Trail Runs!


On Thursday, I just about managed to do my two meetings, and then I took my team to a nice dinner in Phoenix. We had New Mexican food in Richardson’s, and it was great. The only issue is that we were already quite full after the appetizers. The portions are huge.

On Friday morning, my colleague and I drove to the Desert Vista Trailhead. We had about 40 minutes between sunrise and having to go back to the hotel to have breakfast and go to work. My colleague went on a short hike, and I ran for 22 minutes, then turned around and ran back.

It was still dark when we set off, and I had to use my cellphone “torch” function to avoid breaking a leg on the irregular trail surface. Next time I should remember to take my LED head lamp with me.

Great! Four PRs on Strava. Basically because I hadn’t run this particular trail. It was short, but great!

First time I ran with my new Polar OH1 optical heart rate arm band. I used it in standalone mode. I liked the comment that Polar Flow made after syncing the device:

I also had the device switched on during the drive back to the hotel, so you can also see my recovery curve there. Note that I had forgotten to set correct maximum heart rate, and this definitely wasn’t Tempo and Maximum training.

Then on to work. Lots of meetings, some of them up in Deer Valley, some of them on the other side of Phoenix, on Sky Harbor Circle, so some zipping up and down the I17 was involved as well. As you can see from the picture above, it was cloudy, and it even rained a bit, but still the weather is great, coming out of Minneapolis (or Brno).

Just before sunset, we managed to get in a hike up to Pinnacle Peak, so that was some light exercise as well, but mainly a way of showing my colleague a little bit of the beauty of Arizona. It is his first time in the US, and we didn’t have time to do much sightseeing, so at least Pinnacle Peak.


Good news. My flight wasn’t as early as I thought, so there was plenty of time to do another trail run. I drove to Desert Vista Trailhead again, but this time I did a loop that I was familiar with.

It was a little faster than I had remembered, so I added a little back and forth on the same trail as Friday to complete at least 60 minutes. It was sunnier than on Friday, but it was colder and more windy, about 15 degrees C.

This is a nice run. It is not possible to run fast in the desert, because of the irregular trail surface, but there are short climbs that get your heart rate up, and the views are great. In the beginning you have a fantastic view of the city of Phoenix, and then you turn a corner and you feel like you are the only person on the planet.

At one point all the birds began to sing, and then they suddenly stopped. Perhaps some morning ritual.

This time I was running with both the Tickr X connected to my Garmin Forerunner and the Polar OH1 connected to the Polar Beat app. I wanted to compare the performance of the two heart rate monitors, and see if there is any downside on using the optical heart rate monitor. Here is a quick comparison chart. I took a TCX from Polar Flow and did the same for the data on Garmin Connect. Those sites are the first destination of the data from the respective devices. Of course I don’t know what data mangling they do, but I thought it was better than downloading both workouts from Strava.

I am quite satisfied with the result. Actually, the Tickr has some problems in the beginning (I didn’t moisten the chest belt before putting it on), and for those first few minutes I believe that the OH1 is more accurate. When you look in detail, you see some slight differences between the two sensors, but on the scale of a workout (and that is what I am interested in) this is negligible. All the features that I am looking for are there (quick rise when running up hill).

On Saturday afternoon I flew back home. First flight was PHX – JFK and it was great. We took a route over Flagstaff and I could see the Grand Canyon, Four Corners, and I recognized all the places we had visited on our RV vacation in the US.

The flight from JFK to Amsterdam was delayed by 2.5 hours, so I suddenly had a long overlay in Amsterdam. I used it to eat some haring. Something you can only get in The Netherlands, perhaps an acquired taste, but it is great:

Then the afternoon flight to Prague, where I discovered that my colleague’s check bag had made it but mine hadn’t, which was interesting given the fact that we had walked over to the transfer desk at Schiphol and made sure that our bags were on the same flight as ours – at least in “the system”.

After a two hour taxi ride I was home at 9pm.