Monday, March 31, 2014

Arizona Distance Classic Race Report - Half Marathon

March 23 2014 Oro Valley, Arizona.

Race day was the most perfect temperature; a typical winter day in southern Arizona at about 50 degrees. 
My favorite aspect of this race, my first Arizona Distance Classic
I could arrive at the starting line 15 minutes before 7:00.
The race director and organizers have this race organized so well that runners can show up minutes before the start because parking is easy with two lots on either side of the road just a few yards from the start/finish.

Race Start (photo courtesy of Arizona Distance Classic Facebook page)

48 states were represented in this race, the mayor of Oro Valley announced at the start. This is a great Spring Break race to travel to in order to get out of the snow and cold. 

I made the mistake of not running the course as part of my training. It would have been easy to do since I live a few miles from the course: Mistake Number 1. I bike Rancho Vistoso (the main road of the course) at least once a week and I should’ve run it. I won't make that mistake again.

I wanted to run this Half Marathon under 2 hours but I got the opportunity to trail run a new trail with a new friend the day before the race and I couldn’t say no. 

Kristen and Kristin on the Wild Mustang Trail - Tortolita Mountains Marana, AZ
I would typically say this was a mistake, but it wasn’t because I met a new ultra running friend and found a new place to run. Plus, I plan to run a 50 mile race in December so I must get comfortable running on tired legs. 

The Arizona Distance Classic course is AMAZING. It’s hilly, but gorgeous. The first 4 miles are up and down long, gradual hills but the landscape is filled with Saguaro and cactus and blooming wildflowers.

After the turnaround on La Canada I was starting to get tired and my pace slowed. At the end I was able to see actual pace on the Strava app on my phone that I carried in my Camelbak. [I like to drink when I want to drink, not just at aid stations; a new thing I like to do in longer races.] My pace was not great, but not too bad either. It’s a tough course compared to so many half and full marathons that are mainly downhill.

 I’ll do this race every year that I am in Arizona. The 2:11 time will be a benchmark for improving my pace at the half marathon distance.

Kudos to the race director who was easy to communicate with and allowed me to transfer my bib to this year’s race since last year I broke my big toe the day before the race. Yes, I was running a trail race in Phoenix the day before the Arizona Distance Classic last year, too. I love running, racing, and the Outdoor Life. If you’ve read this far, you must too.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Running, Triathlon, Signing up for Races and Fun Events

This year I was going to take a break from Ironman, from 140.6. 

Instead I’ve signed up for multiple races of many different lengths and sports. 

I might have a “sign up” problem. In my book, Continental Quotient, I wrote an essay, How I Got This Way, about signing up for races late in the evening when I was highly motivated and telling the story about how I became a triathlete/endurance athlete.

Ten years later, I still have the same problem. I sign up for races and events late at night when I have a need to stay motivated and my desire to see the world is at its peak.

In 2014 I’m signed up for 3 - 70.3 triathlons, 1 Xterra OffRoad triathlon, a week-long backpacking trip in the Sierras, and plans are in the works for a 50mile trail run in December, a few century bike rides, and a 12-hour mountain bike race.

Signing up for these races helps me train every day. 
Signing up for races and events in places I’ve never been allows me see the world.

Maybe it’s not so much a problem as a healthy addiction.

2014 is going to be a good year.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo Race Report - Team 147

February 14-16 2014 will go down in my endurance racing life as the first time I camped comfortably and raced in pain (back pain). But overall a great racing weekend and ignited my love of 24 hour racing

Our 5 person team contributed to many good times. Rudy secured a campsite on Friday morning that would be home for the weekend. 

We lived on NiteRider Rd for three days:

We all knew it was going to be a warm weekend with temperatures reaching high 80s so we were prepared with water and sunblock.

For some of our team it was a racing challenge for a personal best and some it was to enjoy the outdoors and race well. For me, this was my second year racing and I my goal was to complete four loops. 

I opted for being the 5th rider and my first loop started in the daylight and half way through I had to turn on my bike light. My first loop was great. I love riding in the dark. 

My second loops started 2:47am. I actually felt good at the start but suffered back pain the entire 1:39 loop. I knew I was done racing about half way through this loop.

Rudy off on the bike on the first lap of the day.

The weekend was great despite only finishing two loops and I know I’m hooked on being outdoors, mountain biking, and maybe, just maybe will do more camping.


  • Actually enjoying sleeping in a tent
  • Hanging out with awesome friends
  • Fastest Loop to Date: 1:27
  • Cheering on the fast riders, silly dressed-up riders - all day long
  • Dunkin Donuts coffee each morning by the food vendor
  • Riding with the “Be Nice” crowd, there were so many nice riders out there
  • Free beer from Sierra Nevada at the end by the Rock
  • Listening to the spectators encouraging everyone to “rock jump” after the Big Rock
  • My favorite swag bag item: Free Loaf of Bread from Beyond Bread
  • I really love riding “the bitches” in daylight and in the dark. They make you breathless but you recover fast if you’re in shape.
  • Sitting at camp chatting with Rudy and Pam; talking about our lives and the next adventure
  • Our Team completed 17 Laps! 


  • Back Pain
  • Seeing the Naked Rider
  • Seeing the guy with Cholla covering him towards the finish; why didn’t he stop and remove it? 

I can't wait until next time.  

I took much more pictures. If you would like to see them, friend me on Facebook
Here is a great video I found on YouTube from the weekend:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Women Writing the West®: Chasing Bierstadt, Stegner, and Abbey

Women Writing the West®: Chasing Bierstadt, Stegner, and Abbey: by Kristen Lodge After finishing college in New Hampshire, in 1999 I moved to my first mountain town near Bethel, Maine. I started writin...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Triple Threat Triathlon: Winter Training in Tucson

Triple Threat Triathlon: Winter Training in Tucson: Arizona is a popular training location for triathletes, especially during the frozen tundra experienced in other states. Tucson is the winte...

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Swim Bike Run Totals

Swimming: 62 Miles

Biking: 3,268 Miles

Running: 901 Miles

2014 Goals:

  • Swim: 75 Miles
  • Bike: 5,000 Miles
  • Run: 1,500 Miles

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Fallen Sky and Obsessions

I am reading The Fallen Sky An Intimate History of Shooting Stars. And while, I am no scientist and I know nothing about meteors and meteorites, it is a really interesting book. What hooks me is how the author personalizes a story about the people who are obsessed with meteorites. The author, Christopher Cokinos, is searching for those who are searching for meteors; he is hunting the obsessive types.

I know that type well.

For I am obsessed with triathlon.

I am endlessly fascinated by fellow-obsessed triathletes. I want to know what drives them, what makes them get up in the morning and train, then go to work, and train again. But I’m also obsessed with the west and western writers and people who chose to live in the west.

Maybe my next book needs to be about obsessed nature writers who are triathletes and live in the west.

I am reading five books right now and The Fallen Sky is my number one. I can’t seem to put it down. This is my favorite passage so far. As you read it think of what you are searching for, the journeys you have been on and what you found, and the people you met:
“Whether someone wishes to possess a meteorite to sell it or to crack one open in a laboratory for discovery, the meteorite must first be found or hunted. Which often means you have to be willing to go where the meteorites are ….such journeys have impressed on me that wonder-whether from discovering a geological rarity or tracking down a hidden history or finding a lover – is not as pristine a feeling as some would think. I found that mine was a journey into wonder and its costs. Along the way, I bore changes in my life and realized that I was hunting the lives of the meteorite hunters – not just the stones themselves-and I began to understand these strangers’ lives better when I accepted my own. Quests, after all, can come at a very high price….As to the meteorite clan, they’re a complicated, colorful lot.” (4)
Yes, quests come at a cost and triathletes sure are a colorful bunch.

It’s like the osprey folks. They are obsessed about finding osprey. The obsessed are everywhere.

I’m going to keep reading The Fallen Sky and learn about shooting stars and crazy people who are endlessly fascinated by them, to understand my own obsessions.

Happy New Year.