Rambling On -PTO

Happy Thursday!

I think it’s Thursday. I took another week of PTO and my days are a little blurry. Never thought I would be one for taking a week off 2 months in a row but hey 2020. The beginning of the year was so crazy and I just kept canceling all the time I had requested off. For a person who loves organized chaos and being busy at work, I hit burnout back in July. November’s PTO was all about escaping. This one is more of the sleep all you can, watch whatever crappy TV you want, and maybe don’t put on pants for a week-ish. Running crops aren’t real pants, right?

Speaking of TV, anyone watch The Wilds? I am torn on how I feel about it. And no, it was not like Lost.

I have watched a ridiculous amount of cheesy Christmas movies. Probably too many. But the one I watched the other night was the first time I ever wanted to reach through the TV and smack one of the characters. And I haven’t watched one since.

I decided I needed to work on my cross training so I made a trek to the back shed. Hey, look a fancy spin bike! Or what used to be. Then it had to be carried down the hill and into the garage. Yeah, that was fun- that sucker is heavy! I spent like an hour scrubbing it down- you know, spiders- and even went on a short ride. Now it hurts to sit down. Ouch! Luckily the thing is much smaller than I remember so now I just have to figure out how to get it into the house. Also, there is no onboard computer so not knowing how far I’ve ridden is annoying.

Any tips for sore backs? I have a half wheel but right now that is too much for me. I have been trying other things but nothing seems to be working.

Also, any suggestions for good trail shoes? Neither of mine are working for me right now. Nope. Oh, and speaking of trails- forgot to mention- had a little adventure in our own backyard a week ago-

So, tell me something- what’s new?

Catching Up

The week after my little escape was the week of Thanksgiving.

Even with the holiday week being busy catching up and being tired from the trip, I still managed to get out for 3 runs that week. It doesn’t sound like much but considering my track record for 2020, it’s pretty damn good.

Not to say it was all rosy. The more I ran, the more I noticed that my backside hurt. I knew I had a very large bruise but now I felt pain in my hips and lower back. Maybe I landed harder than I thought? So I took a few days off. Like I really need an excuse to be lazy. Plus work was a little cuckoo so I was usually beat by the end of the day.

Actually, I know part of my problem is ripping off the band-aid. That first night run every year carries nerves. Which is silly I know. I have good routes. Or I did, that is part of my issue now. I don’t run from work when it’s dark out for a couple of reasons. I used to drive to another office and run from there- I had a nice street to run on. Except now that office is my office and the street has a lot of construction right now. More than a few sidewalks are tore up and blocked off. On both sides of the street. Grrr.

Which leaves me only one runnable night route. And I am not a fan of that predictability. I admit I probably don’t think about running solo all that often (yes, I have pepper spray) but dark o’clock winter does make me a little nervous.

And then there’s morning running but then worrying about mountain lions and my beast of a driveway become a thing. Dude, I need a treadmill. Honestly, it’s not even the price of a treadmill that is holding me back. It’s that I have zero space to put it. Zero. I can’t even find space in the garage. Also, that would be fun- a 30 degree morning run in winter and 110 degree run in summer. Yay, for California weather.

Maybe I just need to whine it out before I rip off the band aid. Maybe.

Escape Day 3- Devil’s Bridge

Friday was our last full day in Arizona and as amazing as the Canyon is, we wanted to see some other sights as well. We were up early and headed off for Sedona.

Sedona feels like a completely different world from the Grand Canyon. There’s just something about it. We were both super sore from the previous 2 days so we knew we weren’t up for something intense. So after a stop at the local Golden, errr Teal, Arches, my mother says- hey I found a trail. It’s called Devil’s Bridge and it’s only a 1.8 mile round trip hike. Ok, sounds pretty chill.

The trail head was crowded so we had to park on the street just as many others were doing. That should have been the first sign. Since it was a short hike, I didn’t feel like taking my pack and almost didn’t take water. I grabbed a bottle at the last moment and shoved it in my handheld.

As we walked into the trail area, the second sign appeared. This one literal- Devil’s Bridge, 2 miles from this point, take water. Hmmm, ok, I knew we parked on the street but it shouldn’t be 1 mile to the trail head??? And it wasn’t. Color me confused.

We picked up the trail and headed out. I was even more confused as there were a lot of cars in the trailhead lot not to mention those that parked on the street- but there was no one on the trail? The only people we saw were a couple of mountain bikers who were headed for a different trail. This continued for almost a mile. Were we lost?? The trail finally dumped us out onto an OHV road with an arrow saying it was the way to Devil’s Bridge. Ok?

Other than the deep sand we were walking in, the trail was fairly easy. But there was no way this was 1.8 miles roundtrip. Then we hit another trailhead. Huh? This one was only accessible by foot or by a high-lifted 4X4. Interesting. Not only were we running into more people, the trail was getting a little more technical. Ok. We kept going.

The views were amazing, so the extra distance wasn’t an issue. I had a Buff so I was keeping it up when people got a little close on the trail. It also helped me hide my facial expression when I overheard a conversation. A woman and man were hiking together and judging by their gear and clothes- they were athletes- runners or cyclists- something. But then I hear the woman say that she doesn’t like how spaced out the stone steps/ dirt was. It just wasn’t working for her stride and she wished it was different. Huh????? Sure, let me call Mother Nature about that right now.

The offenders

The trail became more intense the closer you got to the Devil’s Bridge- like you now needed your hands to climb up rocks and steps to reach higher parts of the trail. Again, the parents letting their children run wild surprised me. There was a lookout point and then one last rocky climb up to the level of Devil’s Bridge– only to discover where all the people were. There was an hour+ line for top of the bridge photo ops! What??

No, I didn’t wait. There were way too many people. I tried to take some arch pics from where I was and then I headed back. Now we had to negotiate those same rock climbs going down- and I ate it on the first one- like I bounced. So much for having a big backside- other hikers told me they heard my tailbone hit rock. Yep, felt that one. Ouch.

Lies

Then we hiked back out following the OHV trail the whole way. Where once again we saw a sign- it too said Devil’s Bridge was 2 miles from that point- but it was still 1/2 mile or so to the other sign that said the same thing. So the true length of the trail is anyone’s guess. My watch showed 4.6 miles roundtrip.

The trail was gorgeous but I was a little broken- so the rest of the day was spent just strolling around downtown Sedona, hitting all the tourist stops. I would love to go back and spend more time on trails, maybe just in better shape.

I just liked this rock formation

Oh and my backside? Bruises that rivaled my dog attack- and it hurt to sit for over a week.

Escape Day 2- Rim Trail

I woke sore and a little tired the morning after Bright Angel. Ok, my calves were screaming a little.

I headed back to the Grand Canyon later in the day, I had some fool idea about taking it chill on the Rim Trail and then watching the sunset at the Grand Canyon. Now, if you’ve ever been to the South Rim or pay attention to anything related to a compass or sunsets/ sunrises you might think this doesn’t make sense. Because it doesn’t. The sun does not set over the Grand Canyon, at least not from this rim. Which I realized I knew but forgot? Told you I needed a vacation.

Back to the trail- the Rim Trail is not a “trail”, it’s a paved path that runs the length of the South Rim. A one way trip on the path from point to point is around 13 miles. Even paved, I didn’t have that in me. I started at Bright Angel and headed East towards the Mather Point.

The path takes you along the Rim and is fairly accessible to everyone. That also means it was more crowded than Bright Angel the day before. My buff was up over my face most of the time. That didn’t detract from the views at all. Again, I think I took a few hundred pictures.

The path took us through The Trail of Time too, a exhibit about how the Grand Canyon formed over millions of years with rock examples. My former wanna-be geologist self was geeking out over the rock displays.

The various lookout points were the most popular so I didn’t spend a lot of time there. I was surprised at how many parents let their kids run wild. Most of the path is not secured by a fence or guard rail of some sort. It wouldn’t take much to slip or fall. But then I am also clumsy so I generally think of worst case scenarios.

Seriously?!?

And of course, there were the rule breakers- the ones who jump fences and go down rocks all to get a good selfie. The number of people backing up to edges was ridiculous.

The Rim Trail is advertised as little to no elevation change. And had I not done Bright Angel the day before I might have agreed. But the 600 ish feet we gained and lost in the 6ish miles we went did not feel easy. Ha!

I kind of feel like the Grand Canyon is the Disneyland of trails. Plenty of trash cans, recycle bins, bathrooms and water stations. I have never seen so many rangers out working the trail before either.

But for the love of Pete, pick up your damn masks people!

Escape Day 1- Bright Angel

Ever feel like you need to run away?

That’s kind of how I have been feeling for a while now. I had PTO to use, so I packed up the car, made a fairly last minute reservation and ran away. Ok… I drove away. And yes, I packed plenty of hand sanitizer, masks and clorox wipes.

I headed for Arizona. And some dirt.

On Wednesday morning, I was up early and prepared for an adventure. I headed to the Grand Canyon. And the Bright Angel trail.

As soon as I knew I was heading to the Grand Canyon, I checked out a couple of posts over at Running to Travel-very helpful. I also poured over the NPS site for the Grand Canyon. I didn’t have a lot of time and I knew I was super out of shape so I knew I couldn’t be too crazy.

Ice, ice

I got there early but not too early as I knew November could mean ice on the trail. I loaded my pack, laced up my shoes and hit the trail. Even with my research, I fell within less than 1/4 mile. I hit ice and slipped but pulled out out before falling. Only to fully fall less than 4 feet later. I landed on my butt and kind of slid across the trail. I was more startled than hurt and bounced up fairly quickly. I then continued my trek.

The Bright Angel trail continues for miles down the side of the canyon- down to the River rest house and back would be arround 15 miles. Luckily, I am not that stupid and I turned around at the 3 mile rest house. There was also an option to turn around at the 1.5 mile rest house but I wanted to push further than that. As much as I love a good downhill on a trail, this had some steep moments and my left knee was none too pleased. Someone help me with trail shoes, please?

I laughed at the sign at the 3 mile rest house- Going down is optional but going up is mandatory. And it was time to go up.

My mom was also with me and she was starting to have some issues. She occasionally has hip issues and it was acting up in a very bad way. In some ways the climb back up was easier to me than going down as there was less ice to worry about. Also for some reason, my body likes a good trail climb. My brain turns off and my legs take over and they just go.

Which sounds ok until I realize I have way outpaced my injured mother. Oops. And that’s not to say I was moving speedily up the mountain side- the Canyon is a beast. Which I knew going in but I don’t think I fully realized it.

Even as I was huffing and puffing my way up the trail, the amazing-ness of the view was too much to ignore. I think I took a few hundred pictures. No joke. I am having a hard time choosing which ones to post here.

There were other hikers out so I masked up anytime another person was near. I was kind of surprised at the some of the things people were wearing on the trail though. I saw sandals, jeans, Vans and even a woman carrying her purse. It made me wonder how far they were going- how did they not slip on the ice?? Was I really that out of shape or were they going to have serious regrets later?

Dude, the Bright Angel trail is hard. After 6ish miles and lots of elevation loss/ gain -I was whipped. Yes, I am out of shape, but still. How was I going to a do a few more days of slightly adventurous things?

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