Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Paradise at the Pemberton Trail 50K

Get over yourself, you're in paradise!

That was the theme for the weekend. I've been extremely whiny lately about the persistent cold weather in Colorado. It's been cold, we have an ice sheet in our front yard, it never gets over 50 degrees, I'm completely white from lack of sun exposure, and so on. Waah, waah, waah. Life is soooo tough when all you can do is go home to Scottsdale for the weekend...

Dennis and I flew down there for a long weekend to visit my dad and stepmom, and treated ourselves to perfect 70+ degree weather and sunshine at the Pemberton Trail 50K in McDowell Mountain Park near Fountain Hills, where we used to live before we moved back to Fort Collins.

These are the trails where I used to run all the time. I have so many fun memories of the Pemberton and my trail buddies, out here among the cactus and sunshine, javelina and jackrabbits, and the occasional rattlesnake.

The Pemberton 50K consists of two 25k loops of the Pemberton Trail in McDowell Mountain Regional Park. The race is a benefit for the park itself and many of the trail improvements have been funded by Brian's race and other events held out here by local ultrarunners. It's a gentle grade with great footing, occasional sandy washes, big views of the Superstition Mountains, Four Peaks, gorgeous desert scenery, and is extremely runnable. It's a fast trail 50K course, for anyone interested in running a fast time.

Four Peaks from the trailhead staging area.

Brian Wieck is the founder and race director of this event, which had it's 10th anniversary this year. Brian is a friend and old running buddy of ours. His parents, Keith and Joan, were our neighbors in Fountain Hills. Keith and Joan help out at the Pemberton, making it a family event. Joan makes the best chili for the runners to eat afterwards. Dennis jumped in and helped at the packet pickup in the darkness, when he found out a couple of volunteers didn't show up, then he worked with Tiffany doing the timing at the finish line. There were roughly 130 runners in the 50K and a few dozen more in a two person relay.

Brian Wieck, race director, Tiffany and Dennis at the finish line timing station.

Speaking of fast times, aging competitive runners are such prima donnas. I really need to get over myself. Yes I am aging and slowing, I feel like a trail snail. Gravity is pulling me down. To be painfully blunt and honest about my prima donna feelings and whine about my damaged formerly competitive runner's pride, it's hard to haul ass down the trail when you're carrying 15 more pounds of it than you used to.

But I'm enjoying it as much as ever. I ran the first loop in just under 2 1/2 hours, running a steady pace but not pushing hard. I took a quick break to unload my extra clothes at the aid station as it was getting quite warm. I grabbed an extra bottle of gatorade and water to go, and I'm glad I did because it did heat up by halfway through the second loop.

On the second loop I took it easier on the uphill section and ate and drank a lot, which helped me run my last 10K leg of the loop in the same time as I ran that stretch in the first loop! I was very proud of that even split. I finished in 5:18, which is 55 minutes slower than my best time on the trail back 7 or 8 years ago, but like I said I need to get over myself.

Three more weeks to the Old Pueblo 50 miler. A bit of speedwork might help me feel less like a trail snail. I have a long way to go, as it's been 3 years since I did any real speed training.

Keith Wieck, Brian's dad, with me after I finished.

Brian and Alene.

Brian at the awards. Joan (Brian's mom) is taking the wine out of the box for the lucky raffle winner.

The start and finish line area.

Desert scenery in the McDowells. It's been the inspiration for many of my paintings.

"George", the rubber rattlesnake. He's been used at the finish line and various other places for years.

I didn't get to see Woofie. He had a mishap, he was having some pain in his leg early in the race and decided to call it a day rather than risk injury. I made it a point to see Houdini, the gila monster who lives at the park visitor center. Woofie is Houdini's sponsor. He's donated all the funds to provide Houdini with a home and to be well taken care of by the park staff.

Houdini's "home" at the visitor center.

Houdini through the glass. He was hiding.

Houdini sticks his head up to check things out.

No ice sheets here in Paradise.


Run Home Pam said...

Great job, Alene. I think 5:18 is smokin'!!!! And you look great there in the dessert. Sounds like a fabulous race.


Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Pam! It was fabulous. I'm ready for spring!

Ian said...

Nice report Alene. Great time and yeah smokin'. I got to run that awesome trail while crewing/pacing at last year's JJ100. My loop started at 10.30pm under a bright full moon, headlamps barely used. Love the desert.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Ian, come out and run the night Pemberton 50k next year!

Rick said...

Congratulations, Alene. I may have to do Pemberton next year as I too, love running in the desert. There are a lot of good trails by the Superstitions too.


Alene Gone Bad said...

Rick, the Pemberton is a trail runner's dream even if you're a road runner. It's the smoothest trail you could ever imagine, not to mention the scenery and views.

Felix said...

Looks like you had a fun time. Great job, Alene! We missed at the Runner's Roost run last night!

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Felix, I wanted to go to the Wednesday night run but work has wiped me out this week. I just couldn't drag myself...hope to see you next week.