Brief life update – still busy with work, just came back from a 5-day holiday in Iceland with my mother (will try to toss out a post tomorrow), Ben’s shoulder is much better and he can now move it without pain, <sarcasm>yay!</sarcasm> we have another snowstorm (I lost count, is it our 3rd or 4th for the month of March?) on the first day of spring, and I haven’t figured out why in the last few days all of a sudden I got so many fake/spammy emails signing up for new post notifications (hey, welcome????).
After the epic day at the Phoenix Marathon/Half Marathon, I had another wonderful day to enjoy in Arizona with Helly, Ben, Scott, and Moon. We were going to meet up for brunch before I had to leave for the airport. Before brunch, I got up early (thanks to the time difference) and got to sneak in a comfortable 5-mile recovery run. Whenever I’m traveling somewhere, one of the first things I look up is where I could run comfortably and safely. With the miles and miles of canals that the greater Phoenix area has, Mesa has a plethora of options (map here and reviews of trails here).
The AirBnB that I was staying in was two blocks away from where the Consolidated Canal Path and the Southern Canal Path connected, so I ran a little bit of both. Honestly, there’s not much of a difference between the two canal paths, at least in terms of the sections I ran, so I’ll treat them the one and the same. The sections I ran were flat, and were either asphalt, concrete, or hard packed gravel. There were other people using the path (walkers, runners, cyclists, and dog walkers), but not so many that the path was crowded. Most of the time I was alone, but every once in a while I would see someone, so I never felt isolated. The paths felt very safe. You do need to cross streets once in a while, so the paths do not provide a continuous non-interrupted running route, at least for where I was at, but I did not find the street crossings to be much of a bother. I can’t remember if there were any restrooms or water fountains. Because it was a nice and cool morning, the lack of shade was not an issue, but it would be on a hot day.
It was clear that the paths got used and were loved by community members. I greatly approve that communities are recognizing the importance of good infrastructure in promoting healthy lives of their community members. One of the biggest hurdles against exercise is finding a place where people feel safe and welcome to exercise. Creating areas where people are encouraged to go out and move is one way of lowering the barrier to healthy living. I asked Helly about canals and she said while the canals have been there for a long long time, there’s been a recent effort to connect the various canal paths together and to improve the pathway access. Currently, the sections that I ran were a bit bleak in terms of scenery, but there were some early signs of landscaping, so it looks as if there is some effort to beautify the paths (great!).
I loved getting to know Mesa through their canal paths and highly recommend that you run these paths too, if you’re ever in Mesa.