It’s not a “program”- well, it is – but it’s more than that. The Aravaipa Women’s Ultra Training Program is a community of women who for the last year have come together to train, build friendships, and explore more of their potential through ultra-running.
The past 5 days have been amazing and I can’t quite get over how both iterations of the training cycles have brought together such amazing people. We spent 5 days together (after 4 months of training) and if I can speak for the group, enjoyed every minute of it.
Training from July 15 – November 19 for the Dead Horse Ultra in Moab, Utah the training cycle consisted of the worst Phoenix heat, pre-dawn track workouts, and long runs in Prescott, South Mountain, and elsewhere around Phoenix (and Texas for our out-of-town contingent!). The women have volunteered at races (not a requirement or part of the program) because they wanted to immerse themselves in the scene, learn the ropes, and build excitement. The camaraderie and determination through it all has and continues to be inspiring.
The group ranged from first-time ultra-runners to seasoned veterans. However, it started as a group of strangers and became a group of friends. We have race-pressured each other, have plans for a 50 and a 100 mile and can’t wait to share more training miles together.
Our trip to Moab gave us ample time to unwind, and truly relax – a luxury. We carpooled together on Wednesday, stopping for lunch and admiring the sites. However, it was once we arrived at our condo, turned on the fireplace and let our private chef cook our dinner that it really started the sink in that this was time to turn off the outside world and simply enjoy ourselves.
Thursday was spa-day and many of the women had never spent an entire day at the spa. We had lunch catered and robes handed out and the spa to ourselves. The best part was physically being able to see stress melt away progressively after each service.
Thursday night we got a little fancy and headed just out of town for a nice meal on the Colorado river. Too bad my planning was a bit off as the “magnificent view” touted by the restaurant doesn’t come into play when it’s pitch black outside. However, nothing seemed to get in the way of us having a good time and our view of an unadulterated night sky, not dulled by light pollution, was breathtaking.
Friday we expanded on our idea of stretching comfort zones and took a 3-hour off-road hummer adventure on ‘Hells Revenge’ 4×4 trail which was good enough to get heart rates up and find us some dinosaur tracks (a necessity for the trip). We ate lunch on a vista with a magnificent view, scrambled down slick rock to get an expansive panorama of the Colorado River from a few hundred feet above it, and couldn’t find a single question to ask our guide that he didn’t know right away.
Of course, Saturday was the big day and the weather was the only curve ball with the start at 25 degrees it was a little chilly for those of us from Phoenix (and El Paso). The remainder of the day went like clockwork. I just had to trust my coaching and the women had to trust their training. Everyone finished, everyone hit their goals – success. Probably my favorite moment was at the finish of one of the women who initially wanted to run the 50-mile but after a few hiccups in her training decided she should run the 50k extra easy, stay healthy, and we could focus on a 50 miler in a few weeks. She crossed the line of her first ultra and the first words out of her mouth were “I KNOW I can do that 50-mile.” With brand new “ultra runners” in the car we are headed back to Phoenix and I am more excited than ever to see who the 3rd Women’s Training Program, launching this week, will bring into my life.
A huge thank you to Oiselle for believing in this vision from the start and ensuring that the women were outfitted in style.
Also, thank you to Mad Moose Events for hosting a fantastic race and welcoming us with open arms – you have been a great partner!
Interested in learning more? Checkout the website! The Women’s Training Program will, again, focus on Crown King Scramble 50K with a 4 month program starting December 1st (last day to sign up is December 15). Find your tribe and never look back.