Running Rim to Rim to Rim

Choices are hard sometimes . I had already begun to imagine the dirty trail beneath my feet, the view, the exhaustion, and the gab session when my running-mom-partner-in-crime (Lisa) asked me a random question to distract us from the inevitable fatigue that would set in while running the Rim to Rim to Rim (R2R2R) of the Grand Canyon. I just couldn’t make it happen this round.

Perhaps the decision not to join in the R2R2R fun was what propelled me to plop down on the couch with a glass of wine with my laptop and proceed on a race registration “bender”. Late August I put another set of challenges of no less equal magnitude on my race calendar: The North Face 50km, Cal International Marathon, Seven Summit Series by Ragnar, The Truckee Half Marathon, and the furthest out and most outrageous, Comrades Marathon in South Africa (running-mom-partner-in-crime from college made me do that one – Stephanie).

Some people online shop in the late evening hours after their family is in bed; I sign up for races.

More than the wine, it was having to decline the great adventure of running the Grand Canyon. The R2R2R, I have discovered,  is one of those things runners do not as an organized race but rather, a collective challenging adventure that produces stories and memories for years to come. It is roughly forty six miles of rough running down, across, up and back again in one of our countries most beautiful, natural landmarks. It sounds ridiculous but, it is available to all who of the desire to see the entire Grand Canyon on foot. Last April another running crew I associate with went out as a seventieth birthday party with our high school cross country running coach we are all still in touch with.

Tomorrow morning my running friends from CLIF embark on this great adventure, starting before sunrise.  Not joining them was  tough decision. Instead, I am on a different kind of adventure, exploring the nutrition and running communities of Chicago and bringing new insights back home from a nutrition conference. Blah, blah but, don’t worry. I will make those insights worth it.

This R2R2R crew is so on my mind that last night I dreamed I had the weekends mixed up and that they were actually running it next weekend instead. I could join the after all! Alas, it was  a dream. It is impossible to “do it all” after all.

Given I have a an ultra and a road marathon coming up I will be putting in some miles between nutrition sessions. My Grand Canyon crew on my mind all the while. Just knowing they are out there will motivate me to cover the twenty two miles on my training plan tomorrow while I think of them having to go twenty-four more miles to meals, showers, and bed (likely in that order). Enjoy every spectacular minute!


Endurance Mamas

My bib number is in hand. My clothes, race food & hydration, logistics to getting to the starting line are set. Oops, except my alarm. Pausing here to go set my alarm for ….wait for it…..3:45 am to voluntarily run 31.8 miles (50km) with 7200 ft of climbing and descending. This is about the point before a race that I ask the question “why”?

It hurts, is really hard, cold, early, and tiresome.  Yet, here I am toeing the line time and time again. You know why? Because why not. What if it isn’t any of those things or, the smiles, support, camaraderie , community, sense if accomplishment, the beauty, and the simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other so purposefully outweighs everything else.

It is funny to me that I never thought this kind of running to be something I could do until after having children.  Getting pregnant, staying pregnant, carrying on daily activities while pregnant, birthing a child out of your body, caring for the child, positively influencing the child, and raising them is truly the real ultra-adventure. Everything else that involves just worrying about yourself, like running a race, is easy. Well, easy is an over simplification. If you can do all that you are capable of doing anything including running as far and high as you want to.

So along with solid crew of other mothers I have joined in this crazy adventure with, I will be out there getting dirty and smiling with them all the way to the finish line while love-hating them at the same time.

Oh and of course I will be consuming sixty grams of carbohydrate per hour, water, and electrolyte drink to keep my fueled!

Endurance Mamas post 26.2 “training run”