Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dog Days

We borrowed Hanza (Sherman's best friend German Shepherd) today and took the dogs for a hike up Neff's Canyon in the afternoon. It was a good chance to try out my new gaitors (thank you Albert!). They passed the test with flying colors---now I just have to wait for my new snowshoes to arrive and I'll be all set! I also picked up a new set of poles since mine mysteriously disappeared during the summer. They are nifty Black Diamond adjustable jobbies that will work well as both trekking and snowshoeing poles, maybe even for downhill skiing if I get the urge. My new racing shoes also came in this weekend (thank you Glen at Wasatch Running Center!) and I replaced my old Timex Ironman watch with the same of the newest version. This is my third one---I love the watch because it is feminine yet has all the features I need. However, I play hard and that tends to take a toll on the watch after a while...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Back in Salt Lake

I just got back from a trip to Indiana last night...bang in the middle of a snowstorm in Salt Lake! The pictures above are the 'leftovers' from today on our walk with Sherman at Bonneville Golf Course. It's really pretty snow, nice and powdery and perfect for skiing. Perhaps the xc skis will make their first appearance of the season this weekend. The Indiana end of the trip yesterday was fine---just very cold!---but once we got into the Rockies there was a big storm brewing. I just assumed the runways got cleared off BEFORE planes landed in a snowstorm...I learned last night that that's not the case! We landed on at least 6 inches of the white stuff. The baggage claim was a zoo, and there were no cabs to be found. Thankfully our good friend Alex came to pick us up with his new snow tires, which definitely came in handy since I-80 hadn't been plowed at that point!

The trip to Indiana was nice and relaxing. I ended up mainly just hanging out with my family, amusing my little niece, and reading books. Albert and I never really adjusted to the time change, so we stayed up late and slept in every day. We weathered the cold and ice and ran a few times while we were there, but I have to say despite the lower altitude (and subsequent greater lung capacity!) it wasn't really much fun running there. A minus 34 degree windchill has a way of putting a damper on your spirits. My family celebrated the holiday on Christmas Eve which was really cozy and a tradition that I prefer anyway. It reminds me of the annual Christmas Eve party at my grandma's house when I was little...very fond memories. I wanted to try out a wonderful recipe for homemade cranberry sauce but unfortunately the cranberry shipments got caught up in the storms and none of them made it to northern Indiana. So we had canned cranberry sauce instead.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


We are snowbound this weekend! After an amazingly HUGE full moon rising over the mountains last night the weather suddenly became very unsettled with gusting winds and foreboding warmer temperatures. This is usually a sign that a big dump is on the way. We were not disappointed, as the snow started falling at about 8:30 this morning and looks like it's settled in for the weekend! I suppose I'll have to get reacquainted with my bike trainer and rollers. I was able to run outside this morning---just an easy 4-miler---but Albert didn't make it out for his 22-miler. That may have been due in part to the after-effects of a holiday party last night, but the weather certainly would have been miserable for a long run anyway. But it's great for cross-country skiing! Can't wait to dust off those skiis.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Come on Snow!

We're currently stuck in the doldrums between the stunning colors of autumn and the fresh brilliance of winter snow along the Wasatch Front. I was browsing through some recent photos and found this one above, taken on a hike at Snowbasin in Ogden Valley, Utah. It dates from late September, when the leaves at the higher elevations had changed to a patchwork of gold, red, and orange. Now most of the leaves are on the ground---or already bagged up and shipped off to the city compost---and we're just sitting here twiddling our thumbs waiting for some fresh white powder to dump on us! I hope it happens soon, my xc skis are ready to come out of the closet!

South Davis Swim Meet

Here's an update for my Aunt Candy (my number one Philly fan) who wanted to know how the swim meet at South Davis went. It was my first trip to the South Davis Rec Center in Bountiful, and what a beautiful facility it is! From what I could see there are multiple swimming pools, ice rinks, state-of-the-art cardio equipment, aerobics rooms, and weight machines. It has a real family feel to it (unlike the gym where I work). The competition pool is 10 lanes, 25 yards, with an additional warm-down pool and diving boards in the deep end. The meet itself attracted some 150 swimmers, which is a pretty good size for a masters meet. The first event of the day was the 1650yd. freestyle, which my friend Brad Gale (of Pool 'n' Patio fame) won in good style in about 18:30. Next up was the 400IM---my first event. Keep in mind, I took 3 months completely off with the broken arm and since then have been swimming 1-2 times a week! I'm not quite sure what I was thinking in signing up for the distance IM. But I swam it and won the women's event---not in a very fast time and certainly not with ease! The butterfly felt great which was surprising because I really haven't had a good rhythm in practice. When I got to the the backstroke, however, I realised that the fly had probably been a bit too fast---and I had 300 yards to go! Yikes! I made it through, albeit with dead legs. Next time I'll pace myself a little bit better.

I also swam the 100 and 200 IMs, 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, and the 200 medley and freestyle relays. I won the 200 IM, was 3rd in the 100IM, 2nd in the 100 breast, and about 5th in the 50 free. My times were pretty awful, but as I haven't swum in a meet since college and I certainly don't get near to that same kind of yardage, it's hard to know what is a good time anymore. The relays were a lot of fun, especially the freestyle relay at the end of the meet because 74-year-old Jim DeMet was our anchor and he out-touched the next team by 6 one-hundreths of a second! Way to go Jim!

There are a few more masters swim meets this winter and I'll probably do as many as I can. I'd like to play around with some different events and see what I can do. Swimming the breaststroke was just too depressing---I can't even get near to what I used to swim!

Next event up: P.F. Chang's Rock n' Roll Half Marathon in Phoenix on January 18th! Albert is running the marathon so we're both in the midst of some specific run training right now. December is a busy month, what with holiday parties and spending a week in Indiana, so it's good to just focus on running and let the swimming and biking sit on the back burner for a bit.