Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Fabulous Flagstaff

This morning was the first morning where I woke up not wanting to leave my current destination. Not even the excitement of seeing a new place could get me over the sadness of leaving Flagstaff behind. Maybe it had something to do with my trip nearing an end, or maybe it was the dread of repacking the suitcase yet again, but mostly I think it was because I genuinely enjoyed my stay here.

Unfortunately, an otherwise perfect week, has just been slightly flawed by a taxi-driver. No strange there, but not for the usual reason of being over charged. For most of the trip thus far, I have managed to avoid those Americans who give the country a bad name. You know the type. The ones who hear that you're from Ireland manage to get every stereotypical point that they have ever heard about Ireland into a conversation (well, monologue). Thankfully the journey from hotel to airport was only 5 minutes long, but none the less I got to hear about snakes, St. Patrick, Catholicism, that there are more Irish in America than there are in Ireland, that the Irish hate the English (can't imagine where he got that idea from!) and that Clint Eastwood has Irish heritage. Oh and of course that he, the taxi driver that is, is Welsh, despite speaking with an American accent, and from what I could gather, has never even been in Wales. I think I prefer the ones who have never even heard of Ireland (yes I have meet a few of those too!)

But, in fairness, that was the only downside.

Of course there was the trip to the Grand Canyon, but there was so much more to enjoy about Flagstaff. It's an amazing place for training, with miles, and miles, and miles of trails, most of them through the forest that surrounds the town. They say that no matter where you are in Flagstaff you are no more than 3 minutes from a trail (I prefer that statistic to the rat one).

I've always believed that a little bit of sunshine, and an endless supply of beautiful trails are good motivators for training. Well that was definitely true here. After a poor week of training in Albuquerque, I managed to clock up 73 miles in a week here. Lets just hope I can keep it up!

Of course no week's training is perfect, and you'll be glad to know that after the ecstasy of clocking up such an impressive mileage tally (well by my standards), I was brought crashing down to earth yesterday. Literally! Once again, after tripping on a stone, I again managed the face-plant which I am now becoming an expert at. This time there was no grazing to my now perfectly tanned legs, but I did but a big gash in my hand, and got covered head to toe in dust and dirt. I should have been doing a little less looking at the beautiful scenery, and a little more looking at where I was going.

Everybody here has been very helpful too, and it has been really nice to get some more positive feedback about the book idea.

The spotting of unusual animals in the wild count has also gone up. I saw some Elk in the Grand Canyon National Park, and then, when out for a run on Saturday evening I saw a skunk. I'm just scared that sooner or later I'll come across a snake. I won't, however, need to blog about that, because I'm pretty sure that you will all hear me scream. And there definitely won't be time for photos!

Well just about to board the plane on my last pair of flights before the home trip. Rocky Mountains, here I come!

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