Saturday, April 16

Quote of the Day:  Adversity is like a strong wind.  It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.  Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Today I am in St. George, Utah where the temperature is about 81 degrees, bright blue sky with a slight wind.  Near perfect.  We decided to drive down on Friday night when we saw the weather reports for warmth and sun this weekend.  Two things I’m dealing with that make going to St. George really attractive-  I’ve caught a cold probably from doing too much social stuff this past week, and I have an increased sense of claustrophobia.  I am definitely a “western” girl at heart and love wide-open spaces.  Wallace Stegner wrote about the west and how it’s ingrained in our souls. I am so drawn to his writings, my favorite being Angle of Repose.  He understood that the place where you grew up, along with all its social and cultural idiosyncrasies really reflect how you see the world.

My mom has a beautiful home in St. George that borders the turtle preserve.  So when you look out her back windows, all you see is red rock.  We have only seen one turtle since she has lived here, quite small and goes by the name of Tilly.  Tilly had come through the mess wire fence that surrounds the turtle preserve, looking for food, into my Mom’s backyard.  Maggie was terrified of it the first time she saw it (a little larger than a box turtle) and deeply concerned when Alex picked it up which is way against the rules.  This home is perfect in so many ways.  There are biking and hiking trails right out your door, it has a water feature that when it runs, tumbles over red rock and makes you feel like water is in abundance, in this desert-like landscape.  There are extra bedrooms for visitors and my Mom always makes great food for us to enjoy.  It is such a get-away for us and I’m grateful that my Mom would let us stay here.

Today Joe and I drove to Snow Canyon State Park and started walking from a popular trail head.  There were about 6 vehicles (including 2 Biggest Loser Vans) in the parking lot and when we returned 2 hours later, about 30 vehicles were crowded into the parking lot including one huge bus.  It is Spring Break so no surprise that people are drawn to this beautiful sight.  We walked for 6.30 miles (making my surplus 2.11 miles).  Making my total so far 68.41 miles, which is equal to 2.611 marathons (a marathon is 26.2 miles).  I loved walking along this dirt trail, looking up at the red rock and glimpsing also these great views of Snow Canyon.  There are signs that don’t allow for climbing right now due to the nesting of falcons on the rocks.  We saw falcons flying above and a young diamond-head snake slithering along the trail and then make its way into the brush.  I have so many memories of Snow Canyon.  I have run the St. George Marathon 9 times, have tried desperately to get # 10 in the last 2 years but have been sidelined by injuries.  I hope that # 10 is in my future.  It’s a big deal to be part of the 10 Year Club!

Last time I ran St. George was in 2008.  I woke that morning about 4:15 A.M. to an overcast sky.  I had never experienced rain in this marathon before so I wasn’t worried.  It’s St. George, please, even if it rained, it would stop soon.  I wore my usual sleeveless running top and shorts and brought extra clothes that I would wear in the early morning cold and then discard right before the race began.  But it was raining at the beginning of this marathon and so I kept my jacket on- sweatshirt really not rain jacket- because I didn’t think I’d need a rain jacket.  I ran the first 6 miles in my very wet and progressively-gettting-wetter sweatshirt which I then peeled off my arms and threw on the side of the road.  It was water-soaked and weighing me down.  I was elated when at mile 10 I found a discarded garbage bag on the side of the road.  It had been previously used and had a slit for the head, which I put over my head and started to feel warmer, immediately.  It had been raining the entire time and didn’t look like it was going to let up.  I don’t mean little drizzling rain, it was coming down hard and I was really cold.  I was happy to have the garbage bag, don’t get me wrong, but this bag was made of crinkly plastic and made a loud noise every step I made.  I found myself apologizing whenever I came near another runner.  I wore the bag until mile 23 and then decided that I could make it to the end of the race without it.   Condition wise, this was the hardest marathon I had ever run.  I was so glad to pass through the finish gates.  Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically I was spent.  One of the greatest joys in life is showering after you finish a marathon.  Salt runs down your face and entire body and you just let the water run and run over you. You feel so great that you have accomplished this really hard thing.  Later that day, we went to a play at Tuacahn and it started to rain, again.  I ran out to buy a rain-slicker and they were all sold out but they did have a garbage bag I could have.  So I punched a slit in the top, put it over my head and stayed warm.   All told, I had spent about 8 hours in a garbage bag that day!  I was so unprepared for what I thought I knew so well- running marathons in St. George.  Isn’t that just like life-  sometimes we must adjust our thinking even when we think we know it all!  Good lesson learned!

Hiking along the trail system in Snow Canyon State Park, St. George, Utah


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