Wednesday, September 19, 2012






TERRAIN: Hard packed sand, soft sand, sand dunes, forest trails, shallow river crossings, rocky roads and slot canyons.

START: North rim of the Grand Canyon

FINISH: The Grand Staircase

Total ascent over the entire course is 21,791ft (6,642m). Total descent is 17,965ft (5,476m).


STAGE 2 - 28 MILES/45 KM

STAGE 3 - 44 MILES/71 KM

STAGE 4 - 24 MILES/38 KM

STAGE 5 - 26 MILES/42 KM

STAGE 6 - 15 MILES/24 KM

CHARITY: Impossible2Possible will receive a portion of the proceeds from this event!!!

How did I get sucked into this one?! It wasn't hard. I got a text sometime Sunday night less than a week before I was supposed to run Pine Creek 100. "Call me, 7 a.m." Whaaa?? An unusual text had me wondering. Was everything ok? What happened? Hoping it was nothing bad, I called Ray at 7 Monday. "Got any plans at the end of September?" Was the first thing I heard. Hmmmm - no I sure didn't! Ray then proceeded to tell me about G2G, how they were down a man on team i2P and could I join the team in his place? I was excited of course, but doubtful that work would give me the time off. So, I held in any excitement thinking I would get shot down - due to it being month end, and the fact that we've had a bit of a mass exodus of people out of our department recently. I went to my manager, who went to her manager - and quickly heard "YES". YES. HOLY SHIT! Game on. I let Ray know I was in and then actually started to think about it for a minute. Now I was very very excited - and very very scared! The teammate who can't make it? Ferg Hawke. I am DEFINITELY no Ferg Hawke!! Ferg is one of Canada's - and the world's top ultra runners. I hoped the other two teammates knew what they were getting in me!! Laurie who?! Ha. So there it is. I have joined team i2P, we are a team of 3 people. Myself, John Zahab, and Brian Henderson. This will not be a relay, but a joint effort with all three of us running each mile together. For a split second I thought of running both Pine Creek 100 and G2G but quickly changed my mind. These two guys have been training their hearts out all summer and I wasn't about to get selfish and greedy with races and potentially damage the run that they've worked so hard for. Pine Creek OUT, Grand2Grand IN.

I had 22 days to prepare. Yes I had the miles in training for the 100, but none run with a 20 pound backpack! Trust me, that pack makes a huge difference. Hell, I didn't even have a pack!! (Since the race is unsupported, we have to carry all our food and gear with us for the entire journey - backpacks, sleeping bags, all of it)

The first weekend was spent running with a 20 pound weight vest. Thankfully was joined for a bit by my hubby, Zack Johnson, and Tim Harber on one of the days. I ordered a pack, had it shipped overnight and the following weekend was spent running with that. (There's even an extrordinary difference between the weight vest and the pack, as the weight in the weight vest is so evenly distributed therefor making it a bit easier) **but both are killer workouts! ;-) This past weekend was no different, ran with the pack. And that's it. That's my training for Grand 2 Grand. AYEEEEEEEEE!! I spoke with John over the phone about the run, what we would be eating, drinking, and wearing and he sounds like a great guy. Just crossing my fingers and hoping I can keep up with these guys and their speed!

I've not had enough time to research lightweight gear, packing, etc as much as I wanted since it's so last minute - but I have had some help in Ray as he's letting me borrow some of his stuff. Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and Canada Goose jacket - all super lightweight stuff. (A friend is someone who lets you borrow their jacket to wear day after day when you'll be completely nasty and sweaty and won't be showering!) We went over some things via Skype video this weekend and he'll be looking at my pack when I get to Kanab, as I think it's heavier than it really should be.

This month has been a whirlwind of activity, planning, coordinating, you name it since I found out. Lots of phone calls and texts to Canada ($$$ !!!!) It's been stressful but exciting at the same time. That's what makes this great. The unknown. The fear of not knowing. Wondering what it could possibly be like. Wondering if I can do it. Wondering if I can keep up with some great dudes. And - nothing beats your first time. You will never have another first marathon, first 50k, first 50 miler or 100. The raw emotions experienced on the "first" of anything completely pump me up. There's just nothing like it. So - my first unsupported stage race. Grand2Grand. WONDERFUL!

For those wishing the follow along during the race, the race website will be updated at:

For those who wish to send me some positive vibes during the race, you can actually send me emails! (Trust me, running with these 2 speedy guys I'm going to need all the positive vibes I can get!) All you do is send an email to In the subject line put "Name of Participant - Laurie Colon" or whichever participant you choose to contact. (it would also be awesome if someone can send me updates on my NC24 friends and Steve and Rachel at Virgil as well!!! Please!!!!)

The Grand to Grand facebook page will be updated as well, look them up, "like" them on facebook for info!

I leave tomorrow morning. I will be flying out of Akron/Canton at 11:25 and arriving in Las Vegas around 3:40 tomorrow afternoon. I will spend one night in Las Vegas (paid $44 for a room - ummm I hope I am NOT getting what I paid for with that)! Friday afternoon I will meet up with other runners and we will all get shuttled to Kanab, Utah. We'll spend one night in Kanab and the next morning wake up and do some prerace briefings, check ins, etc. Following all the neccessaries, we will then get shipped to camp site one where we'll enjoy a catered dinner and one last sleep before the race starts on Sunday. It ends the following Saturday and is finished with a great celebration in Las Vegas. Wish me well all! I'm gonna need it! I definitely don't want to let the team down so I'll be giving it my all and then some out there! I'm so incredibly grateful for this opportunity, there's just no words I have to describe how excited and thankful I feel! And nervous. And scared. But you know what - no matter what happens, I'll be running happy :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Burning River 100 and Beast of Burden Crew/Pacer Reports!

Lots has happened since my last blog post! My family and I visited my brother in Myrtle Beach and my husband has run his second 100 miler. I paced hubby at Burning River and my friend Kathy at Beast of Burden, my son started school again as well as cross country - and got accepted into the Perry Fire Explorers program. The little bugger is getting his temps in a couple weeks. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Busy as always!

After a very good running season my husband was more than ready for Burning River. The race was held at the end of July.
Like a big dummy, I forgot to charge my camera. So this is the only pic that we have. (Thanks Chaney!) The week was like any other, busy - and the night before the race my son had an interview with the Perry Fire Department's Fire Explorer Team. (HE GOT IN!!!)
Being the interview was late at night and after work - I had tons to do to prepare for the weekend. Hubby went to bed early as he should have, however chauffer duties and crew duties kept me up for quite a bit of time. Long story short I got a whole 3 hours of sleep the night before I would be up 24 hours plus! In the end lack of sleep wasn't an issue though, as I had not had any caffeine for a month, and just a small amount of coffee sent me through the roof. Problem solved. One of them. In the morning I woke up, jumped out of bed and felt a stabbing pain shooting through my foot. Not knowing what it was I tried to keep it to myself as I had to pace the old man for 38 miles. I was hoping it would go away FAST. I pushed it into the deep dark part of my mind and got the family ready and off we went! BR 100 start! The foot hurt during pacing duties even after popping one Aleve before pacing (do not recommend) at some point after we finished the pain went away. *POOF*! Like magic. I don't know what the heck it was but glad it didn't last.

Many friends were running this race so it made time at the aid stations fun. Eventually though everyone spread out and settled into their pace.

At the halfway point my sister came out so we could take my car to the finish, and so she could drop me off at the next aid station, all in time to pace my hubby. Maybe not such a bright idea, as I already know - every single race, no matter what the distance halfway in hubby starts the mental business. He gets nervous, starts to think about how bad 100 miles hurts, etc., you name it. Sure enough when I was at the parking lot at the Nat I got a phone call from a poor volunteer at an aid station....Husband said don't forget this, husband said grab that, blah blah blah (bless her heart for satisfying him and calling me!) All I could do was laugh and say "Ok". My sister dropped me off at the aid station and I waited, talking with some friends and waiting some more. This time last year I was waiting for him in the dark here, but this year there was PLENTY of daylight to go around! All of a sudden I saw him, grabbed my gear and we were off - 38 miles to go! It was nice running through the ledges when it was light out. Hubby was feeling tired, but really pleased with the time he was making. He was so far ahead of what he did last year - just amazing!


Enter in the hubby shuffle. He slowed to a walk, but mostly it was just mental. I could tell from last year, he was still feeling strong. So I had said, "Well just try and walk every minute, then run the next. I'll tell you when it's time to start and stop". That worked for awhile, but I could tell when I started to annoy him with the whole "RUN" now "WALK" bit. Quite frankly, I was starting to annoy the hell out of myself, too! Soooo I decided to trick him a bit :) I started to make a shuffling sound, like I was running - and thought maybe that would work. VOILA ! Sure enough it did! Every time he stopped, I'd wait a minute or two then break out the shuffle. (Now that he knows what I was doing I don't think that will work again, ha!) Soon he didn't have long to go (don't recall since I'm a blogger slacker but it was 3 miles I believe). He really picked up the pace during this portion. As if he got a bit of an adrenaline rush, or just a rush because "thank god this shit's about to end" or something, I'm not sure - but he really pushed it through to the end to get a near 6 hour p.r. on the course! This race ends his running season for the year and so proud of him! He's really come a long long way. Way to go babe!!


One of my favorite races, Beast of Burden was held at the end of August in Lockport New York. What makes this race so awesome? Bottom line: the people. Just extraordinary. It's like a family! (Funny in running, you gain more than friends but family - it's great! I've got i2P family, Copper Canyon family, BoB family - love all of it!)

Early in the morning I volunteered at my son's XC fun run 10k - manned a water station and took some pics for the team.

My hubby got off of work, met us at XC and we were then headed off to Lockport! I had the awesome job of pacing my friend Kathy for part of her first 100 mile finish, which was incredible! We got to the finish line and waited for Kathy's husband, Ray Zahab. In the meantime I snapped pictures (of course!) and talked with some friends - no wait - -family!!

Not too long after Ray showed up with his friend Nathalie. Her husband Jeff was pacing Kathy, we got the low down on what was going on and chatted for a bit. Then Kath came and her, Ray, and I were off for the next 12-ish miles! They're fun people to run with, easy going and just great people. We soon got to the turnaround and I went with Kathy for the next 25 miles. I can say out of everyone I've paced, I have NEVER ever seen anyone run so much as Kathy during! She was amazing and got a kick butt time out there! It was great getting to know her more and be out there with her - truly an inspirational woman, and seeing her cross the finish line was extraordinary! And I might add, a mother of two young kiddos....apparantely to someone's surprise at the finish line - I just heard a gasp and..."WOW, she's a MOM?!" from someone. I smiled and thought... Heck yeah man! Moms are TRUE Badasses :) CONGRATS KATHY!!!