I began the day assuming that I might have the Arizona Trail all to myself. After all, it is Imogene Pass Run weekend and most Flagstaff trail runners abandoned the town for Ouray and Telluride (Congrats to Flagstaff's Mike Smith and Jenny McCarthy who took both the men's and women's titles at Imogene - this is the first time I can remember that happening). While I have done this epic race twice, I make the attempt only once every 10 years. It takes me that long to recover!
So, after a decade of NATRA group runs, I thought, would this be the first NATRA group run with only me? It was looking that way until Abe arrived on scene. Then three young women from Phoenix arrived looking for a good 18 miler. Impressive I thought, and I told them Fisher Point would make the perfect long run - but not quite the 18 miles (it is only 13.4). I was pretty sure they would feel like they ran a long one (If you gals read this, please submit a comment about how the run went!)
As Abe and I took off we wondered how well the gals would do with only a liter bottle of water - I warned them about the altitude, but off they went. Every time we would make a turn, they were on our heels, chit chatting way like it was just a walk in the park. Perhaps the bottle of water would be fine.
For me, the run was the first since Hood to Coast. I felt strong and for the first time in recent memory ran in and out of that monstrous side canyon of Walnut without stopping. A monumental achievement for me. I decided to do only 5 miles while Abe did 8. On my way back I ran into Jeff who came out for his first NATRA run. So all in all, not a bad turnout. 6 runners on a day I was for sure going to be alone.
Abe and I returned to the Campus Coffee Bean. I must have been dying of thirst as I questioned Abe on everything he knew about Northern Arizona ground water and springs. Water is always on my mind these days as monsoons are winding down, meaning Soulstice is just around the corner. Four weeks to go!
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!