Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 15, 2011 – Starlight Run in the Grand Canyon

My oldest son had a basketball game in Flag at 11:45am, so it was a VERY early start to the day.  I woke up at 3am and was on the road by 4am.  My plan was to run down S. Kaibab to Cottonwood Campground & back.  That would give me ~31miles and a little over 4hrs of running.

When I got to the Canyon, I quickly grabbed my gear and headed for the trail.  Head-lamp on and stars shining brightly, I started thinking.. “hmmm… with no sunlight for the next hour or so, this is going to be a very tricky run to down S.Kaibab.”  As I headed down, I was navigating the ice, rocky terrain, tight turns, etc with caution.. as such, I was basically hiking / jogging.. there was no way at this pace I would have time to get the full run in.  Once I made that decision, I relaxed and just focused on getting to the bottom safely.  Just shy of the river / bridge, the sun came up, which gave me a jolt of energy.. I ended up getting to the bottom in 1hr 23min - - my slowest time EVER… but I have never ran it in the dark before either.

I quickly made the 7min run over to Phantom, filled up my water bottle and headed back.  On my way back to the bridge, I decided I wanted to focus on pushing the pace on the trail up.  I could still feel Thursday’s Camelback run in my legs, but I figured it would be good to run with some soreness & tiredness in my legs.  I pushed the entire ascent very consistently.  Halfway up, I saw one of my buddies Ace Baty who was running his way to Ribbon Falls.. always good to see a familiar face on the trail especially after such an intense trip down to the river… after a quick chat, it was back to work.. I ended up finishing the ascent in 1:17:48 (1st Half = 37:50; 2nd Half = 39:53) - - My fastest time this year.  Still more than 5min slower than my fastest time last year, but I am still feeling good about steadily improving.. compared to where I was at last year, I am several minutes faster.. so hopefully by Spring I will be running faster.. time will tell..

By the way, I made it to the basketball game with time to spare.. and my son played a GREAT game!!    

My Veiw as I Head to the River

The Sun is Almost Up!!!

Is that the Colorado or Willy Wonka's Chocolate River

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