(23 runners are off!)
(Heading towards Kendrick Mountain)
For 12 years, I have never known what to expect for a turnout for a group run. My predictions are almost always off, as they would prove on Saturday. With the Team Run Flagstaff Snowbowl Road Uphill Climb on Sunday, I figured it would be fairly small. Wrong! 23 runners and 4 dogs went to Bismarck Lake and back on the Arizona Trail from Aspen Corner. For me, the greatest surprise was having Margot, Betsy, Howard, and Andy on the run. It was a throw back to the first days of NATRA, the thought of that always makes me smile!
(NATRA throw back: Andy, Neil, Howard, Margot, and Betsy)
Since I had never completed this run all the way to Bismarck Lake, I was pretty much set on just doing my typical 3 miles out and back. However, at mile three, I caught up with Tzeidle and after a lot of chit-chatting, before I knew it we were at the 0.2 mile junction to Bismarck. She said "see, Neil, that wasn't so bad!" Not yet anyway...... As it turned out, I had made it pretty close in the past, but always turned back. At the junction I started feeling really, really good. I would soon find out why.
(My favorite places on the Kaibab National Forest in the background!)
As we regrouped at the dry lake, Mark Thurston, Chris Gunn, and Myles Schrag met up with us and took a few photos. It was then time to turn back and I understood why my usual decision to turn back early was always a good one. The reason I felt so strong, was that the last part of the run was down hill. Whoops. Tzeidle and Stephanie pulled me through though and by the time I got back, I was pretty damn proud of myself, and knew I had earned my afternoon nap. We packed the Kickstand for our post run coffee, filling the outdoor patio and taking over most of the inside tables!
(Arizona Trail Bismarck Lake Junction)