Saturday, April 10, 2010

Did a warm up mile to the trails, then an hour on the trails, and a mile back home. I felt pretty sluggish, but I was able to run up and down the hills for an hour with walking. I wasn't tired enough at the end, I slacked off a bit.

7 miles running on trails
3 miles walking on trails and roads

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jill and I did a 14 mile bike ride yesterday, out to the Little Walnut picnic area which is part of the Gila National Forest. There is a nice system of trails in this area, small but nice. We followed the ride there with a 2 or so mile walk on the trails, then road back. The ride was much easier than we were expecting. We both get pretty intimated with hills while biking, but they weren't so bad. We are going to try to spend more time on the bikes.

Today I ran about 3 miles on trails, the first mile was at an easy pace, then the last 2 were a pretty good effort with a nice 4 minute hill climb effort near the end. I'm trying to hit as many hills as I can. I'm determined to turn myself into a mountain runner.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I woke up early this morning and ran over to Boston Hill, the plan was to try to run whatever I could remember of the 6.5 mile loop we ran Monday, but I knew it wouldn't be much. I did a 1 mile warm up run on the road to get to the trail, it's a very slow first mile with a big hill in the way. Then I ran on the trails for an hour. My plan was to run for one hour on the trails then another cool down mile back home, but after the hour on the trails was up I wasn't back at the trail head, and I didn't really know where it was. It was another 20 minutes of running until I found it, then ran the mile on the road back home. in all, I'll use the accountants principle of conservatism and call it 8 miles. I ran with pretty good effort and didn't hit any of the really steep trails we ran on Monday, but it was still consistently hilly throughout. I'm trying to work on increasing my uphill speed, which means running all hills. I've been encouraged as to how my body has reacted with the increased mileage. I feel slow on the up hills, but as soon as it flattens I'm able to recover and continue at a good pace.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I went out with Tony and Jim yesterday for a tour of the 6.5 mile loop which will be the home of the new half-marathon in the Boston Hill area just south of downtown Silver City this year. It's a great area for trail running. It's a small area, but is packed with an intricate trail system. Boston Hill is an old mining area that was purchased by the city and is being turned into a great open space area. As the name indicates, it's up on a hill, with great views of the city and surrounding desert, forest, and mountains. It's got some really nice technical single track and plenty of hills to climb and bomb down. I've been running much more consistently lately, but my mileage is still pretty low so I was hoping that Tony and Jim would take it easy...No chance. I got worked hard. I was sucking wind after the first mile. and that was the easy part. They were keeping a really nice pace. I was able to keep up on the flats and down hills but they would pull away on the ups. Whenever I got to far back they would stop and wait for me so I didn't miss any key turns. We were bombing down the rocky hills at break-neck pace. It was a great run, and a lot of fun to be out on the trails with some other good runners. Also a good indicator of how out of shape I am :) We finished the 6.5 mile loop in 1:05 Which is only 10 minute pace, but there was a lot of hill climbing in there. I look forward to running in Boston Hill a lot this spring and in to the summer and Hopefully I'll be ready to run a good race for the 1/2 in July. There were to many turns for me to remember them all, but Jim (the rd) is working on a map of the course. The trail head is only 1/2 mile from our place, so it's a really convenient place to train. and with technical trails, and plentiful hills, what more do you need?

I've put in a good amount of miles this past 5 or so days, not because I was trying to, but because it just sort of happend. Thursday was an 18.3 mile hike with full pack with Jill, Friday was a 2 mile run on trails, then 8 or so miles with tony on trails, followed by us getting lost for 4 hours and bushwacking up and down a mountain. Sunday was a 9 mile hike with Gary. Yesterday was 3 miles running on trails, then 3 miles walking, then the 6.5 mile run. Today was 2 miles running on trails, which 2 or more to go later on today with Jill. That's 51 miles in 5 days. More miles than I've put done in that short of a time in more than a year. But my body feels really good and I'm looking forward to getting back to some more consistent training...and blogging.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Lower Little Creek Loop, Gila National Forest

I want to write this post with complete directions as to how to complete this loop, because it wasn't easy finding directions online.

Jill and I drove into the Gila Saturday night and camped about 5 miles from the Cliff Dwellings visitor center, about an hour drive north of Silver City. We woke up Saturday morning to hike the Lower Little Creek Loop, which is an 18.3 mile loop starting and ending at woody's corral about .5 miles from the visitors center. We planed on doing it as a day hike but we took full packs in case we decided to spend the night on the trail, and because we wanted to get in some training with full packs. We started off a little before 9am giving us about 10.5 hours of daylight, which is about how much we thought we would need. The hike starts at the corral on millers spring trail (also called granny mountain trail) and goes up hill and through switch backs past an open meadow with some nice views of the Gila Corridor below. After 3.3 miles you come to the junction of the ring canyon trail, if you do the whole loop this is where you will come out, turning left to get back to the corral, but at this point you want to continue straight. You will then start descending for about a mile until you reach Little Creek. This is a good place to fill up water. The creek was very clear and flowing pretty good when we went through, do to the large amount of snow in this part of New Mexico this winter, but it was still easily passable in early March. This is also a great place to set up camp for the night. A nice open area dotted with large junipers. After crossing the creek you turn right (you will see a sign that says 'Granite peak 11 miles' that's where you want to go) and head up little creek. In the guide book we were going off of, it said this would be the last chance for water on the trail, so we filled up 5 bottles and a bladder, which turns out was completely unnecessary, but better safe than sorry. after following the creek for less than a 1/2 mile, we crossed over the creek again (following the trail) which surprised us because it didn't say anything about that in our guide book. the trail then turns towards the left and away from the creek a bit. One mile after this creek crossing we came to a sign junction. Turning right will take you back the Millers spring trail, and then back to woody's corral, making the hike 11 miles, instead of 18. to do the whole loop continue straight. The trail disappears at times during the next 3.5 miles, but look around, and when in doubt continue straight. You should never go more than a few minutes without seeing the trails. 3.5 miles after the first (and after two additional large creek crossing that we weren't anticipating) you come to another sign, going straight will take you to granite peak, turning right will take you to the ring canyon trail, which is where you want to go. at this point the hike is about halfway done. After turning right you head up a pretty steep stretch of about a mile (the only real difficult part of the hike) to the top of the ridge, where you turn right onto the ring canyon trail. then it flattens out a bit but continues to climb. This part of the hike offers wide open views of the Gila and mountains beyond. We had to walk through a few patches of snow, but nothing to bad considering there are still plenty of areas with snow in the mountains. You will be on ring canyon trail for about 6 miles before turning left back onto miller spring trail, and from there it is 3.3 miles back to the trail head.

It's a really nice hike with great views. It's a long day hike but it isn't too difficult. It starts and ends at 5600 feet and reaches it's highest point on the Ring Canyon trail at 7100 feet. We were surprised by all the water crossing but we did it in early march, so there was a lot of run off. We had two stops of about 25 minutes a piece, one for water, and one for lunch, and we probably spent 10-15 minutes wondering around when we lost the trail but start to finish it only took 8.5 hours which is much faster than we thought we would do it. our average speed was probably 25 minutes/mile and we were in no hurry. This was also to first real test for my sandals. I did the whole hike in them with no discomfort, and no blisters.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I think it's time for a bi annual blog update :)

I'm in Silver City, New Mexico these days living in a tipi with my girlfriend, Jill. It's a nice little town on the edge of the Gila National forest, tons of good trails. There's a great trail that runs from the property where we are staying into town, it's about 1.5 miles. Jill and I have been running on that recently. My milage is low, about 10-15 mile a week, but I plan to start running a little more, and maybe do a race or two this year. I'm currently running (and hiking) in a pair of teva sandals, hoping they will prevent blisters. I have sweaty feet, and the mosture and friction inside my shoes creates blisters, so I'm switching to sandals to try and get it worked out. I plan to cover a lot of miles in these bad boys, but more on those plans later... I'll try to keep my blog updated more frequently as my running increases.