Trail Running Training

Pemberton Loop: Long and Hot

Last weekend was the hottest on record in Arizona. Friday hit 117º, breaking the previous record for the day (8/14) by four degrees. Saturday hit 115º, breaking the previous record by three degrees. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights all recorded 93º as the low temperature, breaking the previous records of warmest low for all three nights.

So it would make sense that this was the weekend I took on the longest trail run I’ve ever tackled, right? 

Trail Running Training

Pass Mountain Trail: A Rematch

I am NOT coming back here again.

I’m starting to feel like I could retire if I had a dollar for every time I said that and turned out to be wrong. This time it was about Pass Mountain Trail out at Usery Park.

Once upon a time, I was a mountain biker. For a period of something like six or seven years (very roughly) starting in the mid-90s, I rode pretty regularly. It came and went in phases, sometimes more, sometimes less, but I had a lot of fun doing it and was okay at it. Eventually, though, the drag of working and going to school at the same time took its toll, and the weekend rides first waned and then eventually stopped. It probably didn’t help that I was working most weekends.

During the time that I was riding, I had two go-to destinations. My main one and first choice for a long time was McDowell Mountain Park, where you can find the glorious Pemberton Loop that I rode more times than I could even guess at, but Pemberton’s a long trail and a significant time investment (you’re going to hear more about that in an entirely different context soon). As I rode less and had less time available, I started mixing in rides out at Usery Park, which has a number of loops that can be strung together to create a ride that will fit just about anything you’re in the mood for, ranging from easy and short to hard and kind of hellish. The vast majority of my riding out at Usery was the easier and shorter kind, but one time I did the hard and hellish, and I decided I was never coming back to it. That’s Pass Mountain Trail.

Races Trail Running

Vertigo Trail Race: One Year of Trail Running

“I’ve been running far enough that I should be able to handle a 10k without too much trouble.”

I forget exactly how it went in my mind, but it was something like that. It was what I was thinking when I signed up to run Vertigo in July of 2014.

Vertigo, run out at White Tank Mountain Park, is one of the Insomniac series of summer trail runs put on by Aravaipa Running. As the name implies, these are run at night. They offer long distances (anywhere from 25-75k) for the crazies who want to do long distances during Arizona summers, and shorter distances for people like me who aren’t quite up to that but want to do some trail running in the sweet relief of darkness when the sun takes a break from trying to kill us.