“I’m...pretty tired...think I’ll go home now.” -Forest Gump
I’ve said those words frequently since I began training for the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50 miler that I plan to run in December near Phoenix, AZ. I’ve been ramping up my mileage by doing back-to-back long runs on the weekends. I run 15-20 miles on Saturday and another 10-15 on Sunday. In addition, I run at least one very long run once a month.
|A coyote that frequently yips at us.|
Several weeks ago we were at the ranch enjoying some R&R, so I set out along the borderland for a 28 mile training run. Fall weather in the desert Southwest can still be quite harsh and I had a slight meltdown after my run. Having run out of water at mile 22, I slowed considerably, but made it home and recovered fully after a few very large glasses of cold lemonade.
At the beginning of my adventure, I came across a horned toad sunning in the road so I stopped for a look. The spiny reptile looked like something straight out of Jurassic Park but on a miniature scale. Unfortunately I did not have my camera on this trip. I know, can you believe that?
|A smaller horned lizard than the one I saw on the road.|
Anyway, I decided to move the lizard off the road lest he become part of it if a car were to come along. Just as I was picking him up, he squirted blood out of his eyes and all over my hand! I once read that they will do that as a defense mechanism, but I had completely forgotten. Imagine how shocked I was when suddenly I saw bright red blood everywhere. Well, I discovered a new use for my trusty bandana and used it to clean myself up and to move the critter to the shoulder of the road.
|Texas border fence. Hmmmmmm....|
Last weekend I ran with a group of men from the Run El Paso Club who enjoy talking politics. I won’t say which way they lean, but will only say that they made sure our 14 mile route always turned to the right. Needless to say, with all the rhetoric the miles went by extremely fast, so I did an extra six along the Rio Grande Levee.
The following day, I planned a 15 mile round trip run up to North Franklin Peak (7192 ft), the highest in our area. Angelica and Miguel met me at the top of Trans Mountain Rd where the wind was howling through Smuggler’s Pass on a cold dark morning. Had any one of us been running alone, we surely would have jumped back in our cars and headed home to our warm beds.
Fortunately, none of us wanted to let the others down, so we braved the elements and ran down the highway where the wind was less fierce. Although it was uncomfortable at times, we forged up the steep rocky trail to Mundy’s Gap where we could see the clouds shrouding the peak. The mountain seemed to be alive; its foggy breath rolling over and down its slopes. We decided to continue on and, after two solid hours, made it to the top where visibility was nil.
Next weekend I’m registered for not one, but two half marathons to help me get ready for my 50 miler. The first race, the Roadrunner, is a flat course at White Sands Missile Range, NM and the second, the TransMountain Challenge, will take me up and over Smuggler’s Pass (5280 ft) in El Paso, TX. With all the running I’ve been doing lately, “I’m pretty tired; think I’ll go home now.”
|North Franklin Peak|
See you on the trail.