Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Running Into Trouble

A woman sprinted up a narrow trail in the Superstition Mountains of central Arizona. She leaped over large rocks as she ascended the tan-colored goliaths. Her heavy breathing filled the early morning air as her sandals pushed desert gravel.  A light brown lizard scurried from atop a rock and settled under a bush. She didn’t acknowledge the small creature; there was no time. The Arizona desert gets quite cold overnight—cold to reptiles. Cammi concentrated on the summit. It was out of site, but not out of mind. She had learned to focus on long runs, especially with a race coming up so soon. This was a speed workout, not a leisurely jog. She pushed herself harder, knowing that this was her last hill-workout before the 100-Mile race in Leadville, Colorado next week. The summit came into sight. She dug deep. She had been pushing herself hard the entire way, but she still had a little left. She sped up, practically sprinting the last 300 yards. Her heart pounded. Her lungs ached. She loved that feeling; and she embraced the fatigue. This is it, she thought. With one last surge she reached the top and began walking immediately. The mountaintop was flat and, apart from cacti every few feet, quite clear. True to its name, the top of Flat Iron Mountain looked like an upside down iron. The flat area, roughly the size of a football field, curved on both sides and came to a point. Each edge was a sheer drop hundreds of feet down. She was alone, the way she preferred it. She was always heading back down the mountain before others arrived. Arizona was relatively cooler before eight in the morning. She would rest a few more minutes before heading back down.  From the summit she could see several miles in every direction. Houses were now only a few miles away; they seemed to grow out of the desert like weeds. Soon, they would creep right up to the edge of the mountain, but for now, Cammi simply enjoyed the view. 


Just as she was turning away from the edge a glimpse of motion caught her eye. A yellow convertible sped into the parking lot and skidded to a stop at the trailhead followed closely by a blue SUV. The blue SUV stopped directly behind the yellow convertible boxing it in. A large man in a red shirt jumped out and began running up the trail with three men in pursuit. The fleeing man kept looking back at the pursuers and stumbling on the loose dirt. One of the menacing figures pointed an arm up the trail and the victim collapsed immediately. A second later she heard a thunder clap. They immediately began looking around to see if anyone on the mountain had heard the sound. Cammi ducked then crawled away from the cliff. 
*   *   *
With twists and turns this story is rarely what it seems on the surface. Set in the Arizona desert just outside Phoenix, this action adventure follows a world-class runner in her journey to exact revenge on her attackers. 

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