Thursday, December 22, 2005

Change is Good

Nice easy run in Sabino Canyon today, with a starting temperature in the mid-40's. I was hoping for 14 miles, but my 7am departure was slowed by both Haiden and Finn getting up around 6:30. This grinds my preparations to a halt as I get them out of bed and ready for the day. Kiera took Finn's 3am wake up call, so I was on duty until she got up a little after 7. Still, I managed 12 miles, with a nice run to the end of the road in Sabino Canyon, and a few side trips on some of the arterial trails and roads around there. I stopped to see a few deer and point them out to a father and son (tourists) who had a camera with them. They asked me (as many tourists do) about the danger of mountain lion attacks in the canyon, so I explained how of 6 of the lions deemed to have "lost their fear of humans" over the past year, one had been tranquilized and relocated, two had been shot and killed by rangers for acting "aggressively towards humans", and three had been killed by bow-hunters with a permit for hunting them. This is a shame, as Tucson continues to grow we inevitably shrink the habitats of the surrounding wildlife. A mountain lion's "territiory" generally covers 100 square miles, so any further encroachment of subdivisions into the surrounding desert has an immediate impact. I am part of the problem, as our subdivision is a little over a half-mile from Sabino Canyon, but was built 12 years ago.

Much of the fear of mountain lions in the canyon is stoked by employees here. There is a motorized tram that gives a guided tour of the canyon, and the driver/narrators, craving attention, spin yarns and generally overstate the dangers of simply walking in the canyon. Tales of grusome near-fatal encounters with vicious beasts apparently tops describing native wildflowers for keeping the tram-riders entertained. Many are afraid to even step off the tram and actually enjoy the canyon on foot, which is a shame. When I take Haiden up the road in the canyon in the jogging stroller, I've gotten a few "tsk tsk" looks of admonishment and stares of disbelief, as if I am actually escorting my daughter in a wheeled chariot for deposit in an awaiting lion's mouth.

Anyway, it was a beautiful run, and I had to really try to keep things slow. Tomorrow is either another time trial or strides, I'm still deciding which, and Saturday will be my last 22 miler for awhile.

Training: 12 miles, 1:27:01, 7:13 pace. Hilly run in Sabino Canyon


angie's pink fuzzy said...

Not to mention, the only reason the mountain lions were spotted last year was the bumper crop of deer they were hunting that were in the canyon...

Don't get me started on how they are handling the mountain lions!

seebo said...

I get similar comments when people find out I train in West Philadelphia.

Nice blog.

tb1 said...

Mike, you sound relaxed and it appears that your kids are helping you stay on course with your sharpening/tapering. From my view, January 15, 2006 is looking great!

Mike said...

I know Angie, it's a real drag. Seebo, I spent one morning in Philadelphia, and I don't think I "unclenched" once! tb1, I hope you're right, I hope your running is going well too.