The 2018-19 winter in Utah has been a wild ride. After an abysmal 2017-18 snow pack and very little winter moisture; local folks started praying for snow in the mountains this fall and the good Lord has truly delivered.
Utah’s state snow pack totals are well above normal and just to spice things up have even featured several avalanches. Some are planned and a couple haven’t.
While snow is indeed a big gift that provides this very dry state drinking water and cuts way down on summer fire danger; it reeks havoc on the life of a runner.
I’ve been running year round for 3 years but the foot-and-a-half of snow in my yard right now even has people like me seeking safe running conditions.
You know, where cars won’t slide into us and we won’t slip and fall on the slush pile that soaked our foot after stepping on it. Being slush-splashed by a passing garbage truck isn’t very fun either. (All unfortunate true personal experiences from this seasons winter running)
So when my daughter decided she wanted to tour Stanford and invited me along for company as an early birthday present, I immediately jumped at the idea. (Seriously, I literally jumped for joy)
She informed me that she’d even found a Saturday half-marathon for me to run before we hoped on our plane back home to our winter wonderland. 😱
With the support of my very kind husband, we headed out on one of Utah’s worst snow storms in the last 20 years. Schools closed, (very uncommon for snow in northern utah) and the Utah highway patrol encouraged people to stay off the roads and at home.
After a harrowing adventure getting to the airport, all was forgotten when we stepped off the plane in San Francisco and the sun warmed our faces.
The next morning, I even got to do a local run in SHORTS!! 40° feels so warm and refreshing after consistently running in 20° and featured colors I haven’t seen in a long time, namely GREEN! 🤗
Our second day in Palo Alto, I even got the opportunity to go for a run on the Stanford track and thought about what it would be like to attend the NCAA’s most athletically decorated and winningest school in American history.
After seeing Chinatown and other beautiful sites in San Francisco that I hadn’t visited for over a decade, I found myself anxiously awaiting Saturday’s race despite my looming trip back home.
When we arrived at the starting line, I was grateful to be prepared for the forecasted showers that were supposed to burn off, because they sure showed up.
I’ve never actually run in the Bay Area and was excited to learn I’d be running along the Bay shoreline.
The race course was lovely, and surprisingly about 85% gravel trail. We ran along jetties and over several bridges that crossed various parts of the bay. Around mile 4 the rain stopped and when my poncho turned into more of a parachute, I opted to ditch it.
The race was an out-and-back which normally I don’t really like as I hate seeing all the runners ahead of me. However, my cold and snowy winter running adventures simply filled me with gratitude at the joy of running in such a beautiful and peaceful place, as I rarely get to run so close to the ocean. The sun actually came out the last few miles which only deepened my feelings of warmth and gratitude.
A quick footrace during the last-mile with a woman who looked to be about my age, secured my age group placing in the top 3, and some pretty hilarious race pictures. I really was feeling tired and trying to avoid slipping on the mud-fest that became the finishers corral. (The 5k and 10k runners had already finished their races)
The Bay Breeze Half-marathon was a great race to cap our trip to San Francisco and a very nice and much needed break from my winter Boston marathon training in Utah’s frigid temperatures. Only 37 more days until spring, and I’m definitely counting. ✌️