So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Queen of the Mountain

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.

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