Saturday, November 26, 2011

Zion Day 3

Part of My Running Route in Springdale
Today was a really great day! It started with an 8.5 mile into Zion Nat'l Park on the Parus Trail and behind our B&B up a hill. I saw 10 deer and ran along a river with a view of the mountains. (Later, I saw eight more deer.) It felt colder today and I needed my gloves. In fact, I wore my gloves most of the day.

Crossing Taylor Creek
After warming up with some hot chocolate, we drove to Kolob Canyon in Zion and hiked up Taylor Creek Trail, a 5.1 mile hike round-trip.

Goofin' Off: Danger, Danger!  

Wanted: Dry Feet!
One fun part about this hike is that you cross the creek many times, balancing on rocks. It was fun to see a bit of snow (not pictured) near the trail and a lot of snow on the nearby mountains.

Double Arch Alcove
After two hours, we made it to our destination and had lunch on a fallen tree trunk with a view of the alcove and the arch in the rock. My peanut butter and huckleberry jelly (like raspberry) sandwich on homemade bread from Zion Park Deli was the best!

The Best Lunch View: Double Arch
I did some trail running to warm my numb toes, but what helped most was getting out of the mountain shadow and into the sunshine. 

This evening, we listened to some fiddlers and guitarists playing folk music, Irish and Scottish medleys and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing while enjoying hot apple cider and chocolate chip cookies. I'm counting my blessings, one of which is a healthy body. I traveled 13.6 miles by foot today!

Shoe Tree near Springdale, Utah
Last of all: something we saw today - a shoe tree. People do funny things!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Zion Day 2

Grafton Ghost Town, Utah
This was a very good day, a very good day indeed!

I began my morning with a 5 mile run starting up the hill behind the B&B where we're staying just outside of Zion National Park. I saw two deer up close! Later on, we saw two foxes and more deer. 

We drove to Grafton Ghost Town, a few miles from Zion and 150 years old, with a handful of buildings to look around. 

Grafton Barn
View from Grafton

View on the Hike
After a short trip into St. George for lunch and unplanned outlet shopping, we hiked up to Upper Emerald Pool, a 3 mile hike, I think. 

The pool was clear enough to see to the bottom. 

We walked under the water spilling off the boulders and got sprinkled on and finished the day with some soup and salad at the Zion Lodge restaurant. I can't believe how many stars you can see in the sky here - amazing!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Zion National Park

Hidden Canyon Trail in Zion National Park
I'm on a road trip! First stop: Zion National Park in southern Utah, a 25 hour drive from Houston. We're staying in Springdale (just outside the park) at the Novel House B&B where each room is decorated to remind you of an author. Our room reminds us of our trip to Scotland, where Treasure Island author R.L.Stevenson was born, and has a view of the gorgeous mountains.

Beautiful Zion
I ran 5 fun miles early this morning into the park and saw 6 deer during my run and many more later. The elevation makes running a little more difficult, but it was great to run in the cold (about 35 rather than 70 degrees like it has been at home). The early sunlight on the mountains - gorgeous!

Don't Look Down! 
After my run and a berry pancake breakfast, my husband and I hiked the Hidden Canyon trail. After hiking up the mountain with views of Angel's Landing, where we hiked on our last trip to Zion about eight years ago, we entered the Hidden Canyon.


Rock Climbing!
I don't know how many times I thought I'd have to turn around on the unmaintained part of the trail. This was one of them. I wouldn't have minded a chain to hold onto here.

Climbing Up Tree Trunks and Rocks
This was another one of about a handful of tough sections. And, of course, what you climb up, you must climb down which was usually more difficult.

We Made It This Far
I tried climbing the rocks here, but just couldn't make it so it was our turn-around point. Finishing the five hour hike with the challenging sections was an adventure and the views were breath taking! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Running with My Dog

My Running Buddy, Zoe, the Weimaraner
I was so happy to finish today's three mile run pain-free! I haven't been able to run much for the last two weeks and I've missed it.

Recent runs:
11/4: 10 miles. My ankle felt painfully tight, as though a rubber band was tied around it. It hurt to flex my toes toward my knee. This happened last year, too, but went away quickly.
11/7: .31 mile. I walked home when my ankle hurt.
11/10: .15 mile on the treadmill. I stopped when it hurt.
11/14: I ran 5.56 miles, until my ankle hurt.

Since the Maine marathon on October 2, I've run one 18 miler. With only 8 weeks until the Houston marathon, I'm wondering how few miles I can run to prepare for it. I hope I'll be able to run two more long runs before the marathon.

I ran with Zoe today. To train her not to pull on the Gentle Leader leash, I tell her, "Zoe, slow" and give a quick pull on the leash. She's had a summer running break, but after a couple of reminder runs, she usually improves. At least we don't step on each other's feet anymore!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Apple No-Bake Cookie Recipe

I've had a little extra time, since I've needed to rest my sore ankle the last few days, so I played around in the kitchen and made these copy-cat Apple Pie Larabars - my favorite flavor of the Larabars. These are really good, but they're sticky. (Update: After chilling, they aren't as sticky.) I found the base for this and many more flavors at Enlightened Cooking.

1/4 cup dates (about 7 dates)
1/3 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup apples
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Using a food processor, puree dates, walnuts and raisins. Chop the apples into small pieces in the processor. Stir in cinnamon. Roll into balls. (I made 6 two inch cookies.) Refrigerate.

I saw a recipe for bagels and a yummy sounding apple tart in Cooking Light. Since I've been running less, I've been baking more which has been fun (but I still miss running). I tried to run this week, but ended up walking home because my ankle hurt (maybe from too many miles or twisting my ankle on the trail?). On the way home, a neighbor gave me a pumpkin which now decorates my porch for Thanksgiving. That's when I'll be making pumpkin pie. Yum!  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Trails & TM

Houston's Memorial Park Bike Trail
Monday (10/31): I ran 11 miles. After doing hillwork on the park bridge, my husband showed up on his bike (we live just a few blocks from the park) and we went over to the park bike trails, my favorite local place to run.

I hopped over roots and around trees where the trail is narrow, finding the best place to plant my feet and looking out for branches. My husband said I run the trails faster than I bike them. That's sounds bad for my biking ability, but good for my running.

Tuesday: 8 miles on the treadmill (TM) because it was dark outside. Need treadmill motivation? Read Train for a Marathon Indoors.

Wednesday: 11 miles back at the park on the mostly flat trail, as usual. I was tired the second half, maybe because it was a warm 70°. Happiness is pulling out your Fig Newton cookies and finding them in one piece!

Thursday: Easy 5 miles on the TM before heading to the doctor for my annual exam - 2 1/2 vials of blood taken. We'll see if upping my vitamin D intake to 2000 a day helped. (Update: I don't feel any different, but my test results are good so taking extra D has been helpful.)

Friday(today): 42°! Loved that, but I shortened my long run to just 10 miles - my ankle felt funny. It's probably nothing, but I'm icing it.
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