Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rollin', rollin', rollin'

Artie spies ~ mountain bikers below!
I had a few really good days in a row running the last few days and my mind is set at ease that I will be able to pull off my Scotland trip (twenty miles per day for 5 days, no rest days).  On Saturday I did a great 13-mile Salt Lake City streets-Shoreline trail loop, one I like to call the "mini-mega" (the mega was done last summer, and was about 5 miles farther).  Setting out in the early morning hours before the street traffic really gets going is a very peaceful running experience.  Hitting the Shoreline Trail before the masses hit it on their mountain bikes was equally delightful.  The run turned out to be 13 miles, with 1,300 ft of elevation gain, and my Garmin watch said that I burned 1,300 calories.  Lucky 13s!

My route can be seen here.

The flowers are out in force and are gorgeous this year.  We have had a very nice spring so far with temperatures in the 70s to 80s.  I wish it could stay this nice all summer and not get up into the 100s like I am sure that it will!

Secret Perch ~ Franklin takes a turn spotting bikers.
Sunday I had an easy day with the dogs, up our Hidden Canyon to our Secret Perch.  It was only about 4 miles, but a good 1,700 feet of elevation.  Once up on top, we sat under some mahogany trees for a bit, spying the mountain bikers on the main trail below.  Artie actually ran down the hillside to check one of them out and I was afraid she was not going to come back up!  I'm not sure if the mountain biker saw her, but if he did, he was probably wondering who this lone fluffy, yellow dog belonged to as we stayed hidden in the trees above.

Monday I took the day off from exercise (but pulled weeds in the backyard for two hours!), but was quite energized at work from such a great weekend.  [On a side note, we at the clinic are looking forward to our staff retreat day as we are going to the Natural History museum at the University of Utah.  You know what this means ~ dinosaurs.  There's a new museum building that just opened a few months ago and I've been really looking forward to checking it out.  At first I was really upset with the location of where they decided to build it, because it took out one of my favorite sections of trail that I used to walk and run with my old yellow dog, Roxie.  But the new trail that they built to replace it is equally delightful, so I've come to terms with the change.]
Atop Little Black Mountain

Today, Tuesday, I had the day off and had designs on doing the Wahsatch Steeplechase route.  I put the question out to a few friends on Facebook if the route was clear of snow, and they all agreed that it was.  It goes up over a pretty rough peak called Black Mountain (or Little Black Mountain, depending on how historic you go back into the map archives) over a section of crags that are about a quarter mile long.  There are legendary rattlesnakes up on those crags and the more I thought about it, the more I didn't want to go there as there have already been several rattlesnake sightings on the east bench this spring.  I did the route this past December, part of it through the snow, and the crags section really is pretty sketchy to do solo if you're not used to climbing around on rocks.  I would feel better with a buddy up there.

So I got up to the US Geological marker on the peak, which was exactly 5 miles away from where I started at Morris Reservoir (water tanks) and I thought to myself that I would be completely satisfied with turning around at this point and not continuing.  The wildflowers were if full bloom up there, and the views were absolutely gorgeous.  The run (hike, on the steep uphills) turned out to be 10.25 miles, with 2,850 ft of gain.  Whew!

The trail to Black Mountain (above, left).
But as if that was not enough, after I got home and got refueled, I took the dogs for a 2 mile jaunt at the base of Grandeur on the dirt double track.  I decided to brave the trail in flip-flops and was happy with my decision to let my feet breathe a little bit.  I'm not a proponent of barefoot running, but doing a couple of miles in the flips I think might just strengthen my feet a little bit.

What a great few days of running!  So far over the last 4 days:  29 miles and 5,900 feet of elevation gain!  Feeling strong, and ready to roll over the Scottish Highlands in just two weeks!

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