I am back from Phoenix and my head is still in the clouds. It was my very first time in the West of the United States (I have been to New York a few times, but never elsewhere before). I loved it!
It was colder than expected, especially in the mornings. Me being me, I had booked a 10k race on Saturday (i.e. a few hours after landing). You see, I don’t like to make excuses…That’s just me, I suppose. And it’s also part of the dream: I want to run in the most beautiful places on earth. And some dreams require, well, dedication. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise (I am a bit patronising today, it must be the jet lag).
The thing is, the race was starting at 8 o’clock in the morning, and we needed to leave the hotel by 7. It was too early to have breakfast. As my husband isn’t a runner (as in, not at all), he didn’t see what the problem was. Running on empty? Of course you can…Yeah, right. I ended up having to gulp a snickers bar, which wasn’t ideal. To make matters even worse, I am always a bit nervous before a race. That’s just part of the fun, isn’t it?
The weather was cold and dry. We were running along the Canal, next to an Indian school. It was beautiful, and the perfect way to wake up. The race was slower than in London. For the first time ever, I asked myself where everybody was, because I was in the leading group (which never happens over here!). I won a medal in the end, and managed to get myself a new PB (despite having forgotten my running watch!). What a great start of the weekend! I can’t believe I had to come to Phoenix to win my first prize ever! What can I say? It clearly pays off to shake things off a bit.
The beauty of running first thing in the morning is that it sets you for the day. I was unstoppable after the race. We went hiking, climbing and shopping. People were talking to each others (unlike in London!), and it was all very chilled. For instance, it wasn’t unusual for a car to stop to let you cross. Don’t get me started on the food -it was delicious, but the portions were huge and we had to skip dinners most days. In short, it was very different, and very nice.
You see, one of my (many) issues is that, having been brought up in Provence, I was taught from a very early age that my home city was the centre of the world. The centre of the universe, even. In fact, it wasn’t even openly said, it was a given. It was instilled in me. This means that, when I travel, I am always surprised to see that there are nice places all over the world, and that – what a surprise!- you can be happy virtually anywhere (although it might be easier in some places, like Australia or Arizona, as I have found out). But I digress. Arizona was unbelievable. Just unbelievable. I need to go back.