Monday, September 3, 2007
Back on Track, Along the Tracks
Today was my first successful long run since I messed up my ankle about a month ago. I decided against going for the 20 miles which I had originally considered. Instead I decided on the more modest distance of 14 miles, since this run was successful I will jack it up 20 miles next week. In order to avoid the particularly brutal heat that we have been having lately I got up before dawn to start. Unfortunates because Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time, this required me getting up at 5:00. Also unfortunate is that avoiding the heat this time of year is also a relative term. It was 87 degrees at 5:00 this morning.
On my run I was able to inspect some of the aftermath from Saturday night's violent storm. So how I totally slept through the entire thing but results were impressive. Below is some of the things that the local paper had to stay about it:
...after the weekend storm that ripped through town with hurricane-force winds gusting up to 84 mph...
...The storm dropped 1.79 inches of rain between 12:25 and 2 a.m., according to Accuweather. The area traditionally receives about 3.02 inches of rain annually...
It is to bad that I slept through the entire thing, it would have been cool to see. Impressive to me was the fact that more than 24 hours latter there was still some standing water. I have never seen anything like that around here. The soil, on the mesa at least, is pure sand, plus it was sunny and 115 yesterday, so the fact that there was still any standing water speaks to power of the storm.
I ran along the railroad service road which is one of my favorite places to run. One of the reason I like it is the thick screen of Tamarisks that railroad has planted, this is only predominantly shady runs in the area. The only problem is that Tamarisks are considered an extremely noxious weed. About two miles to the south, a major effort is being made to eradicate them along the river. Yet here, not only has the railroad planted them, they are maintaining them with an extensive irrigation system. That just seems a little messed up
This weekend is the first of dove hunting season, and the hunters were out in force this morning. I was constantly being startled by the near by blast of shotguns. At times the firing was fast and furious. Fortunately I reached the city limits, where hunting is banned, before long.
I came across a truly odd sight. Next to the railroad track I cam across dozens, maybe hundreds of smashed Sega Dreamcasts. The Sega Dreamcast was a failed competitor to the Sony Play Station 2 video game system. Why so many were smashed and strewn along about a quarter mile of track I will never know.
The five miles of the run were far less pleasant than the first nine. Not only was the temperature starting to push triple digit, I left the mesa and went down into the valley. Usually this are is lush with crops. However this is one the few times of the year that the fields lay fallow and bear as the harvest of this summers cotton crop has mostly wrapped up, and the planting of the first of the lettuce crop has just barley begun. Add to this all the rain on Saturday night, and I would up running through five miles worth of steaming mudflats. Yuck, definitely not this area at its finest,
It was a great run. I was able to confirm that I am still on track to compete in the Long Beach Marathon. I should be able to get 20 miles in next weekend, especially considering that high are supposed be about 10 degrees cooler than this weekends.