To say it was hot in Arizona would be the year’s biggest understatement. To say that I melted during my one pathetic run would be the year’s second.
That said, my five-miler through the University of Arizona campus in Tucson was glorious. What’s not to like?
The route from the Aloft Tucson University hotel on Speedway Boulevard took me through sidewalks that wander into the university’s grassy mall, which runs east to west on University Boulevard and is flanked by red-brick-adorned buildings.
I spotted a group of ROTC recruits exercising on the grass, looking rather fresh despite temperatures in the 80s at 6 a.m. on a Friday. I was starting to question my Puerto Rican street cred.
I sipped my water, wiped my brow with an already-soaked tissue and kept on running.
University circles around the Old Main building, so called because it was the original University Building constructed in 1891. The building is sunk six feet below the surface to help keep it cooler and still features a porch and patio with a water fountain.
I made my way through the businesses that cater to the U of A community, including the No Anchioves pizza place we visited the night before (yum!) and into the neighborhood beyond.
The houses here are small by Michigan standards with little to no grass but with a surprising amount of greenery, including cactus and what looked like yucca, but not much to provide any shade.
There was a surprising number of people walking panting dogs and a few runners who didn’t look like they were going to die.
I ran until railroad tracks stopped my progress, turned around and repeated the trying-not-to-die-from-the-heat shuffle the way I came.
The pretty scenery, blue skies and friendly people made the run enjoyable. Unfortunately, I didn’t get back out because I flew out mid-day Saturday and I hadn’t yet completely emptied my wallet at the local Target, so we went back to thoroughly wipe out my checking account.
I came back to Michigan to find overnight temperatures in the 50s, perfect for running, but I would trade them in a heartbeat for Tucson’s sunny climes.
How do you adapt to running in a different climate? Would you rather run in the heat or cold?