Monday, June 9, 2014

Running in Utah Part 3: The Canyons

Today's post comes as the third installment in the "Running in Utah" series. Parts 1 and 2 covered inversions (you can find that here) and altitude (here). Today's post is related but distinct: the canyons.

The equivalent of a canyon in Appalachia is a hollow. GAH--that word is actually hard to type, because it's pronounced "holler" and that -ow at the ends just kills me to type. Anyway, in Appalachia, the folds between the mountains, where roads often wind and homes nestle, is a holler (I CAN'T DO IT!). Here, in the much bigger Rockies they are canyons. Around Salt Lake we have some canyons people know well because they host popular ski resorts like Snowbird and Alta. We have more residential canyons like Emigration. But to today's point, regardless of where or what they are, we run them. 

Below are the elevation profiles for the race I did in April, the one I'm doing next week, and my full in September. Why would you not race here???
Salt Lake Half
Utah Valley Half Marathon: Half Marathon Elevation
Utah Valley Half
Top of Utah Marathon

And amazingly, people train in the canyons. About a week ago I took my parents up Emigration Canyon for breakfast and a drive. We saw people running and biking all the way up the canyon. My Dad watched the bikers in wonder, comparing their calves and hearts to those found in other parts of nature. 
At the top of Emigration Canyon, a gain of about 1300 feet over 8 miles
The courses are fantastic, but training with this as a backdrop ain't shabby either. I took these at the end of last week's mile repeat speed workout. During the run, we got to watch the sun rise over the mountains, casting every shade of gorgeous across the landscape. 

If you're considering a destination race, I hope you'll consider Utah. Just be sure to arrive a few days in advance to acclimate to the altitude! I'm super excited to welcome a friend from St. Louis to town later this week, as she'll be running Utah Valley with me on Saturday. I hope she enjoys running these hollers as much as I do!

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