Tandem Ride & Sabino Run 
Sunday, January 25, 2009, 06:40 PM
Posted by Administrator
Paul had been struggling with a cold for a few days and so, when the alarm went off Saturday morning signaling us to get out of bed for the regular Saturday group ride, he convinced me to turn it off and crawl back under the covers. Okay...maybe "convinced" isn't the right word. He mentioned sleeping a little later and I didn't argue.

By 9:30 a.m., we were fully-rested, out the door and on the tandem for about 90 minutes of riding in the Rancho Vistoso area. Paul took it easy except for when we came upon other riders. Apparently, tandems are supposed to be fast and we have a reputation to uphold.

Paul felt better and better throughout the day and we planned to join the trail runners for a 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning run at Sabino. However, during the night, the cold moved into Paul's chest and, by morning, he was hacking up some nasty stuff. Not wanting to risk backsliding into full-on sickness, he opted for a short, easy jog in the neighborhood with the dogs.

I had my heart set on a trail run and so I drove to Sabino Canyon and found a huge group of trail runners gathering in the pre-dawn chill. There must have been about 35 of us and I was instantly glad I had come. It's been months since we last ran with the group and it was wonderful to catch up with friends

While the majority ran the 17-mile Bear Canyon Loop, I did a shorter course, running up the Phoneline Trail and down the road. I did a 20-miler last weekend and plan to do one final long run next weekend, and so I needed this one to be a little more moderate than 17 miles. The run started off beautifully with a sky full of morning colors.

I ran as much as possible and, when forced to walk, was mindful to push it and keep my heart rate up.

Phoneline is rather easy to navigate and yet I managed to make a wrong turn which led me down a steep trail toward the road. I realized early on that I had messed up, but decided to keep going as I was planning to get on the road at some point anyway. But, after about 1/2-mile, I decided that the trail would dump me farther down the road than I wanted to be and would cut my run too short. I turned around and started trekking back up the steep climb, reminding myself the entire way that it was a good workout. My legs were toast at the top. But, I quickly got on the correct trail and, within 20 minutes, was at the top of the road (where I had intended to be) and ready for the downhill.

It is always a little surreal for me to run a Sabino trail and finish the run on the road. While on trail, I only came across three small groups over the course of two hours. As soon as I hit pavement, the numbers began to rise. By the time I got to the parking lot, there were droves of people heading into the canyon. People of all ages, shapes and sizes. People with trekking poles and baby carriages (which is rather impressive considering the hills). A shirtless elderly couple walking. There was even a man reading a book while he walked - a novel, not a guidebook. I love the solitude of the trails, but the road provides some fantastic people-watching opportunities, and, at that point on the run, I welcome the distractions.

The higher you are on the road, the fewer people you find. This is partially due to the challenge of the climb, but today it also had to do with the water flowing over the bridges. It was cold and there was no way around it. But it was beautiful! I was tired, but the sight and sound of the rushing water gave me a boost in the final miles.

I finished up at just over 10 miles with tired hamstrings, but feeling good otherwise. I've got two more weeks to strengthen the hammy's before resting them for Pemberton.

Tomorrow I fly to Las Vegas for a week-long conference. The last time I conferenced at this particular off-the-strip hotel, I wound up running large circles in the parking lot and doing stairs in the parking garage. I'm optimistically packing some running clothes and hoping I can find something better this time.
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