  However they do have some nice perks there.  They don't have a lot of junk food there.  Sure they are big on cereal but there isn't much in terms of candy.  They do have sugary drinks but they have some healthy choices there as well.  They have a Coke dispenser where I can put a shot or two of regular soda and chase it with a lot of carbonated water.  That way I get a little bit of sweetness and flavor without overdoing it on the calories.  My last job, they had a ton of candy and I more than took advantage of that.

Also they have a gym.  It isn't super huge by any means but it has enough dumbbells, benches, straps and so forth that I can get in a decent workout.  They also have some cardio equipment too. 

So basically, I get up early, belt out a few miles in the morning, go to work and to let traffic die down, I use the gym there.  I'll peddle on the bike for about 15 minutes before I do a fairly generic weight workout and what not.  They also have a shower so I can clean up before leaving.  By the time I head out, the place is a ghost town and the freeway back to my brother's place is much more doable.  My commute is nearly double in terms of miles but takes less time then it did when I was in Utah because it is mostly freeway.

Hopefully the double workouts will translate into some weight loss and faster times.

Upcoming Races

05/26: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #1 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
06/09: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #2 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
06/23: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #3 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
07/07: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #4 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
07/21: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #5 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
08/04: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #6 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
08/18: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #7 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
11/11: 2018 Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

OUR East Valley Rescue Run 5K Race Recap - Gilbert, UT

Official Time: 23:57
Placement: 10th overall, 1st in the 41 - 50 age group.
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 70's, sunny, slight wind from the east
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: Inaugural Year

Mile TimeComments
18:00A little conservative here, but definitely right on target
28:07Was hurting here but still very consistent.
2.967:52Crushed it at the end. Was fading but gutted it out to the finish
Total Miles: 2.96 - 24:01


I used to run a lot of 5Ks.  In the good old days, I'd pretty much do a 5K (or even two) a weekend and most of them were for charity or a recreation center.  As time has gone on I've drifted into longer events which usually wind up being for profit events.  That is fine... things change.

But now that I am in Arizona and with daytime temperatures reaching into the mid 90's, doing races longer than 10 KM get to be a lot tougher.  It seems that there are races out here, but most of them are 5 KM.

So while trolling the websites for a race, I found the OUR East Valley Phoenix Rescue Run. This group rescues young people from the sex trade and all the money generated from the race went to support that cause. Standing there before the race started, it reminded me a lot of the days went 75% of the runs I did were for charity.

I am usually a little skeptical of inaugural / charity races.  They tend to be not organized very well.  But I was looking for something to do on Saturday morning and decided, why not.  I could be patient.

The Race

The race was held at Freestone Park in Gilbert Arizona.  Beautiful park and it looks like a gem for the city.  Lots of things to do there.  The race started at 8 AM, which in my opinion was a bit late, but the temperatures weren't too awful.

Packet pickup was a snap and I did a brief warmup and I was pleasantly surprised to see the race start on time.  (The guy organizing it, Matt -- looked competent and clearly he was a runner).  The event was also chip timed.

I started off and the first quarter mile or so was on some rough grass that eventually lead to a dirt trail.  It was like running on the warning track of a baseball field.  Not super great for picking up speed but soft on the joints.

The trail eventually led to the bike trail, which was more crushed gravel / sand.  I had gotten a good start and was feeling pretty good.  The aches and pains from all the half marathons I've done were a distant memory. 

I wasn't sure what I had for a 5K -- it's been a while since I've run one -- and the lower elevation was definitely playing to my benefit.

The first mile was sort of silly.  You basically made a turn to the east at the juncture, ran about a third of a mile down the bike trail, came to a sign, turned around, came back to the juncture and ran it again.  Initially I think the course design wanted you to do that turn around as you came back.  It led to some congestion, but being that this was a fairly small race it wasn't too awful and led to getting some cheers from everyone.

Finally you head west along the bike trail and those who were racing separated themselves from those just participating.

I was feeling pretty good although I was already dry mouthed.  I was running pretty evenly and didn't feel like I was dying.  Luckily, it was just a 5K and at the turnaround loop I didn't reach for any water.  It was nice to run on pavement here though and I could get a bit of a bounce after each stride.

After making the turnaround loop, you made your way back to the start line.  I could tell I was tired and reaching my maximum.  My stride lengthened and slowed down.  There were awards at stake and for a small race I wondered if I would qualify if I didn't win it out right.

I had a lot left at the end as I cranked it to the finish line breaking 24 minutes.  However, the course measured up a bit short (general consensus).  Looking at the MapMyRun course mapping, it is 3.11 miles, but I think the east section turn around was a bit short.  It should've gone to the last house on the street where as the racers turned around from the 3rd house.


The race went well for me.  There was some delay in getting the awards out, but generally speaking, the race was super well organized and it felt good to contribute to a worthy cause.  

I registered a few days before the event for $25.  I got my money's worth.  A cotton t-shirt, an age group award, and food and drink at the end.  They had basic supplies: water, fruit and some vendors were providing food as well.

I did well on the run and felt like I had raced with a solid effort.  It also gives me some idea of where I am at fitness-wise.  I did expect a slightly faster time given that I am now racing at 900 feet elevation versus 4300.  The course had a small hill or two but primarily it was flat and fast.

They had a good mix of runners there.  From casual runners participating in a charity event to those a bit more serious.  People were friendly and I wound up meeting several people there (including a fellow Utahn).

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mormon Trail - Phoenix Arizona


I was looking for another hike to do this weekend and opted to check out the South Mountain in south Phoenix this weekend.  The South Mountain range is a popular place for local hikers and has many accessible trails.

I opted to go for the Mormon Loop Trail along 24th street.  There is plenty of parking here as well as a drinking fountain.  There aren't any bathrooms here, however.

The trail starts off aggressively but it is well maintained and not too difficult.  You will have to be in shape and there isn't any shade on it.

After a mile or so, you are done with the climb and the trail levels out.  The trail also becomes less rocky.

The trail offers a lot of views of the Phoenix valley and there were several spots where I stopped and checked out the view of the Camelbacks and other mountain ranges.  Cell phone reception was also good throughout.

The trail is popular with other walkers and there were some runners and cyclists -- so definitely pay attention as the mountain bikers had no fear and would come cruising by.  

The trail isn't the most beautiful but it does have some seguro cactus and other desert fauna.  There was a stretch where we ran into some petroglyphs as well.  

The Mormon Loop isn't really a loop but a stretch of trail.  To make it a loop, you need to take the National Trail back.  So be sure you get your bearings or have a map handy so you know how far to go.  The route I took was pretty much the Mormon Trail and at which point it forks and goes to other trails.  I did an out and back, being not super familiar with the area.

This hike was enjoyable as it was only about 15 minutes from where I am living now.  It is a workout but it isn't brutal.  Be sure to bring sunscreen or wear protective clothing and carry plenty of water.  It was in the low 80's and it certainly felt warmer.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Papago Park - Phoenix, Arizona


After my long run on Saturday I was itching to do some exploring.  The temperature was slowly increasing and the high for the day was going to be in the low 90's.

I wound up getting there around 10:30, which was already kind of late.  It was warm.  Also, there isn't a lot of shade at this park.  However, it was easy to find parking.  I wound up parking at the zoo but there are a few turnoffs with limited parking.  Basically you find a spot where you want to start your hike, park there and find a trail.

The park is bigger than it looks and there are a ton of trails.  Not many of them are marked and it is easy to navigate.  I hadn't studied the map at all and I wound up taking in most of the park's features in about 90 minutes.

There are some simple climbs but generally speaking it is casual hiking.  

This is a gem inside the city.  The smell of sagebrush is pretty strong and there are some cacti here as well.  The trails are visible from any vantage point and you can sort of make your way through the park at whatever route you'd like.

There isn't any shade here and if the temperature is intense, it could be outright dangerous.  There are some zones for picnics and water and bathrooms do exist.  

The park is used by hikers, trail runners and even some mountain bikers.  I really enjoyed my experience here and a good hiker can take it all in, in under 2 hours.