Well, it was a pretty wild week of running. My total mileage crept up to 115miles.. On Thursday morning I ran into my first Flagstaff, Black Bear .. Saturday I dipped into the wicked hot Grand Canyon again for a 26 miler.. and finished the week with a 17miler in the rain around Mt. Elden.
The Bear sighting was pretty sureal. The sun was just coming up and I still felt half asleep. I was only 3miles from my house on Elden Road (a popular dirt road for running, cycling, etc). I heard some pretty heavy rustling in the leaves next to the road. VERY slowly, I looked over and I see the back side of a young bear tearing through the forest. After a 100yds of sprinting, the bear stops and starts to check me out. I always figured I would see a bear while running in Flagstaff, as a decent number live in the area, but I always thought I would be a bit more scared. As I ran past the curious bear, he just watched me.. and I watched him.. BeforeI knew it, I had run out of sight.. and he was well on his way. Pretty cool.
Next up.. 26miles in the Grand Canyon. In an attempt to beat the heat, Ace Baty and I decided to leave Flagstaff around 4am. That got us started a bit before 6am.
At the start of our run, it wasn't too hot, but about an hour after we got going, I could tell it was going to get rough.
I decided to run S.Kaibab to Tonto.. Across Tonto Trail to Indian Gardens.. Down Bright Angel to Phantom.. Then up Clear Creek Trail for about 2miles.. Head back to Phantom .. Then finish up the run with a trip up SKaibab to the Top.
I felt pretty solid all day, but in the back of my mind, I knew the heat was taking it's toll.. It was easily 100 degrees over the last 2hrs of my run.. As such, I was pounding the water and keeping the effort a bit subdued.
As I cranked my way up the last climb, I felt really good until I was about 1/2 mile from Cedar Ridge. At that point, the heat had gotten to me, so I pulled back and hiked for about a mile. Once I felt "better", I started running again and finished off the day. The run took about 4hrs.. while the last climb took me 1hr 28min. This is about 17min slower than my fastest time, but honestly, it hurt and I was happy that I ran as fast as I did.
Finally.. a day after my Canyon effort, amazingly enough, I felt great. I decided to go for an easy 17miler in the rain. I was surprised how quickly I had recovered. I felt great and finished the in a solid 2hrs.
I am starting to feel really good about my next race.. Imogene Pass Run. I feel like the strength is there.. now I just need to sharpen up the speed.. and speed-endurance.. but I know I am headed in the right direction..