So this happened today. In the midst of searching for spring marathons that don’t break the bank, I found this gem.. only $40 until tomorrow when it shoots up to $70. I’m now committed.
- Arizona is fabulous in the winter.
- President’s Day weekend is a four-day for Aaron and my work schedule is flexible.
- Phoenix metro area is a great getaway destination, and only six hours away.
- Ikea. Duh.
- Are there really any? I love Arizona.
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve legit trained for something.. two years to be exact when I started training for the Transmountain Challenge Half. I’m actually using the same plan to train for the Flying Horse Half Marathon coming up in October. Then, I’ll either crew for my husband running the inaugural Franklin Mountains Trail 50K or do the half marathon option through the mountains.
I’m slowly gaining more confidence in trail running. Back in November 2013, I did a trail race in New Mexico where I got lost and ended up doing 13 miles when I was supposed to do only 9. It rattled me a bit even though I found my way back.. I just lost confidence.
However, last night I looked forward to our five-miler on the trails this morning. It rained a little last night and the sun came up a little later, so there was a beautiful sunrise and fragrance of the high desert flora. We did see our first snake about halfway through, and thanks to the warning of a runner coming the other way we were able to avoid it. We took it easy since we raced the Up and Running Fourth of July 5K yesterday. It was a great way to start our Sunday and to continue our long weekend.
The past year hasn’t been the most consistent as far as training and running are concerned. So many changes and challenges in life seemed to affect my desire to get up early and get at it. And that’s just part of the running cycle, too, I think. All of us runners ebb and flow with life… sometimes you just need to take time off.
For the past few months I’ve been building up a base again since I had to start at Square One. I’ve run between 30 and 60 miles every month since about March, and it’s been such a relief to my psyche. It’s reminded me of how lucky I am to be able to run.
This next week marks four years since we moved to the desert, and it’s a little amusing to think back to how much I hated running here at first. It was July, so of course it was dry and hot. And the sun. So strong for this Midwesterner. I had a lot to learn about mental stamina and less about the physical act of running.
I think the true breakthrough came when I trained for and conquered Transmountain on foot. I had driven over that mountain so many times, but there was something that broke free in me after training on hills every Sunday morning. I’m from Illinois – we have no hills unless you count bridges. So I had to get over the hills in my mind and really believe I could do it. Every week I climbed up and over and up and over Scenic Drive, building speed and strength. After that race, I felt like I made my peace with the mountain. A month following that race, I PR’d at the Turkey Trot 5K. I felt unstoppable.
I don’t want to get back to that level of fitness; I want to be better, different. And that’s why running, though seemingly mundane, is an amazing sport. There’s always a new challenge, a new goal, a new pace.