Sunday, October 26, 2014

Grand Canyon running

Hey, a blog post!  I've got some catching up to do, more of which will happen after the end of this October "mileage challenge" that Kip got us into.  Yes, I'm indirectly blaming my brother for keeping me thoroughly distracted this month.  I could take it a step further and call out our genetics for our competitive and slightly compulsive natures, but then it might sound like I'm blaming our parents.  Who have nothing whatsoever to do with the lack of October blog posts on my part.  So anyway, enough blathering and blaming already.

The important thing is that we were at the Grand Canyon earlier this month.  Love, love, love that place!  It didn't take any additional motivation to get in some miles there.  The main challenge being that many of the miles were fairly slow (at least for me), but at least we had all day to enjoy it.

I was coming off a long (for me) issue with an IT band - finally got the knee pain diagnosed and on the way to a fix.  Thank you Dr. AJ Gregg in Flagstaff!  He did some amazing work, sent me home with hip exercises, and told me to test out my knee by doing something that would previously cause a problem.

Well, running downhill was the biggest problem.  Can't imagine a better place to test it that in a big canyon where you start out running downhill and turn around whenever you want.

The spectacular canyon (finally, it says, we can focus on the important stuff):

Starting down Bright Angel trail, lots of great colors:

Happy to have shade part of the time - and beautiful things to look at:

On my first foray I made it 3 miles down the trail - no pain, just some discomfort but learning ways to work it out and minimize it while on the run (lighter steps, glute activation, e.g.).  I was so excited to make my goal for the day that I had to take a picture:

Ranger talk about condors - we didn't see any flying up close on this trip, but learned a lot of great info about the giant birds.

Mule train on the way down the trail - I passed them in my next descent down Bright Angel to Indian Gardens.

Another successful (and longer) downhill run!

I went out to Plateau Point for the first time - now one of my favorite spots for a view all around and down to the river:

Back to Indian Gardens, I took the Tonto Trail across a few miles and over to South Kaibab to climb out.  Along the way I spotted a possible cave up high:

Day 3 of knee testing - all the way down to the river (on South Kaibab) and back up on Bright Angel.  Everything was still working well, yay!  More amazing scenery to boot:

Look who I found!

John doing the reverse loop, stopping for a kiss and a selfie.  I think the Grand Canyon inspires us to gesture with big arms:

Almost down to the river...

I made it!

Bridge over to Bright Angel:

A couple days later, on Grand View trail:

Ruins near an old mine:

Horseshoe Mesa - fun place to explore:

Century plant, I think:

Some scenes from John's long run from Grandview to South Kaibab via the Tonto trail (he also did a rim-to-rim-to-rim on another long day but didn't stop to take pictures on that one):

Yep, it was a long day for John - all the way to sunset!

Thank you, Grand Canyon!  What a great place for exploring and training.