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Arizona Summers are Worth the Winters

Arizona Summers are Worth the Winters

Real winter, as pictured, is beautiful but quite miserable! What can you do outside with snow and ice? Living here, and exercising, through the summer makes the winter that much sweeter. This is the absolute best time of year to live in Arizona. We may complain about the extreme heat, but really it only lasts three months, and then we have race season. Both beginners and experts can benefit from participating in a few events over the winter. The problem becomes, which one do I choose??? There are just too many to list, but I wanted to highlight a few that look to be a lot of fun. Note: I am not into endurance sports! Of course, once the timer starts that competitive drive kicks in, but my main focus is to have a training goal, and have fun with friends.

The 5K
Just over three miles, this humble race is a good start for anyone looking to begin a fitness lifestyle. The distance is also perfect for CrossFitters who want a short-term, high-intensity ENDURANCE race. What is better than the 5K? You can find one every weekend, but this Rad Race is an adventure with messy, bright colors.

The Half-Marathon
Ok, now we are getting more serious. While you could train up to five or even eight miles and wing this one, it’s not recommended. Especially if you care about your knees and finish time. Everyone is different, but I learned a lesson trying this distance just a few months after starting CrossFit, several years ago. I felt amazing! Like I could run forever! At first. But close to that eight mile mark, which happened to be the farthest distance I had run, my knee was decidedly sore and losing functionality. So! After buying a foam roller, rock tape, and spending a couple more years training and racing, I have it all down to a science (crossing-my-fingers). The Lost Dutchman race is scenic and peaceful, with very little traffic and is not overcrowded. Rock N Roll Marathon series has a cool race in Tempe, however it is neither scenic nor peaceful! It is, though, exciting to run through your own city with thousands of other fit people. As for fun and adventure, this year will be my first attempting the Rock N Roll half-marathon under the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip at night! Needless to say it will require costumes and endless buffet meals.

The Obstacle and/or Mud Run
Personal opinion: mud runs are overrated. Especially if you’re doing a short distance. The first problem is with a course of less than seven miles, you will likely encounter a wait at each obstacle. Then, there’s the level of difficulty. For my money, I’d like it to be a real challenge! Inflatable slides and foam are for kids’ parties, right? So, the best in obstacle courses that I know of is the Tough Mudder. There may be tougher, but this one I’ve actually completed. Even if you skip the silly electric shock section, climbing multiple walls, jumping up a half pipe, and running 14 miles in muddy shoes is difficult. And, of course, your fee goes toward the Wounded Warrior Project.

Epic Relay Race
Are there any other relay races besides the Ragnar? What a great concept! Gather 12 of your best friends in two vans and spend every waking minute together for two days while sweaty, hungry and exhausted. This type of undertaking requires an adventurous spirit, a lot of planning, and seriously good friends. There’s also the Ragnar Trail race, where you trade in the van for tents. The result is a very cool way to spend the weekend.

I haven’t even touched on the many triathlons or mountain biking races. Get out there and find something both fun and challenging! It’s a good feeling to have finished your run on a Sunday morning by the time most people are getting out of bed.


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