Rim2Rim2Rim – Lessons Learned – Simple Rules
While running the Grand Canyon lasted less than 24 hours (barely), the lessons I learned will last a lifetime. I will use these lessons as future simple rules to follow. Looking back at my epic adventure in the Grand Canyon, I can say I have learned about myself and how much pain I can subject myself to.
The list below is just a few lessons/rules that will stick with me.
This is a common term in the Air Force. A wingman is someone who keeps you in check and looks out for you even during momentary lapses of reason. Nearing the end of my all day adventure, I found myself needing a wingman. My wingman, Brian, kept me motivated and sat with me during the endless, painful cramps. If I did not have a wingman, I might have rested too long or even taken a nap on the trail, so I feel a wingman is a vital person to have in a time of need.
I was running for approximately 12 hours when my wheels fell off. I set a reminder on my watch to eat my bars and gels, and each contained enough electrolytes to sustain me for the duration of my journey. For some reason, I lost track of my consumption – maybe it was the heat. Looking back, once I was sick at my stomach I could not think of consuming anything but water. Walking out with extra food was not my intent. Consuming more electrolytes might have made the final ascent more enjoyable, and probably could have reduced the leg cramps.
These cripple me! Not sure if I learned my lesson here, but I learned how a small twinge can escalate to multiple leg muscle contractions and lead to stoppage. However, fatigue may be more to blame for my cramps than nutrition, and time will tell. My focus going forward will be nutrition and training.
I had a couple small pebbles in my shoe, and after I cleared them out I did not properly tie my shoe. Running the extreme elevations of the GC is very different than the level roads of southeast Virginia, so ensuring shoes are properly secured early on will alleviate unnecessary friction. I should have addressed the hot spot as soon as I realized I was having a problem. A smaller blister, left unchecked, can grow to be a show-stopper.
Pain it does not last forever
The last couple hours climbing out of the Grand Canyon were probably the most painful hours I have ever experienced. Taking it slowly and one step at a time helped to lessen the cramps and pain. I knew that all the discomfort I was feeling would soon dissipate after some rest.
Going Down is Optional, Going Up is Mandatory
This was seen on a sign during the final hours of my climb out, and I feel this could be used with any aspect of life. Life is full of many choices, and when faced with a decision, we need to see it through even when the outcome is not what we had intended.