This weekend I ran the inaugural Mountain to Fountain 15k with a team of friends, aptly named “Natalie Merchant and the 15k Maniacs.” The race started in the McDowell Mountain State Park and finished at the giant fountain in Fountain Hills. While it was a “net” downhill run, there are several considerable hills and it was one heck of a run.
I had more fun with this race than I’d have had running in a long time. It renewed my love for the sport; I can’t wait to get through a cortisone shot this week in my heel so I can get back to distance running. (Add that to the list of sentences I never thought I’d say.) Everything about this race reminded me why I like distance running: the variety of participants, the glorious scenery, the repetitive one foot after another, the battle of your mind vs. the pain, the powerful surge for the last half mile showing you can run farther and faster than you ever thought you could. There is nothing as sweet as being stronger — both mentally and physically — than you thought.
I finished smiling knowing I couldn’t have run it one bit faster or smarter than I did. That in itself was a complete victory.
And who doesn’t need the occasional win?
Thanks to my compadres, the Maniacs: Juliann, Adam, Dave and Octavio. And the mystery member of our team who signed herself up obviously because of the rad name. Whomever you are, we salute you — random Maniac. Also, many thanks to Kilimadog for photographing and driving.
P.S. Lookie who surprised me at the finish — Finny! Such a good supportive friend of crazy athletic endeavors she is.