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Across the Years and New Years Eve

IMG_0376I spent New Years Eve day volunteering with my sister at Across the Years.  ATY is a 24-48-72 hour race from Aravaipa Running that attracts ultra runners from all over the country, and even a few other countries as well. Those running the 24 hour race can choose which day they want to start their race.  But most choose the Monday start to experience the New Years atmosphere.  Which is where the name comes from.

IMG_0377The volunteer shift was from 8-4 at the aid station.  We saw runners from all three races come through all throughout the day and kept them fed, hydrated and as happy as we could.  We served everything from egg burrito’s to sushi to grilled cheese sandwiches.  And the vegetable lasagne was quite the hit.  After running upwards of 200 miles in some cases, the body tells the runner what it needs and wants.  You never can tell what it will be so the kind race coordinators try to have a little bit of everything on hand.  And cater to all diets including vegan and gluten free.

IMG_0382Families and crews of the runners set up tents and tables all around the course to keep their runners fed, clothed and rested.  The course is a one mile loop around Camelback Ranch, the Dodgers spring training facility.  We were able to walk the course with a guest bib and it really was a simple, pretty loop around the various practice fields.   There was a remote aid station about halfway around and we saw some families and crews with RV’s that chose to setup camp on the side.  It was another AMAZING event by Aravaipa Running.

IMG_0384The day just FLEW by and before we knew it, it was time for the next shift of volunteers to take over.  The rest of New Years Eve was spent cooking my first ever prime rib (a HUGE success) and watching a Newsroom marathon on HBO.  What can I say, we are party animals.  We celebrated on East Coast time and went to bed.  However, we did see Arizona midnight when the GUNFIRE freaked out the dogs. In NC, it was fireworks.  In AZ, it is gunfire.  Everyone settled back down eventually.

How did you spend your New Years?  2013 Goals coming soon!

Weekend Lessons

IMG_0330 I had this long post drafted about what I believe, what I think needs to be done and why. About how I was disappointed on social medial this weekend by discussions on one topic that somehow raged out of control onto other, unrelated topics.  I get it.  I opened the door.  On one topic.  To one room.  Not to every topic, every room.  My lesson.  But I scrapped it.  You can thank me later.

Instead you get a weekend recap.  And some pictures of other people doing things that I won’t ever do.   Sorry the pictures are fuzzy.

IMG_0338Saturday started with some errands and prep work for a belated Thanksgiving dinner.  It RAINED all damn day.  I didn’t think that happened in the desert Southwest.  Once everything was prepped and things were in the oven. I took off to see the Desert Solstice.  This is a 100 mile/24 hour race run around a high school track.  There were several people attempting to break records (American, World, Age Group) and I wanted to see what it looked like to run for that long.

The rain didn’t seem to be helping morale or slowing them down at all. But it was crappy, cold and rainy.  I went around 3:00pm so they had already been running for 7+ hours.  The first picture is what it looked like at 3pm.

IMG_0335Then we ate dinner.  After dinner, I convinced Michael to go back to the track with me.  It was after 8pm and the rain had stopped.  They had been running for 12+ hours.  We must have just missed Jon Olsen taking the 100 miles. As we got there, we heard Michael Arnstein’s crew talking about him finishing a sub-13 hour 100 miles and trying to convince him to go for the 200k record. He came in at 12:57:45 and it took all that he had.  It felt intrusive to take his picture after his finish, so I didn’t.

IMG_0339But there went Nick Coury (pic 2), who set a new PR for him self and Connie Gardner (pic 3), who holds the current AR for the 24 hour race.  Debra Horn set a new 200k record in the 50-54 age group.  Jay Smithberger (pic 4) came in third in the 100 mile.  His picture seemed less intrusive!

By Sunday morning only 6 were left on the track.  2 men and 6 women.  Nicely done!  I can’t even comprehend what it takes mentally to run for 24 straight hours.

As for me, my IT Band pain has been worse and I am taking it easy.  I swam on Sunday.  I will try to ride the bike some this week and give the IT Band a break.  Lots of stretching and foam rolling.

Saturday: McDowell Mountain Frenzy

IMG_0321This morning was the Aravaipa Running McDowell Mountain Frenzy 5 mile trail race.  This was organized by the same group I volunteered for last month.  You can read that one here.  But this time, I punched my ticket to run.

The options were: 5 Mile, 10 Mile, 25 K, 50 K and 50 Mile.  Uh yea, sign me up for the 5 mile.  And thanks for extending it from the usual 5k to 5 miles, that actually turned out to be about 5.3 miles.  That last mile over the mountain was AWESOME.

In fact, the first mile and half or so felt mostly great.  I had a hard time controlling my breathing.  I am not really sure why. But the first half or so passed by with little ill effects.  Then there was a water stop.  A HARD climb up, the photo op (thanks NICK for the warning that the photo was coming) and then some flat.  Unfortunately, I had looked at the elevation profile BEFORE the race and knew that right after mile 4 came the BIG climb.

IMG_0320And then I could see it.  And see my sister climbing up it.  And I said OH GOOD GOD.  Out loud.  To no one.  Because I was alone.  I didn’t say last.  I said alone.

But the climb wasn’t really as bad as it seemed. Except that the top 3 10 milers passed me going UP the mountain.  I did everything I could to get out of their way.  And then there was a fun downhill, up one more little ridge and on to the finish.

Thanks again to Nick and Jamil for putting on a great event.  It was well organized, went off on time and the trails were VERY marked well.  If I could follow them, most anyone could.  Follow the blue signs and the black and orange polka dot ribbons.  No trouble at all.

Yes, Jamil, I shook my fists at you.  But I would never hurt you.  Or curse you.  Not out loud anyway.

This one took more out of me than I was expecting.  Although with only 3 trail runs under my belt since we have been in Phoenix, what could I expect really?  I will definitely punch my ticket for another short trail race.  And I would love to volunteer next year and see some of the 50K and 50 mile runners later in the day.


Saturday: Finish Line!

I spent Saturday volunteering at the Pass Mountain 12k/26k/50k Trail Race.  I was lucky to be assigned to the finish line, handing out cups to the finishers of all 3 distances. It was amazing to see the faces of everyone as they came through the shoot and be the first to say “Congratulations” and “Nice Job!”  They were really inspiring.

The race is produced by two brothers that are AMAZING ultra-runners in their own rite.  Jamil and Nick Coury who have raced just about every distance imaginable as well as timed races, including producing and running the upcoming Desert Solstice 24 Hour Race.  Check them out Aravaipa Running.

My sister was reassigned to the food area and churned out some KICK-ASS grilled PB&J and Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

Thank you to everyone who made it a GREAT day out on the trails and at the finish line!