Gus runs 18 Miles... | Posted: 2008-01-27 21:53:29 | 4711 hits | View in Hi-Fi Mode

... in the rain, no less.

Was gonna do the 25 mile Tonto Fun Run this weekend, but when I stopped at a Circle K to buy Gatorade on my way out there, it was raining cats 'n' dogs and freezing cold. I'm sure there were hardcore people out there doing that run, but me, there's no way I'm gonna attempt a 25 mile run with 6100 feet of elevation change in the rain, somewhere I've never been before. On a nice day... heck yeah.

Today? No way.

"Screw that," I said... and headed home to wait for the world to warm up a bit. It never rains here... if I'm gonna get used to running in rain on a long distance using unfamiliar equipment -- i.e., rain gear -- I figured it'd be better to do it on terrain I'm familiar with.

At about 10:00 am, Gus 'n' I headed out to South Mountain. I was rocking my fancy new REI shell -- finally, a wet day when I could try that thing out.

I don't know what model it is, so I can't link to it, but those things are amazing. Running in the rain wasn't really uncomfortable at all, since the jacket provides zippers under the arms to allow for extra venting. The hood has a built-in visor, actually helps a lot. I also took the new Brooks Cascadias out for a spin... and they did fine, even in the rain. My feet got wet, but the smart wool and the shoes seemed to prevent any real problems. They're great shoes, at least at first glance -- which is good because they're bright red. (Which is better than the bright orange they tried once, I guess... but I liked the grey.)

The real story, though, is the dog. Gus kicked ass on the trails, totally a viking about it.

Since there was no one out there 'cept us, at least for awhile, I experimented with letting him off leash. As long as there were no distractions, he did fine... after we started to venture into more highly traveled areas, though, I had to leash him again.

The rain actually suited Gus just fine, since he could help himself to puddles along the way for water. It wasn't terribly cold -- in the mid 50's, maybe -- so we just cruised along National, ran back to Telegraph Pass, descended down to Desert Classic, and slowly made our way through the succession of valleys to return to the Pima Canyon parking lot. We got rained on to various degrees the whole way, but when we were running on the upper ridges, we were up above some of the clouds overhanging Phoenix. Kinda cool...

When we finished, we were both soaked to the bone, the dog still full of energy.

The thing is -- that run, with all its many hills and rocks and other weirdness, is at least as brutal as any normal street marathon out there, even though it's only 18 miles. I'm convinced that Gus could do a marathon no problem.

As I write this, the dog is asleep next to me in bed, crashed out. He's been up and around, though -- he did just fine, seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly the whole way.


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