Get in the car! We’re headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’ve followed the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon on Facebook for a few years. I really wanted to add it to my calendar last year but it didn’t work out. This year I was determined to go even if I had to go by myself. Luckily that didn’t happen. This race is known as a fast race because essentially it’s 11 miles downhill. There is a 1,000-foot drop from mile 3 to mile 13. We’ll talk about the first two miles later! Being that I am from Oklahoma and the race was in Santa Fe there was going to be a bit of an altitude change. How do you train for high altitude? Well according to a guy we talked to at the park he said that training in hot humid temperatures, like Oklahoma in the summer, translates to the feeling of running in high altitude. There was also a Facebook post from the run stating the importance of hydration in battling high altitude. The other factor involved was running downhill. The difficulty with that is that your muscle is forced to contract when it’s stretched out farther than usual. With those things in mind, we thought we were ready to run. At some point, I will realize that when I think I’m ready for a race I’m really not. I guess that’s what brings the excitement.
When we arrived at Packet Pickup we quickly realized that the first two miles of the race were uphill…straight uphill. It’s about a 350-foot elevation gain. Just let this be a reminder that there is always an uphill especially when there’s a lot of excitement about a downhill.
Runners park at the finish line and get bussed to the starting line 13.1 miles away. Along the course, there is water stops every two miles with a little course entertainment being provided by various musicians. There isn’t much course support with people cheering you on but the scenery and the fact that you are running downhill make up for that.
The strangest thing along the course was the number of mini liquor bottles. They were everywhere! Someone had a party and we weren’t invited. I’m pretty sure whoever it was wouldn’t have wanted to be up bright and early to go running.
Keep in mind that the finish line food is similar to what you would find at a 5k. There were popsicles, bananas, and tortilla chips and that was pretty much it. We decided to check out the Flea Market across the street from the casino and that’s where we ate pulled pork sandwiches with Kenneth. He said they were the best in town. Since we didn’t eat any others when we were there we have to say his were the best in New Mexico. I didn’t see his Health Department papers but we were hungry and we lived to tell about it.
There are a few things that will make your trip even better. Thao’s husband gave us detailed instructions on where to get gas. We joked about it with signs from every gas station that said “here” because he said, “Get gas HERE!” It’s a good thing he did because we stopped in Amarillo and we are glad we did because there is nothing between Amarillo, TX and Clines Corner, New Mexico. There is also nothing between Clines Corner and Sant Fe so don’t forget to fill up!
We also stayed at The Lodge at Santa Fe. It’s a great place to stay because they offer a free shuttle to downtown Santa Fe. They will even pick you up at one spot and take you to another spot free of charge. If you stay here find out when Danny is running the shuttle. He is a retired surgeon who drives the shuttle because he just likes to talk to people. He will drive you all around and give you all the history of Santa Fe. He is great!
When you head back across I-40 be sure to check out Cadillac Ranch at about MM 62. Take your spray paint and leave your mark. This is a fun race and I’m glad I chose it and I’m glad I was able to sucker my friends Thao and Lavanda into going with me! It’s official I can mark New Mexico off my list! #HalfInFIfty