Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 12, 2012 - Entering the Hot Box

To close out another 100mile week, I decided to take a trip the Grand Canyon.  Knowing it would be hot, Caleb Schiff and I were on the road right at 3:45am.. hoping to get started before 5:30am. 

The drive to the GC was like driving through a wildlife park.  We saw at least 50 deer and around 20 elk.  Each one, way to close to the road.  Hitting one of those guys is always my biggest fear in making this drive before sunrise. 

Thank goodness, we made it safely and were ready to go before 5:30am.  On the 1/2 mile run to the Rim, it was kind of cool.. but as we go to the start of the S.Kaibab descent, we could feel the heat radiating out of the giant ditch.  Right away, we knew we were going to be in for a HOT one.

It had rained the night before, so it was hot and humid.. on top of the "steam", there was quite a bit of early cloud cover that seemed to seal in heat.  This was one of those days where you not only had to be cautious, but there would be no room for a "major bonk" or you could get yourself in serious trouble.

I decided to press the descent and hammered my way down to the river in 50min 30sec.  At the bottom, there was quite a bit of shade since it was still early, so temperature wise it wasn't too bad. 

After a quick refill at Phantom, it was time to make the climb out.  As I started the ascent, my legs were a bit tired, so my focus was on staying steady.

As I grinded my way up past the Tonto Plateau, the sun started pressing down.  From Tonto to Cedar Ridge on these early morning runs, is the hottest section.  I kept the pace steady knowing that I had a waterbottle stashed at Skeleton Point.

As I cruised up the swithbacks, I made a quick stop to grab my waterbottle and was on my way out of the Hot Box.

Before I knew it, I was passing Cedar Ridge and I felt a nice breeze sweep past.  It felt AWESOME.  Since I was so drenched in sweat, I actually started feeling "cold" over the last mile or so... but it felt great. 

I ended up topping the Rim in 1hr 19min.  Not even close to my fastest time, but a very solid effort nonetheless... and to be honest, I was  just happy not to be swallowed up by the Canyon considering the heat. 

With all the miles I have been putting in, I have been happy with these "quality" runs.  It seems that my body is really adjusting to the increase in mileage and my hope is that over the next few weeks leading into Imogene.. things will come together.

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