I know it has been a little while since I’ve posted an adventure. Truth be told, I haven’t been on any new adventures in quite a while; holiday busyness I suppose, though I can’t say what I did over the holidays that kept me so busy. Whatever. I know I had a good break and now… on to more wilderness!
As I’m sure you can guess, I’d been looking forward to the third and final Black Canyon 100K training run for quite a while. In the week leading up to the run, I actually attempted to do some PLANNING! Amazing, right? If you happen to remember my post on the second Black Canyon Training Run, I was late, and I desperately hate late. Since I knew that this time my friend Becky would be unavailable for a mad dash down the freeway, I needed to ensure I knew where I was going and was on time. I found my directions, printed out a map of the trails for the day, loaded my hydration pack with water and a few snacks, and was set! I also checked and double checked that my alarm was set correctly and was on loud enough to wake me up. Fingers crossed, I was ready to go.
4:30am rolled around far too quickly for me on January 19th, but, roll around it did and I was out of bed, grouchy, and ready to go. After a quick stop at Starbucks for breakfast, a latte, and my friend Matt, I was on the road heading to my run. Guess what? I arrived a few minutes early! Yay for me!
The group for this run was much smaller than the last one. We all piled into a couple of cars (which is how I met a couple cool of new people, Brett and Thomas) and drove to the start of the run (we’d met up at the finish). Jamil handed out a few extra maps, and reviewed a few spots on the trail, as usual reminding us of his markers to look for. Then we ran.
Let me just say, I love Black Canyon. The scenery here is stunning and single track running just never gets old. For this day, our first few miles were fast. We ran down to and crossed a creek (Real running water again! Yay!) by way of a log and a few rocks, and then we started climbing. The climbing was not particularly steep or difficult, it just kept going. And going. And going. With each switchback I thought for sure I was at the top. Nope. Eventually I just assumed there actually was no top and the entire run was uphill. So while reminding myself that, “I LOVE the hills!”, I just kept moving. Thankfully, there was a top with great views out over the canyon I’d just climbed.
Down again. Up again. Down again. At about mile 11 I hit a wall (In case you are not a runner, hitting “the wall” is when you feel a general sense of blech. You feel tired, your legs are heavy, nothing is moving like you want it to.) I’m not sure what the deal is with a wall at 11 miles, but it blows, and it’s not the first time I’ve hit a wall there. It was great that Matt was there to complain along with me! Complaining loves company. I was very glad for Sabrina who was manning the aid station for us at this point. It felt great to eat some salty potato chips and take a quick break. Plus, I’ve been following Sabrina’s blog since the summer, so it was wonderful to finally get to meet this amazing woman!
Feeling, well, not exactly refreshed but that it was time to get moving, I took off again. Actually, “took off” implies I was moving quickly. I wasn’t. I was walking. Just outside of the aid station as I began to feel like perhaps I could run again, I ran into some cattle. That was my first encounter with them on trails! They are very skittish around people and run away as you run towards them. On I plugged, alternating running the flats and downs, and walking the ups.
At mile 17 my wall graciously lifted and I felt golden! With just 7.5 miles left, I was ready to fly through this! I stopped long enough to point out a bone lying on the side of the trail to Matt, who took this picture (and all of the other pictures in this post by the way), and enjoy the Hall of Saguaro’s.
By the time I was finishing up, the day had really warmed up. I started out with arm sleeves, gloves, and a hoodie. By the time I finished I’d stripped off all of those and was down to my tank top (Well, and shorts of course, silly.) Somewhere in those last few, heated miles I developed a side cramp and had to slow down to work that out. But eventually I was able to see the roofs of the toilet housings. I picked up my pace to the finish and was greeted by food, water, and the smiling faces of the other runners who had completed this trek. I love runners. As at the last training run, I sat around for a bit and rested, while enjoying the company of these people.
Thank you, Jamil Coury, for planning this great run and Aravaipa Running for the aid station supplies! I can’t wait to see everyone again at the inaugural Black Canyon 100K!
I suppose I should mention that on the way home we stopped at Chipotle for a giant pile of food. I am reluctant to share this because, (insert sigh here), I love cilantro. Apparently my teeth also love cilantro. I have one specific spot that has this knack for catching small green pieces of food (i.e., cilantro) and displaying it for the world to see. My kind friend Matt was nice enough to point it out to me, and then couldn’t stop laughing at me. The real kicker occurred about an hour after I’d gotten my teeth all cleaned out. From somewhere my teeth procured cilantro- AGAIN! I have decided cilantro is the delicious bane of my existence, and next time, I might just purposely shove it into my teeth and wear it proudly. Yes world! I love to run and then eat cilantro!