I have a soft spot for Salt Lake City; I moved there straight out of college, and what with one degree or another we ended up staying for almost a decade. It was a culture shock moving from the very liberal environment of Stanford — and northern California — to a city at the heart of the LDS faith (despite the fact that Mormons were, technically, the minority population). I grew to like the city, and perhaps more importantly, I learned to do a proper parallel turn in skiing, back when Ladies’ Day (Tuesday or Wednesday) at Solitude was $7/day . . . .
We moved away about twenty years ago, but I have returned many times to visit my travel buddy (tongue firmly planted in cheek, some of my best friends are Mormons!), and each time I go back, things are different. Some changes are subtle, along the lines of “Oh, that used to be ___,” while others are “Oh my gosh, where did those buildings come from?” Bless the Church leadership: the City Creek project has rejuvenated downtown Salt Lake City, and though it has completely changed the physical landscape of the city core, I think it is mostly for the better.
This past weekend we were in SLC for the 10th running of the Salt Lake City Marathon (and half marathon, bike tour, and 5K), because what could possibly be more fun than destroying your quads on a Saturday morning with 4000 other runners?
The weekend highlights, and lowlights, in no particular order:
1. It rained. DH claims it wasn’t raining at the start, but it was. And 13.1 miles later (we ran the half), it was still raining. The only happy campers were the dogs along the route, in particular the Portuguese water dog who sat in the curb gutters happily swishing his tail, somewhere around mile 6.
2. The bomb squad made us get out of the TRAX train one stop before the start line so that they could sweep the trains with the dogs. Interestingly enough, if you had a seat — which of course 99% of the people did not — you did not have to leave during the sweep.
3. Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” played at the start line, and at the time we didn’t know why. We lived in Boston a couple of years, but this Red Sox tradition did not start until after we left.
4. Helicopters overhead the entire race, security at pretty much every intersection, police on motorcycle, bikes, and at least one (wearing holster and belt) running the race.
5. Did I mention it rained the entire race? The hail came later. It is absolutely possible to get wetter than wet: every time you land in a puddle, your feet really do get wetter . . . .
6. Wyoming exists so that trucks have a place to park when WYDOT closes I-80.
7. Corollary to #6: 24 mpg westbound, 34 mpg eastbound.
8. I think races should have instant temperature probes at the finish line: DH tells me that if only I had a nice layer of fat for insulation, I would have felt much better. Yup.
9. A big Jacuzzi tub is a hypothermic runner’s best friend!
10. Thank you to my favorite Saint for showing up at the finish line with jackets and blanket and a nice warm car!!!!!