Saturday, December 11, 2010

Summer's Over! Yay!

Now that the hellish firestorm we call the "Arizona Summer" is behind us, it's time to take advantage and run a little more - OUTSIDE.  No more night-time lows of 93 degrees and day-time highs of 114.  No more getting up at 4 a.m. to start a run and have it get progressively hotter every minute of my watch.  And no need to run on the "dreadmill" - only by choice once in a while when time is short.

On that note, I'm off for a nice, cool run! (Sorry to everyone who's not in the SouthWest and/or buried under 2 feet of snow.)  :-)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Javalina 12 Hour Run

Okay, pretty sure this means I'm committed. My $50.00 means 12-hours of running? Really? Yep.  The Javalina 12 Hour Run in McDowell Mountain Park.

I've done six of the 48-mile variety in the Grand Canyon (between 13 hrs 50 min to 18+ hrs), but never anything more than 26.2 with a race number pinned to my chest.  Guess that'll change this September.  :-) train in the heat of the Arizona Summer for some serious long-@$$ distances.  Time to get my training schedule nailed down and be in good shape - or else!  More to come!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Oops, I Did It Again

Yep, just 30 days removed from my last "rim to rim to rim" I made a last minute (or last second, rather) decision to head North and do it one more time before the Summer heat hits (and the heat hit while I was in the canyon...).  I'll keep this report shorter than usual -you're welcome! ;-)  Left Scottsdale around 10:30 p.m. Arrived at the S. Rim around 2:30 a.m., organized my stuff and headed down just before 3:00 a.m.

Less than 30 minutes after I began, I ran into 3 other guys from Phoenix (Marcus, Joseph, & Jeron) so I tagged along with them most of the way over to the N. Rim.

<--- Marcus (10th or 11th R2R2R) and Joseph - jammin' along.

After Marcus and Joseph kept up a little faster pace up the N. Rim, I was more than happy to hang with Jeron the rest of the way - we separated for a while but met up again back at the Supai Tunnel. He had a very short-lived "suffer-climb" those last few miles of the North (I think a lot of us did, to be totally honest -myself included.) and recovered quickly and was back in business for the trip to the S Rim. I think we were both just happy to enjoy the day and no need to hammer through it too hard (and pay the price on the climb out). Got pretty hot as we headed back down N Kaibab, and instead of running ALL the way to Phantom Ranch we shifted to hike mode from Cottonwood on down.  It had to be 100 degrees in the inner canyon.

Total time was slightly over 18 hrs.  (Marucs and Joseph rocked it in about 15 1/2 hours). Took about 7 hrs 30 min to reach the N Rim and took our sweet time coming back.  While I was going to shower at the campground afterwards and crash in the back of my car (happily), these guys were super-generous and offered to let me rinse off at their lodge (and even offered an extra bed they weren't using - how cool was that? WAY cool.)  I owe them a round or two of drinks!! Marcus, Joseph, and Jeron - you guys rock!

Half way.  At the N Kaibab Trailhead for 15 min of rest, my PB&J and time to head back!  Only 24 hot miles to go!

Jeron headed down N. Kaibab towards the Pumphouse.

~3 miles to go!  Ready to be done!
Done!  And Tired!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Endurance Planet - Rim to Rim to Rim Podcast

After the last Grand Canyon trip I was lucky enough to be connected with Kevin Patrick, the guy who runs Endurance Planet for an interview about running the Rim to Rim to Rim (Thank you, Shannon for pointing him my way!). I think I was more nervous about the call than completing the actual adventure.  ;-)

It can be found here--->:  Endurance Planet FB Link or directly on the EP site here:  Was fun to share the pleasure and pain (mostly the pleasure!)

Running the Grand Canyon

There are certain runs that you tell yourself you absolutely have to do sometime. There’s the Boston Marathon, there’s Big Sur, and then there’s the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim. Today on Endurance Planet we hear from veteran runner John Schultz of Scottsdale, Arizona who is quite familiar with running the Grand Canyon—in fact, he just recently returned from his latest rim to rim to rim. Schultz tells us about the run and what makes it unique.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Gettin' Warm (Not Hot) Here in Arizona...

So much for those "cool" nights of temps in the 50's here in the Valley of the Sun...that sure seems to be over with for the next ~4 months!  While I don't believe we've officially cracked the 100 degree barrier yet (it's been darn close), it will surely be shattered here soon and temps of 110+ will be all too common...oh, and nightime lows of 90 (yes....90). But hey, it's a dry heat!

So...time to get in some runs in the mornings here soon - EARLY mornings - like 4:30 or so. Can I set up a wake-up call?  Who's up for it?  And....while an available back-up option for a workout is that "dreadmill"nearby, it just doesn't do it for me, even if I'm next to those 65 degrees blasts of A/C to keep me cool.  Four or five miles is tolerable, but anything longer just HAS to be outdoors - hot or not....   All I need is 10-14 days running in the heat of the day to acclimate and I'll be fine through the Summer no matter what time I get out and run - even if a little slower during the 5 p.m. baking sun.  Just have to carry enough water and sunscreen, and then continue to dream I'm running at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the cool air and 8,000' elevation.  Yep, that's it.  :-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Grand Canyon - Rim to Rim to Rim - May 1st!

Wow.  Another amazing trip across the Grand Canyon and back.  Yep, Rim to Rim to Rim (roughly 48 miles), starting at Bright Angel Trail, down to the Colorado River, up North Kaibab and back the same way. (My 5th R2R2R.)  And yikes!, sorry this post is so LONG!!!

This year was a little different, and also the most fun (I'll say they've ALL been amazing!). Instead of just 2 or 3 of us (or 9 one time), we had nearly 50 people join us overall - from all over the United States (might have been a Canadian or two as well). Yes, FIFTY - from long-time friends to old and new Facebook and Twitter acquaintances - very cool the way it turned out!   Oh, and another yes, the Rangers would probably NOT be happy hearing of any large groups doing this (I chatted with one Ranger the night before (holding back a bit of our group info) and he was quizzing me like no tomorrow - and appeared to be "okay" with my answers for the "medium sized" group doing R2R2R) - kinda fudged on the number going - oopsies.)  

Having said that, in the back of your mind (heck, even the front) you always think "if there's 50 people doing a crazy long adventure, there's gonna be a couple that bonk, and likely bonk HARD."  Maybe we got lucky, maybe it was overkill, but my cohort & I organized the info & Facebook R2R2R/R2River2R Group (feel free to join it! More pics, discussions, etc.), and made darn sure we educated everyone looking to go, and set expectations:  This is no 5k or 10k stroll in the park with aid stations. It's a tough, long, grueling descent and climb if you're not prepared (well, it often IS even when you ARE prepared.)  

(<--Me, Gerd Nunner (his 35th R2R2R!!!), Skip, and Steven the evening before)

Off to the Trail:  Approx 60% of the group did Rim to Rim to Rim (a few started from S. Kaibab), and the remaining 40% did Rim to Phantom Ranch and back. (S. Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel).  

We were just a few minutes late for our 3:30 a.m. trail departure (I was driving my buddy's Prius - it JUST wouldn't stop so we could get out! Kidding!) so we quickly tightened the laces, snugged-up the packs and headed down Bright Angel right about 3:45 a.m.  Our group consisted of 2 guys & 3 gals, my buddy Jim had ROCKED a Rim to Rim one July (B.A. to N.K. in under 5 hrs -left me in the dust!), and of the 3 rockstar ladies, one was a friend who completed R2R2R with our group of 9 about two years ago. All 3 had done serious multi-day adventure races in N. and S. America.  

Even before we started, our group agreed we'd go at a very comfortable pace, take pictures, not destroy ourselves, and just have a great time.  No need to race it or try to set any records.  Saying that, we took our sweet time on the way over to the N. Rim.  It started to get light right about the time we reached Indian Garden (~4.5 mi), we topped off the camelbacks and continued down the trail to Devil's Corkscrew. Pretty uneventful through there as well - easy pace, yo-yo'd back and forth with a few of the other groups.  Even got to put a few names to the faces from FB and Twitter while out on the trail - how cool is that?!

Made it to the River Trail shortly after that (technically it's the "River Trail" for roughly a mile until you reach the Silver Bridge over the Colorado River).  A few more pics and some big hopes on the water situation.... There had been breaks on the N side and we were told the water was on but we ~may~ have to treat it with chemicals if there's further issues.  Good news - it was on just (~200 meters) on the other side of the Silver Bridge at Bright Angel Campground.  Filled up again, took more photos, and headed North.  Reached Phantom (a whole 5 minutes later), and headed towards Cottonwood C.G ~6-ish miles away (Water was on there too).  

From Cottonwood we just cruised along and enjoyed the scenery while looknig forward to reaching our last water source (Supai Tunnel and N. Kaibab Trailhead were still off) at the pump-house Residence.  This is where artist Bruce Aiken lived for a long time maintaining the water system -for 30+ years!).  We mixed a little easy running with the hiking and got there with everyone feeling great.  Again, topped off the fluids, ate some more food, and got pumped up for the ~5.5 mile climb to the top of the N. Rim. 

While we were "moving" the entire first half, we made good time. While taking pictures and enjoying ourselves the first half, we didn't make real good time (LOL!) - and it was perfect that way.  :-)  The climb up the North was long and challenging as usual, but since we were all hydrated and fed, we had no issues - just picture breaks!  Finally reached the North Rim, and only had to cover a few patches of snow that weren't more than 20'-30' in length.  With dry shoes, and great attitudes we all reached the trailhead together in a time of 9 hrs and 30 min.  Yep, not real fast on this day, but we planned it that way.  So even if we took the same amt of time going back it would be 19 hours.

From there we ate/drank for a few minutes and headed back down. Time was about 9 hrs, 40 min.  First couple miles just hiked the steeper descent to let our legs be friends again.  After the Supai Tunnel (~1.7 down), we started to run again.  Not a single one of us had blisters or issues we had to worry about at that point so we ran the next 3 miles back to the Pumphouse, watered up real quick and kept on moving.  Made real good time to Cottonwood for more water and a quick bite/Gu/Powerbar/Fritos and hit the trail again - arriving at Phantom Ranch in no time. We ran almost every step just past the Supai Tunnel down to Phantom Ranch.  Met up with two other friends who hiked down S.K. Trl to the intersection leading to the Black Bridge to S. Kaibab.  At that point we decided with a sandy walk along the river and two big 'ol climbs we were done running.   Yay!! Fine by me! I felt great at this point and wanted to feel at least "okay" for the climb out.

The section along the River was great - catching up with my buddies, and we were still all smiles.  Next up: Devil's Corkscrew - the climb below Indian Garden.  We were all a bit tired at this point (we had covered almost 40 miles!) but still doing well - everyone made it up that climb making great time.  Another mile or so to Indian Garden and we were on the home stretch (mileage-wise, not time-wise LOL!).  Got to Indian Garden just as it was getting dark.  More H2O, some food and the gang got pumped up for the last 4.5 miles.  Even caught up with another couple buddies there - they also climbed out with us - fun to able to finish with 9 after ~48 miles of effort!  And yes, we were all getting pretty tired at this point.  Time to suck it up and keep movin' though!

Long story even longer?  No!  Nothing but gutting it out those last few miles - keeping eachother motivated and getting out with smiles.  D*mn tired ones, but relieved and feeling pretty happy about what we'd just completed.

Til next time!  (or my next long outing or whatever!)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It Is Time. Time for that "2 Nights Before" Solid Night of Rest

Tomorrow we head to the Grand Caynon.  Seriously, why do I keep doing this to myself?  Here's how Sunday morning will play out (the day after the big run):  Try to stand up from bed - I can't.  Well, I can, but I need to stablize myself with the edge of the bed and the nightstand.  Thinking about making a trip a good 14-16 feet to the toilet (that is, if I can manage to pee yet!).   Hobble over there, hobble back to some horizontal surface to sit on - but not too low though. I won't be able to get back up.  Pop some sort of anti-inflammatory (or tranquilizer) and see if I can loosen up a bit.  I can't.  

Who's up for breakfast?  I am!, if I can do the penguin waddle to some sort of vehicle, then wedge myself into it - and please park as close as possible to the cafeteria - I'm gonna do approx 45 minute mile pace.  Yes.  45.  I hurt.

After eating, back in the car, go look at the S Rim view again. Head home.  5 days later, my limping is almost unnoticeable.  Awesome.  Let's do it again!  :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

10 More Days 'Til the Grand Canyon

Only 10 more days til the Grand Canyon!  I'm gettin' a little antsy, a little excited, and admittedly a little nervous (even though I've done this 4 times before...).  I know the certain pain and suffering will be well worth the experience - it always is!

This trip will be a little different than many previous ones - the largest group we had in the past was 9 (other than that, it was usually just 2-3 of us).   Oh, and thanks to Matt B for the photo I  <----(over there) from way up the N. Rim.  Anywho...this trip, it's rumored we could have quite a few more doing everything from Rim to Phantom Ranch and back to the full R2R2r.  Can't wait!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Help the Arizona Trail Win a $50,000 Grant for Outdoors Projects!

From:  Arizona Trail Association  (GO VOTE!!)

Congratulations to the Redwood Creek Wine Greater Outdoors Project Top 10 Finalists! One of these organizations will be awarded a $50,000 grant to fund a project that shares Redwood Creek's commitment to preserving, protecting and providing access to the great outdoors.      .Vote for This Organization

The Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) is a continuous 800-mile path across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. The AZT offers hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and outdoor aficionados a unique opportunity to enjoy scenic Arizona.
The Arizona Trail Association is ready to construct a new 11-mile trail in the lush, central Arizona Sonoran desert to replace ten miles that are now on a rocky, eroded road. The new sustainably constructed trail will follow a ridgeline that offers sweeping mountain range and desert valley views.
A more scenic and enduring trail creates a more attractive destination and will entice a greater number of trail enthusiasts to several nearby rural communities. The businesses in these gateway communities can benefit economically, providing trail users and visitors with food, supplies and services.
Mind, body, soul and pocketbook, good trails are good for everyone. Help make this one great!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Managed a nearly 5 hour run on Saturday

After a "bad, much-NOT-needed" 3 week layoff from any running whatsoever (a move, an injury, and getting a very nasty cold...) I finally got my shoes back on and out on the trails again.  I'll just call it "tapering" ha!!

After 3 or 4 easy runs of 20 to 45 minutes, I determined the pain in my lower calf/upper achillies is not getting worse so why not go on a "pretty big one" and test it out.  By big, I mean a nearly 5 hour run (with a little hiking sprinkled in on the super steep stuff).

MapMyRun - Lost Dog Wash - To Paradise Trail to Windgate and Tom's Thumbs Trail and BACK.

Ran from the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead at 124th and Via Linda (it's actually Cactus Rd at this point), up over to the Taliesen Overlook, along the back edge of McDowell Mountain Ranch (also the ~front~ edge of the McDowell Mountains - gee! imagine that!).  Then over to the trails at the new Gateway Access area near Bell and Thompson Peak (just next to DC Ranch).  From there, up the Gateway Saddle to the Tom's Thumb Trail, and to the top of Tom's Thumb (well, not the last 50' or so UP the rock - I'd get hurt).  

After a nearly 3 hour jaunt UP it was time for the 12-ish mile journey back down, and over to where I started.  Had to detour to the drinking fountains at the nearby trailhead before the last 6 or so, but after fueling up and taking it really easy back to the car, I was satisfied that if nearly 5 hours wouldn't hurt my leg any further, then another 10 hours on top of that in the Grand Canyon likely wouldn't either.  Hope my rim to rim to rim trail-mates don't mind me living on the edge and praying I don't break down with 24 miles to go.  If they have to carry me, at least I've lost a few pounds the last few months. ;-)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Grand Canyon - Rim to Rim to Rim

Less than a month to go before "Rim to Rim to Rim" in the Grand Canyon. While I've been battling a pesky achillies issues and being sick as a dog for a couple weeks, I'm still set to tackle this thing (and enjoy it!).

People often ask me "What do you bring?" on a 48 mile adventure such as this - so I compiled a list of "stuff." It can certainly vary from list to list - but this is mine:

1. Good Shoes! (That are NOT brand new.)
2. H20 resistant windbreaker for morning hours and/or rain/snow/wind.
3. HEADLAMP w/ fresh batteries (and 2 extra batteries)
4. Copy of a MAP w/ distances- I know these main trails like an old Ranger, but it's good to have anyway.
5. Extra pair of socks
6. Camelback / Some Water-carrying Device (1.5L-2Liter MINIMUM) (Don't think 1 or 2 water bottles total is sufficient - it's NOT! PERIOD. )
7. Succeed Caps (a.k.a. S-Caps (sodium)) - Since using them I've NEVER had a leg cramp. No joking.
8. Perpetuem powder (enough for 18 hours of nourishment if needed) & extra bottle to mix it in.
9. Gu & Powerbars, etc (12-15 total)
10. Heed (powder)
11. Beef Jerky, salty crackers, McDouble, leftover pizza, whatever might sound good
12. Sunscreen
13. Water treatment tablets (in case of a H2O main break)
14. Athletic tape / band aids / pocketknife / (krazy glue? LOL)
15. Camera / Video Camera
16. Hiking poles (collapsible) great for steep uphills in hiking mode [laugh at me now, but just wait. ;-)~ ]
17. A good attitude & willingness to help anyone in distress: Backpacker Magazine ranked the Grand Canyon (specifically Bright Angel Trail) as one of the "TOP 10 Most Dangerous Hikes in America" BUT WE WILL ALL CARRY PLENTY OF WATER / ELECTROLYTES and will do just fine!!
18. Don't let #17 scare you because YOU WILL CARRY (AND CONSUME) ENOUGH WATER (& electrolytes!). I've done R2R2R 4 times, and one R2R w/o anything more than some bad cramps the first couple times...finally got that issue resolved - heh. Respect the elements, listen to your body, and you'll have an INCREDIBLE experience.
19. HAVE FUN!!!
20. Post pictures and videos when we're done!!
21. Tell friends and co-workers why you can barely move your legs the following week - confirming that what Ernie in the Accounting Dept said: "you are indeed, totally crazy."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hmmmm....I didn't even do a writeup of my Oct '09 rim to rim to rim - perhaps I should catch up on that, eh? Here's a 5 second distraction: a pic from Windgate Pass looking East to Four Peaks.

I'll say I'm looking forward to another "R2R2R" this coming May with 20 - 30 of my closest psychotic running friends! (I mean that in a good way!)