Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Arizona dream

Finally, I've arrived at Flagstaff, my main destination and home for the next 3 weeks.
Flagstaff is a third (I guess) city in Arizona, after Phoenix and Tucson. It’s quite well known here in the US as an altitude training destination, also very popular ski resort. With the base altitude of 2100m and Humphreys Peak at 3852m.
It’s also a home to Northern Arizona University, which has one of the strongest Cross Country teams in the US.
Lopez Lomong used to study and run here (if you don’t know who Lopez Lomong is, I strongly recommend reading his autobiography “Run for my life” - a story of Sudanese boy, kidnapped by the rebels to be trained for a child soldier in Sudanese civil war. He manages to escape, and through refugee camp in Kenya he finally makes his way to the US, to eventually become an Olympic athlete. Very inspiring story, and a great read), currently some of the top US distance runners are based here.

I left NY on Tuesday afternoon, took a flight to Phoenix. Phoenix welcomed me with really hot weather (it was about +24 at 8pm) and a bit of rain. I was too tired to explore, I just got a burrito from a nearby drive thru and went to bed. I was staying in a motel next to the airport, so can’t really tell I’ve seen Phoenix.
Next morning I took a Greyhound bus to Flagstaff. It’s less than 3 hours drive.
Here are some pictures of Phoenix airport area, and of Arizona taken from the bus.

Finally I arrived at Flagstaff. Took the cab to my motel, and here I am!
Americana Inn, on the historic Route 66!

Those American motels are pretty nice. It’s exactly like in movies - two storey, long building with a number of rooms, and a car park in front of it. You just wait to hear some gunshots or drunken fight sounds ;). But reality (fortunately) is not like in movies, everything seems really nice and safe.
 My room has a massive bed, a tv, small fridge, microwave. There is a bathroom and an area I’m using as a kitchen (well, it’s got a sink). The only problem is that WIFI works pretty bad, and I need to get a password before I use it. Password is valid only for 3 hours.

Now I need to organise myself. I need to find shops, get American mobile number, a bike, and find a gym.
It turns out, that even I’m not in the town centre, there are plenty of shops and restaurants here, and a big Walmart about 1km away. Went for a lunch to one of the Mexican restaurants nearby, and it was awesome. Very good, nutritious food, and at a really good price. Those restaurants here don’t look particularly appealing from the outside, but are very nice and cosy inside. And so far food was really good in every single one I visited (I’m going a bit ahead of myself here).

On the first day I managed to get all the basic stuff, like plate, mug, knife, fork, spoon, and so on. All for under $10. This Walmart thingy is quite convenient.

I went for a run in the evening, obviously managed to get a bit lost, so did just over 13km, instead of planned 10.
Run itself was actually slightly better than I expected. During my previous altitude training trips, first runs were much harder. Maybe I already knew what to expect, maybe that it’s a bit lower here than in Ethiopia and Kenya helps, but it was quite ok. Or maybe that I run on a relatively flat surface, without too many hills.
Anyway, so far so good.

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