1 week until R5 in the Grand Canyon
I am 6 days away from what will be my biggest athletic effort to date. I intend to cross the Grand Canyon in a self supported effort 4 times. This is known as rim2rim2rim2rim2rim (R5). My intent is to set a new FKT record (fastest known time) and beat the current record of 40ish hours. This endeavor will be somewhere between 90-100 miles with more elevation gain than I care to even figure out.
I have never run further than 100km and I have not run further than ~50 miles self supported before (which was R3, May 2021). I also think the longest I have pushed myself has been about 17 hours (on a thru hike). This will be a big leap for me in terms of distance, time, and the self supported nature of the run (no aid or support at all!). So yeah, I’m nervous!
I wish I could say I was in tip top shape and ready to go, but my training has not been very specific and my hip injury has just not let go. Last weekend my left hip really began to flare up. It seemed somewhat normal at first (I’ve been battling this for about 7 months now), but the flare up seemed to get worse and no amount of pain killer, self massage, self cupping, theragunning or stretching seemed to give any relief. I haven’t run in 4 days now. I am ok with this as I know I’m not going to gain any fitness this close to the run and I desperately need my hip to calm down and make some improvements. But the lack of exercise these last few days combined with packing up my apartment and moving plus the compounded climax of work stress has not made this taper easy. I hope I can channel some of this frenzy into something productive and can find a few hours this week to visualize and plan the details that still need to be ironed out.
This hip flare up is affecting my every step while walking. I am hopeful that the trail and elevation of the canyon won’t aggravate it though. I went into my R3 with this same injury and was 100% fine. But it is certainly in my head (and body) and is an added layer of stress I wish were nonexistent.
Otherwise, I feel good about what lies ahead. I know it will be a long time to be out there and I’m lucky I’ve already explored these trails once this year so I know what I’m getting myself into. I’m beyond grateful my parents will be able to make the trip out there with me to drop me off at the start (as there is no parking at the South Kaibab TH) and to be there when I finish (or in case I need to bail or push the SOS button!). They will not be allowed to see me during my run as spectators are not permitted in the self supported category for FKTs, but luckily there are many other trails for them to explore out there!
It’s going to be cold on the rims at night at about 9,000 ft high and hot in “the box” (down low) during the day. I still need to dial in my nutrition plan and decide if I will cache a bear canister halfway with some resupply for myself. Between that and some rehab and a campout with 70 high schoolers my week is spoken for and the next thing I know I’ll be arriving in the Arizona desert with all my nerves and just myself.
Send me good vibes and recommendations of stuff to download and listen to on my phone! And if you’re keen, follow me with my live tracker next Saturday, 10/9 (I aim to start ~4:00/4:30am mountain time).