Racing up a mountain

Since I discovered a passion for running, there are few things I enjoy more than running trails and up the side of mountains.

So I considered myself lucky Saturday when I was able to get up early, drive across the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, and lace up shoes for the start of the Coldwater Rumble – one of six Aravaipa Running’s Desert Trail Running Series events. Last year, I entered four of these events, each at a different location.

Each event features desert trails in regional parks along the foothills of the various mountain ranges here. On Saturday, I found myself in the foothills of the Sierra Estrella mountain range for a 31K race. It had some decent inclines, nothing super serious, but the constant up and down along the trail is enough to pound the quadriceps.

These races are great training and fitness builders, offer scenic views and provides a good challenge. During Saturday’s race, I caught up to a trio of runners – Sarah, Jeff and Jason – and we had a fun time cruising through the desert together. Jeff was a recent first-time finisher of the Arizona Ironman. He provided some terrific insight and perspective into training – some of it reinforces what I’ve learned and planned, while some insight gave me better context for what’s to come.

While the race is fun, and worth doing for the challenge, meeting good people is really what makes it worthwhile. There’s a camaraderie in running, especially trail running. It makes me that much more excited for my next desert trail race – where I hope to see my new friends again and meet more.

Jason, Jeff and Sarah run the Coldwater Trail in the Estrella Mountain Regional Park near Goodyear, Arizona.

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