Hiking AND RUNNING Arizona style. Shirtless and sweaty.
It was glorious. I actually wasn't planning on running when I started out. My knee was still being cranky late last week and I wasn't completely confident that my hamstring was healed. I was just going to do an easy hike in Phoenix's South Mountain park after dropping Laura off at the airport. Well, one thing lead to another and before I knew it
The top of Telegraph Pass looking out over East Phoenix
South Mountain park is the largest municipally owned park in the United States (Take THAT Central Park!) and has over 50 miles of trails running throughout. To be clear, the term "mountain" is used loosely - sort of like when people say I am "kind of funny" or that I am "basically not an ogre". It only is 2400 feet tall, but it still offers some challenging short bursts of hiking and loads of trails that are perfect for running.
In fact, most of the trails are perfect for not only actual running, but also mountain biking. They have just enough up and down to keep it interesting but are non-technical enough to push some actual speed. Most of the trails are JUST far enough from any highways that other foot traffic is minimal at best allowing for lots of
Trails for miles and miles off on the horizon
To be clear, I didn't set any land speed records. I hiked / ran 7.27 miles in 90 minutes with most of the running being around 8min/mile. 6 weeks completely off is a long time and I know that I've lost some fitness. Combine that with the 4 weeks before that being a series of failed "test runs" ("Maybe I'll just run 3 miles, to see how it feels... ow ow ow I regret this") and it is any wonder I remember how to do it at all. But, in spite of no 'real' runs since the end of January, it was good to log a few relatively pain free miles.
I really do have to admit that I had a LOT of fun, though. I'm not sure if it was the hiking, the fact that I hadn't ran in 2 months, or just the fact that I was outside, but something really clicked with this workout today. I was bouncing back and forth on my toes while either bounding up or down the inclines. I never lost my footing and didn't ever seem to get too out of breath.
In life, often we can't see beyond the next turn in the path, but the surprises are worth the effort to get there
As I sit here a few hours later my hamstring is slightly achy but my knee feels great. I'm actually going to wait a few more days to do any sort of road running, but to the point in my previous post, I think that I might add hiking / trail running to my newfound fitness routine more often than not. That said, tomorrow is a new day - that currently has a bike ride on the agenda!
If you look just to the right of the cactus, you can see a cobblestone lookout tower