White Sands National Monument

Over the break my family and I had the chance to go to White Sands National Monument just outside Alamogordo, NM.

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We did the 5 mile Alkali hike. There is no path per say, you look for the red poles and hike from one pole to the next. What was most surprising to me, was that most of the time it wasn’t loose sand like you might walk through at the beach. A lot of the hike was on packed sand. When you went up and down the dunes the sand was thick and you would almost slide down, but walking on top of the dunes was packed sand.

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It was a cold day. It was 39 degrees when we started the hike and about 43 when we finished. It was a fun hike!

I couldn’t get my kids to sled down the sand dunes, but hiking up and down the dunes involved a fair amount of sledding on your feet, so I think it worked out. The families we saw sledding all looked like they were having a fun time.

We spend about three hours at the park and then we hit the road to drive back home.

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Casa Grande National Monument

We are on a quest to visit all the National site in Arizona….today we visited Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge, AZ. If you know Arizona you’d think that the Casa Grande Ruins would be in the city of Casa Grande, but not in AZ.

Anyway, I use to work in Florence, AZ which is a few minutes from Coolidge. I passed by this monument many, many,many times while working in Florence and never visited.


This is pretty much what we saw from the road. A covered structure. But, I needed the stamp for my book to make it official. And guess what? I forgot my book at home!! I know I couldn’t believe it! Luckily they have pieces of paper to get a stamp for all the nimrods who forget their books.

Anyway, a couple of thought from visiting:

  • There were about 20 cars in the parking lot from 6 states and Canada
  • Nice visitor center, nice rangers
  • No hiking, short walk around the ruins. There are guided tours if you are interested.
  • This is a short visit stop, if you visit make sure you have somewhere else to go in the area.
  • Casa Grande means Big House in Spanish.
  • The experts are not sure what this structure was used for


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Would I visit again? No. Not a lot here and you can see it from the road (though not all the details) and not  worth the stop.

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Phoenix Summit Challenge – Apache Wash 2015

Hubby and I went out to Apache Wash Trailhead to hike two of the summits that are part of the Phoenix Summit Challenge. It was a beautiful day, not too hot – wonderful hiking weather. The trail head has a big parking lot, no drinking water. The bathrooms have doors (really important – read last week’s hike- no bathroom doors!) but they are permanent porta potties, but they were well maintained and didn’t stink!


We hiked a short hike to Apache Vista which is hike 2 this year. It was 1.2 miles with 340 feet elevation gain. An easy hike.

At the Apache Vista summit the next hike starts which is the longer Ridgeback Overlook hike. The book said it’s 3.77 miles, but I got 4.3 miles on my app. It was also mostly flat, through the beautiful desert. We didn’t see any animals, but did see some beautiful hot air balloons.

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The trails are well maintained and would be great for trail running. These two hikes are nice and easy and they should go quickly when we are hiking the Phoenix Summit Challenge. Happy Hiking!

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Phoenix Summit Challenge – Deem Hills Dry Run

Hubby and I went to Deem Hills this morning. It is one of the 7 summits this year and one that I have not hiked before, so I knew that I needed to check it out before November 14th!

It is 30 minutes from our house, and thank goodness we were going against traffic or it would have taken a lot longer. The directions from google maps weren’t correct so we got a little lost, but ended up finding it. Hint, There is no Stetson Valley Parkway off Happy Valley…turn on 55th avenue and it takes you right to the entrance.

The park was nice, with a fair size parking lot. There is a dog park there, soccer fields and it looked nicely maintained. My one pet peeve is that there are no doors on the bathrooms. Really!! A couple of parks do this and it is really annoying. Put doors on the stalls!!

Anyway, followed the circumference trail about a mile and then went up the Ridgeway trail. We saw a bunch of balloons in the distance. I told my husband we use to see tons of balloons where we live, but now it seems they are few and far between. I guess they have all moved up to this area. It might be hard to see them but there are balloons in this picture!

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We made it up to the summit and the went down the same way (since this was a practice hike, I was following directions) It was a very easy hike and took us just over an hour. The PSC Guidebook says said 3.7 miles, but my fitness tracker didn’t get to 3.7…about 3.4.

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Week 6 & 7 of Dopey Training – Track Workouts

A local high school holds track workouts every Wednesday from 5:30 am – 6:30 am. I’ve been wanting to try them for a long time, but something has always hindered me from going. I finally got one of my friends to come with me and we got up early and drove to the track.

The first week we got there and parked and walked to the track. I was surprised that there were about 30 people there for the workout. Wow! Pretty impressive turnout at 5:30 am. The person leading the workout then told us what we’d be running. He said something like 16 x 400 in groups of 4 with a 2.5 minute recover descending. My brain wasn’t working very well that early and I had to decipher the code. 400 = once around the track. 16 time is 4 miles. 2.5 minutes means you run as fast as you can and then the rest of the time you get to rest. The descending means you are suppose to get faster each lap. hmmmm that didn’t happen, but we’ll work on that.

There is a clock so you can see what your time is. I don’t think I looked at it once during that workout, so I’m not sure how fast I was going. I ran without headphones and no timing device. I didn’t see anyone using headphones, so I think you’re suppose to concentrate on what you’re doing.

Anyway, the workout wasn’t too bad. I definitely wasn’t fast, but I didn’t finish last.

We then went the next week. I was prepare for 16 x 400….so when the person leading the workout said 9 x 800 I was caught off-guard. Uhhh 4.5 miles this week and 800= 2 laps or .5 mile. OK, time to prepare my brain for this.

I did the first set in 4 minutes (which would equal an 8 minute mile, excellent for me) Then the longer the workout progressed the slower I got.  Kind of sad too, I (and a number of other people) got lapped by the really, really fast guy on my last two laps. But the good news is I did not get lapped for the first 7 laps.

Anyway, track workouts are suppose to make you faster. We shall see….we shall see.

Aug 5 – track workout 4.5 miles
Aug 7 – 6 miles
Aug 9 – 11 miles

Aug 11 – 3 miles – great fast fun!
Aug 12 – Track workout 4 miles
Aug 13 – 4 miles
Aug 16 – 11 miles, seriously record heat this week. super hard today.

So my last mile or so on the long run on Aug 9th I was walking a little bit. Another lady walking passed me. She was not running, and had on regular shorts and was carrying a purse. So, that got me going and I started running. I passed her and got to the overpass. I went under and walked up the other side of the under pass. I look up and I see this same lady jogging above me. WOW! I was like I’m out running and a walker lady is casually jogging and beating me. So, I once again started running, passed her again, made  sure to pick up the pace and stayed ahead of her. Talk about some motivation at the end of the run. Just what I needed to complete it.

Happy training!


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Weeks 4 & 5 of Dopey Training

It’s hot in Arizona and in July and August it gets humid. When I go out to run at 5 or 5:30 am it is between 87-89 degrees and on humid days its 50% humidity. That isn’t as much as other parts of the country, but it sure is a run killer!

I did get to run with my brother two days during Week 4. He runs about 3 miles, so we ran 3 miles together and I ran a couple more miles on my own. Then during my long run on Sunday I ran the first 8 by myself and then met him to run the last 3. That was so nice! It broke up my run and gave me something to look forward to. It was nice having someone to talk to also! I miss having a running partner!

Week 4
July 21- 5.3 miles
July 23 – 6 miles – nice split run with my brother 🙂
July 26 – 11.63 – also ran with my brother

Week 5
July 28 – 5 miles
July 29 – started track runs more about that later!
July 31 – 3.75 miles
Aug 2 – 10.52 miles

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The Dog ate my Running Shoe – Week 3 training Dopey Challenge

My husband had to have a dog! So, around Christmas he found himself a dog. The dog is very hyper and runs around like a crazy person. Hubby insists this is because he is a “puppy”. He’s not a puppy because he over a year old (at least in my book).

Anyway, hubby insisted that the dog had to stay inside with him while he took a nap. So, he took a nap while the dog wandered around our bedroom chewing up things. He not  only took a bite out of my running shoes, he chewed up two other of my shoes, my feather duster and assorted other papers.

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See that bite mark….ugh!

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Well, at least he didn’t chew up my entire shoe and just took a bite out of it. The sad thing was I didn’t notice I was putting it on before a run.

So, I do really like these shoes. They are New Balance 790v2. They are very light weight and they have a nice cushion. I don’t have another pair of these shoes, so I was a little unhappy I had to take these off and find another pair to run in. I ended up my old New Balance 780, which are heavier and not as cushioned. So I was a little unhappy, but guess who is getting new shoes?

Still running 3 days a week…keeping at about 20-21 miles a week.

July 14 – Ran 5.24 miles. Nice and  hot like usual….87 degrees

July 16 – Ran 5.57 miles. Same…87 degrees

July 19 – Long run day. Got out early…4:55am and it was overcast and was suppose to rain (it didn’t) It was 78 degrees, with about 80% humidity. So the 78 degrees felt like 90. It was so humid and I was soaking wet when I got home. So, wet that I sat down and left a puddle! I have not ever been that soaking wet after a run before. It is not too humid in AZ, so I considered this run great training to run in FL where it does get really humid. Did manage to go 10.5 miles. I did have to take a nap after the run, but I made it!

Happy Running!


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