Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon

I raced The Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon this past Sunday. It had been a while since I had done this race, as I’ve said December is a tough month work wise for me, and I don’t always do the best training through it. This year I was doing good, a solid spree of 6 day a week training, 2-3 quality runs per week. Until about December 20th. After that, the holidays, and some tiredness and a dash of slacking off got me out of the habit for a couple of weeks.

Even though I knew I was under-trained, I knew I could go the distance. It was going to be a beautiful day out and my plan was to enjoy the experience and put up the best time I could that day.

I rode the Phoenix Metro Light Rail down the the race, there’s a stop right by my work. Parked in my spot, paid 2 bucks and rode easily down into Tempe, it is nice to be riding on the train seeing the traffic you’re not dealing with. I actually got down to the race much quicker than I thought I would, I have no prob;em with this: running late to races stresses me out and I hate to start the day like that…

I’ve become a pretty spoiled Phoenician when it comes to temperature. even wearing the long-sleeved shirt I planned to ditch before the race I was cold while drinking my coffee. Fortunately I had a decent amount of time, and went for a maybe 1/2 mile run near the start, got the legs moving and I wasn’t cold anymore!

I was in start corral 3, so once the gun went off I started the running playlist, stashed the phone, and ditched the long sleeved throw away shirt. The first half mile or so was pretty congested but I manged to keep a sub-9 minute pace with a lot of weaving around. By the time we came to the first turn things were starting to get sorted out, and I ended up being around a few people I saw the whole race.

There was one woman who I ended up pacing with the whole race, we seemed to be running a very similar pace. I hope I did my part pulling us along through some stretches and up the big hill, but she was cranking it out towards the last few miles and it kept me going, probably owe her a beer.

Once the congestion of the start waned I settled into a pretty good 8:30ish minute pace that I was able hold for most of the race.

Overall it is a very urban course, especially the first half but it’s great they have bands every mile. Saw some friends doing their cheering from a local bar at about 5 miles, always nice to get some cheers from people you know, I didn’t take part in the beer that had been offered…

I just kept cranking out the miles, and pretty soon I was past 9 miles getting ready to head up the biggest hill on course. It felt easier than I thought it would overall, I set a good pace and I kept the heart rate at a reasonable level. The top of the hill makes 10 miles*, and the band they had there was awesome.

* apparently the course was set-up incorrectly and not at the certified distance.

They had like 8 huge drums , cranking out a cool rhythm, perfect to motivate you up the hill and back down towards the last 3 miles of the race.

I had to fight the last mile or so to keep a decent pace, that makes me feel I ran as good as a race as I could have.

Across the bridge, make a right and you’re inside the chute and headed to the finish line. I stopped the Garmin, grabbed my medal and walked to the hangout area next to the lake.

Grabbed my free beer and watched the band for a while, it was a beautiful day outside!

Rula Bula, an Irish Pub in Tempe, is my standard post Pat’s Run place for a beer so I stopped by there for a quick Guinness!

After that I hopped the light rail and headed back home. After a shower and some relaxing I went out to the local bar with my wife, and had a burger with a fried egg on it! Not a bad day.

Overall I’m happy with my race. Yes, I wish I had finished of my training properly. I definitely feel like I could have gone 1:45ish, but that didn’t happen and I still put together an enjoyable race I was ok with.

I had a fun day and I do love crossing finish lines!

Photo of the Week 1/20/20

Four Peaks from The Superstitions

Siphon Draw-Flatiron Hike

I wanted to start 2020 out with an adventure. I was kicking around a number of things, but I also wanted to be able to spend a good part of the day hanging out with my wife, Staying around Phoenix was obviously the way to go. I had tried to hike Siphon Draw-Flatiron a few years ago, I got off trail above the draw and ended up on the ridge below the Flatiron, saw a snake 3 feet away and called it a day. New Year’s Day seemed like a great day to tick this one off the list!

I made a quick stop for coffee and then headed out for Lost Dutchman State Park about 7:30. I got there early enough that there were lots of parking spots (not the case when I was leaving).

Besides the general fun of hiking, I wanted to test out my new Garmin InReach Satellite Communicator. So far I really like it, but I still need to learn exactly how it works. Pretty sure I’d be happier learning everything close to home with some cell service, than in the middle of nowhere when you need to use it!

Threw on the hydration pack, started some tunes and away I went.

The trail climbs slowly for the first mile or so as you leave the state park and enter the Superstition Wilderness area. The first section is well developed trail that get s a lot of traffic. This is a pretty cool state park, the Superstitions are awesome and this park has great access, views and what looks like pretty cool campsites.

It gets really cool at about the 1.5 mile mark as you get to Siphon Draw. It’s like a huge rock half-pipe for a bit the leads to the big rock filled gully you’ll be scrambling up through for a while.

Siphon Draw

There are a few times you’re faced with a small scramble up an 8-10 ft section, but there are lots of footholds and solid rock to grab. If you take your time and check things out you can find a pretty easy way up, I saw a few people negotiating the toughest sections with full packs.

Once your’re past the toughest rock section the work is done and it’s just a quick stroll to the top of the Flatiron. It’s a really cool view of the whole valley, sweeping views of urban sprawl and also the Superstition Wilderness and Four Peaks. While it is a relatively challenging hike, it’s a very popular trail, when i was at the top of the Flatiron there were easily 15 other people up there as well.

I wanted to make it just a morning hike so I headed back down, but the are a few cool summits you could bag once you’ve gained that high ridge.

Looking down from Flatiron

This is not a hike where you end up blitzing your way down. There’s a lot of scrambling down rocks and loose dirt sections. There was a decent amount of moisture, and I have a overriding desire to do the Rock and Roll 1/2 Mary coming up so I was careful coming down, there were lots of chance to slip but it’s overall not bad

Coming down through Siphon Draw is just a s cool as going up, if you don’t feel like scrambling all the way to the top of the Flatiron, just hike to the draw, you won’t be disappointed.

Cruised on back the last little bit to the truck and headed home. if you head out here on a weekend or holiday, get there early! When I left at a little before 1pm the parking lots were packed and there was a 10 car line to get into the park.

I forgot to stop the Garmin Forerunner until I was driving on the highway. Props to both the Garmin and Strava folks for the trim activity function. I feel like we’ve all driven off with the tracker still on, or maybe it’s just me…

Overall it was a great hike and fun way t,o start the new year. From an InReach testing view point, I started the tracking, sent a preset message I was starting – but not the correct one for continued tracking. I also didn’t correctly send a rely message to a text from my dad. Fortunately I think I figured out both issues,

I want to be an expert with this thing before I really take it into the backcountry.

Sounds like I’ll need to go on some more hikes, terrible…

Happy New Year!

What cool things do you have planned for the new year?

Time To Get Back At It!

My major December work is finished at the restaurant! It’s always the toughest month of the year for work, which translates into a tough month to train through.

I was on a solid 6 day a week spree ,but finally succumbed to then need to just crank through some work, much needed rest, and the holidays.

The main reason I haven’t signed up for the Rock and Roll Az race in a while is the lack of training I’m usually able to get in during December. This year I got a solid early start to the training, and really by the time the weight of work took hold I feel my body was ready for the rest. The goal now is to be good at jumping right back into the training, just gotta get back to those habits quickly!

The six day a week training schedule had me feeling good:

  • Monday – Afternoon Swim (need to start getting in morning runs)
  • Tuesday – Morning Strength/Cardio
  • Wednesday – Morning Run – Afternoon Strength
  • Thursday – Morning Strength/Cardio
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – Run or Ride (mtn bike or road bike)
  • Sunday – Ride or run (whichever I didn’t do the day before)

I was starting to feel pretty fit and I want to have a fun and active winter/spring before it gets hot. That is my motivation to get back at it, that and the entry fee I paid for the 1/2 marathon!

I’d like to get in at least one or two weekend backpacking trip in the next few months, I’m probably only going to be able to take 1 long backpacking trip this year, but a few short jaunts into the woods will be great!

Here’s to getting 2020 training off to a good start now! What are some tricks you use to keep up the training habits?

It started a Facebook page for Going Down The Trail, click and the button, check it out and give it a like!

Signed Up

I pulled the trigger and signed up for the Rock and Roll Arizona Half Marathon. I’ve been feeling pretty good running and wanted to go ahead and commit, so much easier to maintain motivation once you’ve paid your entry fee! I haven’t been running very fast lately, but it has felt good and I’ve been enjoying getting back to it so far.

It’s nice to have a racing goal, I’ve really slacked off on the racing the past 5-6 years. I miss it sometimes, but life sure tends to make you busy and there are a lot of varied outdoor actives I’m trying to squeeze in nowadays. If nothing else being fit for racing makes many other activities easier!

I’ve been getting in 2-3 runs per week, with a biking day, swimming day and 3 strength sessions a week.
Overall I feel pretty fit, and it’s been good to be back on track again. My bouts of the gout in early October appear to have been beaten back, that was a painful frustrating couple of weeks!.
I usually do 3ish mile runs during the week, and a longer run on the weekend. This past weekend I got in 10 miles relatively easily, and the weather was beautiful, a fine thing about AZ this time of year!

As far as a goal goes, I would love to PR (1:43;58) but I’m just not sure if I can run that fast anymore. I’ll be happy with anything under 1:50, I’ll try and do some post during this time just dedicated to the training for this race, and we’ll see how it goes!

Here’s this past weekend’s running effort!

Feel free to check in on my training, and drop some words of encouragement!

Beautiful Day for Riding

Got in a short Saturday ride. Arizona weather is awesome right now, no reason to not enjoy the outdoors. I love the area we live in, great riding in a cool place, you always see lots of other active people!

Check out my ride on Strava!


While the heat of the summer can be tough to deal with, this time of year makes it worthwhile!

Photo of the Week 11/11/19

Sedona is an amazing place

Photo of the Week 11/04/19

Phoenix has some amazing hiking right in the city!


I’ve been trying to get back on the running train lately.

It’s been a few years since I was really running a good amount and I miss it. It can be a great morning workout, much quicker than a bike ride, and a great way to clear the head before a busy day.

I’ve felt pretty good on my past few runs considering how little I’ve run this year. I’ve dealt with some injuries in the past that have put the kibosh on the running, but I bought a new pair of running shoes that have been fantastic so far.

HokaOneOne Clifton 5

If I keep feeling good, with no pain, I’m going to sign up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon here in Phoenix. Nothing like signing up for a race to get you motivated!

We’ll see how this works out!

Photo of the Week 10/21/19

South Mountain Park