Lost in Park City

“Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse. All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night. Dawn and resurrection are synonymous. The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.”
-Victor Hugo

“It’s best not to stare at the sun during an eclipse.”
-Jeff Goldblum

It’s been an amazing week. I got to travel out west to spend some time in Park City, UT and also travel to an extremely scenic national park in Wyoming to see the total solar eclipse. Everything seemed to work out perfectly on my vacation – we got to our destinations on time, the traffic was light and the plane rides uneventful. The eclipse was magical and exceeded all my expectations. However, there was one thing that didn’t go as perfectly as planned  – the 5-mile run that I had to fit into my vacation.

Knowing we would both need to run while we were away, my boyfriend created some routes for us using the Map My Run app. He was able to get a 4.5 mile loop around the resort area for me and I figured I could add a half mile to no problem. The night before, I looked it over and tried to make sense of all the turns and street names. I’m pretty terrible with directions and maps in general, but I liked that it was a loop so I decided to go for it anyway. The sun was out and the air was nice and crisp in Park City, probably due to the elevation. I set out and quickly realized that if I had my phone out while I ran, I could glance at the map as I ran to make sure I stayed on course. This was the only way I could make sure I would not get lost. At the first rotary, I got a bit mixed up at which road to take. I went around and took the road I thought was right. Nope. It was the next street. Darn it. I would need to use this app for the whole run to make sure I didn’t go off course.

Park City

Park City is really a resort town. It has a lot to offer for a vacation. The ski resorts are top notch with fancy bathrooms and delicious food offerings. The Olympic center has plenty of thrilling activities such as bobsled rides and extreme tubing. While on our visit we saw the practice ski jumps transformed into giant slip n’ slides and watched tourists fly sky high into a giant swimming pool while party music played in the background. Main street downtown is very walk-able with so many restaurants and shops, you’d never get bored. This course went around many of hotels and condos in the area and I began to realize as I was running by them, that this really was a place for rich people. Many new buildings were going up and I just knew that all of them were out of my price range. I was only able to stay where I was now because of a special “deal” with Hilton where I had to listen to a sales pitch. As beautiful as the scenery was, everything looked the same and very manufactured. It took me a while to realize what was missing – charm and originality.

Private road in Park City

As I weaved through these structured resort roads, I noticed the app was taking me into what was marked as a private road. Keep out! For guests only! Well that was great. I was pretty frustrated until I realized that the app was actually taking me down a gravel path that was next to the road. Suddenly another runner appeared and made his way down the path.

Private Road in Park CIty

This part of the course took me away from the condos and was suddenly very scenic and peaceful. And flat – a welcome change since the first 2 miles I had been heading downhill and I only knew what that would mean on the way back to the hotel. Eventually I was back on the road and started to see more resorts and vacation homes. I again got a bit confused at one of the intersections, but headed in a direction I thought was right. I took my phone out to take a photo and suddenly….darkness. My phone completely died. I had full battery power when I set out, but the phone is old and it couldn’t take having so many apps open at once. I tried to restart it, but it kept signalling it needed to be plugged into a power source. No no no no no! This put me in a panic as I had no idea where I was and wasn’t 100% sure I was going the right way. Slowly I started to run again, hoping I would recognize some street names. The road went uphill which began to take it’s toll on my mood and energy. Determined to keep going, I tried to pick up the pace when suddenly a giant creature came out of no where and ran right in front of me. It took me a moment to realize it was a deer. I was so startled that I stopped completely while another one ran out just behind it. Now I was really edgy.

I desperately tried to restart my phone again…success! I was able to open the map app and got the warning that I only had 20% battery power left. Okay I get it. As I began looking to see where I was on the map, it gave me the 10% warning.  Grrrr, I really need a new phone. I worked fast to figure out where I was before the thing died completely and saw where I had made the wrong turn. I just needed to go back down the large hill I had just made my way up and somehow bear left.

Park city hills
Right before my phone died…a hill I did not need to run up.

I’m not sure how, but my phone hung on until I reached that rotary I recognized from the beginning of the run. I was still turned around, tried one way and realized that was wrong so turned around and tried the next street. I saw someone heading towards me from the other direction. It was my boyfriend, just starting out his run. Well at least I knew I was going the right way. I climbed and climbed up the large hill back to my hotel. Negative splits were not going to happen this time and I saw my pace drop significantly as I trudged home. Luckily with all the back tracking, I was already over 5 miles when I got back. I can’t remember the last time I was so relieved to be finished with a run. After all the uncertainty and wrong turns and a disappointing 11:27 overall pace, this was a morning that I wanted to just throw in the trash. But then I remembered that not every training run can be perfect and I should be grateful that I was able to get my mileage in on vacation.

Art on the path at Park City
Some interesting scenery on my run…seriously I have no idea what this is.

The rest of the trip was pretty busy with all the driving we had to do, but we did manage a small hike in Grand Teton National Park after viewing the total eclipse. Wyoming was much more pure in it’s natural beauty and breathtaking views. Plus the rangers at the national park could not have been nicer, even after being up since 3 am to manage the eclipse crowds. Downtown Park City had the appearance of a western town, but with an obvious make-over. The town we stayed in WY looked like the real deal, with only one main road and all businesses closed on Sunday. We flew back home late Tuesday and I had to quickly get my training schedule back on track for the rest of the week. Park City was not the worst place to get lost in, but it was not a place I could lose myself in. In the end I concluded it was a nice place to visit, but clearly not for everyone to enjoy. Although the deer was a nice touch.

Park City resorts
One last hill! Get me back home…ugh whose idea was this?
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