Saturday, March 3, 2012

Suffering Will Occur - It is Certain

Suffering will occur - it is certain - but only serves to heighten our joy.  

I thought about that today as I ran.  I'm reading Marshall Ulrich's Running On Empty, and that's a quote he used during a eulogy.  The book is striking, as for me, was that quote.

Today I hit the trails again hoping to take in 10 miles.  The problem was, I didn't know if to the end of the trail and back was 10 miles and I feared it would be a bit less.  Since I missed yesterday's ride and run, I really wanted to get all 10 in.  Next Sunday I have a half marathon in some desert mountains north of Tucson.  It is going to be pretty challenging, I'm sure, and I want to get the last bit of hay in the barn, as it was.

For next weekend's race, I just don't want to be a liability on the trail.  I want to be strong and finish happy and smiling.  See, I've not been able to run very fast at all for a while now.  When I'm running mid 8 minute miles, I feel like I'm flying.  Before the hamstring injury, that was my long run pace.  I have to confess, I'm enjoying running slow.  Since I'm not training for a run at all, even that half marathon isn't a focus, it's not a big deal.  I hammer real hard on the bike right now, so my cardio is definitely there!

Let me rephrase...I'm happy running slow until I read posts by ForeverRun(a.a.a Sara).  Following her recovery from serious injury and her aggressive running makes me want to run hard!  But ... I can't just yet.  I can't risk further injury and I can't afford to derail my cycling goal with about 7 weeks left by running hard on iffy hamstrings.

I hit the trail today wearing trail shoes.  My feet were really hammered last week in toe-shoes.  Today, even in the trail shoes (with a rock plate), my feet were hamburger.  But, that's how it goes in Arizona!

I'd be following this jeep trial that winds around the hills dropping into the canyon that twists its way towards the mountain in the middle of the picture.  

I also took my camelbak today, along with some tunes.  I normally don't run with music.  I listened and plodded along slowly in the mid 9 minute mile range up the hill, then down into the canyon.  Once in the canyon the music was very distracting, so I shut it off and took some pictures of an abandoned truck. Think the sun is harsh in Arizona?  Check out what it did to these tires...just the radial belts remain!

Once I enjoyed geocaching, and had left one in this truck, but it has since disappeared.  Probably washed down the canyon in the summer monsoons.

Tell me, does this look like it could've been photographed in South Africa?

The trail got real slow.  I'm not sure if you can tell how steep and loose it is, but there's no running here.  Heck, most 4x4's can't drive here.

In case you can't tell...check out the elevation profile!

I wasn't worried about the time, I wanted to make it to the dam at the bottom and then maybe go a little farther exploring some, just making sure I got in my 10 miles.

The trail stopped about mile 4.  So I bushwhacked another mile up a narrow canyon.  This is drug trafficker heaven, but I knew I was following a group of border patrol agents on foot.  I saw their vehicles along side the trail and followed their footsteps up the canyon.  At one point, I swear I could smell cologne!  It's weird how silent it is out there and how heightened one's senses become.

The canyon narrowed and became cluttered with large boulders.  There was little to be done in way of making good time and I almost tripped a few times.

Look at the contrast a little moisture makes.  In the picture above, the ground was actually wet in quite a few places.  It's green (even though most of it burned last summer), and there were lots of flowers and butterflies.  But in the picture below I just turned and zoomed in up the hill side.

This poor oak tree didn't survive the fires this past summer!

And this is NOT a tan line!
All told I ran 10 miles, choosing to stop at 10, walking a quarter mile back to the truck.  The run included about 1300 feet of climbing, much of it stupid-steep.  I did make my last mile my best, at 8:23.  Only once did a muscle issue give me problems and it was short-lived.  I had a great day, suffered quite a feet are beat.  But, I really enjoyed the Thin-Mints I had after my run!

That said, Happy Running to All!

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