Spring Break 2010 brought my family and I to the desert southwest for 10 days of camping, hiking and running under the sun. The highlight of the first few days was five days spent camping in the White Tanks Regional Park west of Phoenix. This regional park, the largest in Maricopa County, boasts over 30 miles of technical hilly trails through some outstanding desert scenery. And, it was the venue for the inaugural running of the Mesquite Canyon 50K. This low-key event, put on by Jamil Coury and his brother Nick, is excellent and should find its way onto many utrarunner's calendars in the years ahead. Timed perfectly in mid-March and boasting about 7500 feet of climbing and warm temperatures (it got up to 83 on race day), this new event is an excellent run for anyone beginning a build-up to Western States.
My good friend and longtime ultrarunner Ian Torrence made the trip down from Flagstaff for the race and several other fast 50k'ers were in the field as well. It was a great day on the trail and I was pleased with my 5th place, 4:43 finish. After logging about 50 miles through the White Tanks in the four days preceding the race it was good for me to have a very solid, hard week of training in the heat with three months to go before the Big Dance.
While it is clear from the way my training is progressing that I am not getting any younger it is nice, at this time of year, to feel the body slowly working into fitness and a good hard effort like the Mesquite Canyon 50K provides a great reminder of why we do what we do.