Life's big moments always start, you know, with the smallest decisions.

A month ago, I woke at o'dark to take the dog for a run, pack and make it to SLC intl. for a 9 a.m. flight to SFO for a wedding weekend.

Parking/Check-in went too smoothly, (and if you're a glass-half-empt(ier) like me, that was the sign all good '10 travel karma had been spent), as I approached the escalator to B Gates, that smell came from stage left: fresh Pizza Hut.

Quick check of the iPhone clock - 8 a.m.; pizza time, right?

At the gate: Wet cardboard pizza box on lap, phone on airplane mode and True Blood Rolling Stone at the ready when from above the gate woman summoned the first five to give up their seat; dangling a direct flight one hour later and a free SW r/t voucher.

Boo yeah.

Forgetting I was warming my lap with Pizza the Hut, I sprang out of my seat flinging plastic mozzarella, airport Coke and faux-aroni around my 20-foot radius; while I spent the next 90 seconds cleaning up aisle 10, five fliers got a lucky bump and a voucher.

'Course, I already had a plan for my voucher - three of my best college friends were planning a retreat to Tennessee to watch the Oregon Ducks put the smack-down on the Vols. Any time you can see the Pac 10 throwdown live against an SEC team is a cause worthy.

Friend Mike at Vols game (drinking ...water?!)

But the travel karma was blown, yes, even my flight from DIA (love flying east to go west) was delayed, so my noon arrival time became 3 p.m. Those who got bumped/vouchers flew direct and landed at 1.

I spent the next couple weeks searching Kayak for cheap flights to Nashville and brooding.

When that last flight-discount Tuesday came and went with nothing under $500 I set my sights on loftier mile-high goals at home: The Mid Mountain Marathon.

I won't go into the particulars about my race, beyond the fact I was beating my goal time by about 30 minutes the first 14 miles and ended up 10 minutes over by mile 26; yep, brutal downhills.

Great running cohorts (not your race-shirt-wearing Rock 'n Roll Marathon/Team-in-Training/Oprah-made-me-do-it variety) these were 300-plus epic trail runners who peppered in pleasantries, backstories and good-natured cheer when passing or being passed on the rocky single-track.

Oh, also, best. Race start. Bathrooms. Ever.

We should all be so lucky to sample a Deer Valley throne before spending three-plus hours on the blue-dotted trails of the Wasatch Back. I'll do the race again next year just for that privilege.

The post-race festivities at the Canyons were a little lackluster (thank you for the offer of more Powerade and orange slices at the finish - but, no... please point me in the direction of the nearest burger/slice of pizza).

So, the pix: Here's serious runnerish guy (this is about a mile in and I'm thinking about Squatters breakfast already - yum, and Go Ducks!)

A little better stride-wise ...Go Ducks:

See all these people; they're better runners than me (Go Ducks!)

Um, see the top of that hill there - that's pretty much where we're going, plus 25 miles... see you at the finish:

Oh yeah, Oregon 48, Tennessee 13