Friday, November 18, 2011

Lakeshore Restaurant at Saguaro Lake

The view from the Lakeshore Restaurant, which overlooks Saguaro Lake, is lovely.

Sit on the patio on the warmer days to take in the sights as you dine. Warning: You'll notice lots of hungry birds.

If you'd like to see more, consider a Desert Belle boat cruise. Last year I found a Deal Chicken offer for two for about $24 including one drink per person. It's a leisurely way to spend an afternoon. The boat approaches the lake's towering cliffs for incredible views, and we even spotted an eagle perched overhead.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My first half: 3TV Phoenix 10K and Half Marathon

If someone would have told me two years ago I would go on to run a half marathon I wouldn't have believed it. I detested running. It's hard. But last year I adjusted my attitude and signed up for Pat's Run, mostly to force myself to get some exercise after sitting in a cubicle most of my week. The thrill of racing with thousands of others lured me in, and I kept it up. After successfully completing a 10K in March and somehow staying motivated enough to run in oven that is Phoenix in the summer, I moved on to my next challenge: conquering a half marathon.
I signed up for the 3TV Phoenix 10K and Half Marathon in August, with some encouragement from my boyfriend. With the e-mail confirmation and the $80 payment, it became real. I researched 12-week running plans online and found one that worked for my schedule. For the most part, I stayed on track, with the exception of my week in Maui. (What a wasted opportunity not running in Maui was.)
The week of the race I picked my race packet up from Runner's Den near 16th Street and Bethany Home Road. The "packet" was the T-shirt, race bib with timer and some promotional cards, unlike other races I ran that included more swag.
Then came the morning of the race.  I was nervous to the point of being nauseous. On the plus side, the half marathon was in its first year, so the course was not as populated as it appeared to be during the 10K. Toward the end of the course, though, I ran into 10K runners headed in the opposite direction, and they crowded much of my side of the course. It didn't bother me much, but I heard some other runners complain. Overall I liked starting at CityScape and finishing by heading south down Central Avenue.
Once I started running I realized it was no different than my training runs, until I hit Mile 10. That's when my hips and knee started to ache, but I incessantly repeated "You're almost done!" until the finish. It felt so good to finish within my goal of under 10 minutes per mile, or 2:10:41. What an accomplishment for someone who could barely muster the energy to run 1 mile a couple of years ago.

Another plus of the race not being so crowded was being frequently photographed along the course. There were six photos of me available to purchase.