Mt. Lemmon Half Marathon: Race Report

Saturday morning I completed the Mt. Lemmon Half Marathon. It was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. My only real goal was to beat my first half marathon time from December 2014, which was 2:23:something.

I woke up with my alarm at 3:30 AM, had a quick shower to rinse off the sleep, chugged a cup of coffee, wolfed down a peanut butter filled Clif bar, filled my water bottles, then did a quick check to be sure I had all the gear I’d need before heading out to La Mariposa to park and catch the bus up to the starting area.

Scored the single-seater bench at the back of the bus!

The morning was cool – mid-50s (F) – which was much better than the week before when our lows had been in the low to mid 40s. Turns out that while I didn’t wear as many layers as I would have had it been in the 40s, I still overdressed a bit. The bus ride was largely uneventful – aside from some annoying conversation I couldn’t help but overhear floating across the aisle. Fortunately it was only about a 20 minute drive, then I was able to distance myself from those folks

Sky is getting lighter. Almost time to line up!

The first seven miles or so were super fun, mostly because as Zombies, Run! would rattle off my km times, I knew I was blowing old PRs out of the water. Granted, since the road drops something like 630 feet per mile, I had a major assist from gravity. And I’ll take it.

The last six miles or so were…. mostly just me being ready to be done. The route almost levelled out and there were even a couple of small hills to climb, which were actually a bit of a relief after all that downhill running. Though I did have to walk on the larger ones.

Me and my sweet medal!

Well, I finished. I placed 381st of 776 runners, 148th of 243 men, and 15th of 27 in my age division. So pretty strongly middle of the pack all around. Also, I blew away every single PR I had on record. Here’s the list of my new records:

  • 1 km 0:05:22
  • 1 mile 0:08:45
  • 5 km 0:27:53
  • 10 km 0:58:31
  • 13.1 miles 2:15:05.42

So yeah. I don’t feel like I’m gloating when I say I pretty much killed it. Also, pretty sure I saved the ski lodge from the orphans…. or whatever the heck that After School Special subplot was supposed to be.

And now the part you’ve all been looking for, I’m sure… the official photos!

And now for the part where I don’t repeat the mistake I made after that 2014 half marathon when I didn’t get back into my exercise and food habits after “treating” myself and “resting” for far longer than was really warranted. I’m still pretty stiff and sore now (Monday evening) but I went to the gym for Push Day today and fully intend to do a short run tomorrow. It’ll probably be stiff and slow, but it’ll be a run. Also after a weekend of “I just did awesome in a half marathon!” indulgences, I’ve been getting back into my better food choice patterns today.

So, yeah. That was super fun and I’m glad I did it. Will I do it again next year? I don’t know yet, but chances look pretty good. As always, thanks for reading.

Fall Colors

Today I went back up to Mt. Lemmon in hopes of catching some fall leaf colours and it did not disappoint. It was a deliciously chilly 46° F when I got to the trailhead, and only 53°F by the time I was all done and headed back down the highway. I took the Marshall Gulch/Aspen Trail loop – including a little offshoot that I’ve been meaning to check out – then explored the Sunset Trail a little bit while I waited for the General Store to open up so I could buy a box of fudge.

That’s the AllTrails map and elevation recording. And now, a giant photobarf. Click on any photo to embiggen.

So, yeah. Should the day come that I leave Tucson for good, this pretty much cemented that it’ll need to be for a place that actually has four distinct seasons.

Ninety-five…

Things have been kind of crazy for the last bit, but I hit the 95-pounds-lost mark yesterday. I’m down a touch more today, which means I now weigh less than the weight listed on my high school driver’s license.

So what have I been up to since I last wrote? I’ve done more hiking, run a couple more races (the Jim Click Run & Roll 8k and the Great Pumpkin 5k), played an orchestra concert, and generally been keeping myself way busier than I’m generally accustomed to being.

Speaking of the orchestra concert…. I bought a new tux this summer. And by the time last weekend’s concert rolled around, the new pants wouldn’t stay up and I had to go find some suspenders (braces for you Brits) between the dress rehearsal and concert!

Just for giggles, here’s a tux progress photo.

Left to Right: January 2019, April 2019, October 2019

Also, this morning I discovered that my Garmin has calculated my V02 Max to be 47, and says my fitness age is that of an “excellent 20 year old”.

I’m really just excited that the pointer has edged into the blue zone.

And because I can’t figure out whose body my phone shopped my head onto at the gym this morning, today’s photo from my r/loseit challenge team’s “pics or you didn’t gym” channel.

I don’t know who this is any more.

So what’s next? Well, I’m less than eleven pounds from Ultimate Goal Weight now, so I’ll keep plugging away at that. I’ve got a couple of UGW rewards planned which I’m super excited about whenever I get there. I’ll be attempting my second “real” half-marathon on November 2nd, so I’ll keep plugging away at training for that. (I don’t really count the A-Mountain half that I walked a few years back.) I’d like to get in another hike or two in on Mount Lemmon before it gets too cold up there, and hopefully catch some pretty fall leaf colors in the process.

As always, thanks for reading. Until next time!

Ninety?!?!?

Last Friday morning the scale read exactly 90 pounds down. What the what?!? Of course that night was cookbook club and Saturday night was a friend’s birthday camping trip so by the time I got home Sunday I’d added nine pounds of…. let’s just call it water weight and unevacuated foodstuffs.

As of this morning, that’s all dropped back off plus a touch more. And I don’t think I have any more super-foodie-social-engagement weekends coming up in the near future, so it should be easier to stay on track.

I’ve got more to say, but… now is not quite the time.

Denial can be a good thing.

I wasn’t quite ready to admit my vacation is almost over so I got up early to drive up Mount Lemmon to go for a hike today.
I decided to do the Marshall Gulch and Aspen Trail loop, for a total of 4.4 miles. (I actually logged 4.6 miles wandering around the bottom of the trailheads after I got back, but the official loop is 4.4.) I started with the Marshall Gulch trail, which mainly runs through ponderosa pine forest.
It was deliciously cool, and there was even a trickle of water in the gulch.
The trails also go through old burn areas from past wildfires. It was interesting to see the new growth against the old, burnt trunks.
There were even still some wildflowers around.
Hey, I think I can see my house from here!
It was wild to walk through such dense growth of young pines. Most of these were only 6-8′ tall.
This is on the Aspen Trail portion, which is largely lined with – you guessed it – aspens. I never knew we had such lush green pathways up on Mt. Lemmon. I’d always assumed it was mostly just the pines and scrub with some interesting rock formations. I didn’t take a ton of photos along this section because I was too busy enjoying it.
Obligatory self portrait. Yes, I actually hiked shirtless. I’m no Adonis, but it’s nice to finally have the self confidence to do that.

I think this is my new favorite local hike, though I’m toying with the idea of heading up the mountain every other weekend or so to explore a new (to me) trail. I can’t believe I’ve been in Tucson for this long and never actually done a hike up there. I’ve been up the mountain multiple times, but usually just a little day trip to have fudge or pie or something. And the last time I did that was years ago. Seems a shame to waste such a great resource just about an hour drive from my front door.

Also, super mega thanks to the guy who gave me a pen so I could fill out the forest service’s fee envelope to avoid a potential $80 ticket. There were no writing utensils at the fee box and apparently all the pens I which used to keep in my car have mysteriously disappeared.

There and Back Again…

Despite lack of activity here on the blog, June has been a very busy month. Lots of travel for me, which always makes staying on track with the healthy habits a challenge. First week of the month, work sent me to Phoenix for a four day class culminating with a certification test. I am now a Jamf Certified Tech, which is pretty cool.

I’ve also taken off the last two weeks of the month for some much needed personal time. The first week was a road trip up to Boise and back, partly with my parents. I have lots of photos, which I will break up into smaller batches to share here. We were in two vehicles, Dad and I doing the driving and Mom switching who she rode with. So any road photos you see here were taken by my mom while I was driving.

First leg of the trip, our goal was to make it to the dinosaur museum in Blanding, Utah. The museum was pretty cool, though I did not take any photos inside. Mom got a lot of great road scenery photos for me, and we made a stop at Wilson Arch on the way to Moab.

From there, it was on to Arches National Park, which was phenomenal. Mind blowing, you might even say. Wouldn’t mind getting back there with actual hiking supplies and check out some of the longer trails.

After that, we made our way to Green River, UT, where we crashed for the night. Ultimate goal the next day was to make it to my parents’ place in Meridian, ID. We made a few stops for interesting dilapidated cabins on the way to the Dinosaur National Monument. Spent a couple of days just hanging out with the folks at their place while they took care of things that needed doing before their next road trip. We did go tour the Old Idaho Penitentiary, which was interesting. The gravestone for Dennis the Cat marks the final resting place of the prison’s cat. He’s the only inmate to be buried in the main yard. I also tried to take a trail run up to Table Rock one morning, only to find that a McMansion development was being built right on top of where part of the trail used to go. I did eventually find my way back to the rest of the trail and got some interesting photos.

Finally, I started the journey home. Mom and Dad had a short road trip they needed to make for work, so we once again caravanned out with a couple of fun detours. First we went to check out the Shoshone Ice Cave, which was pretty cool – both figuratively and literally. (Temperature in the cave is generally 24-32°F year round!) Then we stopped at Mammoth Cave, which along with the on-site museum was pretty neat. After that, we parted ways. Mom and Dad to finish their trip and me to head home. I stopped for the night in Provo where according to Priceline, I got the last room in the Super 8 – the most budget friendly option. That room? Yeah, it was the Brigham Young “suite”, done to the nines in BYU memorabilia. I also got to go for a run at the Provo River Park .

Up early the next morning, I made my way to Vegas where I would spend my final night on the road. I crashed at Circus Circus because the room was only $16. Of course, that’s not including the “hotel fee” of $38 which Priceline didn’t mention until I was actually buying the room. But even still, I’m pretty sure it was the cheapest room in the area. Also, it turns out the room was so cheap because it wasn’t in one of the main hotel towers, which suited me just fine. (They offered to “upgrade” me for an additional $15 but for that much I probably would have just chosen a different hotel.)

My only real goal with stopping in Vegas was getting to Frankie’s Tiki Room for a couple of tasty tiki drinks and a new mug for my collection. I chose to walk there and Uber back because driving didn’t seem like a good choice. Next time, I Uber both directions. That was not a fun walk. Anyway once there, I started with the Surf Dragon along with its souvenir mug, which was quite tasty. Then I had the Lava Letch, which I have to say is now my favorite tiki drink ever. I’ll have to get that mug the next time I’m in town since I limit myself to one souvenir mug per tiki bar visit because those things are NOT cheap. Also, I’ll need to learn to make this tasty, tasty tiki drinki for myself.

I also found a Zoltar machine – y’all remember the movie Big, right? – in the Circus Circus midway and had to make sure it was plugged in. (Okay, I’m pretty sure I saw at least three Zoltar machines, but still.) That night I wandered all the way down to the Bellagio to catch the water show, which ended up being cancelled due to high winds. So that was frustrating. What about winning those fat stacks o’ cash? Yeah…. I’m just not that interested in gambling. Since I no longer smoke, it’s not an inviting excuse to take advantage of the opportunity to smoke indoors. I did blow a few dollars on slot machines, but nowhere near the $20-40 I would’ve had to limit myself to when I would’ve sat there smoking like an industrial chimney. I’d guess maybe $10 at most.

Oh, I also took advantage of the hotel’s water park and did a thing that’s been on my Weight Loss Goal List for a long time. I went shirtless in a public swimming space. I figured if I was going to do it anywhere, Vegas was the place since the chances of me ever seeing any of these people again after leaving the next day were slim to none. And you know what? Nobody stared. Nobody pointed and laughed. I was just another dude having fun on some water slides.

I’ve been back home for several days now and am enjoying being a hermit for my second week of vacation time. Also, I’m pretty proud of myself. I didn’t miss a single workout day while traveling, and only really bounced up a few pounds after going a little overboard on food in Vegas. I’m also already almost back down to my pre-June Travels weight now. I’ve just been getting back into my personal routines, enjoying time with the cats, and not thinking about work until I absolutely have to this coming Monday.

I have really enjoyed just disconnecting and enjoying nature, family, travel, and alone time. It’s good to eat right and exercise and all that, but it’s also good to take care of your brain once in a while.

Cinco de Mayo 10k report, Onederland!

So today was the Dr. Gann’s Diet of Hope Cinco de Mayo 10k. I always forget how much of this course is uphill – and how much of that uphill is in the first half. I did pretty well and enjoyed doing the latest Zombies, Run! virtual 10k at the same time. Made it through the first half without any walk breaks, though some of the uphill bits got the better of me on the return leg.

At first, I thought I’d done a new all-time PR. Turns out I remembered my previous PR incorrectly, and actually missed it by a good 6 minutes. But still, this was a new record since getting back into running back in the fall. Gun time was 1:10:33, chip time was 1:09:37. Placed 16th out of 17 in my age group and 313th out of 420, which is about what I expected.

Here are some photos I snapped at the race.

Oh, and here’s another thing that happened this morning:

199.7!!!

Yup, that weight starts with a 1. I’ll likely yo-yo back and forth over that line for the next few days (at least), but I’m still taking that win.