This past weekend I jetted to the southwest to complete my 17th state! Arizona was not a new state for me to visit as my dad’s parents have lived there for most of my life. We’ve all been to Phoenix and Sedona several times. Grandpa had been inviting me to run the Sedona half as my Arizona state for a few years but the timing was never right. Until this year!
Uniquely, this run was scheduled for a Saturday morning (perhaps due to Super Bowl Sunday?) so I made plans to fly in on Friday morning. My parents jumped in on the fun and met me there. I wasn’t expecting them to be there while I was doing most of my planning so I can tell you that there are shuttles at reasonable prices from the Phoenix airport to Sedona (which is what I’d planned to do), and back.
I left Tulsa Friday morning but not before swinging through Foolish Things to grab some chocolate for my hosts, a coffee for me and to start on my glycogen storing, I grabbed a delicious CinnaBomb.
I don’t follow a specific pre-race eating routine, but I do try to eat a tad more “fast” carb treats than I normally would allow. It works for me, and my taste buds. This CinnaBomb was like a fluffy cake donut magically dipped in cinnamon and sugar. It didn’t feel heavy at all and after staring at it in the pastry case for weeks at the cafe, it was wonderful to finally meet it.
The flight was delightfully direct and I was scooped up by my parents quickly after landing. They spent the night before with college friends in Phoenix, reliving the glory days I’m sure. The drive from Phoenix to Sedona is about two hours so we decided to stop for a bite to eat on the way. I couldn’t resist the opportunity for some photos by the really large Sajuaro cacti all around us. They’re ugly but majestic things.
I tried my best to stay awake in the car but backseat traveling, especially on winding roads after eating, has never been a strength of mine. The landscape was amazing to look at while I was awake though!
The general plan for the rest of the day was to visit with Grandpa, hit the packet pickup and grab dinner at a pasta place. We arrived in Sedona, visited for a bit and then made the trek to the packet pickup at Yavapai College.
Packet pickup was very small and straightforward. Everyone was exceptionally friendly and Grandpa knew a few people at the info desk. We stopped to strategize parking and shuttles, studying maps and clocks for a while before moving on to the Clif bar sample table.
It was Grandpa’s idea to drive the course. I’m not sure if I appreciated seeing the hills ahead of time or not. The course is out and back so half uphill and half downhill. We hit some downhills initially and I just thought, “coming back up that at the end is gonna suck.” Oh well, that was to be dealt with the next morning.
Here is a little snapshot of the elevation profile:
The course was breathtaking that’s for sure. I was putting no pressure on this run and was just going to enjoy running in the middle of this incredible wild landscape. So, the hills didn’t scare me too much. A little challenge for a casual run.
Soon after, it was time for dinner! My thoughtful Grandpa had already made reservations at a local italian restaurant, thinking I would want some pasta before the run. It was a great decision. I had wine, a fantastic caesar salad with mushrooms and kale, and a light veggie pasta dish.
The restaurant was Cucina Rustica. My pasta noodles were made in house that day and what a difference! Dinner was full of catching up on chicken business (my parents), studio updates (me) and travel plans (Grandpa and Martha). It was great company and delicious food.
We headed home so I could catch some sleep before the run. Luckily it was a later start – 9:10 so we wouldn’t have to get up unreasonably early. All of our planning today landed us on a 6:30am departure from Grandpa’s house for coffee and to head to a shuttle stop. After the Revel Rockies shuttle fiasco I was a little nervous but knew I would find the start either way.