How does one summarize what turned out to be one of the most fun and adventurous weekends of my life? Wow. Okay, I'll try though.
I was planning on working. I was planning on blogging. That’s why I didn’t do that much in advance (although I didn’t really have time). This wasn’t supposed to be a vacation (although I know it looked that way). I was just taking a weekend trip to get RRCA certified. I had asked The Barlows to stay with them, but then thought the class filled up so I was like SHOOT then Tamarynn said a spot was opened because Ashley (@ahappypace) was going to go to support her husband (@mattydtri) in his ironman, which by the way he QUALIFIED FOR FREAKIN KONA! So awesome. I was bummed though because one of my besties (@triandrungirl) Heather was going to be doing her first ironman and she lives in Salt Lake so I couldn’t see her.
I looked up flights on Frontier (I promise this is important) because I have their discount den program for the year to get cheaper flights (of course also sucky flights but I’ll do anything for cheap travel LOL). I found a flight that had a day long layover in Denver on Wednesday, so then I hit up a friend of mine, Mallory to see if I could spend the day with her there. It was 9am-6pm layover. #yikes
Mallory and I had the best day together. She picked me up and we first went to eat at this amazing vegan restaurant called Watercourse and talked FOREVER, then headed to her apartment to change and go run. We ran 5 miles together (which I TOTALLY forgot when adding my weekly mileage this week until just now-oops-guess I hit 46 then! WOO! LOL!) We ran on a trail around Denver, and her neighborhood then went and hung out at the pool until she took me back to the airport. My flight got to Salt Lake at around 8pm and I had to get my rental car and get out to The Barlows. They misplaced my luggage temporarily so I got to their house around 930. Even from my one day gone, I somehow had 35 emails so I did that all morning on Thursday until we went for our first run in Utah.
The first thing we did when I woke up after working on some emails was to go to the gym where I met a few girls from instagram (@hungrymotherrunners) and we got in a good core session. This gym she goes to has a workout of the day kinda like you would at a crossfit gym, but just not the typical crossfit type workouts. It was great!
RUN 1- FARMINGTON CANYON
The way Utah is set up, most people live in Northern Utah. The areas I was in were Farmington and Cottonwood Canyons, which were 45 minutes apart. This was a 6 mile easy run (up 3 miles and back down 3) with a total elevation gain of around 1200ft on the 3 miles up. I got to talk with Tommy a lot that run about full ironmans and ultras and he just really did confirm that it’s one step in front of the other-it’s not NEARLY as overwhelming as it seems if you just hunker down and keep going if you keep in that zone 2.
This was his second run post Vermont 100 (he had done 10 the day before), but he was good which is awesome for him going into Leadville 100 in 3 weeks! Can’t wait to see how the continuation of the Grand Slam goes for him (4-100 mile races in 12 weeks)
Right beside of their house is Farmington Station so we went there after for a sushi lunch and to show me Tommy’s work, which was TOTALLY worth seeing. His workplace is freakin awesome but I won’t go into all that. Lol!
Farmington Station I hit up quite a few times for Chiptole and Starbucks and froyo! It’s just a shopping center super close to their house so that was super convenient.
That’s what they claimed it as ;) It’s a lake in Farmington Canyon (which is the picture you see below floating on the mattress). We took the razor up with tinfoil dinners full of ground beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions with cream of chicken soup cooked on the fire. After that, Kenzie took me through the Wasatch 100 course area and the sun was setting in the Canyon and I posted the video on my facebook but it was UNREAL! So epically beautiful. We also stopped on our way up to look over the ledge where people will drive their cars off and so there are cars there from like 40 years ago. It was very interesting and of course super sad. When we got back, they had smores ready for us and the girls (they have two PRECIOUS little girls 11 and 7) and they had made up choreography to some songs, so they showed us their routine. HAHA!
I want to do a full blog on this so I'm going to save it for tomorrow and give you the full scope of how to do it, what it's all about, and how the class was, but the class was Friday and Saturday from 8-5 in Cottonwood Heights which is about 45 minutes from where I was staying. I went some of my girls for breakfast the morning on Friday and that was so so wonderful. I've been coaching them both for around 2 years (not actively but they've been on the team). I could have talked with them for hours and hours but had to cut it quick to get to class. I'm SO SO excited about being a run coach and offering that now. More details to come.
I also was able to meet two girls that I knew from instagram!! @sugarruns and @tamarynnleigh both were there getting certified and are absolutely the sweetest girls, and I'm just so thankful for the instagram community and all the beautiful people that it's brought into my life.
RUN 2- LAKE BLANCHE
Tommy left on Friday morning to go to Leadville to run part of the course (16 miles) so that he could see what it was like and took their son with him so it was just us girls the rest of the weekend.
Lake Blanche is a 6.9 mile out and back with 3K feet of elevation on the out 3.5 to the top of the peak where you can see the lake, and oh my goodness gracious it was so beautiful. It was also really tough. Kenzie is super amazing to watch going up and down the mountain. I just followed the leader and of course it was really difficult on the climb. This is not a hike folks as maybe you are thinking, but rather like legit jump/running up big steep climbs. It was really fun (and my glutes and quads are REAL sore haha). We took pictures at the top of course, then headed back down. Each time that we went into the Cottonwood Canyons, we would meet at the park and ride which is apparently what a lot do and then Kenzie would drive to the base of the peak that we were going to run up.
RUN 3- ALTA BRIGHTON
I was honestly pumped the entire day to spend the evening in the Canyons again. Kenzie was so great to take this time with me because typically she runs in the mornings, and this obviously left her having to make arrangements for her kids and things of that nature but she wanted to show me the ropes, and I appreciate it to the fullest. This trip would NOT have been the same without her. I wouldn't have known about any of this and definitely would never have done it on my own.
This is 9 mile loop trail that hits a lot of highlights along the way and we definitely stopped for a few seconds and would take pictures along the way. I mean I'm sure you couldn't tell from my instagram/facebook that we took a lot of pictures though ;) jk jk! Because my legs had been so trashed, we decided to take this one super easy. Her friend Chelsea came with us and honestly we just had girl talk for a solid 2 hours while we were running. She was SO fun. I genuinely thought everyone I met was just so great this weekend. This loop also had 3K of climbing but it was over more miles and we power hiked vs running up some of those. When we were coming down out of this climb, you could see so much or going around the ridges and Kenzie would yell. Sometimes she would say things like I LOVE THESE MOUNTAINS or she would just yell out a happy yell and it just made my freakin day. haha! Like the amount of endorphins it creates to do things like this is out of this world and no wonder people get addicted to running. It's a freakin high.
With not starting until 6pm, we didn't really get finished up until 915, and then it was 45 minutes away. I stopped at Wendys for a frosty on the way home and got back at 10pm. I was BEAT, and I had told Kristen (2:54 marathoner that I'd run 8 miles with her at 7am on Sunday morning-help me lord jesus hahaha). I took a quick shower just to get the dirt from the Canyons off of me, and went to sleep asap! My whole body was so sore.
I woke up at 4:30am STARVING and sore, so I went and made food and put on the recovery boots that they have which are boots that massage your legs. I thought I was going to have to bail on Kristen but I really did want to run with her.
SOOOO, I sucked it up and by sucked-I mean I was literally sucking air. haha!!! We learned a fun fact in run coaching class that at higher elevations, the worst time frame for not being able to breathe well was 3-6 days in. This would have been the 4th, and even though with climbing, I felt the elevation change, this was even worse. I felt like I was running so slow and we finished 7 miles at 7:58 pace. That felt like 6min/mile so definitely not the best recovery run. Oops! Totally worth it to get to run with Kristen-we actually met in the Athlete's village in boston when she was like HI I FOLLOW YOU so that was fun to see her again!
I'm doing all slow slow cycling today to help work some waste product out of my legs and get back into ironman training. Obviously, running trails wasn't on the training program but who cares? Once in a lifetime opportunity that keeps my fitness up super high and now I jump back into tri! :)
I legit feel like I just went into some other world for the past 4 days. I had NO idea that this trip was going to be like this, but I'm so so glad that it was. I was able to meet so many people that I knew from online and have been friends with for a while, and they are all just as wonderful in person. The internet is such an interesting place, but it allows for these connections with people with your same interests that you would normally never even know were out there. Then, you get to meet, stay in their home and see what they are really like and become even more inspired.
I guess just all around, I feel inspired by this weekend. I feel inspired by friendships that leave me wanting to be a better friend. I feel inspired to be adventurous and really go out into the world that's around us even if it's not always in our comfort zone because pushing outside of that leads us to the most beautiful places. I'm inspired to really just be a good wife. I really missed Tanner, and wished so badly that he could be on the top of those mountains with me. ONE DAY!!!
This is a trip that introduced me to TRUE trail running, and it's a trip I'll never forget. I absolutely love Utah. I will go back for sure.