About NATRA Blog

This page is meant for folks to post their thoughts on the Saturday group run. I (Neil) will post a blurb about who showed up and where it was held. From there, I hope that other runners will share their thoughts since we often have different experiences on the same run. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

FUTS Foxglenn Trail Day

While most NATRA runners enjoyed the aforementioned jaunt through Parks, David Mckee, Jasper and I helped organize roday's Make A Difference Day along the Flagstaff Urban Trail near Foxglenn Park.

Helping sponsor the event was a no-brainer. Shortly after I moved to Flagstaff in 1986, I (along with most others), voted in favor of the proposition that implemented the Bed Board and Booze Tax. The BBB tax kicked off the vibrant restoration of Downtown and created the Flagstaff Urban Trail System. More than 20 years and 50 miles later, NATRA is proud to contribute funding and resources to what we believe to be one of the finest networks of urban trails in the country.

With Martin Ince and Jack Welch leading the effort, all the pieces fell into place for a perfect day! This also marked the 5 year anniversary of NATRA's first Make a Difference Day when we sponsored the inaugural restoration/clean up of Picture Canyon.

Thanks to Fratellis Pizza, NATRA sponsored lunch for 60 volunteers. Friends of Flagstaff’s Future, Habitat Harmony, Sierra Club, Flagstaff Area Stream Team, Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization, Friends of the Rio de Flag, Boy Scout Troop 31, Girl Scout Troop 363, Coconino Rural Environmental Corps, Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association, Americorps and Flagstaff Native Plant and Seed partnered to provide 300 hours of volunteer labor and supplies to pick up trash, plant native grasses, install a limestone sundial, remove fences and barbed wire, and plant trees along this section of FUTS.

Cheers to all volunteers that made today happen!

A Jaunt through the Kaibab near Parks

On a spectacularly dreary, wet fall day, several NATRA runners headed off to Parks, Arizona to be treated to a run through the Kaibab National Forest. Bruce, Sabrina, Brett, David, Susan, and Daryl started the run with potentially challenging weather -- cool, overcast skies, and a few drizzle drops -- and ended the run with comfortable temperatures and partly sunny skies. The run traversed some single-track trails and Forest Service roads in Parks near Daryls house. Nothing too challenging about this run with only some minor hills. The challenge came afterwards, as Daryl provided breakfast with coffee, eggs, and homemade donuts (and donut holes, of course). My, my, those were tasty donuts! (Thanks to David Blanchard for the report and the above photos).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oh those Oldham Steps

On a brilliant fall morning following last week's Soulstice race, 14 runners came out for a jaunt up the infamous Oldham steps. I was encouraged to see new faces at the run and even a visitor from Seattle, Washington!

The first Saturday run following Soulstice always feels like a New Year's Day to me. With the end of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Flagstaff Summer Running Series, Salomon Flagstaff Mountain Trail Series, Big Brothers Big Sisters Half Marathon and finally Soulstice, I can run without having to think too much about organizing the next event. Well, at least for a couple months before planning the 2011 racing season!

The run started out well enough for me, but just as I began chatting with Sara Wagner at mile 1, (the beginning of the first steep "step") a little nagging pull in my calf reminded me it was time to just walk. So after catching up with the 4 time winner of Soulstice, I shortened my trip to the Monday night run loop.

As fall has finally set in this week, the golden oaks and aspens reminded me why I have loved this run for 24 years. The Oldham trails were my evening runs when I lived at the door step of Buffalo Park between 1988 and 1993. Even back then, the steps always bested me. There is no doubt in my mind the STEPS have been getting tougher and steeper ever since then. Never mind age. However, I have found a way to beat the hills and that is by walking. It actually does not take much longer and even with my aching calf, I could hear runners just ahead of me, even if I could not see them.

Returning to the entrance I did not have to wait long for the rest of the group to return. They had run a couple of more miles than I had walked, and we all headed to the busiest Fort Valley Late for the Train I've ever seen. There is only one explanation, and it is a good one - head up to Hart Prairie or any golden aspen stand and you will see why!