Friday morning we left to go to Sedona for the race Saturday morning. Classic rock tunes seem to be our soundtrack for the weekend. Before checking into the hotel we headed straight to the expo at Tlaquepaque (tah-lak-ah-pack-ee) to pick up the bags and bibs for the race. Vendors were set up selling everything from socks for runners to skin products. What caught me right away was that there was just this energy among everyone there. From the vendors to the fellow runners, everyone seem to be brimming with this energetic camaraderie.
Athletica and I stopped at this one booth for a local fitness club. The owner of the club spoke with us about a different technique he uses when training his runners. I learned so much this weekend. Running is so much more than slapping a pair of sneakers on and hitting the pavement. He spoke about proper gait, etc… The tent was decked out in exercise gear with a rope hanging from the front. After speaking with the owner and one of his trainers (who were both highly attractive men, I may add) we went to leave and I walked headlong into the rope that was hanging from the tent, smacking my forehead. I am still so socially awkward. It’s a wonder I was ever married at all. Yep, charming ’em all one at time! (Or in this case, two at a time). Athletica and I went to lunch and had a good laugh over it.
We checked into the hotel which we were pleased to see had the Comfort Number beds. That was an interesting experience as it fills with air when you increase the dial numbers and then deflates the lower you go. It doesn’t take much to amuse me sometimes. Later we went to find the race route and then over the spaghetti dinner at the Elks Club.
So many people from all over the country were there. Many of them had traveled alone. We met a woman from Seattle and a man from Dallas. There was a couple from Maryland that had a goal of doing a race in every state. So far they were 4 states in.
We were up and out early the next day and man, was it cold! Athletica always told me she did better in the cold than the hotter weather. I’ve only raced in the heat it seems so didn’t know the difference. Her race was first. She did the half marathon. I did the 5K. I ran in a crowd of tutu’d women and a man with a giant fake moustache. People were pumped and their energy was infectious. What was really cool were the number of kids running. Dads with their young sons and daughters were clearly at the head of the pack. With the obesity problem for so many kiddos these days it was nice to see this. Even the announcer brought it up before the race.
After the count down I was off. The air was so cold that I could barely feel the tips of my fingers and toes. Athetica was right. Running in the cold seem to be better. The sun came up right about that time and struck the red rocks. What can I say? It was absolutely beautiful. No words can describe it. The first 1.5 miles was pretty much uphill. The half way point seem to come up awfully quick. I wondered if the course was correct. Athletica confirmed later that it was. I did my absolute personal best on this race, even breaking my record from the first 5k I did back in my 20s. I think there may be a 10k in my future.
While running I remembered a dream I had a few years back that I was in a race and was moving effortlessly uphill. I was on the edge of this mountain looking down into the valley where snow was melting into lush green fields. It was an incredibly peaceful surrounding, much like Sedona. At the time I had that dream I wasn’t even really running. I’ve been told a couple of times now that when you increase your body’s strength that it also increase your mind’s strength. So maybe I really owe it all to running for being able to make some tough decisions as of late.
After the race I walked back to the car. All participants got the medal above which I was so proud of! They are shaped in wedges and will form a perfect circle after the next three years of Sedona races. How cool is that? I headed back to the hotel, showered and threw on some yoga pants and sweater. I was grateful for such a hot shower with plenty of pressure. After I picked Athetica up and we went to lunch at a funky little diner that is decked out in space ships and aliens. Despite the kitschy decor they have the best burgers and beers. They are also open later than any other place in Sedona.
Later we attended the awards ceremony. There was a beer garden which we partook in. There was dancing, too. Yeah, I couldn’t help myself. It was very fun.
The mayor of Sedona handed out the awards. We didn’t stay for the whole thing but it was pretty impressive to see men and women in their 70s still out there running the full and half marathons. We went back to the hotel and had dinner there. Then at about 6pm we got in our p.j.s and watched several episodes of The Big Bang Theory. I laughed til I cried. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in so many different engineering departments through the years that I could relate to the characters. We were asleep by 9pm. Party animals are we.
Sunday morning we packed up and then went hiking. We drove back to an area Athletica had seen the day before on her run. We hiked up to the top of this butte following Dow Trail which consisted of many switchbacks. We were breathing like we were oxygen deprived due to the altitude. We stopped to take a few pictures and felt a bit light-headed. Best to stay away from the edge which was fairly sheer and dotted with cactus. Ouch! We made it to the top of the butte which also contained a very sheer drop and sat to have a snack, avoiding getting too close to the edge. It was such a wonderful day for a hike. The sun warmed everything quite nicely and there was a gentle breeze blowing. It was so incredibly quiet.
After our hike we stopped for lunch and then hit the road. We had just gotten into the Phoenix city limits when Athletica realized she didn’t have her purse. I pulled into a gas station parking lot and we searched for it. No, it wasn’t there. I called the restaurant in Sedona and sure enough they had it. I put some more gas into the car and turned north back onto the I-17. We headed back to Sedona. The staff recognized us from a few hours earlier. We decided to stay for some warm sopapillas and honey before heading home. We ended up missing the Superbowl and all the illustrious commercials but all in all, I would not have changed a single thing about this past weekend. When we left Sedona, the almost full moon illuminated the giant rocks below. There is no show that can compare. The adventure continues.