Thursday, July 28, 2011

3rd Annual July St. George Trip

This last, holiday, weekend, I headed down to St. George with some of the same folks that I've gone down with each of the last 2 years for a trip to Tuacahn (outdoor theater) and some other St. George-y fun.  Brandon and I picked up Laci and Julie-Ann Friday after work and we headed down to St. George. Despite being Friday of a holiday weekend, traffic wasn't too bad, except for the time when I said "wow there doesn't seem to be any traffic" and we immediately found ourselves in a traffic jam. :) We made it to Brandon's grandparents' place around 11 and set up for bedtime and got to bed before too long.

We got up reasonably early on Saturday morning (I woke up when the sun came blazing in the window directly on to my face.) and headed out for breakfast at a place called "The Egg and I" that was pretty good, and then drove out to Sand Hollow for our annual swimming and cliff jumping excursion. I didn't cliff jump the first year, and last year I only went twice I think. This year, I jumped 4 or 5 times and in the process managed to upset my sinuses. Probably something with the pressure changes.  In any case, that's an ongoing situation, but Sinex is helping me stay on top of it.  In addition to cliff jumping, we also swam for a while. The water was plenty warm and great for just staying cool in 100+ degree weather.

Cliff jumping trio
I'm in the middle

Eventually we tired of swimming and headed back into town.  We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of 30 Rock episodes and then headed to dinner at Pancho and Lefty's (also a tradition).  We still had a few hours before Tuacahn, so we played games for a bit back at the condo and then headed over to see "Grease".  They're also doing "The Little Mermaid" this summer, but not on a night that worked for us.

Waiting for the show
Waiting for the show to start

Having never seen all of the film version of Grease, there were a few parts that were new to me, and it felt like maybe a few things got left out either for family friendly-fication or just for time or something.  Sometimes things just seemed to happen without any real motivation for them.  One time a character was singing a song, and at the very end, someone brought her a dog to hold. She held it only long enough to carry it back to the person who had handed it to her who immediately carried it back offstage.  Not sure what that was about.

The legendary July heat at Tuacahn seemed a little more mild this year and I didn't particularly notice any sweat dripping down the back of knees the way I have in years past.  Of the 3 shows we've seen there, I would rank this one #2, ahead of Tarzan, but behind Footloose.

Sunday, we got up and went to a nearby church for sacrament meeting, and then came back to the condo, where I laid around most of the day.  My sinuses were bugging me pretty bad, so I got someone to drive me to a store where I could pick up some meds, but otherwise, I didn't leave the condo until we finally went out for dinner (we bought groceries on Saturday for a bbq lunch).  Some of my lazy activities included games, a movie, a book,  a puzzle, and some serious naptime.  Sometimes I really like a nice lazy day when I'm on vacation.

Monday morning, we got up, cleaned up the condo, got breakfast at Bear Paw (yet another tradition), and hit the road.  Got back to Salt Lake around 2:30, so it was nice to have a little more vacation time to just relax at home.

Hanging with Brother Brigham
Picture with a local celeb after breakfast

Oh, and I did take my camera with me, but just didn't really take any photos. The photos here are courtesy of various other people.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Y5K #14

Another atypical week, which seems to be the new typical this month.  I went out to Grantsville both Monday and Wednesday after work to play with the kids before they headed back to Hawaii yesterday.  Might have gone a whole week without running, but found time on Thursday after work. Then Friday I headed down to St. George for the holiday weekend. Here's my one daily summary for the week:
  • Thursday: "Party Jog Anthem: Running through these roads like Drano..." Finally got back out on the streets tonight. Took a new route, so that made it fun, and with some new tunes to keep me company (listened to LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem during 3 of my 4 jogging legs) I felt like it went pretty well. Of course when you're only running once a week, it's not too hard to have energy, I guess. Did a 5/1 jog/walk split (again). Just hoping to maintain in the midst of all that's been going on these days.  Did 2.9 miles in about 34 minutes.
Developed a bit of a sinus situation while I was down in St. George, wondering if it's going to cause problem for me jogging, or if jogging will help clear it up... who knows? Hopefully I can get at least two days in this week. It's already Tuesday and I may be leaving town again this Friday night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Big Digital (Finally) Visits Arches (Day 2 of 2)

After a slightly longer and much sounder night of sleep, we again got up bright and early. (When you're sleeping in a tent with no roof, or at least no rain fly, the sky gets light pretty early.)  We again ate some breakfast, packed up our stuff as Tandy, Julie and I wouldn't be coming back to the campsite again, packed some lunch, and the bikers started biking and the hikers headed into town, and back over to Arches.

Castle Valley
How can you not take more pictures of this?

Our main objective for the day was to hike up to Delicate Arch, but we stopped first at Balanced Rock, a fairly iconic sight in itself.  And its nice and close to a parking lot, so we just hopped out and walked around it for a few minutes.

Balanced Rock
See? I was there.

We had saved Delicate Arch for the second day in case any of the bikers wanted to join us, and it was definitely worth the wait. There weren't as many smaller arches along the way, but it was definitely an interesting hike through some beautiful desert.  The hike is mostly uphill, but only a mile and a half each way, so not quite as far as we had hiked the day before, distance-wise.  The arch is kind of hidden until you get pretty close to it, but Tandy and Melissa showed us where there was a spot you could climb up to and look through a natural window and see it from the side.

Delicate Arch
From the sneak-preview spot

From there it's just a short walk up around the bend to where you can walk over to the arch. And it's definitely a scene worthy of immortalization on a license plate or something. :)  We found a nice spot to sit and eat our lunch and people watch for a while before actually making our way over to the arch itself. And there were plenty of interesting people to watch, from the lunging mustache guy to the flautist, and I even found a guy who I've worked on some projects with at work there. Small world.

Delicate Arch
Nice scenery for lunch

When we finally made our way over to the arch, there was a line of people waiting to get their picture taken under the arch. It was nice to see most people behaving in a civilized manner. A few couldn't seen to understand the concept of not getting in the way of other people's photos, but for the most part it went very smoothly. Of course, to fit the whole arch in, the people underneath are so small that they aren't really all that recognizable. :)

Delicate Arch
We made it!

Delicate Arch
Someone made the comment that Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch ought to trade names, and I would agree. Landscape Arch looks much more "delicate", and Delicate Arch is set in a more picturesque "landscape". Even if it is more "portrait" orientation. How's that for a printer page setup joke? :)

Eventually we had our fill of photos and headed back down to the car.

Moab - July 2011 112
For some reason I really liked this "spiderweb" rock and the one next to it.

On our way out of the park, I stopped near the Three Gossips to get out and look around.  I'd been driving the whole time, and it was harder to appreciate all the beauty surrounding us while also keeping a vehicle moving down the road, so I figured I ought to at least stop for a few minutes and look around unencumbered with the responsibilities of driving. :)

Sheep Rock
Sheep Rock

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I don't know if this one has a name, but I like the way this photo turned out

3 Gossips
The Three Gossips

After finishing up at Arches, we headed south of town to what looked like a man-made reservoir called "Ken's Lake".  Nothing too fancy, but it was nice and cool and wasn't full of weeds or mud or anything.  We spent a couple hours there, playing around in the water until the bikers met up with us. They swam for a bit too and then we all had a great dinner at a place called Zax. I got the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet and definitely ate all that I could. :)

Then it was back on the road and back to Salt Lake, without too much incident. There was a brief moment when all the lanes of traffic had to merge into 2 at the point of the mountain and I had to do some quick swerving maneuvering to keep us out of trouble, but otherwise smooth sailing home.  Definitely a fun trip and I would be happy to go again. I'm sure there are plenty of other things that I have yet to see.

Even more photos available here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Big Digital (Finally) Visits Arches (Day 1 of 2)

I swear I've been meaning to go down to Moab and see Arches National Park for at least 3 years, maybe more, and the number of times I've been invited to go and have either already had plans or had something come up or whatever, is probably in the double digits now.  Anyway, this past weekend, after all those years of not going, I finally went! And it was amazing. Even with 100+ degree heat in the middle of the day when we were out hiking around.  I was giving my parents a hard time about not taking us there ever. They had both been with their own families but never got around to taking us. My dad said we just liked the accommodations better in southwestern Utah. And granted we did have some good times in St. George, so I can't complain TOO much. :)

Anyway, Thursday after work, Julie came over, and we loaded up my car and then stopped in Draper to pick up Tandy, and then we headed out.  Most of the drive down was pretty uneventful, though the full moon was spectacularly gorgeous and I enjoyed the scenery since I've never really driven down to Moab (I did go there twice in high school for football, once to play there, and once on a longer drive down to Blanding).  I've driven to St. George enough times that I'm kind of used to that drive and probably don't appreciate the red rock beauty as much as I might.  Anyway, the change of scenery was nice.

Once we got to Moab, we still had another 45 minutes or so of driving left to do, on an unpaved, sometimes rocky road out to Forest Service land where Garrett had found us a campsite with a fantastic view. Of course, when we got there at 11:00 at night, mostly they just told us to be careful not to fall off the cliff. :) Oh, and the last 100 yards or so got pretty rough, and at one point I may have left a bit of my undercarriage behind. (I'm sorry, baby). I guess that's what I get for taking a sedan out into the wilderness. :)  Thankfully nothing started leaking and I've since driven a good 400 miles without noticing any issues, so hopefully I dodged a bullet there.

Moab - July 2011 068
So much for "no trace" camping. :)

We got up bright and early Friday morning, ate breakfast, packed up some lunch, and headed out. Half the group (Garrett, Alicia, and Val) was there to mountain bike, and the other four of us (Julie, Tandy, Melissa, and myself) drove back into town and headed over to Arches.

Castle Valley
The view from our campsite. Literally a few feet away from our spot.

On the recommendation of those who had been there before, we spent the day hiking around Devil's Garden, at the far end of the park. There's a fun trail that starts out fairly easy out to Landscape Arch, and then has some "funner" sections to get up to see a few more arches (Partition and Navajo), and then another decent hike out along a ridge to get over to Double O Arch.

Moab - July 2011 009
Ready to get hiking

Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch. And me.

Partition Arch
Hanging out at Partition Arch.

Moab - July 2011 047
Just one of the many, many cool rock formations to be seen.

Moab - July 2011 052
This one even had people inside it. :)

Navajo Arch
At Navajo Arch

Moab - July 2011 056
The view from the ridge we hiked across

Double O Arch
Stopping at Double O Arch. If you look close (or look at the larger version on Flickr) you can see some people up on top who had just walked across it as we got there. Not sure how they got up there.

Double O Arch
I went down for a closer look, though you can't see the lower O well in this shot.

We found a shady spot there and ate our lunch (Julie went on without us to check out something called "Dark Angel" that she said wasn't worth the extra distance), rested for a bit, and then made our way back to the beginning and headed back into town.  Stopped for chocolate milk and candy bars before heading back to camp, dropping off my car, and piling the 7 of us into Garrett's XTerra for another bumpy ride up to a lake that he knew about. After being so hot all day, a swim sounded nice, but by the time we got there, it was evening and cooler and the sun was down, so I didn't get in, and I don't know if the others did either. I was pretty beat from our hike (We did a good 4 or 5 miles at least), and just ended up at the picnic table reading a book while the others explored around the lake for a few minutes.  We roasted some hotdogs for dinner and sat around the fire for a while, before eventually heading back to camp and calling it a night. Definitely slept good that night.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Y5K #14

Well, another week has gone by without any non-Y5K posts, but hopefully that won't be the case this coming week. Just got back from a great trip to Moab and have some photos to share at some point...Anyway, on with the jogging:
  • Monday: Taking a week off definitely improved my pace today. :)  I dug down deep and picked up at the same level I left off, almost 2 weeks ago, when I did my last "for real" training run, 4 sets of 5 minutes jogging/1 minute walking.  And I ended up going 3.1 miles in 36 minutes, pretty good, considering that I walked for 16 of those minutes.  Anyway, I feel good about how it went, tiredness setting in about half way through set 3, but surviving pretty well to the bitter end without getting too delirious. :)
  • Wednesday: Did another 5/1 split today.  Took a route that was mainly uphill on the way out and downhill coming back. Did 2.9 miles in 33.5 minutes. So still 20 minutes of jogging, but only 13.5 minutes of walking. Must have cut into my cool down time by finishing closer to home than usual. Also got a haircut right before and didn't consider that doing so would eliminate my most effective protection against sweat getting in my eyes. Doh! :) Oh, and then I went and played sand volleyball for a couple hours right after. Which was fantastic for my knees. :) In fact, I didn't have time to ice my knees and feet after either of my runs this week. Thankfully I don't seem to have any lasting knee pain.
  • Friday/Saturday: I drove down to Moab Thursday evening after work, and got back late Saturday evening, so I didn't really find time to do any running, but I did manage to hike 4+ miles on Friday and 3+ on Saturday. So I definitely got my cardio in for the weekend. :) Unfortunately, my right foot seems to be a little worse off for the wear, and both of my feet are still a little tired and sore.  
I'm going out to Grantsville tonight after work for some more quality time with the grandkids, so I may or may not find time to run today. And looking ahead at the week, I'm feeling like I might be hard pressed to get much running in at all. Ah, life.  Guess we'll see what I can figure out. Maybe I'll have to take my running shoes with me down to St. George this weekend.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Y5K #13

Remember when I was planning on running a 5K sometime this year? Yeah... I kind of do, too. Just not so much this past week. :)  I mean, granted, the Ray Barrus 5K was on Monday, so that counts, just not for this blog post.  But that was all the running I did last week.  Wednesday night I went for a nice long walk, and I kind of planned on jogging on Thursday, but I decided to play volleyball instead (for 2.5 hours!), which left me with some tired knees and other various soreness, but doesn't really count as running.  Friday I went out to Grantsville right after work and Saturday I got back around 2 and just didn't find the motivation to go. 

Anyway, as of today I'll be back to work and hopefully not taking too much of a step back for having taken a week off from jogging.  Now I just need to find me my next race. Maybe something in late August....

Friday, July 08, 2011

Old book, New Book #36: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -> The Hobbit


The first time I read HP7, it had just come out, and I was in Europe for a conference for school, and I bought it in Germany and read about 100 pages the night I bought it and the rest (another 500 pages or so) on my long flight home to Utah.  Perhaps due to the rapid manner in which I read it, or maybe because I was up for close to 24 hours, I was surprised at how much of the book came as a total surprise to me this time around.  Which made it a very fun read.  I won't say much about the plot, but it was definitely fun to have a nice month of light reading with Harry and his buddies.

Struggled a bit in finding a new book to start.  I mean, I did read a graphic novel (Neil Gaiman's Marvel history project 1602), but I don't know if that really counts.

Finally, I decided it was time to revisit another classic tale of magic and mystery, Tolkien's "The Hobbit".  With the Lord of the Rings movies coming out back around the turn of the century, I've more recently re-read those (though I may have failed to finished the last half of The Return of the King, I can't remember), but it's been years since I read The Hobbit.  I know the first time I read it, or more accurately it was read to me, by my mother (she used to read us books all the time, great mom that she is) and it was an edition we'd borrowed from our neighbors that had lots of still images from the animated film that used to show on the Disney channel, even though I later came to learn it was not a Disney film.  Anyway, with news starting to come out about the upcoming Peter Jackson live-action film version (and a 2nd film that supposedly fills the gap between The Hobbit and the LOTR films, or something like that), it seemed like now might be a good time to pull another classic down from the shelf.  Luckily, I still happened to have a copy on my shelf.

The Hobbit

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Fantastic 4th with the Fam

To sum up: I had a great time this past weekend being with family and celebrating the 4th of July.  It was Natalie's last few days in town before leaving for El Paso to start her career as a reporter, and George and his family were in town from Hawaii.  I went out to Grantsville Saturday evening after spending most of the day doing Saturday chores in Salt Lake (laundry, jogging, cleaning my room, library, TJ Maxx, etc). Later that night I went over to Kimi's parents' house to help set up tables and chairs for Sunday's festivities.

Sunday, new baby Cole Spencer Tripp was blessed in my parents' ward and then there was a fun lunch gathering at the Cole's house. (That baby has 3 last names!)  Good food and good company and lots of good quality "Uncle Jake time".

Hammock swinging
Austin and Elise had a great time in the big hammock

Park City - Family Vacation 20091
Elise still enjoys borrowing my sunglasses (the one on the right is from our family trip to Park City 2 summers ago)

Monday morning (the 4th), a bunch of us (me, mom, Natalie, and George) were going to run the Ray Barrus 5K, so I tried to get to bed at a decent hour. Was probably awake til 11:30 or so anyway.  In any case, the race went well (see here for a few more details), and somewhere there is actual photographic evidence of my running. (Kimi was at the finish line with her camera), but I don't have those pictures yet. Maybe if you're lucky they'll show up here someday.

For now the best I can do is this picture I got from Natalie's Facebook wall:
Ray Barrus 5K

After the race (and about an hour of waiting and medal/trophy/raffle presentations), I headed home for a quick shower and then it was back over to the high school to watch the parade.  I mostly hung out with Austin, and he had a great time watching the motorcycles, fire engines, police cars, trucks, and even got excited about a "van car" at one point.

4th of July 2011
Austin watching the parade

After the parade, I headed back home, had some lunch, and then spent a few hours podding peas, while my mom was out doing the hard work of picking them. Eventually my dad finished up his duties at the park and joined in the fun.

4th of July 2011
Natalie and Cole

Around 4, George and family showed up and we had a delicious BBQ, followed by fun times with a slip-n-slide (though I think George got as much use of it as about anyone else), and about 10 boxes of "snaps".

4th of July 2011
George on the slip-n-slide

4th of July 2011
Elise going for a ride

4th of July 2011
Enjoying an ice cream sandwich

4th of July 2011
Throwing snaps

4th of July 2011
All the single ladies, all the single ladies

Finally, it was time to head back over to the park for the big fireworks show. Given Utah's new fireworks laws (which I can't say I'm a huge fan of), there were plenty of reasonably big fireworks going on for the hour preceding the "official" show.  I watched the big show from the back of dad's truck sitting next to Austin who was super excited to be sitting in his very own chair in the back of a "pickup truck!".

Waiting for the fireworks
Hanging out by the tennis courts waiting for the fireworks

2011-07-05 4th of July Weekend 2011
At least half the fun of the fireworks was watching them with Austin

After the show, we headed home, and the cherry on top of our great day was our first email from Elder Tripp since his arrival in Hawaii last week. Turns out he's on the big island, which makes me the only one of us Tripp kids who hasn't been over there yet. :)

All in all, a great day, and the only bummer was that I had to drive back to Salt Lake so I could be back at work on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Y5K #12

This was another exciting week of running (has it really been 12 weeks since I started tracking all of this?), featuring my 2nd 5K of the year, this time running with family in Grantsville on the 4th of July.
  • Monday: Had originally planned to run right after work, but when my car's thermometer said "95" on the drive home, I decided to put my run off until it was a little cooler out. Ended up going around 9, and while it was cooler, it was also pretty dark for most of my run.  And the road wasn't super well-lit. Hmm...  Anyway, I did my first 5/1 jog/walk split, and, because the training plan only says to do 4 sets, I actually ran less than when I was doing 5 sets of the 1/4.5 walk/jog splits.  So I ended up doing about 2.75 miles (forgot to note exactly where I turned around) in about 34 minutes.  Had some of my typical lower back pains, but nothing too terrible.

  • Went to Cherry Hill on Wednesday and Raging Waters Seven Peaks Salt Lake on Thursday, and I felt okay about resting a bit the week before the upcoming 5K.

  • Saturday: Decided I ought to do...something to stay ready for my race on Monday, so I decided to just do a shorter loop around the neighborhood and still do 5 minute sets of jogging and see where that got me. I ended up doing 3 5-minute sets with a minute of jogging in between and then walked the rest of the way home. Ended up doing just about 2.5 miles in 29 minutes (which includes the 5 minutes of warm-up walking and about 7 minutes of cool-down walking.

  • Monday: Got up bright and early (6:45) to head over to the Ray Barrus Memorial 5K, Grantsville's pre-parade race.  They drove us up to the starting line in a couple school buses. The first mile and a half was all downhill and then pretty flat up until all but the last quarter mile or so.  I ran all of the first mile, then took a 1-minute walk break while I drank a small cup of water from a water station.  Then I jogged the rest of the way down to main street and walked another minute there. Told myself I'd jog another 5 minute set before I walked again. Did that, and then told myself I could go a little further, so I did. (That seems to be my best strategy for lengthening my running sets: tell myself I'll run to a certain time or spot, and then once I get there, come up with something else to try for).  Walked one more minute and then jogged the rest of the way to the finish line.  So in total, I walked 3 minutes. My final time was something around 28:40.  They had a clock at the end, but they'd moved it from where I expected it to be and I didn't see at the end. Some guy was calling out times, but I still had my headphones on.  I figured they'd have the times all written down or something, but they didn't.  I DO know that I finished 148th overall. :)  They gave out awards by age category, and there were also categories for "larger" runners (Mens = "Clydesdales", over 200 pounds, Womens = "Athena", over 150).  My mom took 3rd in her age category. George took 3rd in the Clydesdales, and Natalie took 1st place in the Athena category, despite having had a heavy wooden table dropped on her toe last week, and not having had much time to train what with moving to El Paso and all. 
All in all, definitely a good week of running, even with skipping one run in the middle of the week. I was just happy to improve on my time from the last race and to feel like I'm getting closer to being able to run a full 3.2 miles without walking.  Guess I'm going to have to keep working at this running thing for a little while longer. Still feeling a little sore today from yesterday's race. Guess we'll see how I'm feeling Wednesday. Might be worth taking a day or two of just walking to recover a bit.