Racing Through A Desert City

Back in the spring when I signed up for this race that took place this past Saturday evening in Tucson I was not thinking about the heat and what it might be like right about now.  Temps hovered in the low 100s most of the day.  My main concern was hydration so I avoided any alcoholic temptations on both Friday and Saturday before the race.

Athletica and I checked in to get our bibs and our free t-shirts.  The shirts were quite impressive; not your typical cotton t-shirt, but were made of the same material as some of my sports tops that are supposed to absorb sweat.  I was also quite impressed with the picture printed on the front.  This will most likely be worn with shorts rather than the gym.  It’s too pretty to be sweating in.

We arrived early enough to walk around to some of the booths that were set up.  There was a man set up with packets of chia and he explained the many health benefits to us and to another runner whose name really was Chia!  Zoom had told me about this during another race so I happily popped a handful of these seeds into my mouth, followed by a swig of water.  They are supposed to help keep you hydrated. 

Speaking of hydration, I must have done a darn good job at it because I suddenly became the incredible peeing woman!  I made no less than 5 trips to the port-o-pottys before the race started.  Better to be prepared I suppose.  😉

A few minutes before the race began we all lined up at the finish line while a gentleman who was either related to or knew Gabe Zimmerman, aide to congresswoman Gabby Giffords that was shot in Tucson back in January, said a few words.  Unfortunately the crowd was very chatty so I couldn’t really hear what was being said.  The gentleman did get very choked up.  Gabe Zimmerman was one of a few people who lost their lives that day in January.  

The race began and where this was a run/walk through partially blocked city streets, I found it a little challenging getting around the walkers and strollers.  However, as hot as it still was despite that the sun had gone done already, there were folks outside with their garden hose spraying away onto the crowd of runners.  I’ve never been so grateful!

The first mile we passed through an older section of town that had been restored.  Old adobe homes painted in bright colors lined the streets, their door steps leading right onto the narrow road.  I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and charm of it.  It made that first mile go by very fast.  Half way through the second mile I really started to feel the heat.  Still, I trudged on.  I passed a teenage girl who was holding onto a post and was close to getting sick.  Luckily her Mom was right nearby. 

We passed another street with more interesting old homes, including a converted old brick church that looked like it easily could have been over 100 years old.  By the time I got to the third mile I started to feel like that cartoon character in the desert crawling towards that oasis that is really a shimmering mirage.  I started to wonder if when the finish line came into view it would be real.  My legs at this point just didn’t want to go.  I really had to push myself to keep running.  Athletica has been running for years so she of course was long done by the time I got to the end.  She waited in the sidelines and high-fived me as I ran through the finish line.  It took me 40 minutes to complete which is the worst I’ve done so far of any of the 5ks completed.  I was a bit disappointed in my time and kept thinking, heck, this is my 10th summer here.  I should be used to this heat by now.  Maybe I should just be happy I didn’t feel like hurling and that most importantly, I finished.

Rather than hang out in the crowd we decided to go back to her parent’s house where we were staying and celebrate our efforts with some champagne.  We swung by that fine purveyor of international cheeses, Wal-mart, and actually ended up with a half-decent havarti.  The lady behind the deli counter saw us in our running garb and couldn’t believe we had actually run in this heat. 

Yesterday we decided to drive back into the area we had run in to get a better look.  I keep a camera on me at all times for moments like these.  Here are some of the shots I got from the Old Tucson area:





22 thoughts on “Racing Through A Desert City

  1. AHA!! And then the pictures came. While reading I was thinking that I would never be able to finish a run like this because I would stop at every corner marveling about the beauty and how I would like to take a picture of it LOL.
    I think every run is worth being admired. Especially under the circumstances you are running in. So don’t feel to bad about your time. You made it to the finish line!!

    • Believe me, it was really tempting to want to stop. I’m glad though that we were able to go back the next day and get pictures. It was so pretty in that section of town. I think this will be my last run until the Fall when it is a bit cooler.

  2. Love the photos! We are just about to go into chia crop production on a commercial scale. It appears to be the “hot” seed of the moment!

    • Thanks FD! Very interesting about chia. The only thing I knew about chia before Zoom filled me in on the benefits were those Chia Pets. Do you have those there?

  3. The old Tuscon photos are just gorgeous. Is that…..stucco? I’ve always liked that brick color.
    Congrats on the race. You did great. As much as I complain about the cold in the race I did, heat is brutal for that stuff. I also wonder about the wisdom of races putting so much emphasis on time. I think you kicked butt.

    • Thanks Emmy. I was thinking it was adobe which of course is made of mud but it could be stucco. I didn’t get close enough to see.

      I’m glad that race is behind us now. 🙂 I don’t think I’ll be partaking again until the Fall. It’s just too darn hot.

  4. That’s a great t-shirt. Good on you for running the race and finishing it – that’s a pretty respectable time given the obstacles at the start (walkers and prams) and the heat! One of the ladies I walked with on Saturday refused to drink anything even though it was in the 80’s and there was no shade – because she did not want to use one of the porta-loos. I’m way more scared of dehydration and actually I recently read that our bladders can hold 16oz of fluid so I happily drank some of the offered water 🙂

    I love the colours of those buildings and I want the tiles in that bottom photo!

    • Thanks Emjay. I think that is the nicest shirt I’ve received so far. It is so important to stay hydrated when exerting yourself on a hot day. Hopefully she had plenty of water to drink the day before. Interesting about bladders. I did kind of wonder about that. 😉

      Aren’t those buildings neat? I also liked the tiles in that picture. They are so Southwest.

  5. geocacherinkerstin

    Love the shots-the light , the colours and the cacti….but you know that I love cacti 🙂

  6. ElizabethFrank123

    Giggling at the fact that you were all sprayed with hose pipes! sounds more like a water fight than a race!

    • I can’t even begin to tell you how good that water felt. 🙂 I wish there were more people outside with hoses. The heat out here feels like an oven. It is that intense.

  7. OMG, I love the colours and the light. And the plants! How beautiful to live there. And congrats too on the race and completing it.

    • Aren’t those houses just spectacular? Tucson really has some neat areas. I would love to live in a house like that. And thanks for the well wishes on the race, too.

      • I did try to talk Masha into moving to AZ…sigh. After I had been there I knew I would love living there. He would probably dessicate, LOL, without wet cold weather!

        • LOL. It does take a season or two to get used to the hot dry temps but say if you lived in the Flagstaff area it does rain there almost every day in the summer and the temps are more moderate than the desert below. It would be great to have you as a neighbor if he ever changes his mind. 🙂

  8. Oh you should have let me know you were in Tucson…I would have come to your race. Glad you did well and didn’t pass out from the heat!

    I have some of these same photos.

    • Oh Maureen, I wasn’t even thinking! I’m sure there will be more races to come in the Tucson area so I will be sure to contact you ahead of time. We should get together some time over the summer to take some pictures outside if it’s not too hot.

      Isn’t that the best little neighborhood? I feel like I had seen a few of these places in pictures before but never knew where they were. Maybe I saw them on your blog?

  9. Dang girl! You rock! Congratulations! It’s great that you could really push it at the end!
    It is hard to keep motivated when it feels like it is a million degrees outside. You should be so proud of yourself.

    I have been extremely impressed with Chia and have seen some very good results.

    Omg! these pictures are great and sticky… 🙂 I especially love the second one with the big prickly cactus!

    • Thanks Zoom. My legs felt like they were made out of lead. LOL.

      The guy at the chia booth said that he knew some people who had lost a lot of weight by eating chia. I guess where it absorbs all that water it keeps you fuller longer.

      Glad you enjoyed the pics. It was such a beautiful neighborhood to run through.

  10. Congrats on finishing in that heat!!!! I don’t see anything wrong with your time considering the heat, it really isnt somthing to get used to! Here in Florida we have almost no races except for a few 5K’s over the summer, it’s just too hot!!!

    Love the tech shirt. I’d wear it at the gym!

    • Thanks MG. That is good to hear. I tend to be a bit hard on myself. There is a race in July, a 5-miler, that starts at 5am. I think I will be passing on that one. In the middle of the summer it never gets out of the 100s, even at night. I think the next one will be in September.

      Isn’t that a cool shirt? I actually wore it on Sunday.

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