Buh-Bye Sniffles: Hello Valentine’s Day/Birthday Trail Run

Okay, so I gave it another day.

After heeding the advice of the Runner’s World article I mentioned and listening to my body, I’m back to training!

It’s Valentine’s Day and my birthday today. Every year I love going for a run to celebrate another year of being healthy. Last year at this time I was running my second full marathon called the Lost Dutchman Marathon out in Eastern Arizona’s gorgeous Superstition Mountains.

An Arizona native (aside from living the first 2 years of my life in South Carolina, but that’s another story), I’ve always loved running on desert trails and using Arizona’s native canal system for my long runs. Running on dirt not only eases the pressure on my joints, but it also helps me get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Today my escape was to South Mountain Park, “the largest municipal park in the world,” according to its Website. Dozens of dirt trails snake through this 17,000-acre preserve and its favored among mountain bikers and trail runners in Arizona’s East Valley suburban area.

I ran along my initial flat dirt road from the park entrance and then connected to the Mormon Loop (see left). As I ran along the trail, I definitely noticed my pace was slower than on the streets (go figure), but that’s pretty normal when you’re scaling a mountain, right? My Garmin watch showed me running around an 11-minute mile pace (yikes!) and quite a ways behind my “pace partner” who was running a 10-minute mile pace. I kept reminding myself that it wasn’t about how fast I was running, it was about getting the training in without injuring myself.

As I hit the 2-mile mark, I nearly turned around to make it an even 4 miles when I noticed a summit just up the hill.

I had to get there.

…and I’m so glad I did! Check out the view:

…then, I did the touristy thing and snapped one of me with the gorgeous vista…

The run on the way back was lovely, especially since it was down hill most of the way ;).

All in all, I really can’t complain. I’m doing what I love and I’m doing it for a super worthy cause. If you have a minute and would like to support me (and give me a special birthday present ;)), please visit the “Donate” page and submit anything to Childhelp; even a dollar will help a child in need of assistance in the U.S.

I’m aiming to raise $5,000 before April 18, 2011 for Childhelp and would love your support! Ninety percent of all donations help children in abusive and neglectful situations. Please help.

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