Saturday, June 24, 2017

A run with a view

The trail.
The views are the best part about going running where we live in the Shenandoah Valley.

But it will be hard to top the ones from our western trip. Just the sheer diversity of scenery was incredible. It was even worth getting up at 5 a.m. (to avoid running in triple digit temperatures).

My favorite was the trail in Tucson about a mile from Gena and John's house that went into the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Although, it was definitely not a run in which mile times mattered. Going up the first mile of the trail was nearly 12 minutes both because it was steep and because I was trying not to get myself killed. I ran with my iPhone (ostensibly to reassure Elizabeth in case I got lost but really so I could take some photos).

A view of the valley from the top of one of the hills on the trail. Yes, that's the moon. It was 5:30 a.m.
After careful study, beach running is easier than trails. These are some of the snapshots of my early morning runs in San Diego, where we stayed near the Pacific.

Those are the stones I had to cross to get up to the biking/running trail from the inlet. 
Running at the Grand Canyon is challenging for a different reason. The Grand Canyon's rim trail near where we stayed is paved and relatively flat. But the trick is not getting so distracted by the spectacular views that you run right off the cliff.

Seriously, how amazing is that view? 

The rim trail in the early morning light. The only other people who were awake at this time were the people hiking up the canyon from Phantom Ranch. One group told us they left at 3 a.m. 
Our return to Phoenix was obviously a scenic downgrade. But there were still some interesting urban features.
Yes, that's a 25-cent water station in a random Phoenix neighborhood.  But I brought my own with me, thank you. 

And the city had a bunch of murals. Some were artsy. Some were culturally relevant. Others were big ads, like this one on the side of the Diamondbacks' stadium Chase Field. But it featured dogs at a baseball game, so I couldn't resist.
Added bonus of taking pictures on these runs: It was a great excuse to stop and take a breather. 
As for the other sights, I spotted a snake -- not in Arizona, but crossing the bike/running path in San Diego. (Sorry, I kept running and didn't stop to take its photo.) I came close to a couple of rabbits in Tucson. But that was about it. No bobcats or coyotes or gila monsters or scorpions.

Now it's back to plain old views of the Shenandoah Mountains to west, the Massanutten Mountain range to the east and the green fields of the valley in between.

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