Saturday, March 1, 2014

Special Runs

Okay, I probably could come up with a better adjective but then again, I expect most people have a fond memory of a run that was especially memorable.

One of the aspects of these kind of workouts is that they are often unexpected. Such was the case last Thursday night in Phoenix.

People who know me know that I have no particular affinity for the city that was my home for three years in the mid and late nineties. It's ridiculously hot in the summer, air pollution is often so high as to necessitate public warnings, crime is high and traffic is worse than terrible. But the town is not entirely without virtue.

One of those virtues is especially nice weather this time of year. It was a very pleasant and dry 75* or so just before 7:00 after I had checked into my hotel and headed out for a schedule 1:15 run with a mix of speed intervals. My own calculations suggested that the distance was going to be a little over 8.5 miles so with some help from, I found a route that combined some familiar territory (the Biltmore Circle) with some a new route--specifically the trail that runs along side the Arizona Canal

For those of you not familiar with Phoenix, one of the reasons such a large city can thrive in the middle of a desert is that some 60 years ago, a massive project brought water into the city from the mountains to the north. The result of the Central Arizona Project (CAP) is a series of canals that provide water to the entire area. An ancillary benefit is that trails consisting mostly of packed dirt line these canals and create a nice lace for running
It was dark when I left but I had plenty of light to see well enough as I ran through the neighborhood consisting of one of the largest concentrations if high-end real estate in the country. It's really unbelievable how nice some of these homes are.

As I reached the north end if the circle, near the Biltmore Hotel, I stepped onto the path with no real idea what to expect. This is generally a nice area so I did not expect to have to hurdle vagrants or avert my eyes from drug deals going on, but in Phoenix, a nice neighborhood can turn into a lousy one in the space of a block. Fortunately, that did not happen. In fact, I probably came across half a dozen other people doing the same thing as me.

The stretch was really something. There was no moon, but the lights of the city created enough reflection over the clouds to provide just enough ambient light to see. My views were of Camelback Mountain (a rocky hill that looks remarkably like a kneeling camel) on the way out and of Piestewa Peak on the way back.

As for the run itself, I felt pretty good the whole way. My higher heart rate on certain sets was noticeable, but getting through the sets was not a problem and I felt a definite sense of satisfaction once the run was complete.

I'm headed back to Phoenix in a few weeks and I look forward to revisiting that trail. It will probably be in the daylight hours so maybe I can get some pictures for an upcoming blog post. In the meantime, here's the map from Garmin Connect:


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