Snow Canyon - my favorite
There are a lot of highlights. The whole week was basically one big highlight.
So be prepared.
- My first race of the season. The Dogtown Half Marathon. (You can read my race report here.) Nothing like starting a week of training off with a little race.
- Getting picked up by 4 hot guys in spandex after suffering my 5th or 6th flat tire this year. (I've lost count. First flat was on January 2nd and it seems like I have had one on every ride since then...) It was super windy and cold and we were tired from racing in the morning. Every one but Stuart and I had turned around but the two of us were determined to ride up Snow Canyon. So we did. But he dropped me and once it started raining, I figured I had plenty more days this week to prove to myself how tough I am, so I turned around. And promptly got a flat. Knowing Coachie was basically just around the corner in a nice warm truck, I called for help. I love HT Training! But because I didn't want to look like a helpless little girl, I got to work and had the tire almost fixed by the time they came. Not a big deal anymore.
great group run on a chilly morning
- Getting to hang out with Ali Black. She has been a hero of mine for many years and this is her first year racing as a pro. I couldn't be more excited for her and couldn't pass up the opportunity to go for a run with her and her friends. Not the smartest thing to do, obviously, after having just run a half marathon the day before without a lot of mileage in my legs, but sometimes I get tired of being smart and just want to do what's fun. It was great to catch up with Ali and Cherell and meet their friends. I had told myself I would keep it to an hour but I was having so much fun that by the time I looked at my watch it said 45 minutes. Shoot. I knew I was in trouble. I turned around by myself and suddenly didn't feel so good anymore. How is that possible? One minute you are fine - the next minute everything hurts, you're tired and want to stop. Well, stopping wasn't an option, so I trudged on. And started to realize that the St. George 70.3 run course is going to be 13.1 very tough miles. Yikes. But, go figure, by the end of the run I started to feel good again and even entertained thoughts of doing an Ironman again sometime soon.
- Finally watching Skyfall! Growing up my dad, sister, and I watched every single James Bond movie. So I wanted to see the new one. But I knew it was never going to happen because we watch about 2 movies a year. But luck was on my side. Colleen had the movie, the weather was bad, my legs were tired, I had all afternoon - so I put the bike on the trainer, hopped on, and watched Skyfall. Perfect. (Well. It would've been perfect if Pierce Brosnan was still playing James Bond.)
- Hot yoga. I went 4 times in 6 days and I am pretty sure it saved me. I went to the most basic class and loved it. We all know I like the heat and considering that temps in St. George were rather low and I was usually cold for hours on my bike, this was the perfect way to relax, stretch, and work my core. I really wish we had the same studio here in Flagstaff.
- Getting to swim in an outdoor pool! It's heaven. Unless the heater gets turned off over the weekend and when you jump into the pool on Monday morning at 5:30, you think you are going to die. Then it sucks. But then you sit in the hot tub for a while - because you have all day - and when you are nicely warmed up, you join your friends for the second part of the workout. Then you go back in the late afternoon when the sun is shining and the pool has warmed up some and you finish your workout. And you realize that you are getting spoiled and you enjoy every minute of it.
- Hill repeats in Snow Canyon. It's definitely the most beautiful and arguably the most challenging part of the 70.3 course. And thus my favorite. I would like to feel like I own that part of the course, which might never happen, but at least I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Colleen and I in Snow Canyon last March
- Staying with the Rue Family. Colleen and Adam are dear friends and it was incredibly nice of them to let me stay at their house. I felt right at home with their two kids being the same age as Max and Noah. I love to chat and train with Colleen. We did do quite a bit of chatting but unfortunately didn't have a chance to train much together except for some swimming. But that will change this weekend... Some day I will live in a nice house with a guest bedroom and I hope Colleen and her family will come to visit often because I owe them big time.
- Trail Running. I couldn't help but sneak in a trail run at Chuckwalla. Red rock and sand makes for a nice little recovery run.
New Year's ride in St. George.
This time was only slightly warmer.
- Enjoying warm weather. Shorts. Lying in the sun. Tank tops. Tan lines. Oh wait! None of that ever happened! Temperatures and wind were almost the same as up here in Flagstaff, so I was still bundled up and cold for most of my rides. But the roads were clear and there were plenty to choose from. So I wasn't about to complain. As for the wind? I have finally, after more than a decade of riding, gotten over the wind. I don't care anymore. For now at least... The highlight of cold and windy was Tuesday afternoon's ride on the 70.3 course with Rich. We didn't get on the bikes until 4pm and at that point it was already ridiculously windy. It was great though to have company for once this week and Rich is a great riding partner. By the time we were descending Snow Canyon, the sun had almost set and it was cold. Cold as in: We weren't dressed appropriately and at one point I was worried Rich was going to fall of his bike because he was shaking uncontrollably. We did make it home and I would like to think that we are stronger because of it.
- Riding to Zion and back. I really wanted to get in a century ride, so I started at Colleen's house and went all the way to the back of the canyon. It was beautiful and fun. All 110 miles of it. I love to ride my bike! It was a solo ride, so I made sure to bring my friends, Garmin and iPod, in case I needed entertainment. Garmin decided it had enough at mile 45 and promptly died. Oh well. No big deal. Now no one will know how fast (or slow) I was going which might not be a bad thing. Time to listen to some music. But that didn't last very long. iPod let me know right away that its battery was low and quit soon thereafter. I may or may not have thrown a little fit for a few seconds until I realized that this is a great opportunity to train my mind. I did treat myself to a super yummy turkey/avocado wrap in Springdale which ended up much bigger than expected. Not sure how to stuff left-overs in my jersey pocket, I ate the whole thing right then and there. It fueled me all the way back to Colleen's house and I didn't have to take in another calorie for the next 50 miles. How convenient!
I could most definitely think of quite a few more highlights. It was a fantastic week!
It would certainly not have been possible without the help and support of Karl and my in-laws. Grandma and Grandpa came to spend the week at our apartment, helping out Karl and taking care of the boys. They are the best! I didn't have to spend even one second worrying about Max and Noah. (Although I did spend a few minutes here and there thinking of them.) I knew that they were well taken care of and happy to spend quality time with their grandparents. Thank you!
Now it's time to finish packing for... another St. George trip! How lucky am I? I am beyond excited to go back for 4 more days in (rainy) paradise. This time with the whole HT Training crew. I am more than ready for some group riding and running after spending an entire week training mostly by myself. It's going to be a blast!
PS: Yes. Karl is an amazing husband and father. In case that's not obvious...