Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012 - NATRA Soulstice & Thought Coming into R2R2R.

NATRA Soulstice - As a tune-up leading into my Grand Canyon R2R2R FKT attempt, I decided to do a little "speedwork".  Every year, the Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association finishes it's running series with the Soulstice Race.  It's well known around town for being a tough trail course with a wicked party afterwards.  Since returning to Flagstaff nearly 6 years ago, I had yet to run the race.. so I figured it was time.  My thought was that it would be a good lead in to next weeks "big run".  

At the start line the attitude was pretty low key as toed the line.  All of us knew each other quite well and were ready to do battle on the frosty, rock covered course.  As expected, Chris Gomez (local fast guy), jumped out to a quick lead.  I stayed about 30sec behind him for the first 2 miles.  At that point, the course starts a pretty serious grade for about a mile.  At that point, I put in a surge to close the gap.. then pressed passed Chris to take the lead.  Before I knew it, I was about 30 seconds ahead and we were about through climbing.  On the next section, which is a fairly flat to rolling part of the course, I started running between 5:30min/mile & 5:45min/mile.  I figured at a minimum this would force anyone that wanted to catch me to at least "work".

As I rolled into Sunset Trail, which is about half-way, I knew I had a bit of lead, but I figured if I pressed hard, that I might squeeze out a course record.  As such, I worked the pace fairly steadily and I could see on my watch that it would be close.  With about 1mile left, I begain to pull back as I thought the finish was further out... oops.. I should know better than to shut it down like that!!!.. Unexpectedly, the finish was right in front of me and my watch read 1:09:42 as I crossed the line.. the record is 1:09:17.. guess that gives me something to shoot for next year..

Rim to Rim to Rim - Thoughts Coming In -  After a pretty good showing at Soulstice, I am extra excited about getting into the Canyon.  My training has been focused on Strength, but surprisingly my "speed" is not too bad, which should help with the "flat" sections between the North & South Rim.  The current record (FKT) is 6hrs 53min held by Dakota Jones.  I am hoping to set the pace closer to 6hrs 30min.. and see what I have towards the finish.  My guess is that coming into S.Kaibab for the finish is gonna be rough, so I hope to allow myself a little breathing room. 

My plan  - - (1) The run will be completely self-supported.  Everything I use, I plan on both packing in & packing out.  I plan to have a couple people pace me out from Phantom up S.Kaibab to the finish, but they will provide zero support.  (2) Another standard I plan to hold myself to is that once I start my watch it keeps running until I finish.  No "pauses" for bathroom breaks, mules, pictures, etc.. - - no exceptions. (3) I will start touching the SKaibab Kiosk.. run to the NKaibab Kiosk.. and run back to the SKaibab Kiosk.. 

After the run, I will have a full write up of the experience.  If I get the record, I will post my time on the website:

Should be fun!!

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