Monday, September 07, 2009

Jerome Hill Climb 2009

Six months ago it seemed like a good idea. I signed up for the Jerome Hill Climb. I was just starting my marathon training and I thought a nice 4.6 miler up a mountain would be a good training run a month before my marathon. I didn't know I would deal with an ankle injury that would derail my summer training.

So on Sunday I showed up, behind in my training in Jerome, Arizona. Jerome is a tourist town southwest of Sedona high on the Cleopatra Hill. It's on a mountain and although I didn't have to go to the top, I did have to go pretty high up.

I didn't want to get in the way of the racers, so at the start I took this photo. Then I preceded to walk to the line and start with the back of the pack. I knew it was going to be a lot of walking and some running. Runners park at the 1 mile mark and then walk down to the start. The walk down is intimidating. After the start, I made it about 4/10 of a mile before I was walking up a steep gravel drive with many other runners.
You can see in the photo below the city of Jerome. It's right below the letter 'J'. I think we basically ran around that hill and up the mountain.

The night before, my wife, daughter and I stayed in a cabin at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. This picture of Jerome is from that park. The next picture is a close up. At the half mile mark I was breathing as hard as I ever had. It was a steep climb mixed with a 5000 foot elevation. I'll admit, I was intimidated and ended up walking more than I should have. At the one mile mark I looked to the left and there sat my Honda Pilot. I already had my cool tee shirt. Time to pack it in? No, I continued on.

I grinded it out and it became a hike from the 2 mile mark to the 3.5 mile mark. At that time, I didn't seem to be breathing so hard. I decided I was going to run/walk in 1/10 of a mile increment. This seemed to work and I finished the race with a bit of dignity. My two fastest splits were the 4th mile and the last half mile. At the top, the Arizona RoadRacers had water, soda, chips and cookies. It was kind of strange to have a finish line in the middle of nowhere.

Of course, the bad news was that I had to turn around and go down the mountain 3.5 miles to my car.

My plan was to run/walk it back down hill. Most people just walked down, so I got to pass quite a few and I enjoyed the downhill much more than the actual race. Uphill it was taking me about 16 minutes a mile. Downhill was a nice 12:24 pace. Some of it was so steep downhill, that I realized the reason why they didn't race it back down was for safety reasons.

All in all? It was a beautiful race with incredible views of the Verde Valley. I wanted to spend more time in Jerome, but that was not to be. We spent the rest of the day exploring Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Will I be back next year? You bet. With the proper training it will be a great race to be a part of.


Anonymous said...

Good stuff Pat! Glad you're fired up for next year already!:)


wmd said...

Looks like a tough run, but a very satisfying one!

Great job.

Irene said...

Beautiful pictures! It's good to see you back at it.

Adam said...

This race gets more and more scenic each year. I'm frustrated that I couldn't be there. We'll get together for a race yet! :)

Dan Seifring said...

Have I mentioned before how jealous I am of the beautiful landscape you get to run in every day?