The first week of walk-in student appointments has ended and it was a bit hectic, but so much fun! Sorry I haven’t posted in the meantime, but things have really been THAT busy!
Last Thursday, I decided to take a trip to Tempe Town Lake for the second time to see if I could find the AZ Frontrunners. The Frontrunners are a LGBT running/walking group and they have a chapter here in AZ that runs around the Phoenix area. Having tried to find them last time, I decided to introduce myself to them on Facebook prior so that my chances of finding them would be better due to facial recognition. As I pulled into the parking lot, I found them! There were certainly more than I expected and they were all quite a bit older than me. Part of me was scared that I wouldn’t be able to relate to them, but I swallowed my doubt, got out of my car, and walked up to them.
They did a brief circle up and introduced everyone before the run. Prior to the event, I had assumed the run was just going to be around the lake. How WRONG I was! As we started running, we ran a familiar path. It was the same that I had taken before in previous trips to the lake. However, that soon changed when we started going on the road and cutting across streets to reach new paths. By this time, I was already bringing up the tail end of the group. I had no idea how fast these guys could run! Feeling embarrassed, I brought myself to the first group checkpoint on top of this mini, but rocky hill. I slowed my jog to a walk to climb the hill to help prevent injury when climbing rocky surfaces. It turns out I wasn’t the last one there!
At the checkpoint, all of the guys were really nice and checked in to make sure I was doing okay. Perhaps my already drenched shirt was a clue, but this was exhausting. It was still over 100 degrees and the sun was still out. As they were talking, they mentioned the rest of the course to me. They were going to go to the next street over to cross the lake (Rural Rd.) and then up to University Dr. Once there, they said that they were going to go to the top of “A Mountain” at ASU. That’s when I gave them all this really funny look. A Mountain was one of the big first adventure-y things that I have ever done since moving and now it is just simply “part of a run.”
As they started running again, I noticed that I was keeping pace with this guy in a yellow bandana. When he stopped to walk for a few seconds, I walked with him to keep the pace. To be honest, I needed him. Without him, I would be a bit lost about where to go. So, I kept following him until we got to the mountain. While I ran up it a good portion of the way, the little wooden stairs and heavy incline path were a bit much for me after running 4 miles already, so I walked up them. Making it to the top, the group was still there and hanging out. To me surprise, they didn’t really mind waiting. I got a chance to talk to this one runner who is their “all star” of sorts. He runs marathons and is truly an inspiration to me. They were all so friendly and encouraging.
We started back down the hill and I eventually found my yellow bandana guy again and keep pace with him till the end. Here is the resulting path.
I had a decent time with them so I decided to give it another go on Saturday. This run was in North Phoenix and was only 5 miles. Unlike the last run, this one was a straight shot north and then south. It was in the early morning, but it was still plenty hot and humid for this time of year. The group was much larger this time around and was about 20-25 people. I did attempt to pace myself this time as there was no need to know when to turn or where to go. However, on the way south, I saw a group of two just walking along. I decided to walk with them and attempt to be social as I hadn’t taken the chance to get to know them yet. They actually remembered my name from the first night. They are such interesting people! One of them is even involved in the LGBT swimming group in the area. It might be worth checking out! I wonder if they count dog paddling as swimming…hmmm.
Actually had this really great date last night. Went to see Ted (my second time, his first) and the movie holds up to multiple viewings. He was absolutely adorable and the conversation flowed nicely. We went out to eat and then to walk around the marketplace. There were these two singing women with guitars and we just sat and listened to them for a good amount of time while we chatted away. He’s a nurse and also plays World of Warcraft. He even started a character on my account and we played a bit after the date. Could there be something here?