Run! · Slacker

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?

Run! · Slacker

10K Thursday

10K’s and I have a rough relationship.   4 years ago today, I lined up at the start of my 1st 10k.  It was my third race, I had previously run a 5k and a half marathon.   Having run a half, I figured how bad could a 10k be?    Umm, yeah.  I actually had this post planned this week without realizing the date.  Timehop can be so helpful sometimes. Or eerily psychic.IMG_0455I am smiling in this picture but this race was rough.  I had planned on running it withNikeC but she was so much faster than I was.   My training at that point was best described as non-existent.    She pulled ahead of me fairly quickly.    I don’t remembermuch other than I walked a lot and generally felt exhausted.  At one point during an out and back portion, I passedNikeC on her way back and she cheered me on.  I probably grimaced.  She texted me a few moments later to let me know I wasn’t last.    At that time in my racing, I was obsessed with not being last.    So I hung on to the finish.   I actually finished that race in the time goal that I set for myself -1:12 but was so disappointed.   For some reason it made me feel defeated and irritated.  I couldn’t understand how I had finished 13.1 miles 2 months previous.  I felt fried.   I think I took the next 2-3 months off- zero running.  Looking back I am not even sure why, but that feeling stayed with me for a long time.

Don't I look ready to race?  Ha!  Pre-Talley
Don’t I look ready to race? Ha! Pre-Talley

A long time.  That first 10K was May of 2011.  My next 10K was June 2013.   Every time I saw a possible 10k race before that, I thought hell no.  I finally decided to try another one, granted getting a comped entry helped.  🙂   So early one June morning, I headed out to Talley Vineyard for attempt #2.    I told myself anything around 1:05 would make me happy.  Right before the start, my mother dared me to break an hour.  The incentive?  $50.00.   I laughed.  I also didn’t anticipate that running in a vineyard was more like trail running and I was not prepared for that.   That said, I crossed the finish line in 59:11.  Hell yeah!

I ran 3 more 10K’s in 2013- 57:17, 55:57, 56:21.   I began to think I liked 10K’s.  A little less crazy than a 5K but only half as long as a half marathon.    I thought it could be my new favorite distance.  I went into 2014 with this mindset.  First up was the Heart & Sole’s 10K– 55:40.  This still stands as my PR but it was rough.  5 of the 6 miles, I felt like my achilles was going to snap.   I even stopped to stretch it out at one point.    It hurt.    Next up was Bands on the Run– 59:28.  The race where I phoned it in.   I was mentally not there and it felt rough.  I also hadn’t put it together yet that humidity triggered my asthma and with a race on the beach you get lots of humidity.   Oops.  Then there was the disaster that was the HOB Fun Run 10K– 1:08:03.   That September when I finally admitted I had to back off racing because my system just wasn’t tolerating it.   Stupid stomach.  IMG_4867So out of 7 10K’s run, 4 have been less than stellar experiences.  Where am I going with this?  This Saturday, I am running Bands on the Run again.   I haven’t really raced a 10K since Heart & Soles’ and I don’t think this will be a real race.  I have no idea what time to even shoot for.    I am hoping to use this as a tune up for next month when I run Talley again.    But I don’t want to phone it in either.    The course covers pavement, the high school track, a dirt trail, soft pack dune sand and hard pack wet sand.    I don’t think I could PR it even if I was in tip-top shape.    That damn dune sand takes a lot out of you.   🙂    And that’s ok, I want to enjoy the scenery and the music this year and not feel frustrated with myself.    That said, :59 and below would be awesome but we’ll see.

This popped up today too, is the world trying to tell me something?
This popped up today too, is the world trying to tell me something?

Speaking of the beach, I’ve run 4 races on the beach but this time I have shoe options.    So what do you think?  My normal shoes, trail shoes or my lighter weight pair of shoes?

Thoughts on 10K’s?  What’s your favorite distance?

Anyone racing this weekend?