There are a lot of mountains in Arizona.
On a good weekend, I find myself on top of one of them.
On a great weekend, I find myself on top of multiple of them.
Saturday started off with a 4-mile trail race. It was a small (100 participants) and free(!) event. Aside from its price tag, there were a few other selling points:
1) Everyone was allowed to run in a test pair of trail shoes. As many of you know, I have a thing for shoes.
2) It was a trail system I had yet to explore.
3) The fastest woman would be named, “Queen of the Mountain.” I have always wanted to be queen of something.
Like most trail races, the race started with a sprint to a single-track trail. The first mile was a slight uphill, with a little dips to keep you interested. At Mile 2, there was sharp turn and a huge increase in grade. The trail, a series of switchbacks, steeply continued all the way up the mountain. When we reached the peak, the trail quickly brought us back down. Fancy footwork was required.
I love running up mountains and had little doubt that I would be dubbed queen. I got a gift card but unfortunately, no royal sash.
"My" mountain is only a few miles away from where I grew up – although I have very little memory of that early in my life, I do recall my parents taking me hiking in the surrounding areas. I sorta remember whining and complaining. I also sorta remember having fun. I definitely remember the time we climbing up a mountain and a naked man came running down. I am so glad that my parents made me climb mountains when I was small because it helped enable me to run up mountains today.
I pay that forward to my kids, especially Hayden since he inherited my love for mountains. Or, maybe he just loves all the dirt. But regardless, I took him up his own mountain later that day.
The next day, I found myself on the bottom of a different mountain - in a lake, to be specific. It was gorgeous. At least at first glance.
But, the water was cold. And choppy.
It made my nose and ears hurt. It made me really dizzy.
After surviving the swim, I reluctantly remained with my group for the bike ride. The only place to ride our bikes was on the road – up the mountain. For 10 miles, we slowly rode our bikes up a hill that never seemed to end. Eventually, the pavement ended instead.
I like uphills.
But unfortunately, what goes up must come down….and I hated every second of the down hill. At one point, I got off my bike and decided to walk. But then I realized that would take hours.
I feel like I have the most control over my bike when peddling. The issue on a steep downhill is peddling makes me go faster, which I know most cyclists love, but I start hyperventilating at 30mph. I lose focus, as well as any confidence in any cycling skills that I possess. I start to scream profanities into the wind and develop a rage for every deceiving blind curve that deludes you into thinking you are almost down. But then you descend around the corner and discover -- you are not. You are not even close.
My bicep starting to ache from riding my break - Who even knew that breaking required bicep strength? My forearm hurts, too. It hurts to type this.
This ride did confirm something I already knew about mountain though:
I love going up them.
I hate coming down.