Thursday, October 18, 2012

Grand Canyon Half Marathon

Goggle Face!
Please please please let me start by saying this: I wear sunscreen EVERY DAY. I use a moisturizer with SPF 15 in the winter, and SPF 30 in the summer.

Except I forgot to pack my moisturizer.

And Wil, who also has moisturizer with SPF 15, well, he grabbed the tube of MLotion that doesn't have sun protection.

I even had a running hat with my -- it was in my suitcase in the room... doing me absolutely no good.

Let this be a lesson to you!

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Wil and I got up nice and early -- but not before sunrise! -- to go for our long run. We hadn't really planned on a long run for Thursday morning, given that we had a half marathon coming up on the Saturday. I wanted to go out and run for 45 minutes or so -- more to say that I had run along the rim of the Grand Canyon than for any other reason. But when I noticed that the Rim Trail stretches 13 miles from Hermit's Rest to Yaki Point, well... it felt like destiny.

So we got up, dressed, and took the shuttle out to Hermit's Rest. We rode out with a group of 6 guys, all carrying very loaded packs. They were doing a multi-day hike below the rim. When the shuttle ride started, they were very boisterous... but got quieter and quieter as they neared Hermit's Rest. I think they were getting a little scared. As you would do...

When we arrived, the thanked the driver, took a few random pictures, and set off.

Let me say this... about the sunburn. We were between 8,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation -- thinner air, less protection from the sun. Oops. We were running east into the rising sun. Oops. There's not a lot of shade along the Rim Trail. Oops. There's an awful lot of scenery to look at along the Rim Trail. Oops. And, um, did I mention the lack of sunscreen or hat? Yeah, I'm a genius!

Yeah, that's the rim of the Grand Canyon. Whut?!?
But the run was glorious. Large sections of the trail have been paved as "greenway" -- meaning they're pretty even and level. Those parts were a breeze to run on. Well, except for all the times I hat to stop and ooh and aah over the scenery!

did we mention that we love the new panorama function?
We ran, and walked, and ran, and walked, and stopped, and walked.... and stopped, and walked....

Hours passed while we stood and looked at the Canyon. It's so beautiful, so big, so spectacular. I don't know what else to say. It's the Grand Freakin' Canyon.

yep, that's a tarantula
Eventually, after passing through the visitor-clogged Grand Canyon Village, we were back on greenway trail... and we ran into Tony and Sue. I'm pretty sure we were already completely sunburned, and potentially slightly woozy. We chatted with them for a few minutes, and then continued on our way. Finally we hit the 13.1 mark -- a little way before Yaki Point (I'm sure owing to the detours out to each viewpoint!).

at 13.1!
I'd like to do this run again -- perhaps starting at Yaki Point and running to Hermit's Rest, with the sun at my back...

This little video is from one of my favorite moments of the day -- we came to a spot that was simply FULL of ravens. The swooped and played and croaked all around us -- sometimes so close we could hear the wind rushing through their wings. Amazing stuff.

But all in all, a fantastic run!

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