Saying Goodbye to Utah

I don’t want to leave! But in the words (er, voice) of Chandler Bing: “Could I BE any more tired?” Seriously, this trip kicked my butt, but it was so worth it. I’ve had an amazing time. Let’s go back to yesterday

I arrived at the photo shoot, which was just a convenient 2-minute drive from my hotel, at 8 am. I love starting bright and early, but I was very sleepy! We were shooting a total of nine girls yesterday—talk about a marathon day. But they made my job easy. They were all, without a doubt, the nicest, sweetest, most darling young women I have ever worked with.

I was excited to work with a new photographer, who found amazing locations for us to shoot. Witness:

This is in Midway, UT

We shot one girl by herself first. Recognize her from “Glee?” Probably not. She’s one of the dancers, and she’s been featured quite a bit in the Vocal Adrenaline performances. She was a total trooper when we said we were going to shoot her in the middle of the woods!

Wearing ballroom shoes and dancing on twigs. No easy task.

Then we gave her a break and shot her on a golf course…

Gorgeous (the girl and the setting)

Then it was back to the studio to shoot a group of six ballroom dancing sisters. I could not get over how wonderfully humble they were. They’re best friends and seriously talented. One you may even recognize from a certain ballroom dancing show. I had a blast with all of them.

Gold sequins? Yes please!

We finished shooting around 4:30, then I ran back to my hotel really quickly to splash some water on my face and check some emails before heading back to the dance studio to scope out their advanced kids.

I watched them for about an hour—beyond impressive, and so talented—then headed to Salt Lake City to see Odyssey Dance Theatre’s highly regarded Halloweeny show, Thriller. It was spooky, scary and hilarious, and the dancers were so good.

I ended up getting back to my hotel around 12:30 am, then totally passed out.

Before I knew it, my alarm was going off: 7 am! Rise and shine!

Ever since I booked this trip to Utah, I knew I’d want to run in the mountains. Turns out, that’s really hard. I’ve mastered my morning runs in NYC—dare I say they’ve become easy? But running at this altitude was incredibly challenging. I felt like I was breathing through a tube and my legs felt like they weighed 100 pounds.

Note to self: Do not take the lovely NYC air for granted!

I attempted to run up a mountain, but when that proved to be too difficult (after about 10 feet) I turned around and ran on a lovely, flat path instead.

Running up a mountain? No thank you!

I was beyond excited when I returned to my hotel to a decadent spread of continental breakfast items. Oatmeal with brown sugar, walnuts and raisins? Exactly what I was craving.

More, more!

After my run, I went to the studio again, this time to interview the sisters. We spent three hours talking and it was a blast getting to know them. The story is going to be great. Many hugs later, I hopped in my rental headed for Salt Lake City.

My first stop was Temple Square. I’m sort of fascinated by the Mormon religion since I was surrounded by it over the past few days. There are giant temples everywhere, so I was looking forward to seeing the grand daddy of them all: The Salt Lake City Temple.

They say everything is bigger in Texas. But I think the same is true about Utah.

I was blown away.

Look at that architecture!

The craziest thing (for me): I saw six bride and groom couples at the temple! Every time I turned a corner there was a wedding couple posing for photos and hugging their families. It. Was. Crazy. They just kept appearing. I obviously have a lot to learn about the religion, and I’m a bit fascinated by it.

Next up: The Gateway. All the ladies I met this week told me I absolutely had to go to The Gateway. It’s this huge outdoor shopping center. I loved it (obviously) and made some good purchases. Christmas shopping is officially underway! Today I bought presents for my grandmother (Honey, we call her) and ABS.

I spent a very long time browsing Barnes & Noble and treated myself to some delicious frozen yogurt. This is my new favorite place.

When I finally got bored and hit all the shops, I figured I’d just head to the airport.

So now here I am, plugged in at Terminal A. My flight isn’t until 11:30 pm—that’s still five hours away! Ugh. I’m going to try to find somewhere decent to have some dinner, then I’m going to watch Up in the Air on my laptop (fitting, right?). I’ve seen it before, but it was the only DVD I could find at my apartment that I hadn’t packed yet!

Any suggestions for how to pass the time at an airport? The Salt Lake City airport isn’t a very entertaining one!

To recap Utah: The people are lovely, the mountains are lovely and it really is a wonderful place to visit. I’d love to come back with ABS and my family and do some skiing. Can’t get enough of those mountains.

I land in NYC at 5:43 am. Do I go right to sleep or try to start the day? Stay tuned…

New York, here I come!



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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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