Checking In 8/28/2021 from Flagstaff

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Somewhere in the Cococino Forest

Hello from Flagstaff.

Even though I did go to bed last night and wake up this morning with hamstring pain, I was able to start running with no pain this morning (in my compression shorts, granted), ran to get coffee and breakfast, then took a longer run into the forest and back to lodging… without any pain! This alone is a huge step forward from two weeks ago in Flagstaff, where I barely managed 30 second on, 30 second walk intervals for 5K without undue pain.

This time around, I was only stopping to catch my breath in the altitude and check my mobile map to verify where I was. I had planned to take a trail into the forest, meet up with another trail that would proceed up and back to neighborhoods near highway 180, which I would follow back to more familar streets and my lodging.

However, the map doesn’t show all trails and all intersections, and suddenly I was running a rocky trail along what I thought was the original trail path. This trail also climbed considerably, and though I could maintain a run I did have to stop at least once to catch my breath and let my heart-rate catch up.

Once I got to the top, I actually met the original 2nd trail and was able to follow it for a bit. But then another mysterious 4 way intersection came along, and after I checked my mobile map I found it was a fire road that led to another neighborhood closer to the city, so I took it instead.

But the neighborhood was more of an outpost, dirt roads leading to ranch homes. I met a main road and went one way, only to hit a dead end and realize I should have run the other way, so I had to double back about 1/2 a mile as well as stop when vehicles passed… not because they were dangerously close, but because they kicked up dust on the dirt road and I needed it to settle so I wouldn’t breathe it in.

Once I reached the aptly named Curling Smoke Road I was on a substantial downhill where I had little choice but to run comfortably fast downhill for about a kilometer. Not too hard, and kind of fun.

By this point the sun was also really beating down and this part of the city didn’t have much shade, so even though it wasn’t nearly as hot as Vegas it was a bit of a struggle weaving back towards Switzer Canyon’s more shaded streets and back to my lodging.

It was technically only a 7 mile run, but demanded something closer to 8-10 miles of effort because of the hillclimb and rocky terrain. I also had previously run 1.5mi to get coffee and breakfast before beginning this run, so I ran 8.5mi total.

Once again, this whole run was pain free, and though I’m feeling a bit creaky now as I type this, and felt it walking up to the cafe, it’s encouraging to get this kind of workout in as a last key workout before Labor Day.

I still plan to work out or do a bit of running later today, after a bit of rest. After that, no more hard training before Labor Day weekend, to the point of resting too much if necessary. i want to see if the hamstring issue can fully heal up to no pain at all, even though I can now run without pain.

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