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Thursday, November 27, 2014


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  I mean... a whole day centered around eating.  Runners love to eat.... its a fact (and usually why we run!). 

Not only is it a day to eat delicious food with family and friends,
 but it is a day to reflect on all that we have.

So in the thanksgiving spirit, 
I wanted to share all the things I am thankful for. 

I am thankful for my health, and ability to run.  It is so easy to complain, to make excuses, and to list all the reasons we don't want to go for a run.  But at the end of the day we are so lucky that we have healthy bodies that allow us to go out and exercise and hit the pavement.  There have been so many stories lately.. a girl with MS who's coach catches her at the end of every finish line.  Of a women fighting CF who still manages to get out there to run and appreciates every run. So often we take our health for granted.  I am so thankful for my health and my ability to get out there and run. 

I ran a freakin marathon this year! 

I am thankful for my family.  While we argue and can be dysfunctional some of the time, I am so thankful we all gather as a family several times a year.  It is so rare that families get together with their extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins, I mean everyone.  This is something I have always grown up doing and I am shocked to see how many families don't celebrate this way. I am thankful that we all get together so often. 

I am thankful for this move to Utah, and for Thatcher giving me the push to pursue my dream of moving west.  I took him to Seattle a few years ago to convince him it was time to move.  He agreed and it turns out I was the one who needed the push to leave the horses, my family and my friends.  While I get homesick and really miss everyone at home, I am so thankful for the opportunity to live my life out here.  

I am so thankful for the animals in my life.  Past and present.  After having a horse for 12 years, I really get down about giving up the horses to move out here and catch ride a few times a week.  Then I remember  this 12 year old girl who was given this 4 year old pinto who changed her life and took her from someone who took up down lessons to a fierce competitor in the show ring.  A horse who taught me how to ride, how to win, and how rare it is to have a horse with that kind of heart. 

I am also really thankful for Bradley.  A horse who taught me there is life after your first love, and who really taught me how to ride (back to the basics).  A horse I could trust, do something totally different on, and learn so much from.    

 I am so thankful for Olive.  This 8 month old mutt who stole several steaks off my counter and busted several screens, completely stole my heart and has been my sidekick and running companion for the past 3 years.  She keeps me active, keeps me company, and has been the sweetest most gentle dog I have ever met.  I love this dog more than anything, but I think you all know that already ;) 

I am so thankful for my friends.  Being out here knowing one person, really puts a perspective on how lucky you are to have close friends.  Friends you grew up with and friends you met through hobbies.  There is nothing like friends from home, who stood by your side through those awkward middle school years.  There is nothing like friends who share your hobbies with you.  Who will keep you company on a long run, join you for a trail ride, or take you on your first dive trip.  From old friends from home, the amazing people I met in college, and to friends Iv'e met through diving and trust with my life... I am so thankful for these people in my life. 

I have so so so much to be thankful for.  And what a perfect day to reflect on all these amazing things and amazing people.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone and I hope you can all reflect on all the things you are thankful for. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Running updates !

My Moab trip is all wrapped up-- but I still have a TON of GoPro footage to go through! Now that the temperatures are dropping and the mountains are getting snowy, hiking season is coming to an end.  This also marks the beginning of my "running season".  My favorite time of year to run is now.  Cold temperatures, people out and about, lights going up around the city, and holiday treats are just around the corner.  

I am happy to admit I have been more consistent with my running lately.  Past two weeks I have committed to getting out the door running 3 times a week.  

11/10/14    *  3 miles
11/14/14   *   3 miles
  11/16/14   *   4.5 miles  

11/19/14  *   4.5 miles
11/21/14   *   3 miles 
11/23/14  *   5 miles 

Sunday's snowy 5 miles through Memory Grove up into City Creek Canyon 

Friday's 3 miles through temple square and some hill work by the capital 

Chilly temperatures and my running is loving it!  
Memory Grove pond is frozen over 

If you read my post last week, you know Salt Lake City has an air quality issue in the winter, smack dab in the middle of my "running season".  I have been doing lots of hill training the past two weeks with the hopes of being able to run up in the mountains, more altitude more elevation.  After complaining to one of my running friends here about how hard it is to run here, she just finally said you just have to adapt.  I guess she is right.... 

Also planning on doing my own little turkey trot around the city Thursday morning so was glad I have been getting out of my 3 mile comfort zone.  

This weeks goals:  3-4 runs this week.  5 mile Turkey Trot,  hill work, maybe 6 miles over the weekend.   Next week going to try to get into the mountains.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lets talk Inversion

Smoggy Cities and Inversion: Air Quality Issues in Salt Lake City, Utah


I am lucky to say air quality was something I never worried about while living in a small town in coastal Connecticut.  That all changed when I moved to Utah.  Here in Salt Lake City, it is a problem, especially in the winter.  I have had to do some research to understand and prepare better for air quality, especially when I want to go running.  This is also a little update for my friends back east who have no idea what inversion and bad air quality is either.  This inversion comes right at the beginning of my "running season" and really affects those who are active and love the outdoors (me!)

Taken from the New York Times, February 2013 looking over Salt Lake City, Utah 

What is Inversion? " normal atmospheric conditions (cool air above, warm air below) become inverted. Inversions trap a dense layer of cold air under a layer of warm air. The warm layer acts much like a lid, trapping pollutants in the cold air near the valley floor. The Wasatch Front valleys and their surrounding mountains act like a bowl, keeping this cold air in the valleys. The warm inversion air layer is usually displaced by a strong storm system which restores air quality to healthy levels." This City Website

"According to the division, Salt Lake County has experienced 22 days this winter (written 2013)  in which pollution levels exceeded federal air quality standards, compared with just one last year." New York Times

Wintertime Inversion Period:  December through February. 

You can see the valley and how the air gets trapped Source

What is the major cause of the air pollution? "Utah residents may be surprised to discover that vehicles and urban "area sources" contribute the largest proportion of the emissions responsible for the formation of fine particulates".

What is PM 2.5? PM 2.5 stands for Particulate Matter 2.5 and are partiuclate matters less than or equal to 2.5 micrometers in diamterer.  Primary PM2.5 is emitted directly as a particle and enters the atmosphere as soot from roadways or tailpipe emissions. Secondary particulates form when precursor emissions react in the atmosphere and combine to create PM2.5.
Why is PM 2.5 a problem?  "Fine particulate matter poses serious health concerns because it can pass through the nose and throat, lodge deeply in the lungs, and pass across the lungs into the cardiovascular system. Particles can aggravate lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis, and increase respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath. PM2.5 can aggravate heart conditions, including congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease".
What are the major sources of PM 2.5? Believe it or not it is not industry, but it is mobile and area sources-- too many cars on the road.  
What this means for me? This inversion and poor air quality hits right in time for the cold, aka my favorite running season. Just as the temperatures cool and I start to enjoy running more, now I can't run in the city. I have friends at the University who said people walking around with masks, will have a black mask by the end of the day from the smog. Now this is not air I want to breath while running and this is not air I want my dog to breathe. The best way to avoid the poor air quality is to head up in the mountain to run where you can get above the pollution. This also means intense elevation and altitude running which is a struggle for me!  I downloaded the UtahAir app which gives me a report for the day's air quality.  I biked home from class and can still taste the exhaust! The snow storm this weekend should clear the smog out and bring the air quality back up.

There is hope!   According to my Law Professor during out discussion of the Clean Air Act, Portland Oregon was able to reduce its air pollution by getting a ton of cars off the road.  How?  Making parking so expensive and public transportation so convenient. (Will have to check with Wandering Portlander to see if this is true!) 

Here in Salt Lake City public transportation is not convenient and expensive, meanwhile, parking is cheap and the city is very drive-able.  This air quality is a big reason people end up leaving Salt Lake City and after reading some of the facts... I get it!

Looks like its treadmill running (no dog) 
or up in the mountains (dog but a tough run) for me for a bit! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nego Bills Canyon- Moab, UT

Negro Bill Canyon:  Moab, Utah
The Morning Glory Arch/Natural Bridge
Welcome to the last post in my "Weekend in Moab" series!  
Our last adventure was a 5 miles hike in Negro Bills Canyon, 
a dog friendly hiking area right next to Arches National Park.

Trailhead is located about 3 miles east of the junction of Route 128 and US Route 191 in Moab, Utah. 
Distance:  4 mile Round Trip
Elevation:  300' (relatively flat)
Dogs:  Yes! Off leash 
Notes:  This trail is relatively flat, and follows a river the entire time, making it a GREAT trail for dogs.  The biggest issue is this trail is LOADED with poison ivy.  Your dog running lose through poison ivy will not end well (I had it for almost a month!)  If you are sensitive to poison ivy, keep your dog on-leash and be very aware of it! Also, if your dog is off-leash, be warned there are cactus all over the trail-  be careful! 

So what's in a name?
According to Wikipedia...."The canyon was named after William Granstaff, a mixed-race cowboy, who prospected and ran cattle in the desert canyon in the late 1870s with a Canadian trapper named "Frenchie". They took joint possession of the abandoned Elk Mountain Mission fort near Moab after 1877, and each controlled part of the Spanish Valley. Granstaff fled the area in 1881 after being charged with bootlegging whiskey to the IndiansUntil the 1960s, the canyon was named 'Nigger Bill Canyon".  Source

The entire hike crosses this little stream while making your way through this gorgeous canyon.  This little stream drains directly into the main channel of the Colorado River. 

The scenery, the rocks, the plants, and the little stream were absolutely beautiful.  Olive also had her first meeting with a cactus. 

This little stream between the canyons made for some great pictures...
 and a really happy Olive! 

Really cool geology in this canyon!

Yep that trail sign says up! 
 It was a generally easy hike (2.5 miles each way) with little incline except for spots like this. 

This is your reward at the end of the hike...
 this really awesome arch called Morning Glory Arch. 

There was a group of climbers repelling down the arch as we got there.  
This was really cool and terrifying to watch. 

We had such a great hike here. 

There were tons of dogs off leash and playing in the water, and a lot of beautiful scenery to take in.  This arch/natural bridge at the end of the hike was the icing on top of the cake.  A lot of people did this hike barefoot as you have to cross the stream a bunch of times and will get your feet wet :)  A lot of the hike is trudging through sandstone so it was definitely a good workout and would feel good barefoot. 

 Also. it is important to note there is a TON of poison ivy here... as advised on the trail head signage.  Of course, I only have to look at it to get it so I came home with some pretty nasty poison ivy I am still battling.  Totally worth it for this hike!