Coldwater Rumble 1/20/18 20k

I ran my second trail race today – the Coldwater Rumble at Estrella Regional Park in Goodyear, AZ. Yesterday it was sunny and 77, today is was forecast to only be 57. A huge temperature change!! But, luckily when I left it was 57 and it ‘warmed’ up to about 60 on the run so the cool weather didn’t hit as forecasted.

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The sunrise was spectacular! Absolutely stunning!

Estrella is a good drive from my house, about 45 minutes. There was a short wait to pay at the entrance station, but no big deal. Super easy to park. There were real bathrooms so that line was a little longer than the port-a-potty, but so worth it. Then had a few minutes to kill under the heat lamp. A man there was talking about the tough hills and elevation gain. I guess I wasn’t paying attention when I signed up, but there are lots of hills with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet.

No gonna lie, this race felt all up hill, until the last mile or so. The downhills were into washes and steep so they didn’t seem like a break. But I feel like I had a strong race. I was strong on the uphill, not as great on the downhill.

The race was pretty crowded beginning and end. The loops joined together and many distances joined up. Then longer distances were running the opposite direction too. But I didn’t mind that. See others kept me motivated. It looked like it was going to rain, but held off until after I was done. This was a fun race and I’d do it again!

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Rock n Roll Half 1/14/2018

Happy Birthday to me! Running a half marathon on your birthday! Fun or Crazy? Well today was fun. This is my 3rd year in a row running this race and today was by far the best one.
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Easy parking this year. Every year we park in a different spot. This year we hit the jackpot and the lot we parked in this year was super easy to get to and no traffic. Since it was so easy we were early and sat in the car for 20 minutes. That is certainly better than sitting in a slow moving line to get to a garage.

Easy pre-run bathroom stop. Super easy! My son lives at a dorm right by the start. He let us in and we used his bathroom. Score! Real potty, real sink and great! I also left my jacket with my son too so I didn’t have to carry that!

Got into the coral with plenty of time. It wasn’t crowded and stood by some nice people. There were two men in camo on top of this building using binoculars to look for suspicious people.

Started in coral 6, we didn’t start until after 8am. I feel sorry for all those people who were behind us. Seems like it took awhile to start the corals this year.

The bands were better this year. I counted 11. No cheer leaders this year. Some fun signs and kudos to those few people who cheer for their runner then run to another spot to do it again. The best band is the drummers at the top of the hill. They are always amazing! The course is not too scenic until miles maybe 9-end when we are headed to Papago Park in Phoenix then into Tempe for the end.

Hubby was working again this year by the zoo. Got to stop and see him for a minutes too!

I got a medal for the half and the remix medal for running the 5k yesterday. The remix medal was really nice. The half medal is OK. Better food after the race too. We got water, Gatorade, Pringles chips, a granola bar, banana, and chocolate milk. There were lots of photographers at the end too.

We’re already signed up for next year!
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Rock n Roll 5k 1/13/2018

Rock n Roll 5k – January 13, 2018. First 5k of 2018! The course is beautiful!

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beautiful view along the 5k course

It’s easy to park. Plenty of port-o-potties. My friend Mary ran with me and she did packet pickup before the race which was also easy.

5 corrals for the start. We couldn’t hear the announcer so when the National Anthem played lots of people were talking, but quieted down half way through the song. There was no ‘start’ there were two poles and no crossbar with start on it. Very strange. But I have been there in past years when they are putting up the startline right before the race. Must have been too much trouble.

We were in corral 4. The race started at 8:00am and we probably got released at 8:04am.
We ran / walked. There were 2 DJ’s on the course and one band. One water stop. The band was fun and was interacting with the runners.
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The finish…..hmmm we crossed the finish line I don’t think there was a photographer there. We got our medals and then got a bottle of water, a single serving package of pringles and a banana. No Gatorade. No finish line photographers to take your picture on an official background. As a matter of fact no official backgrounds anywhere. Odd. A very sparse finish that was a bit disappointing. We didn’t even go back to the park (the band was playing) there was not much there.

Running with Mary was super fun. It was a beautiful day! The course was beautiful, but the finish was sub par. Onto the half tomorrow!

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Estrella Regional Park – two hikes on two days

Monday Jan 1st hike – Happy New Year! I celebrated the new year early, which got me to bed early,  which allowed me to get an early start on my New Year’s Day hike. I am running a trail race at Estrella Regional Park so I wanted to hike a part of the course and get the lay of the land. Estrella is about 35 miles away from my house. As expected there was no traffic out in the morning so it was smooth sailing down to the park.

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There are a ton of trails at this park. There are a couple trails you need to take to access other trails. Most of the time you end of on a string of trails – hence hiking Baseline – Horseshoe – Rainbow Valley – Quail and walked on the road back to my car. That hike was 8.5 miles.

Wednesday Jan 3rd hike – I ended up back at Estrella. I parked at the rodeo ground which allowed me easier access to trails farther in the park. I hiked Coldwater to Dysart to Butterfield and then back the same way. It was a gorgeous day for hiking. I was going to do a loop which was longer but I got a late start and needed to get home.

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I love the trail signs they have. Street signs for the trails!

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Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

What a gem! We have visited a few Wildlife Refuges in Arizona and they have not been anything to write home about. The visitors centers are not open on weekends and are not usually onsite. There usually is not much to do and see on the refuge too.IMG_0094 Well, not Imperial. The visitor center is on the refuge and it was open today! (The benefit of visiting during the week!) It’s a 10 mile dirt road drive to the visitor center. The road is graded and all cars can make it to the center.

The visitor center volunteer was knowledgeable and helpful! There are three tortoise there, but even though it was 80 there today it is December and they are hibernating.

From the visitor center we went down to the lake. It was beautiful!

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Then we drove to the Painted Desert Hiking Trail. The road here was much rougher, but still passable by a car.

It was hot when we hiked. Again 80 at the end of December is really warm. The trail was pretty well marked and a nice break from driving in the car.

The road is adjacent to Yuma Proving Ground. There was always one blimp flying and we saw two on the ground. We also saw a lot of dune buggy’s and the drop zone for the HALO jumpers. Fun drive on a dirt road to a wonderful place!

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Wind Cave – Usery Regional Park

I dropped my son off at ASU today – he is in the ASU marching band and going to the Sun Bowl. He boarded a bus to El Paso and I headed out to get some more miles in at Maricopa parks so I thought I’d see what was “close” to ASU. Usery is about 20/25 minutes from ASU and since I was already half way there I thought I’d check out the  hiking. Big bonus is that there was no traffic today. Everyone must be off for the holidays!

I parked off Crismon and McKellips  and walked in. Paid my $2.00 entrance fee at the pay station. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. It was cold when I left my house (42), but it had warmed up to 56 when I started.

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I thought I was on the Crismon Wash trail, but it turns out I was on a trail running parallel to that which was fine. Then I hit Blevins trail took that over to Pass Mountain and then to the Wind Cave Trail. I hardly saw anyone on the first three trails, but Wind Cave is the popular trail there and there were tons of people enjoying the beautiful day.

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Plus these gorgeous views of the “Phoenix” on the mountain! The wind cave trail is rated difficult. It’s not super steep, but it can be narrow and there were some rocks to climb over. The trail is 1.5 each way.

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Coming around the corner to the wind cave which is just a depression in the mountain. There were quite a few people enjoying the view there!

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I can see why so many people love the Wind Cave Trail. It’s a pretty good workout and nice views. It’s really far for me to do regularly, but I’m glad I made the trek out do hike at Usery! 7.6 miles, all flat except for the wind cave trail which was the highlight! December 27, 2017.

 

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Scottsdale Half December, 2017

Scottsdale Half Marathon was on Sunday December 10, 2017. I had run the 12k’s of Christmas the day before as part of the challenge.

Thank goodness it was not cold for the race. This is the third year in a row I have run this race. In 2015 it was freezing cold. I was huddled under a heat lamp! In 2016 it was definitely warmer, but not as warm as this year. I prefer warm weather running so perfect! I don’t want to run in the freezing cold!

Anyway, another race where it’s easy to park and there are plenty of port-o-potties before the start line. On the course they could have used more, there were singles at a couple of points and they always had a line….

As the race was getting ready to start the announcer said to line up by the pacers, but there were no pacers to be found. I’m not sure if or when they got there, but definitely an oops on the pacers part.

The course is boring! You run down Scottsdale Road then over to Hayden and run back. Some of it is on the greenbelt path which is better, but that is not a lot of the course. One or two lanes of the road are closed, and lanes remain open.

Running was OK, I knew I wasn’t going to PR and I hoped to keep a 10 minute pace. I finished at 2:15:30 which is 10:21 min/mile. Up until 10 miles I was right around 10 min/mile so really slowed down the last 3 miles. I need to go to track workouts!!

Anyway, got the medal and got in the food line. Totally disappointing, there were stale bagels, cream cheese, donuts, yogurt and bananas. The expo was super small with no cool giveaways and it took me awhile to hunt down where I was suppose to pickup the challenge medal. The tent was not marked and the first few people I asked had no idea where it was. But, I found it and the challenge medal was really nice. It’s a spinner snowflake with one side for Scottsdale Half and one side for 12k’s of Christmas.

This race gave out jackets, they were delayed because of the fires in California. So I did go and pick that up a week later. They are pretty nice. Better than getting a t-shirt. I also got a nice goodie bag and super nice tank for signing up with NWLB.

I’m not sure if I’ll run this again…maybe if it’s a challenge again!

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