Sunday, August 19, 2012

Walnut Canyon Adventure


Since we are nearing the final days of our "vacation" we decided to forgo some recovery time in order to get in some sightseeing. After Friday's workout, we headed just outside Flagstaff to check out Walnut Canyon. It was a $5 per person fee (which is good for 7 days) and an absolutely stunning sight to see. There are not only remarkable cliff formations of the cliff itself, but there are also remains of pueblos. Basically remains of the communities and apartment like structures built out of stone and adobe mud among other materials. It was remarkable. 

You basically descend quite a few stairs and ramps down along a trail into the canyon. The fun part? Heading back up all those stairs of course. Want to know what is even better? Going up and down those stairs after running a hard workout. My quads were definitely shaking on the way down and burning on the way up! At 7000ft, it is quite the chore for most tourists, but they have many benches along the way to stop and catch your breath. Luckily after being here over 2 weeks, we were pretty accustomed and could venture up with a slight increase in breathing. 

 View from the visitor center

Hard to believe people use to live in communities like this 

Evil Evil Stairs!

Tourist Photo!

Just amazing!

Path we followed

haha, having some fun

Built from hand

Overhang was amazing

Another room, but with a window/door

Not bad for a timer shot!

They were either really short or walked hunched over

What's in there?

Stuck my camera in and this is what came out

View from inside a room

It actually seemed pretty cozy and sheltered

More across the canyon

Wonder how long till these rocks fall further?

Across the canyon

Hello Snake!

Let the climb begin

Hello there workout from the morning

Details on the trail

Wall construction tools. Unbelievable!

Random shot at the end

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Last Workout!

On Friday, I had my final workout, which was actually a repeat of the workout I did the week before. Marilyn didn't have a workout as hers was on Thursday, so I got up early and headed out to the Bader Road area which is at 7300ft. I was VERY happy to see that it was a cloudy morning, which was a big change from the earlier week where we arrived about an hour 15 later and it was sunny and hot. 

The sky when I arrived

I headed off into the trails to do my warm up and found them slightly muddier due to the thunder/rain storm we had the night before. The mud here is very different from back home, it actually cakes itself to the bottom of your shoe and you can easily add a few extra pounds to your stride. I didn't worry though as I knew it would come off when I hit the road. 

Mmm Mud (and a fly on my ankle)

I finished up my warm up and headed to the loop I had planned. It's actually a measured mile with markers. Well if you go fully around, it is probably 1.1 mile. I am sure McMillan Elite had marked it or something. Speaking of them, just as I finished my drills, some of the team drove up. Turns out they were doing some filming out there (no I didn't get caught in any scenes). A few members were there the previous week doing some tests shots, but this was the real deal. 

I headed off on my 10km paced workout, which felt MUCH better than last week. Last week I had to extend the rests from what coach Matt had wanted. So while I hit the paces, unfortunately it was with longer than the 90" rest. This time, I felt much more acclimatized, not to mention it was a good 8 degrees cooler I am sure. Needless to say, I rocked the workout sticking to the 90" rest and this time I wasn't gasping for air! 

I jogged back up the road and chatted with some of the McMillan crew and then headed back to pick up my bottle before heading to my car. A quick chat with Stephanie Rothstein (2:29 marathoner) while I jogged to the car and then we arrived a run for tomorrow. She carried on into the trails while I put my stuff in the car and then headed off into the trails behind her. 

I took a few photos stopping and starting many times and just simply enjoyed my surroundings. It was also nice to see Amy Van Alstine out on the trails as Mar and I ran with her on Wednesday. I was sucking wind that day feeling the effects of my Tempo Tuesday, but it was certainly nice to run with a 15:42 5000m runner! 

Various trail shots 

Neat patterns on the trees

Up next.... what I had planned for this post... Walnut Canyon Adventures!

The Calm After the Storm!

When we first arrived, we had a full house, but now the numbers have slowly dwindled. While its definitely more peaceful, I must admit that it was fun having some pretty fast runners in the house. It has certainly opened up my eyes that I have a heck of a lot more work to do. 

Watching some Olympics. Mens 10km maybe?

Group shot before some of the team left
L-R back: Andrew Bumbalough, Brent Vaughn, Calia Vaughn, Sara Vaughn, German Fernandez, Myself, Tim Nelson 
L-R front: Marilyn Arsenault and Kiki Vaughn

After the shot above, the Vaughns and Tim headed out as they were off to Falmouth to race. The house was certainly quieter after they left, but I will be honest that a part of me missed it and the "hi Cody" and "YOU!" from Calia. 

A few days after the first bunch left, we bid adieu to Bumbi (Andrew) as he headed back to Portland to see his wife before heading over to race in Europe.

Alicia was the next to go as she headed off on a week long trip to run the 3 day solo race with the transrockies, which might I add, she won easily. 

That left Marilyn, German and I (along with Alicia's family that lives here) until he finally headed off to Texas for a wedding before also heading to Europe. Needless to say, it is now a lot quieter!
 German and I

These housemates are VERY talented and I wouldn't be surprised to see a few, if not all head to worlds or the Olympics in the near future. I look forward to following their progress and then cheering them on in the future. 

Over the last few days we have done a few day trips. I will post about them shortly. In the meantime, it is time to run!  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rolling Along

Hard to believe another week has gone by. The training up here has been fantastic. I have adapted fairly well to less oxygen and am enjoying the process. Not to mention the trails are just out of this world. I love west coast trails, but these trails are also something special. 

The first workout I attempted was tough. I won't lie. I suppose it was after my 6th full day here and it was a tempo workout. I tried my best to hang onto the speedy Marilyn Arsenault. It was tough on both of us, but we fought through and while I wasn't right beside her, I wasn't too far behind. Luckily though, I had one less rep :P 

Cruisy runs the rest of the week and then the heatwave hit. Temperatures are nearing upper 20's by 9-10am. Then generally the clouds roll in mid afternoon and bring in thunder storms. Sometimes with rain and sometimes without. The temperature drops slightly but then when the sun returns after the storm, it goes back up. Apparently it is hotter than normal at this time of year as August is generally their monsoon season. 

We did another workout on Friday. This time both mine and Mar's workouts were different. So she did the first part of hers with Alicia and then finished on her own. I on the other hand was completely alone. It was a 10km effort workout and I thought I had done pretty well. Unfortunately I made some decisions in my workout that ended in a difference of opinion, so my awesome workout apparently wasn't so awesome. The joys of training. 

Sunday we had a long run, so we headed out to the Bader Road area and hit up some trails that Alicia and Mar hit for the initial part of their workout on Friday. A few wrong turns here and there, but we found our way around (with slight help from the Garmin). It was one of the most beautiful and fun trails we have run here so far. Here are some photos below. 

This bull was keeping a close eye on us

Heaven on earth! So beautiful!

Not so great form! Oops