the alarm went off at 3 and jd had to yell at me 5 times and shake the bed to wake me up. guess i was tired! got dressed, had my sweet potato and a coffee, and piled into the van. we were on our way to run the grand canyon baby!!!
after a couple more visits to the port-a-potty, we were good to go. we started descending the south kaibab trail at 4:30am. it was dark as shit and the wind was nasty. so much so that the sand was getting under my contacts and making it hard to see. GREAT! a couple of times i felt myself being blown sideways even! kool !
it was a 7 mile downhill run to the suspension bridge which took us over the colorado river . . .
and into the phantom ranch. here are a couple of the cute little mules that the lazy people sit on going down into the canyon . . .
and here's a shot of the switchbacks we came down on, but weren't able to see cuz it was too early and too dark! i'm kinda glad i couldn't see them actually!
once we got to the ranch, steve and johnny m decided to go ahead - guess we were too slow for them! no worries, it was all about having a good time! anyway, the next 7 miles was a 'false flat', seeming to gradually run in an upwards direction. it followed the river for awhile and then just gave us one spectacular view after another.
being a goof, as usual . . .
the last 7 miles up to the north rim were pretty steep with lots of switchbacks. we climbed up to 8000' and i only felt the elevation right towards the top. my legs felt amazing - thanks alex !
ahaha! this one's for you leslie . . .
wahoo! made it! 12:10 and we were at the north rim of the grand canyon!
just in time for it to start hailing! luckily we were able to duck under a sign until it stopped!
the way down was wicked. we were able to run almost all of it! we stopped at the pump house for lunch and traded some medical tape for a bunch of m&m's from a group of hikers.
yes jd, you'd better apply more sunscreen . . .
the steady downhill pace was perfect and we got to see the canyon from the other direction!
we were moving along quite comfortably - it was around 4:30 - when i thought i'd spotted a mouse by my right foot. then i heard a rattling sound - i looked closer and instantly shrieked and yelled, 'SNAKE'! holy fuck! i'd almost stepped on a rattler! chris jumped about 10 feet backwards and jd was pretty much oblivious to the whole incident! sure enough, there it was - over 4 feet long and ready to strike. the guys said it was a good thing it was getting cold, or my run in the canyon might have ended with a helicopter ride to the hospital . . .
and yep, the adrenaline sure was pumping after that!! i even managed a classic crossfit handstand on the canyon wall, much to chris' delight!! ahahaha! i'm such a loser!
we eventually made it back to the phantom ranch and refilled our water. i tried to get a coke from the 'canteen' but the guy refused to serve me. i walked in to a bunch of overfed tourists gorging themselves on prime rib and gawd knows what else. when i tried to 'beg' for one, the guy said he didn't have any, even though i could see a huge pitcher of it sitting on the table. whaaaaaa! i went back outside and started bitching to the guys, and it was at this point that i noticed chris wasn't looking too good. oh oh ! we still had a long, hard, uphill 7 miles to go. after a bit, we got him to his feet, and headed back over the bridge.
it got dark pretty quick, and things seemed to go from bad to worse. after around 2 miles, jd started to feel really nauseous - i guess a combination of too much gatorade, excedrine and altitude finally got to him. he sat down on a rock, tried a mouthful of straight water, and instantly hurled it back out, and the rest of the contents of his tummy. ewwwwww! now i can't handle someone barfing, so i had to walk ahead. i guess the good news was that chris started to feel better. poor jd lost it a few more times, and then managed to get back on his feet. we climbed another half hour, but it hit him again. ewwwww! it was at this point during my little jaunt to avoid the noises, that i noticed a teeney scorpion in the middle of the trail! awww! 30 minutes later, and during another bout of spewing, me and chris spotted a really big spider. yikes! i give jd the superstar award for sure. i could just imagine how awful he was feeling, and how he wanted to curl up on the side of the trail and sleep until morning. but he didn't and i wouldn't let him. with next to no energy, he pushed himself relentlessly until we finally made it to the top! the time was just after 10pm and we were ecstatic! we had completed the rim2rim2rim in 17 and a half hours! wa-fucking-hoo !!! i have no finishing shot cuz we hustled ourselves over to the van and made our way back to the cabins for some pizza and a hot shower! what a day!
and the best part - CHECK OUT MY FEET - no blisters, abrasions or contusions! wtf!? maybe just the loss of a toenail or 4, but nothing like they usually get!
so, in the end, like i said, we were 17.5 hours. johnny m was 12.5 and steve was 14.5. we all considered this EPIC and i still remember jd exclaiming 'unbelievable' at least a dozen times! as for me, i loved it. i felt super strong and knew all my training with derrick and alex had paid off. i loved running with jd and chris, and i can't remember one point where i didn't want to be out there! i was having soooo much fun! big monster thanks you two for making this one of my favorite runs ever.
so there's one more thing to check off the old bucket list . . .