Return to Training – A Big Training Weekend 4 Weeks from Raceday

Going on vacation for two weeks kind of derailed my training plan. We will have to see on race day how it affects me but right now I am still feeling fairly fit. With that being said I had two and a half weeks upon returning to train hard before beginning to taper so I set out to pound my legs this weekend.

Saturday morning started early at 4 am and it was already over 80 degrees out. The summer months in the Phoenix area force you to stay on top of hydration and nutrition or you will pay for it during the later stages of the run. It is good preparation for race day as it is going to be hot July 11th in the mountains outside Santa Barbara.

I ran from my house up to Tempe Town Lake and then made different loops around that area as the run progressed. I tend to stay in this area as I am very familiar with the drinking fountain locations and that means I do not have to carry bottles or a pack. I was lucky enough to catch another great sunrise from the Mill Avenue bridge.

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Overall the run was fairly uneventful. I felt heaviness in my legs during the final miles which was expected as I had not run that long in a few weeks due to the vacation. I ended up with 22.6 miles which was a good confidence boost.

Sunday was the fun day. I was once again going to the McDowell Mountains to run up and down Sunrise Peak. I was hoping for three trips up to the peak.

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The legs were tired and sore from the long run the day before which was the point.

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As soon as the sun came up over the mountains it started to warm up quickly. I had my pack on and was hitting the drinking fountain at the trailhead on each trip down to stay hydrated.

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I am normally the first person up to the peak and then on the way down I start to see the hikers as it is a popular trail. It is always funny to see the reactions when they see you doing multiple trips up during their hike.

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Three trips up totaled over 3,600 ft of elevation gain and my legs were feeling it. All I had was the couple mile descent back down to my truck and that is always a good feeling.

I found myself drifting off and losing focus on the descent. The trails in the area are very rocky and technical. In addition there is always the threat of Rattlesnakes when running here. After catching myself losing focus I brought myself back to the present. About 100 yards after regaining focus I came upon this little guy.

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It is tough because they tend to have great camouflage and can be tough to spot while running. He never rattled at me either most likely due to the fact he was on the move, trying to get across the busy trail. He was only about 3 feet long. I stopped, gave it distance and took a few pictures. Here is a close up.

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I warned a couple of hikers I saw a minute or two down the trail and then finished my run. It is just another reminder of the importance of staying in the moment.

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