Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grand Canyon Recap

I've been down (but not out) for a couple months here. I had a good run at Grandma's in late June and then caught some sort of virus that ruined most of my July including my planned Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim run on July 11th.

I will give you a quick recap on that experience. (Better late than never, right?)
I flew down to Phoenix solo and then drove up to the south rim of the canyon (about a 6 hour drive if I recall) on a Thursday in mid-July. I arrived at my friend Brian Wandzilak's campsite around dinner time.
But I was sick. Upset stomach, generally felt like crap, etc. Not sure why I even showed up at the Grand Canyon. I was given some antibiotics about a day before I boarded my flight, so my thought was they would cure me overnight. It didn't happen.

The plan was to nap Thursday night until about midnight and then get up and start our run down into the canyon. This way we would be done by noon the next day and avoid the worst of the heat. When Brian woke me up around midnight, I felt like crap, and told him as much. But I also decided to get geared up and start the run anyway, still hoping for some sort of race-day magic. The campsite was 2 miles from the Bright Angel trailhead leading down into the canyon, so we put on our headlamps and hydration packs and started running that direction.
It was a cool, windy, pleasant night. Great conditions to start a 50 mile journey, except that I was in no condition to make the journey.

When we started descending into the canyon on what was originally a donkey trail, it was clear to me that I wasn't going to be able to complete the journey. I may have been able to shuffle through 50 miles on flat ground even in my feeling-crappy state, but with all the switchbacks and what are basically railroad ties built into the trail about every 10 feet, I wasn't able to find a rhythm. And I could feel that I was shredding my quads (wearing them out and making them sore very quickly, for you non-runners) within a few miles.

I decided to pulled the plug about 3.5 miles down into the Grand Canyon. This was a relief mentally when I told my running partner Brian that I just couldn't go on. The bad thing was that we still had to turn around and run/hike back up. So we ended up going about 11 miles total that night and getting home to camp around 3am.
I slept a couple hours and in the morning I decided to go explore the Grand Canyon by myself. Mostly from my rental car rather than my own feet. I drove to several overlooks along the south rim and just took it all in. It was only 7 or 8am so most of the tourists weren't out yet and I actually had some quiet to take in the views.

Woke up to this guy Friday morning.

A few random canyon views.

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