Friday, August 7, 2015

Vacation Running

As I alluded to in my last race report, I had some vacay time coming up.  We had been planning this trip for about 3 years now.  We wanted the boys to be at good ages to be able to handle it and remember it.  It was a two week excursion out west.  The plan was to mostly hit National Parks.  My wife and I took a similar trip 15 years ago (pre kids). We drove out to LA and back camping along the way.
Rocky Mountain National Park
On this trip we flew into Denver (after a 2.5 hour delay) directly from Charlotte.  We stayed in Louisville, between Denver and Boulder.  That's pronounced Louis-ville as opposed to Louie-ville in Kentucky.  I didn't know that until we got there.  Anyways Sunday morning I went out for a short 5 mile run.

Nothing spectacular, but I was able to find the Coal Creek Trail that was rather enjoyable.  It was a little chilly as I'm used to it being 70 deg in the summer.  The elevation was pretty fun as well.  Nothing like 5K feet to get you breathing hard right from the start.
We headed out to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking that morning.  On the way out of Boulder on highway 36 there were literally hundreds of cyclist on the road.  It was pretty impressive.  But I guess that's what you get when you drive on the Ironman course 2 weeks before race day.  We did a little hike around Sprague Lake and then up to 9,000 feet.  Breathing hard yet?
Rapid City Skyline Run

Then it was off to Rapid City.  We hit Mt. Rushmore on our way up and then stayed in Rapid City that night.
The Heads

 The next morning I ran from the hotel to Skyline Drive.  The view was pretty impressive.  The hill felt more impressive with 460 feet of elevation gain over 1.6 miles.  Luckily that run only topped out at 3,900 feet.
View from Rapid City Skyline Drive

So the next day we went to Wind Cave NP and Bear Country.  Hit the road early next morning to drive to Cody, WY and then on to Yellowstone NP.
Grant Village in Yellowstone NP near Yellowstone Lake

A brisk 41 degrees greeted me on that run.  We stayed in Grant Village, right next to Yellowstone Lake.  I ran down by the lake and then out onto the main road.  Ran by an elk as he was just finished crossing the road.
Yellowstone Lake
After a visit to Old Faithful the next morning, we headed south through Grand Teton NP and then eventually to Salt Lake City.
Steamboat Geyser
Grand Teton NP
 We visited some friends Friday night, but Saturday we had nothing scheduled.  My wife did some laundry as our first week came to a close.  I took advantage of the time and did a 19 mile run in SLC.
I parked at this park kind of on a skyline drive at the edge of the city near the mountains.  There were a ton of people running and biking on 11th street so I figured I was in the right place.  I headed down that street and then came to Bonneville Road.  It was a two lane road that they had made one way for cars.  The cars used the right hand lane and the other other lane was for bikers and runners.  It was pretty cool.  I took that around until I saw this City Creek Canyon trail.
Salt Lake City
The City Creek trail was basically just up the canyon.  I took that for a couple miles and then headed back to the car.  I wanted to get back to the car around 10 miles to hydrate and get some calories in for the rest of the run.  I then headed in the other direction and took the Bonneville Shoreline trail and then went around the University of Utah campus before heading back to the car to finish the run.
View from where I parked
Next it was off to southern Utah.  We did a rim trail hike in Bryce Canyon NP that evening and a horseback ride into the canyon the next morning.
We went over to Zion NP that afternoon, and the kids were pretty wiped out.  The next morning I did a little tempo run from the hotel before we headed out.  Unfortunately, the first 2 miles of the tempo were downhill with the wind.  That made the last 2 miles a lot of fun as I just ran out and back.
I was able to manage a 6:28 average for 4 miles, which I felt was ok considering the circumstances.
Bryce Canyon NP

Then it was off to the Grand Canyon.  We rented bikes one morning and did almost 22 miles on the roads and the paved greenway trails.  It was the only biking I got in

One morning I decided to run the rim trail.  I took the bus out to the Kaibab trailhead and started from there.  I went that direction because the bus is quicker, and I wanted to get going before there were a bunch of people on the trail.
Grand Canyon Rim Trail Elevation
It's also a net downhill in the direction.  The first 5 miles was on the paved trail and the last 5 were on more of a hiking trail.  So with the biking from the day before, I traversed the entire 13 miles of the South Rim Trail.  So there's that.
A little Bike Ride

 That morning was also hiked the Bright Angel Trail, which my Garmin was not too fond of.
Then it was back to Colorado, and Colorado Springs to be exact.  I had a nice run on some of the  pathways through and around Garden of the Gods.  Quite scenic.
We hiked in GOG that morning and the kids enjoyed climbing on the rocks.
Garden of the Gods

 That afternoon, we took the railway up the the top of Pike's Peak.

The next day we flew home.  I didn't get a lot of training in, obviously.  No swimming and just one leisurely bike.  But the runs were fantastic.  I mean a trail run in Colorado, Skyline run in South Dakota, in Yellowstone with the elk, Skyline and trail run in Salt Lake City, the canyons in Southern Utah, the rim trail at the Grand Canyon, and then trails in the Garden of the Gods.  Every run had amazing views.  Of course the day after we got back I get this email:
3 months?  Try 2 months.  I think it's time for this:
Let's just say we got a lot of work to do.