Friday, December 23, 2016

After three days in the Desert Fun, I was looking at a river bed

Here you go.

It was time for my annual golf trip with my high school buddies. This year we went to Phoenix, eight of us renting a house in Scottsdale. We golfed Thursday and Friday on the lush green golf courses among the cacti.
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Then we went out to the real desert, with nothing green in sight, to do a trail race. There were plants and birds and rocks and things, there was sand and hills and rings. The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz and the sky with no clouds. The heat was hot and the ground was dry, but the air was full of sound.

And it looked kind of like this.
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The event had races of five different distances, from 5 miles to 50 miles. I decided ten miles was enough for me. Just a fun weekend run on some rocky trails. About 100 people gathered together, and off we went into the desert.

My only goal was to have fun out there, push it a little bit, and beat the one friend who joined me in the ten mile. (The others ran the 5 mile). And I DID have fun! Trail running just IS fun! This trail was all single track, with enough room to pass, but just barely. There were TONS of rocks everywhere, so you had to watch every step. Plus it was constantly going up and down - like big moguls; Little five foot hills every 50 feet. Up. Down. Constant turns. Never a dull moment. Add in the challenge of racing - trying to keep up with the person ahead of you or hold off the footsteps you hear behind you - and it was a fully immersive experience! Like virtual reality, except it was actual reality.

In the first mile we all fell into place very quickly. Self-seeding worked this time. I started trailing a couple of ladies who were going at a good pace. We passed a couple guys in the first two miles. Then I went by them for a bit. But they caught and passed me on a big hill in mile 4. I took a short break at the aid station and caught my breath and drank some water. Because, you know, desert. Then I noticed my friend not too far behind so I got a move on.

The last six miles I think I only passed two people, and no one passed me. I was just plugging along, working at the hardest pace I could while still negotiating all the rocks and hills. So fun anyway though. Like it was me against the course. I stubbed my toe a few times, but never went down, so that was a victory. The last few miles I was feeling the fatigue but tried to keep up a good effort. I was passing slower runners from the 25K race every so often, so that helped give me people to chase.

Eventually the Finish area appeared and I celebrated a successful day on the trails.
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Later I checked results and found no men over 50 ahead of me, so I'm calling it an AG win, even though there were no AG awards. Not counting the 55-year old woman who beat me... We all got a glass for finishing, and our group did a toast to our runner friend who just passed away, who should have been out there with us.
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So it was a great getaway weekend. Played more golf Sunday and also did a 4.4 mile hike in the desert. Ate lots of good food, played some poker, drank some wine...yeah, life is good.
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