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photo of Barret Michalec

CRR Barret Michalec touched based recently, sending in some of his thoughts and experiences from living and running in Arizona, where he moved about a year and a half ago.

I’ve been running here and there since moving to Arizona. I live in an area called Fountain Hills. It gets its name from the famous Fountain, and, of course, [there are] rolling hills…which I have learned about first-hand in my running. The heat is the kicker, can’t really get out any time after 9 a.m. in the summer and even late spring, but during the “winter” and “fall” it’s pretty fantastic running.

I haven’t been training or anything but saw a run that looked fun. It was a trail 15k in the local mountains…AT NIGHT! I hadn’t done much trail running because of the snakes and wildlife and fear of getting lost, but I figured I would be able to see all the other headlamps of fellow runners at this thing. It was super awesome. A bit scary, a bit like “They allow us to do this?!” 

I ended up finishing in 1 hour and 20 minutes and came in 3rd [among] all men (4th overall out of 60+ [finishers]). What struck me was the age of the top—all over 40. Trail running must be something different out here—different crowd, different techniques/tactics. I couldn’t use my long strides because of the rocks and loose-footing areas on the uphills and downhills, and there are a lot of twists and turns, so you have to really focus…especially at night.

There were folks there for a 75k, 50k, and a 25k! NUTS! Maybe [I’ll do] the 25k next time though….

Barret, thanks for the update, and stay cool out there.