Practicing at Pemberton 
Saturday, December 27, 2008, 07:48 PM
Posted by Administrator
To ease the stress of our holiday travel day, Paul and I decided to spend Monday night at a Phoenix aiport hotel. And since we'd be in Phoenix, why not drive just a little farther to McDowell Mountain Park and run the 15.5-mile Pemberton Trail? We'll be running two loops of this course for the Pemberton 50K in February, and so this training run would give me a good idea of what to expect.

We arrived at the trailhead in the early afternoon and, at the last minute, I grabbed my ear warmers and gloves from my suitcase. I hadn't anticipated needing them until we got to New England and it was nice running weather at 55 degrees, but I had a feeling it would cool over the next few hours.

After just 20 minutes on the trail, big, fat raindrops began to fall. We discussed the options for a few minutes and decided to continue on. We could always turn back, right? A light rain came and went, but I was really enjoying the trail. It's quite flat (for a trail, that is) and we had it all to ourselves, except for a small group of mountain bikers. The course is mostly gentle rolling hills with gorgeous 360 degree views.

About halfway around the loop, the rain really started to come down steadily. No sense turning back now! I was very happy that I had grabbed my earwarmers and gloves. It doesn't seem like much, but they make a big difference in keeping me comfortable.

As I approached 10 miles, my legs began to fatigue. For longer distances, such as this, I am accusmtomed to taking walk breaks. I had planned to walk the uphills and run the downs and flats...but the uphills were so gentle that I ended up running a lot of them, which meant that I walked very little.

The last few miles were tough. The cold and rain had turned all exposed skin a nice bright red color, and my legs were toast. I was very happy that we were only running one loop today. And I definitely need to start cutting out walk breaks on my training runs.

Cold, exhausted and hungry, Paul and I drove straight to Picazzo's for the world's best gluten-free pizza (and their salads are pretty fantastic too), before checking in at the Holiday Inn. Although we were tired, it felt good to know we had worked hard since we'd be spending much of the next day sitting on our tushes at the airport and on a plane.

Next up, the holiday vacation report. Happy holidays!
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