Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lost Dutchmans 10K

Lost Dutchman's Marathon

(Copied from my personal Blog)

As of lot of our friends know, Kimberly and I have really gotten the ‘running bug’ over the last year or so. Almost seems to have turned into a mini obsession. I think we both run somewhere between 4-5 times a week now. We do short runs (3 miles or so), long runs (10 or more), trail runs with hills, interval runs, speed drills, hill sprints, and plain old around the neighborhood runs. But our favorite ‘kind of runs’ are races and what we (and others) like to call ‘destination runs’. Destination runs are basically going someplace cool to run. Seeing most of the time you are running in a gym on the treadmill, or around your favorite park hills (cool but still you have seen them before) so when you get a chance to run around someplace new it is great. And if it is a very cool place (i.e. like we did the Grand Canyon, or Saugatuck, etc) then it is even better. Races of course are just opportunities to run with others and be a little competitive so as to help push yourself on occasion.

This weekend we had a chance to combine theses two favorites with a ‘destination run race’ in Apache Junction at the Lost Dutchman’s Marathon (Half Marathon, 10K, 8K Trail Run and 2 Mile fun Run). The Marathon (and all races too) is considered one of the best ‘small town races in America’. There are lots of reasons of course, the race management team, the city support, the way cool way they treat the runners with campfires and good grub, plus many others. But the main reason being the beautiful Superstition Mountain Course and backdrop that you get to run in whatever race you chose.

As we have blogged before, the Superstitions are one of our favorite Arizona locals. We love to hike them hills. The variety, beauty and challenge of the hikes make them some of our most memorable in all of AZ. Plus we really enjoy the old-west-laid-back-we-are-all-family vibe of Apache Junction. Hard to beat sippin’ a cold one on the patio there at the Mammoth Steakhouse and Saloon looking out at those Mountains, or grabbing an ice cream at Tortilla Flats after a long day hike in the Mountains.

We decided to stay over near the race because it would have required a little too much of an early morning to drive over race day for us. From up North West Phoenix we are a good 75 miles or so from Apache Junction. We found a good rate at the La Quinta off 60, and scooted over a bit early on Saturday to make a full day of it. First thing was to hit the Expo and get our bibs and race goodies. The Expo was small, but nice and also well organized for an event of this size. The Apache center where the Expo was held is very nice for a community center. After snagging a Cliff bar and our shirts (nice long sleeve race shirts by the way which is kind of unique) we headed over to hang out and walk around Goldfield Ghost Town where we had a burger on the Patio at the Saloon. We stopped at an Art festival just up the street a piece (notice the old West lingo there) and walk around for a bit. We took some pictures and they are in the 2009 Misc folder if you want to check out the scenery in that area.

After a near perfect day we headed back to the Hotel where we had a dinner of our homemade pizza and protein bars for desert. Yep, we packed over the cooler because it’s just the best pre-race night meal we know and we love pizza made like that with the whole grain breads and such. We watched a little tube, then did the old {let’s try to actually get at least 4 hours sleep before 4:30 when we have to admit we are up and can’t sleep anymore anyway mode}. One day I’ll have to Blog on the trials and tribulations of sleeping the night before a race and how early you have to get up to run (with all the pre-race stuff required).

Anyway, 4:30 came about, we got up, I got coffee, Kimberly got the Herbal Tea and we started moving. I packed the car, we showered, brushed the teeth, attached the iPods and were off over to hopefully find a parking spot semi close to the race start. By the time we got there it was a little after 6:00. Sadly the parking lot was full as was about ½ mile of the road heading into the park. It was a great morning, though quite abnormally cold (good for running, bad for beforehand), but the sun was rising and you knew it would be perfect. It took us about 20 minutes to walk from the car to the starting area. We were doing the 10K this year. It started in the same spot as the Half, 8K trail Run and 2 Miler (all out and back as best I could tell). The Marathon guys finished here also.

With the various races staggered start time throughout the morning, most everything went off without a hitch. Considering there were some 2200 odd racers and more support and volunteers here everything was very smooth – there was even a ‘real’ bathroom with little or no wait most of the morning (umm Chang’s could learn something here). About 15 minutes before the race we checked our gear (the jackets and gloves, etc) and headed over to the start.

The 10K is basically out one road and back. You are headed pretty much (at least what feels like) due East into the Superstitions then back. What a great feeling as you run up and down the little hills. Most of the course is fairly easy with the minor little up and downs, with the exception of the turnaround spot that has a nice little hill that while not bad at all will have your heart rate up a bit. With the decent weather we both had a pretty good race considering all. I was ‘out of the metals coming in 5th in my age, but I was 29th overall out of the 540 runners doing the 10K. Kimberly had some aches going in but still had a respectable 10th in her age group out of 44 and was in the top 70 of all woman. We both got a great finishers metal - way cool hardware in this race!

There is no doubt we will do this race again. I think next year perhaps the Half Marathon. We sure do hope that it falls on a different weekend than the IMS Marathon on the West side – we sure hated to miss that this year.

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