Tonto Basin 20 mile Training Run

Early Spring in the Wildflowers

Uploaded 4/4/10

 Its probably safe to say that there is not a flat area to do a training run within 40 miles of Payson. Located in one of the most mountainous areas of the state, I have to travel about 45 minutes south to Roosevelt lake to find an area that even approaches flat. The area I finally settled on for this winter/spring long training runs is along the road to the lake starting at the Market store in the small town of Tonto Basin. This photo pictorial which I am sharing with you shows the route during the maximum time of desert blooming of wildflowers. It is simply one of the most fabulous and scenic runs I have ever done!

This is the second of three training runs of 20 miles at this location before the early June San Diego marathon. I think that the challenge of the long up hills from the lake will really help me get ready for this event. My pace for this run was my San Diego marathon race pace down to the lake, then turning around running back up at my projected San Antonio race pace which is a bit slower.

 This is a map of central Arizona showing Payson and 40 miles to the south, the red circle shows the area near Roosevelt Lake where I did this long run.

Above: This is the wrist GPS plot of the entire run. In the center is where I turned around at 10.0 miles and headed back, so the return trip is a mirror image of the down hill. There is just over 200 feet of elevation change, and this entire run is very much like the torturous San Antonio marathon, where its down hill to mile 17, then up hill back to the finish.

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This is my starting point - the Tonto Basin Market. I'm parked behind the brown truck
At the Market, looking south - toward the lake
Off and running, left side of the road. Tonto Basin is a very open community
This is the BIG hill at mile 3.5, up hill for at least half a mile
Halfway up the hill, crossing the river
Looking left at the half way point up the hill at the river which always flows
Now at the top of the hill, its level for a while
The snow on 4 Peaks Mountain behind two Saguaro cactuses
This is what I came for - a rich yellow bloom under a Saguaro!
The bridge, the first view in the distance of Roosevelt Lake
Saguaros in front of the snowy peaks
The Lake boundary sign
This area at the shallow side of the lake is a rich area for water birds, many are nesting now.
Along the swampy shallows
The first view of open water - some fishing boats are seen here
The yellow flowers along the roadway increase as I go downhill to lower elevations.
At the 10 mile turn around point. Looking back the way I came along the shore
Fishing boat at the 10 mile point
And now - Up hill all the way to the Market
A desert wash looking toward 4 peaks
Massive yellow flowers in bloom.
The long up hill trek
This hill side is yellow from flowers
Heading back toward the swampy area
This was a cool Saguaro along the route
The reds from Indian Paintbrush flowers along a road cut
Purple Lupines, and yellow flowers
This hill is a multicolor rainbow of flowers!
This was a totally cool scene, a sea of yellow tiny flowers with a prickly pear cactus
The other side of the Tonto Challenge Hill. (Thats what I call it anyway)
At the top of the hill again, looking over some fantastic geology in the Payson Basin formation.
Coming down the long hill, left side, tons of Lupines!
Finally, up ahead about half a mile is the Tonto Market. I'm feeling GREAT at this point, about 19.5 miles.
I'm BACK. Oh man, what a run!

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