From New Orleans to Philly by way of St. George

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Posted by: Heather Leiggi 5/6/2013 7:21 PM

I had been toying around with the idea of racing St. George 70.3. As luck would have it, my friend and training partner was going to be in St. George doing some training so I decided to fly right from New Orleans to St. George and keep her company. My post-race recovery from New Orleans was thankfully much quicker than Texas and after a few easy days, I was able to take advantage of the great training opportunities here. There was a nice aquatic center 5 min from the house, lots of running trails and paths, and plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy and mountains to climb on my bike. The climate seemed to be my biggest hurdle to overcome. Apparently the desert air and I do not get along very well. It's not the heat, I love training and racing in the heat. It's the dryness. Yes, believe it or not, I seem to prefer humidity. Then throw a little altitude into the mix and I'm left one suffering little athlete. Of course in the end I know it will make me a stronger athlete so I was willing to tough it out. And since getting good quality cycling in around Philadelphia is hard, I spent a lot of time cruising the quiet roads on my bike. I rode up through Snow Canyon National Park several times, through Kayenta, a small artist village set in the red rocks with neat adobe style houses, and out to Zion National Park. I saw a road runner on one ride, a few jack rabbits and grouse, and was almost got taken out by a big snake coiled up on the side of the road. Luckily I managed to avoid it at the last minute but I swear my heart stopped beating for several seconds...We stopped at the famous Veyo's Pie shop for a mid-ride snack once (or twice...). On our ride out to Zion, we stopped in town for coffee and a treat before heading back to the Sand Hollow National park and jumping in the lake for a natural ice bath. Hard training and fun times combined. Running on the desert trails seemed to be too much of a challenge for my navigational skills. My first day out running, which just happened to be on one of the hottest days, I went in the afternoon which just happens to be the hottest time of the day, I got lost running on some trail in the canyon. It didn't take long for my imagination to take over and me to start hallucinating about being stuck out in the desert for hours crawling on my hands and knees trying to find water. Unfortunately there was not a soul in sight to ask how to get back although it might have been fortunate because I could here gun shots in the distance. I did see a few animal bones here and there which did not help my imagination. In the end, I found my way out and was really only lost for like 10min (even though it felt like hours!). After that little foray, I decided it was best to stick to paved paths a little closer to civilization. My coach and I made the last minute decision to take advantage of this little training block and not race St. George 70.3. While it was hard to be on the sidelines, I did really enjoy spectating the event and cheering on my friends. I am now heading home briefly before heading down to Orlando for Florida 70.3. Oh, and I have an anniversary to celebrate before leaving for Florida. My husband has managed to put up with me for 7 whole years and did not even complain when I ended up being away during out actual anniversary. Check out the photo gallery for some beautiful pictures from St. George!

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