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Rim2Rim2Rim - RunUltra Marathon


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Grand Canyon, Arizona
United States
Sunny
Total Time = 17h 39m 33s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 2:15 AM and brushed teeth and put on running gear and sweats. Mas.on picked me up at 2:45 AM and we drove from Williams, AZ up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Event warmup:

Situated all the gear we had (camelbacks, headphones, handheld bottles, gloves, hats, shorts, granola bars and gels) and then walked from the car over to the Bright Angel Trailhead.
Run
  • 17h 39m 33s
  • 51.1 miles
  • 20m 44s  min/mile
Comments:

Got under way at 4:30 AM and temp was 27 degrees. wanted to wear compression socks but somehow forgot to pack them! had on the trail shoes, running shorts, cotton shorts over those, arm warmers, long sleeve running shirt, and then the donkey head tech tee over that. two pair of gloves and a knit hat i bought the day before.

So off we go down the Bright Angel. Total darkness minus our headlamps. I have this phobia about ledges a bit so i was hugging the wall bigtime and choosing my steps carefully. Bright Angel trail on the South Rim is a pretty nice trail with good footing as its used by many tourists as well as the mules. We were laughing and joking at this point and in awe of the darkness that surrounded us. From time to time we would stop and turn off the head lamps and just look at all the stars.

Once we got over that and got down to business, Mason took the lead and picked up the pace some. Soon we could see other headlamps and hear a group of people below us. We would catch them just prior to Indian Springs campground which is about four miles from the rim. Mason had a friend camping at this campground that was serving as a sherpa of sorts for us. Mason had the directions to Jesse's tent but we still couldnt find it. We did stop tho and ditched the cotton shorts serving as the outer layer and i also ditched the top layer of gloves.

Back on the trail and wasn't much longer that we caught up to the other group again. This group contained six guys from California who we would come to refer to as the California Dreamers. Six guys who trained for the Rim2Rim2Rim with a goal of sub 14 hours by doing olympic style weight lifting, crossfit, and a long run (one time) of 15 miles!

So now there are 8 of us running in a single file line but Mason and I are pulling away from them as we were feelng pretty good and comfy. At this point we came into a canyon that kind of wound down in a loose spiral and the view was quite impressive! We had been trading off an on who was filming with the gopro cams (he had one and so did i) and it was at this point that the one i was using decided to stop working properly. He switched his on and his lasted about another 20 minutes until his did the same thing.

We rounded a few more turns and came upon Mason's friend Jesse and his girlfriend. Chatted with them some and ditched some more equipment and explained to them where we ditched the other stuff at the campground. At this point the California Dreamers had passed us again but not before they stopped for some photo ops! Back to running and turned the corner to come upon Pipe Beach and there is a guy and gal there taking pictures. They asked us to stop and do the turn again so they could get some "action" shots so we obliged (this was also the first view of the river and wasn't long after sunrise, which wasn't all that great due to being on the floor of the canyon). Ended up chatting with the couple and turns out they are writing a book on Rim2Rim2Rim and interviewed us and took some more pictures as well. Will be interesting to see what they write, if anything about us!

Back to running and catch the California Dreamers just prior to crossing the Colorado River. Both of us still feeling pretty good so far and laughing and joking. Stop at Phantom Ranch and then back at it passing thru the Bright Angel Campground and onto the North Kaibob Trail.

Thru the next section the view continued to be amazing and we were starting to see more and more people. One group consisted of three guys who said they were doing a "training" run of Rim2Rim for two weeks later when they are attempting a Rim2Rim2Rim. Hope they are able to do it and hope the water is still turned on for them as this is the last weekend of guaranteed water at each point along the trail as they turn it off for the off season. Another group we saw was the Father & Son who were just going across to the other side and shuttling it back. Next up was a group of four ladies and one guy who were doing Rim2Rim and had left South Kaibob trailhead (shorter distance but steeper trail) at 3 AM.

After that we came out of the canyon walls so to speak and into more "openness". Rolling hills thru here and very rocky and narrow trails. Because of the openness the sun was also starting to beat down on us and was probably about 70ish degrees at this point. Hit Cottonwood Campground, which is 7 miles from the North Rim in 4 hrs and 2 mins and still feeling basically pretty good about life in general. Decided to trade the knit cap in for the visor (love my visor!). We met another group here that had left the Bright Angel Trailhead at 3 AM who were from L.A. We came up with a good name for them. They were known from that point on as the L.A. Group. They were also doing Rim2Rim2Rim. Chatted some and then off we went in search of our "half way point". Little did we know what was in store.........

Of the two Rims the North is higher, and as we were to find out, steeper. You start out at Cottonwood with 7 miles to go to the rim itself but the trail is up and down. about a mile in you start the journey up. The North Rim isn't as "touristy" as the South so the trail is more rocky, sandy, uneven footing, loose rocks, oh yeah, and the return of the drop offs of the side as well! Our pace slowed but still steady as we came upon our last group that we were to come to know for the day. Three people, a Father, a Daughter, and her Husband. All originally from Brookfield, WI. They were to be known as "The Family". They had left at 2 AM from Brigh Angel and were doing the return trip as well. Played leap frog with them for a bit and then the altitude and rugged nature of the trail started kicking mine and Mason's backsides!. Wasn't long until our pace was below 2 mile per hour and at times on the North Rim side it dipped well below 1 mile per hour. Hot, altitude change, narrow trails with less than stellar footing had us both ready to tap out.

There is a tunnel that is 1.7 miles from the North Rim edge and that became our mission. We would walk some and then rest. He was cramping up bad and I felt like I couldn't catch my breath at all. I had a headache and was a bit light headed (even more than normal!) and had stopped sweating. Did stop to use a tree and that was a very very bright yellow, which is not good. But at last we made the tunnel and sat and chatted some with The Family. 1.7 miles to go and we were ready to be done.

Somehow got moving again. I think the thought of tapping out and actually getting some food into us motivated us to get going. Same as before, walk some then stop and rest. Felt like we had walked quite a long ways from the tunnel and we asked someone how much further. Jokerman said 300 yards. I later told Mason that I wanted to go back and punch him in the face. Getting closer now and saw a Park Ranger who simply said "you guys coming from the South?" We said yes and her reply was "Well from the looks of you, I would suggest not going back today". Yep, good advice which we were ready to listen to, afterall, she is a professional, right?

FINALLY get out of the canyon on the North Rim (took almost 4 hours to do that 7 miles from the Cottonwood campground), sit down and discuss our options, which at this point was, "how are we getting a ride back to the South Rim?". No cell phone signal here at this spot so walk to the lodge were there was food and coverage (hence the extra mileage). Got to the lodge and made the call to our lovely spouses and were turned down on the ride option and told to fend for ourselves and figure it out as we should have had a better back up plan that to have them drive 4.5 hours one way to come get us when they were enjoying the views of the South Rim. So, being guys, we got upset about it and went and ate a pizza and drank some coke. Also tried to find a shuttle or a ride back to the South side. Found out that the shuttle back south left at 6 AM and there were no available rooms at the lodge, and even if there were it would cost us over $300 each to stay and catch the ride. Talked it over, decided to man up, buy some warmer clothing, and just finish it off and do the Rim2Rim2Rim.

So, back down to the trail head with warm clothing, a full belly, and a "ha, i'll show them" type of attitude! While getting clothing we saw the L.A. Group ready to get going back down the trail and wished them luck. At the trail head we saw the Four ladies and One guy and they were tapping out. Also just coming up the trail was the last few California dreamers and they were also tapping out and calling it a day. This actually motivated Mason and myself all the more and off we went.

Decided prior to departure that we would do the following:
1. brisk walk from Trail head to the tunnel and then run where we could
2. Eat or Gel at every hour. Alternate
3. Drink every 5 mins.

I kept track of the eating and gel-ing and we both would call out water times.

this worked out perfectly as we hit the Cottonwood Campground in just under 2 hours. Along the way we passed the L.A. Group and they were not only surprised that we had caught them already at that point but that we looked so well.

Went thru the "openness" again and decided our goal should be to get to the river before nightfall. stayed comfy and relaxed, running where feasible and walking as needed. Hitting nutrition and hydrating was spot on.

Nightfall came and we were still short of the river but close. We were remembering each spot we passed by saying "this is where we passed so and so, or this is where we talked about that ultra in Vegas". Say what you want, but it made the time fly by!!

Across the river, passed Pipe Beach (where the book people were) and up the "spiral" trail, which this time did not feel like a spiral at all and was also nothing but "steps", which of course, were totally uneven! This dealt us an unexpected blow as we thought we knew where we were but this thru us off.

A little bit further we saw some headlamps and soon enough came upon The Family. The were as astonished as the L.A. Group as to our condition and that we decided to do the return trip! (not that we had a choice!)

Mason started feeling the effects on this side. On the North Side I was feeling it way worse than he was (I think he was just acting so I felt better about life!), but the roles were reversed on the return trip.

Soon running became a chore as most of the trail now was an uphill trend, with rugged uneven footing. We knew it wouldnt be long until we were back at Indian Springs and the promise of some familiar faces with a chance to get some salty nutrition. Only problem was that once again we couldnt find the tent which meant we couldnt find the items. we did find the gear that we had ditched in the morning tho, so that was cool!

So, four miles to go and our pace is just under 2 miles an hour. Struggling has ensued but still doable. Then it all collapsed. This time tho, it was Mason where on the North Side it was me. Cramping, dizziness/lightheaded feeling and some nausea mixed in. nausea typically means upset tummy as well and Mason is not the best guy to run behind if he is having tummy issues!! however, i also did not want him behind me while going up the South Rim with those drop offs right next to us, so I took one for the team and tried not to be directly in the line of fire!!

Over the course of those next four miles Mason would proceed to walk some, then rest. I as all to happy to oblige the rest stops as the back of my knees were really starting to ache. After a few of the stops Mason started vomitting as well. We were tired, hungry, and ready to be done. It was way later than we had hoped it would be when we finished (though, waiting 2.5 hours to regroup at the North Rim does that I suppose!). A few more stops, a few more vommits for Mason and some new aches for me and I felt something I hadn't felt in many many hours. It took a moment to realize it but when I did I got very excited! What I felt was WIND!!! On the beginning decent of the South Rim I noticed it was windy but after about 15-20 mins after starting I realized that the wind had stopped. So, logically, once i felt that wind I knew we were getting close. Only problem was that I had to keep it in some as Mason's puking sounds were now echoing off the canyon wall!!!

Couple more stops and we looked up and realized we were close which motivated us like nothing ever has. I told Mason we probably had three more switchbacks and I think I almost saw a wee little smile from him. It was even better though because as we took the next switchback we saw the trail head directly infront of us!!! I swear it was glowing like the brief case from pulp fiction!

Crossed the Trail head, gave each other a half hearted "good job" and the weakest fist bump ever and walked to the car. Threw all the gear in the back and drove home.

Woke up at 2:15 AM
Started at 4:30 AM
Finished at Midnight
Back to the Hotel at 1:15 AM
Asleep by 1:20 AM

As much as I was totally ticked off at my spouse I want to thank her for NOT coming or sending her father to come get us. Was a serious gut check and we pulled it out.

Thank you to Mason for putting up with my whiny beyatchy attitude on the North Rim.

Thank you to everyone who supported me along the way.

No, I did not fall in.
No, I did not die.
and
No, My organs did not explode.

I, did, however do Rim2Rim2Rim.

oh, and one more thing in closing. It is NOT recommended that you hike down to the river and back in one day. Man up, go all the way dambit!

What would you do differently?:

Better nutrition on the first leg across, easier pace at points as well.
Post race
Warm down:

Drive back to Williams. Should not have as Mason was basically passed out and I was seeing some pretty crazy stuff!!!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

the Grand Canyon. Duh. Tough as nails event. If you are going to do this, try to get some altitude training in or do a gabillion tons of hillwork!! Toughest thing I have EVER done in my lifetime, by far.




Last updated: 2012-01-30 12:00 AM
Running
17:39:33 | 51.1 miles | 20m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: From the South Rim on the Bright Angel Trail over the Colorado River to meet up with the North Kaibob Trail and take that all the way to the North Rim. Turn around and go back to the South Rim the way we came.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2012-10-16 4:30 PM

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Elite
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West Allis, Wisconsin
Subject: Rim2Rim2Rim


2012-10-16 5:47 PM
in reply to: #4456546

Iron Donkey
38643
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, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
You truly DTFU'ed! Can't wait to see the pics!
2012-10-16 6:02 PM
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Elite
3002
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HURRICANE, Utah
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
great job! 
2012-10-16 7:38 PM
in reply to: #4456546

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Elite
3687
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Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Holy Crap! That's all I got.

Edited by mndiver 2012-10-16 7:39 PM
2012-10-16 8:49 PM
in reply to: #4456546

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Master
1480
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Muskego, WI
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
strong work my donkey friend!! Mileage total?
2012-10-16 9:29 PM
in reply to: #4456546

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Pro
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Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Um, you are awesome! Congrats!


2012-10-16 10:02 PM
in reply to: #4456546

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Master
2770
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Central Kansas
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Wow. That is epic. You are tough.
2012-10-16 10:25 PM
in reply to: #4456546

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Elite
5145
500010025
Cleveland
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
That is seriously bad a$$.  Well done!
2012-10-17 7:37 AM
in reply to: #4456546

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Master
1980
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Waukesha, WI
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
And I quote my favorite Nash tag "Amazeballs!!!!"  I am glad you are back safe and have this story to tell Toby's children's children.  Enjoy your rest and take it easy for a while, wouldya.  You're making some of us look bad  Way to go.
2012-10-17 7:51 AM
in reply to: #4456546

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Elite
3060
200010002525
N Carolina
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Congrats!!!!  I've got this on my bucket list.  I've done Bright Angel down to river and South Kaibab back out.  Rim2Rim2Rim is no joke!!!  Well done!
2012-10-17 10:12 AM
in reply to: #4457135

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Champion
6056
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Menomonee Falls, WI
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Amazing, epic, incredible run and report, Dave. I gotta say you've inspired me-- to never attempt anything like that. But, hey, if it works for you...





2012-10-17 10:29 AM
in reply to: #4456546

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Elite
3221
20001000100100
the desert
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Awesome...I live in Az and need to do r2r2r sometime. Inspiring
2012-10-17 11:23 AM
in reply to: #4456546

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Expert
1121
1000100
Menomonee Falls, WI
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Impressive job Mister.  Sounds like a real "character builder" experience and it's not like you need much more "character".  Congrats and way to sport the donkey love in the great, massive, grand canyon!!!  EEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAWWW!
2012-10-17 12:14 PM
in reply to: #4456546

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Extreme Veteran
877
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Pa
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim

Very cool. Love the report. Planning a trip next year :-)

2012-10-17 1:37 PM
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Elite
3518
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Madison, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
YOU ROCK!! just sayin...
2012-10-17 2:11 PM
in reply to: #4456546

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Champion
7704
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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
WOW that is so col.  Congratulations on a massive accompishment


2012-10-17 8:50 PM
in reply to: #4456546

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Member
67
2525
Maryland
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
I cramp just reading your report. You must have been truly out of it to expect any response from you wife other than, "figure it out." Epic adventure. Thanks for sharing.
2012-10-17 10:30 PM
in reply to: #4456546

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Expert
944
50010010010010025
Waller County, TX
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim

Well done, and I can feel every step.

I used to live in AZ and have done the Canyon many times R2R but never pulled off a double. Came close in '06. Reading the RR brought back good memories.

Again, outstanding job pushing on through (of course you didn't have a whole lotta choices ).

2012-10-18 5:43 PM
in reply to: #4456546

Subject: ...
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2012-10-18 8:00 PM
in reply to: #4456546

Champion
5312
5000100100100
Calgary
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Awwww, so jealous. Way to go. That is a great story. So glad I wimped out, sounded super rough. Especially that climb at the end, I can only imagine, in get convulsions just thinking of it. I actually was all like, " I don't need to do this." Reading this report got me the fever again to get into that kind of shape. Congrats.
2012-10-19 8:05 AM
in reply to: #4456546

Veteran
279
100100252525
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim

You are a total idiot.

 

glad you didn't die. love ya.



2012-10-21 9:45 PM
in reply to: #4456546


31
25
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Nice thorough report!  I think I will try it!
2012-10-22 2:51 PM
in reply to: #4456546

Member
213
100100
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim

Gonna do this as a through hike next Easter weekend.  I can't wimp out now knowing someone did it as a run.  Nice Job!

2012-10-27 5:04 PM
in reply to: #4456546

Veteran
458
1001001001002525
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
Beautiful & inspiring
2012-10-27 6:51 PM
in reply to: #4456546

Master
1732
100050010010025
Delafield, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Rim2Rim2Rim
I am thinking if you guys took an actual donkey with you it would have been helpful.  As usual you make pushing the limits look like fun.  Very impressive.
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