Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekly Jog Log: October 15th-October 21st

Monday October 15th
Dreadmill Tempo Attempt-4 miles-(35 mins)
I mistakenly let my wife talk me into joining her in the gym for a run. I was initially delighted when there was only one machine open so I could lazily ride the bike. Unfortunately, the machine opened up and left me with no excuse. So in order to attempt to make the best out of the dreadmill I set the incline at 3% and decided to see how long I could hold a pretty hard pace. Turns out not too long. Legs were really dead and dreadmills are BORING.  

Tuesday October 16th
Sophie's Flat Trail Attempt-7 miles (72 mins)
Tagged along out Wickenburg way and had plans to run the Sophie's Flat Trail in it's entirety. Unfortunately the trail is sparsely marked and the rains have wreaked havoc on many parts and I lost the trail near the first corral. I was running in the counter clockwise direction and decided to cut cross country to hit some higher points that I  could see. About 3 miles later (most of which was hiking) I found the trail and continued on. Due to my detour I was out a lot longer than planned so I cut across on one of the bypass trails to finish the run on the road. I'm coming back out on Thursday and will try the trail in the other direction to see if I can't find my way this time.    

Wednesday October 17th
Went for a 4+ mile barefoot walk while geocaching around the new neighborhood.

Thursday October 18th
Vulture Mine Rd. Sun C Trail 1 & 2-6.5 miles (55 mins)
Planned on a real easy exploration run out Wickenburg way. Geocaching told me there were some caches along a trail called Sun C trail. I was not able to find any other information online about such a trail but Google maps looked semi promising so I figured I'd check it out. Ran down the road for a ways and then turned onto jeep trails which faded into some single track for about a mile. This trail appears to have gone unused for quite some time as it was littered with ruts from this summer's rains. Took it real easy on the legs and walked quite a bit. Getting excited for Saturday's race.      

Friday October 19th

Saturday October 20th
Cave Creek Thriller 50k
Race Report to come

Sunday October 21st

Jog on Mates! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weekly Jog Log: 10/8-10/14...Warm Beer in the Desert

What a busy week. The wife and I completely moved out of the snowbird home we were staying in for the summer and are now back to the joys of apartment living. We actually really love our new place and have been busy unpacking, painting, and trying our best to use the pool while it still hits the 90s each day. After last week's race I took it relatively easy. I did try to have some quality long runs toward the end of this week because at the time of writing this I have about 8 hours to officially decide if I want to venture out on Saturday the 20th to try my feet at a 50k. I feel strong enough but I have not logged enough long runs to feel confident. At this point I think I am gonna just go for it and start extra conservatively to get a feel what it feels like to be on my feet that long. We will see. Here is how post-race week went.

Monday October 8th

Tuesday October 9th
Urine Hill* Out n Back-5 miles (45 mins)
Was planning on running for longer but moving duties were calling my name and my legs were still a little sore.

*This route was aptly named because on my first exploration run out here I stopped to relieve myself atop of this little hill. Just so happens it became the turn around point for many a run. Hence the name. 

Wednesday October 10th
No running today. Just lots of lifting and stair workouts with hands full of couches.      

Thursday October 11th
Urine Hill Out n Back-5 miles (45 mins)
Last run on my classic route. Funny how you can get attached to running routes. I have yet to find a go to route at the new place. Given the fact that we are living in the flat city more it may be difficult to find a hilly course that will whet my appetite. The White Tanks are about 7 miles away so that might not be a bad option.

Friday October 12th
Rincon Rd.-Scenic Loop Ridge Out n Back-14 miles (1:52)
Had to tag along with the wife to Wickenburg in order to turn in paperwork for a job. After the job duties were complete I parked in a "parking lot" off of the dried up Hassayampa River down Rincon Road. I then ran the road up to a jeep trail turn off that linked with Scenic Road. I took this road down hill to another jeep turn off which led back up hill to a ridge trail that I cruised as far as I could before I was forced to turn around in order to make it back for lunch with the wife. My legs felt awesome on this run and this will go down as one of the best training runs I've had in quite a while. This route had a mix of everything so it was really good test of fitness.

Saturday October 13th
163rd-MT-Bell Road-15 miles (2:12)
I realized that if I wanted to give the Cave Creek Thriller 50k a go I should at least experience what 30 miles feel like, even if it was over a 2-day span. This is probably not a good idea a week out from the race but I figured I would take it easy the rest of the week. I stayed in town to finish up moving stuff and had to drop off the borrowed car at the old house. This left me with only one mode of transportation to get back feet. Now I could have skirted all the roads and made this run about half the length but what is the fun in that?  I decided to run the Maricopa Trail (MT) from the end of 163rd Ave. to Bell road and then would take Bell Road home. Because I knew this would be a relatively flat run I chose to wear my overused New Balance MT110s. I also only brought a small water bottle with me. Of course I under estimated the heat of the day and was out of water by about 7 miles. The MT was in pretty bad shape and very overgrown thanks to the monsoons we've had this summer. This caused my shoes to be quickly filled with sand. This only added to the frustration of the day's effort. After a quick break to rid my shoes of the desert I glanced up what does my parched self see ahead on the trail and what do I behold but an unlucky off-roader lost his bounty and was now fair game for any who happened upon it....ME.

5 Perfectly Sealed Coors Light malt beverages begging for consumption.
Now I was quite thirsty by this point and I would be lying if I said that I didn't stop and ponder over the choice of continuing thirsty, or the immediate gratification that would come if one, or some of these were consumed. Fortunately, my better judgment won out and I passed over the steamy cans of Rocky Mountain goodness. The main reason was because the mountains weren't blue...and the commercials say that the mountains must be blue. By the time I hit the road I was ready to quit. It was at this point that my feet started to feel a little weird and I noticed that my shoes had completely come apart. The laces had torn from some eyelets and the upper was separating on one of them. I trudged along for another 2 miles but finally had enough of the shoes and ditched them. The last three miles were completed unshod and this actually took my mind off the thirst and hunger.

So there it is. What did I learn this week. Well a couple of things.
#1. I HATE MOVING. I would rather run 15 miles in the desert with little water and drink warm beer than have to move. This week I did both. Fail.
#2. Active rest is key to recovery. After actively resting and intentionally taking some days easier my legs feel great and I am ready to race again.
#3. Always bring more water than you will think you need. Never know when you might change the route last minute or get lost.

Long winded I know..

Jog on mates!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Estrella Mountain 20k Race Report

This race report is not going to be incredibly long because this race was rather uneventful. Leading up to the race I was nervous due to the fact that I have not ran particularly fast in quite some time. I threw in a couple "quick" days in the week leading up to the race but that is about it. This is the 1st race in the XTERRA series in Arizona. This is the second race that I have ran put on by XTERRA and I was not disappointing in the least. The course was a bland in the fact that it simply wound around the competitive tracks in Estrella Mountain Park but I understand the reasons for that. The course was very rocky and my feet have the bruises to prove it. Here is how my morning played out.
Banking a Hard Right

The gun went off and we banked a hard right and were instantly on single track. This caused a lot of runners to run next to the trail in order to get into a desirable position. I settled into about 8th place behind a lanky fellow who I coat-tailed up until mile 11. I chose to carry a water bottle and travel shirtless to cut down wind resistence and negate the need for aid stations. This turned out to be a rather successful strategy as the morning warmed up to mid-70s and I appreciated the lack of cloth against my skin. Naturally. The only real event in the race was that the leader strayed off course and at about mile 8 I glanced over my shoulder to see him. As he caught up to me I thought breifly about leaving my current rabbit and chasing him but my loyalty to the lanky rabbit caused me to stay put. I was able to hang in about 5th place up until the last mile or so where I was actually caught and dropped back to 6th where I would remain. This race demonstrated my need to run a bit more on flats and gradual hills rather than the abrupt hills I've been training on. When it came to anything flat or "easy" my legs felt dead and lazy. All in all it was a solid race and a lot of fun. I went way faster than I thought I was capable so that was a confidence boost.

The only other photo can be accessed here search for bib 29 or my last name (Carlson)

Next race is going to be my first attempt at an ultra on October 20th, Cave Creek Thriller.

Jog on Mates!

Weekly Jog Log: October 1st-October 7th

Another month is upon us! Wow how time flies. Last week I mentioned that I was going to begin teaching a sixth grade class. That was a bit hasty on my part as after some prayer and counsel from others I decided to go in a different direction. Other opportunities came to the table and I have decided to pursue those instead. Hopefully will have more details on that later.

Patsy and I ventured up to Flagstaff to spend some R&R and a B&B for her birthday. I could live in that town. Let me rephrase that...I WANT to live in that town. It is so beautiful and is about 40 degrees cooler than the oven we call Phoenix. The cooler climate, outdoor activities, and thin air are going to be cause for many more trips to the ponderosa pines and soft trails that spiderweb the city and surrounding mountains.

In other news...We are moving...again...Not far this time. Just across town. We are quite excited about the move...well not the moving part but the new place! is the dirt for this week:

Tuesday 10/2/2012
163rd-5 miles (46 mins)
Patsy and I got up and ran our normal route this morning. I tried to do some fartlekking but was not feeling it so I just settled in next to my blonde beauty.  It is finally starting to stay cool longer into the day. Didn't hit 100 till almost noon today!

Wednesday 10/3/2012
Jomax-Vietnam Memorial-10 miles (86 mins)
Got a little carried away on this one. My knee has been bothering me a little lately so I decided to stick to the flat this week. Also thought it would be a good opportunity to push the pace a bit. I was able to keep a decent pace for the first half but it was not comfortable. I think that shirking the flat this summer has lulled me into a grinding pace rather than a fleet-footed one.

Thursday 10/4/2012
Jomax-Cotton-3 miles (30 mins)
Real lazy tired run tonight.

Friday 10/5/2012
163rd-5 miles (38 mins)
Did a mile warmup and then did some faster mile repeats. Finished with about ten minutes of barefoot.

Saturday 10/6/2012
No running today. Just did about 3 hours of hiking and geocaching in Wickenburg. Now I'm sitting at the library eavesdropping on some elderly gentleman complaining about "kids" passing judgement on them about the appearance of their old trucks. Very entertaining. 

Hugging Cacti

Window to Wickenburg

Sunday 10/7/2012
AM-EXTERRA Estrella Mountain 20k

PM-163rd-5 miles (50 mins)
Post-race shake out jog. Was real stiff the first mile but felt pretty good the rest of the way.

Jog on Mates!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Weekly Jog Log: Sept. 24th-Sept. 30th

Although I welcome encounters with wildlife, it also reminds me of how privileged I am to enjoy the beautiful creation that God has made for us. It also reminds me of how darn close I may have come to many dangerous aspects of nature without even realizing it. After nearly stepping on a rattler last Sunday, my morning running kit now has an additional piece of equipment. Actually two new pieces of equipment. The first being a super cheap handheld flashlight...because when faced with a javelina, coyote, wild burro, snake, scorpion, or any other creepy crawly that might decide I look tasty, a flashlight will be the perfect weapon. Obvious choice right? The second piece of equipment might be a little less obvious but all the more useful. My handheld water bottle has a perfect-sized pocket for a leatherman tool. So of course I'm going to lug that along with me. In the event of an attack I'm sure my assailant will allow me the time to unzip the pocket, unfold the knife in order to allow for a fair assault. I'm glad everyone else agrees that these are necessary tools for every early morning runner. I digress...

In other news...I am now the proud teacher of a Social Studies/Language Arts 6th grade class. I know what you're thinking..."Jake, you can't right good, why the heck are you teaching language arts??" I am asking myself the same question. Lets just chalk this one up for the tick marks on the experience belt. Sometimes you can't be picky. is where my pegs have taken me this week.

Tuesday 9/25/2012
AM: Jeep Trails-74 Hill-8.7 miles (86 minutes)
Mumford & Sons Day!!! New CD dropped today to make for a very eclectic slow plod thru the darkness. on a sadder note, as I was jamming I received an email stating my rdio service would be cancelled. For those of you who know me, you know that music is another passion of mine. No, not playing music. I am musically challenged. I love listening to music and rdio is a service that allows you to listen to just about anything out there for a small fee of 5 bucks a month. But my cheap but forgot to re-up my subscription so I am currently without until the next pay day. Pandora it is then. 

PM: 163rd+mile Loop-5 miles (48 mins)
Saw the serpent again today. This time it was light out and I was prepared. The creepy part about this encounter is as I ran by him he simply coiled up and readied himself for attack. No rattling. Had I been a bit more aloof and unaware, I would've never known he was there. Cheeky little bugger.
Live Action
Wednesday 9/26/2012
Fartlekking on the MT-10.7 miles (85 minutes)
This week has been all about hobbies so far. Someone recently dropped a bunch of Geocaches along the Maricopa Trail and I used this a perfect opportunity to couple some speed play with geocaching. This trail sees very little use and is quite overgrown. Hopefully it will be completed in its entirety soon. Once it is, I have an ambitious little idea that could make great use of this little known gem.

Thursday 9/27/2012
Jeep Trails-6.5 miles (58 mins)
My poor little wife has not been able to sleep lately and so we have been getting little sleep at night and more from about 3am on which makes my normal 4am wake-up a bit challenging. Last night we watched You've Got Mail at 1:30 in the morning. Legs felt real heavy so I cut this run shorter than I had planned. For the first time in a while I opted to leave my phone at home. Wouldn't you know that I encounter 6 different colored burros and a coyote while I was out. Of all the times to leave my photo capturing device at home.  

Friday 9/28/2012
163rd-6 miles (58 mins)
Easy run with Patsy down the road and then a loop by nearby elementary school.

Constellation Rd.-10.7 miles (110 mins)
Had planned on going twice this far but due to my wife's birthday and the prospect of her getting out of work early I opted for a shorter run. In that light I slowly slogged through the hills on Constellation Road out Wickenburg Way. Some very beautiful country out there and the hills are long but runnable. Makes for slow miles but I was actually pretty sore the next day from this one. 

A bit of a lower key week than I would've liked but still had some great runs. Gonna gear down for the next week or so as I am running a race next week and don't want to be beat up going into the race. Taking my lovely bride up north for the weekend to celebrate her birthday! Should be a good time!

Jog on Mates!