Desert Dawn

Race #2 for 2011 is a done deal: the Lost Dutchman Marathon in Apache Junction, AZ.  As you know, I headed for this one somewhat under trained in terms of running and concerned about the weather predicted for the weekend.  Driving up to Apache Junction in intermittently heavy rain on Saturday, I was mentally reviewing my criteria for not starting the race.  Downpour.  Lightening.  High wind with rain.  After all, I didn’t sign up for the race in order to be absolutely miserable.  The rain let up around dinner time and I crossed my fingers when I went to bed.

Sunday morning was calm and cloudy until I was ready to get on the bus to the start.  For a little while it did rain and I sat in the truck in the mud and spreading puddles and considered the idea of a DNS… for about 10 minutes.  I got on the bus and hoped for the best. 

This is what I experienced:

  • Well-organized buses to the start.
  • Pre dawn arrival at canyon forming the start.
  • Mesquite fires to warm the runners while waiting for the off.
  • Sunrise was a gradual lightening of low overcast skies and the cliff which formed our backdrop slowly fading into the foreground from the darkness.
  • First 6.5 miles were slightly downhill on dirt road through the desert – best part of the course!
  • 11 water crossings – fun diversion.
  • The remainder of the course was on and off the Superstition Highway and through various neighborhoods.
  • The views of the Superstition Mountains were gorgeous and, apparently, the folks who live there feel quite treated.  I passed a street named Priceless View Way.  I kid you not.
  • Slight but steady uphill distances – I discovered that ANY incline affected me and there seemed to be quite a few inclines.
  • Volunteers at aid stations were fantastic!!
  • Not many fans but some popping up out of their yards in unexpected places – a little like groundhogs popping out of their burrows.
  • Air!  As with the last marathon, there was air to be had.  Gotta love that air.
  • I felt good and was running very well until about mile 20 – then I didn’t enjoy things quite so much.
  • Enjoyed running through the “wall” at mile 24.
  • Final uphill was from mile 25 – mile 25.5 – whimper!
  • I finished with a PR – about a minute faster than last one.
  • Beautiful finisher’s medal – very nice artwork.
  • Nice amount and variety of post race food.
  • 20 min. after I finished, WIND!! RAIN!!! 

I enjoyed my visit in Arizona and I am glad to have that race checked off.  I do wish I had been in better condition going in and I was sore for a few days after, but I did better my time and I experienced a really nice, small race.  I realize I need to do better training for hills and I can dream about a possible PR I truly never thought I might attain.

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About wfig

Longtime horsewoman and hiker, occasional world traveler and professional biologist.
This entry was posted in Races, Review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Desert Dawn

  1. Haha says:

    For us desert rats, the rain was a welcome event. However, we lamented the fate of the runners left on the course when the worst of it hit and we thanked all the gods and goddesses for our runner being tucked up warm and cozy in the truck happily, clutching the most recent bling. Hopefully, no illness will follow this race. It was great fun to crew for you for this small part of your marathon quest. Good luck next month in Little Rock.

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