Thursday, April 14, 2011


9 MORE DAYS!!!!!!  Excited, nervous, ready.  Obsessively checking the site for the Canyon for weather updates and last minute postings.  Last weeks possibility of a government shutdown almost killed my plans altogether, but THANK GOD they pulled their crap together!

A week ago I was second guessing my shoes again.  I had a particularly bad experience with some rock bruising on a really technical trail run and came home nearly in tears, panicked that I had only two weeks to get new shoes.  I spent five days freaking out, going back and forth between two local shops where I literally tried on every single shoe they carried.  Most places don't allow you to purchase and shoe and test it out on any sort of decent run, much less a dusty trail.  But both shops allowed me to test their shoes and promised I could return them if they didn't work out.  AWESOME.  So I tried both the Inov8 Terrocs and an old friend---the Adidas Response Trail, which was my favorite shoe back in the 90's.  And both delivered a MISERABLE experience.  The Inov8's caused the toes in my left foot to go numb within a few miles.  I felt clumsy and actually had to go slower on the downhills because I kept tripping.  The Adidas' were NOT the shoe I once loved so much and in fact, if it's possible, I actually had a worse experience with these shoes.  Numbness in BOTH sets of toes and then lots of ankle rolling and toes sliding to the front of my shoe on the downhills.  Ughh.   Back at the running shop, I made one last plea for any solution to my problem and then....there it was....SOCKS.  Yep, simply changing my socks from ultra thin, to a little thicker allowed me to wear both my NB 101's and the Minimus in a totally different way.  I guess that just goes to show---I should have trusted my original plan.

Aaaaaahhhhhh.....feeling SO relieved.

Now that THAT's solved, I'm just gathering last minute supplies and finalizing my fuel/hydration strategy for the run.

*Ultimate Direction Wink Hydration Pack with 96 oz bladder
*1 extra 24 oz water bottle
*moeben sleeves
*longsleeve tech shirt
*running shorts
*extra socks
*Black Diamond Spot headlamp +extra set of batteries
*Hammer endurolyte capsules
*Perpetuem solids
*Heed powder
*12-15 gels
*beef jerkey
*water treatment tablets
*first aid kit

*3 endurolytes capsules every hour
*1 gel/2 perpetuem solids every hour
*solid food as needed
*Heed as needed

I won't consume all 96 oz of my hydration pack bladder on the first downhill (South Kaibab down to Phantom Ranch), but will definitely top off and use all up the North Kaibab.  I'll refill again at Cottonwood campground or Roaring Springs and then again at the top of the North rim.  Refill again back down at Phantom Ranch and then again at Indian Gardens.  I'm not taking the hydration issue lightly.  Weather next Sat promises to be hot at the bottom of the Canyon.  And I know my biggest struggle will be the very last 9 miles up the Bright Angel at the hottest time of the day.

I've had a LOT of advice from fellow ultra/trail runners who have done this run.  Everything from proper etiquette in passing mule trains on the trail to avoiding the "amazing" lemonade at Phantom Ranch.  Great advice from great runners, for sure.  Still, I know that this is MY run and though I can prepare as much as humanly possible, anything can happen.  And I have to be okay with the possibility that things may not go as planned.  What I need to do is pay attention to ME.  Pay attention to my body and how it's experiencing the terrain, the elevation loss and gain and extreme temperature changes.  Because after all this time, all this training, I'd better know what works and what doesn't for ME.  

Run report to follow my adventures in the Grand Canyon!!!!!!


  1. Ooh, glad you sorted your shoe issue out. New shoes 2 weeks out from a big race is NOT what you want!

    I also love that you wrote out your hydration strategy :D How long are you expecting to be out there? And what's the weather like right now?

  2. I'm HOPING to do it in under 12 hours! It kind of all depends on how the last 9 uphill miles go. I'm anticipating this will be my hardest leg, especially since it will be during the hottest part of the day! Yikes! The weather's looking like 60's at the rim and upper 80's/90ish at the bottom. Better than 100+, right???? Ha Ha!