Pat’s Run 2020

Like all races right now, Pat’sRun was a virtual one. I missed crossing the finish line in Sun Devil Stadium and the beers with friends afterwards, but still glad I got to participate in someway!

These Strange Times

These are definitely strange times for all of us. Who knew that just a few months into 2020 there’d be toilet paper hording and quarantines! Like many restaurants, the one that I work at is closed, which gives me quite bit of time right now. There is some work stuff to, but right now it’s not a whole lot.


I tend to get cabin fever pretty quickly when trapped in the house, even two days of no activity and I’m starting to aimlessly wander around the house. The one good thing is I enjoy solo outdoor activities. I think road biking is a pretty good for keeping a social distance, as long as you ride by yourself and give others a wide berth when passing.

The new standard morning view
A little mountain biking from the house

This weekend I signed up for the Ironman VR race. Basically you have 3 days to complete a 5k run, 90k bike, and 21k run. I’ve got the time and it’s something to do. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve ridden that far, we’ll see how it goes! Did the 5k portion this morning.


I’ve also gotten in some decent hiking, with some more planned this week. We live towards one end of South Mountain Park in Phoenix, and while parts of it can get overly crowded now, I know many places to go were you barley see anyone and it’s easy to feel safe.

I want to do the complete the ridge line traverse from my Pyramid – National – Gila Loop hike on March 20th, by going over the last peak and not the pass, and I’ve got a permit for Aravaipa Canyon at the end of next week. I’ve never been there but, it’s supposed to be amazing! Just going to drive over in the morning, hike into the canyon for a few hours, then hike out. Definitely looking forward to checking out a new place!

Pyramid – National – Gila Loop

What thing are you doing to keep occupied, enjoy the outdoors, and most importantly keep yourself and loved ones safe?

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!

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!

Running!

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

Time to Train for the Summertime Adventures

AKA: There Will Be Sweating

Lower Ice Lake – Colorado

The yearly Colorado backpacking trip can be a challenge, mainly because of the altitude. Coming up from Phoenix, AZ (elevation 1086’), makes for a tough first few days. I like to enjoy myself as much as possible, call me crazy, so being fit is the only way to get past the altitude problem. The main challenge during the summer in Phoenix? You guessed it, it’s hot. The good news: as long as you don’t mind early mornings Phoenix is a great place to train outdoors year-round. As I’ve gotten older the heat has started to effect me more and more, and every summer the news is filled with stories of people taken down while hiking in the heat, so you need to be careful and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I’ve got another Grand Canyon hike coming up in September as well, so being hiking fit and well acclimatized to the heat is required!

I try to make it to the gym for some strength training twice a week, get in at least one swim, and a hike or bike ride. Usually on my hikes I run the flat parts and try to hike quickly up the steep sections.

I’m not really a fan of training with my pack on, I prefer to just work on overall fitness, so that I’m prepared for the adventures I have planned and anything else that might pop-up. Last year there was some suffering on the uphill hikes, perhaps my plan needs some adjustments…


Summer Fitness Goals


I am fortunate to live right next to South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the United States, and a fantastic collection of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and in general enjoying the outdoors. I love the fact that in my neighborhood I’m surrounded by other active people who like to enjoy the excellent outdoor recreation opportunities that Phoenix provides.

The map below shows all the trails and such.


Pyramid Trail is my standard training hike, a mile of slightly up, then a mile of lots of up!

Pyramid Hike

Once you get up to the top you can add some fun mileage by traversing the ridge line all the way around and descend a few different ways. The ridge is great for running, a nice rolling single track!

Pyramid – National – Lost Ranch
Panorama of the Area 620 Trails

I try put together some videos of various adventures, check’em out!

Have any great training tips? Feel free to share!

Pat’s Run 2019

Like always Pat’s Run was an awesome, inspiring experience. With excellent hanging out afterwards!

Hopped the Light Rail to get down to Tempe, a wise choice. The National Anthem, belted on a trumpet is very cool. Then with Jake Plummer’s starting horn, we were off to the races!