New Mexico Race weekend

Friday morning, bright and early, my sister Elizabeth, our friend, Wendi and I flew out to Albuquerque for the Day of the Tread Half Marathon. The race was Sunday so we had some time to do our usual sightseeing/brewery touring. First stop was the La Cumbre Brewery. La Cumbre has delicious IPA’s and helpful employees. After “hydrating” we stopped at (actually it was a slow drive by), Walter White’s house from the show Breaking Bad. We LOVED that show and spent more hours than I would like to admit watching episode after episode into the early morning hours. That’s not the smartest choice with two girls who wake up before the sun, but we couldn’t stop. It was so good. Anyway, the homeowners of this famous house are definitely not a fan of all their visitors. They were sitting in their garage as we drove past, which made it a little awkward to get out and take more photos… not to mention the no trespassing sign on the front yard.  So a drive by photo was good enough for us. 

Next stop was the Sandia Park Tramway. We were starving by this point and thought it a good idea to eat at the Mexican restaurant at the base of the tramway. It was not. If you are ever visiting, Albuquerque, definitely visit the tramway, but eat before you arrive. The food was mediocre and the service was SLOW and not great. Everything took way too long, especially ordering, and paying. Because of the slow service, we missed the sunset ride to the top of the mountain and had much more limited visibility on the way up. My eyes are not great to begin with, so I wasn’t able to see much, not to mention the windows are tinted, which wold be fine on a sunny day. The ride is 2.7 miles and take about fifteen minutes, one way. Even with limited visibility, the view from the tramway was beautiful. 

Saturday morning, we drove to Santa Fe. Albuquerque is a nice town, but Santa Fe is really cute and artsy. We visited the famous Loretto Chapel  with the mysterious staircase. It’s a tight spiral staircase that has no visible means of support. There is also a mystery as to the identity of the builder. The chapel is adorable and the stairs are impressive to see, but unfortunately they are not as mysterious as the Santa Fe tourism bureau would like us to believe. We all love a good mystery, so I was disappointed to actually Google the chapel’s mystery and come across this Snopes article. Regardless, it’s worth the trip and three dollar entry fee, in my opinion.

Next stop was the Draft Station for a flight of beer. They have a great selection from local New Mexico breweries, such as Marble, Blue Corn and La Cumbre. The bar overlooks the main square in downtown Santa Fe, so you can sit on the deck and enjoy people watching. The square in Santa Fe has a similar feel to the famous Antler Arch town square in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. You will see a lot of leather, fur, and cowboy boots, mostly from those over fifty and with money. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just my observation… The shopping in Santa Fe is plentiful, full of local artisans on the sidewalks selling as much jewelry, lots and lots of turquoise, as you could possibly want/need. Honestly, it was overwhelming. I am not into shopping and I am really not into haggling. I was happy just looking and walking. Lunch was at The Shed, and we all enjoyed some delicious food. I have gotten in the habit of letting the server surprise me with a meal when I am on the road, and I was not disappointed. I had Christmas Enchiladas (half red/half green) one with turkey sausage and the other, my favorite, with carne (slow cooked pork). Delicious! The restaurant has a funky feel with small rooms, very low doors, bright colors, and local art. On our way back to Albuquerque, we tasted beer at the Santa Fe Brewing Company. I was usually able to find one beer I liked at each stop, this one was their Imperial Java Stout. 

Sunday’s race was originally scheduled for a 7:30am start time. Somewhere between when we registered  and when we arrived in New Mexico, that start time had been moved to 8:30am. This might not be a big deal for locals, but we had a flight scheduled to leave around 12:30pm and still needed showers and to return our rental car. The race directors were extremely helpful and allowed us to begin the race at 7:30. Elizabeth, Wendi, and I started our run with a couple paper maps and a vague idea of where we were going. Albuquerque is at almost 5,000 feet compared to Raleigh’s 300, so there was a bit of an adjustment. This was not a race run for time, this was one we were going to enjoy slowly. My favorite view along the run was of the stone rattlesnakes built along the median. Fall colors were peaking and the bright yellow trees were beautiful along the Bosque Bike Trail, which we were on for about half the run. Even with our maps, we did miss a turn and ended up having to make up a mile and a half along the course later. The race course combined with a separate race for about a half a mile near the end of the course. It was confusing. While the race volunteer for the other race had no idea which way we were supposed to go at the intersection, the police officer did. Other than these minor confusions and wrong turns, the course was fairly straightforward, the volunteers were great and most importantly, we finished with time to get to the airport and make the long trek home.