Wednesday, September 19, 2012
GRAND TO GRAND ULTRA - THE SURPRISE RACE
160 MILES / 257 KILOMETERS
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 1 -31 MILES/51 KM
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: http://www.g2gultra.com/race-coverage
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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! https://www.facebook.com/g2gultra
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 :)