Well, hello all!
I've decided to resurrect this little blog for 2010, despite the fact that our race calendar is still pretty much empty, solely because it gives me a place to put down my random thoughts.
As a catch-up, after IM WI, Cath and I would have been pretty content to go straight into hibernation mode for the rest of the year, except for the fact that we had already committed to a rim-to-rim crossing of the Grand Canyon almost a month to the day after the race ended. So, after an all-too-brief recovery period, I tried - not alltogether successfully - to regain a bit of the fitness that I had acquired coming into the Ironman. Mostly cardio stuff, but also a some strength training that had been almost totally abandoned during IM training.
It was tough. Really tough. I had forgotten how much IM training and racing can totally drain you of fitness. The easiest workouts were exhausting, and my little bird arms could hardly move a dumb bell. Mentally, I had a hard time accepting that my body was pooped and that I'd have to start all over, just to get to the point where a 30-minute jog would be possible.
But departure day quickly arrived, and, before I knew it, we were gazing over the rim of the GC as the sun went down on the day before we were set to depart. I won't bore you with all the flowery descriptions, but, if you've never been to the Grand Canyon, you really should make it a "bucket" item. I guarantee, it's like nothing you've ever seen.
Our group - 13(!) strong - started off at 4:30 a.m. from the South Rim in the pitch blackness, with trail dust floating through the beams cast by our headlamps. We planned on hiking down the Bright Angel trail, head along the Canyon floor past Phantom Ranch, and then up the North Kaibab trail to the North Rim Lodge, where we'd spend the night. Depending on how everyone was feeling, we planned on doing the reverse hike the next day.
I guess I should have known that this would be a very demanding endeavor. The National Parks Service highly discourages folks from attempting a rim-to-rim hike in one day, and vistors are routinely extracted from the Canyon floor after having underestimated the depth and breadth of the GC. But, going in, I really didn't think that it would be that bad - we had just done an Ironman, and this was just a hike. A long hike - 26 miles from South Rim to North Rim - but, still, just a hike, right?
Whew. Yeah. It was hard. Super hard. Between the altitude (the North Rim tops out at 8,200 feet) and my post-IM fitness, I was seriously sucking wind by the time we reached the North Rim Lodge, some 13 hours after we took that first step down the trail. Thankfully, the weather was perfect, and our group was awesome - everyone got along well and completed the trek in good spirits. The views were extraordinary, as you can imagine, and the adventure really made me want to make a point of exploring more of our National Parks. Truly incredible.
That said, I was bushed after "just" completing the rim-to-rim, so we ended up taking a shuttle back to the South Rim the next day instead of attempting the 26-mile return trip on foot. I would have liked to complete the loop, but there was no way I was going to enjoy the physical toll that was going to take. We had a nice ride back to the South Rim, and you can imagine how good the Bloody Marys tasted when we got back. All of our pics are on Snapfish, and I don't know how to link or copy them to the blog, but I'll try to post some in the coming days.
Anywho, that's all for now - hope everyone is excited for 2010, and all the adventures it's sure to hold.
1 week ago