Running & Good Times

Running the Grand Canyon – Packing & Planning – Part 2

I plan to capture as much detail as possible about my Grand Canyon experience, so I have decided to break my rim to rim to rim trip into a couple of parts.  This way it will not take you four days to read through the entire adventure.

Running the Grand Canyon – Part I

This part of the post will focus on what I packed, and a little bit of the planning it took to get me through the crossing.

Did I Carry Enough?

About a month out, Eric and I felt it was necessary to meet with a nutritionist to see what we should be taking with us on this journey.  After about a two-hour visit and crunching a lot of numbers, I felt we left with more questions than answers.  My goal was to find different types of calorie-dense foods that would be easy on the stomach and packable.  Everything he and others recommended would be just too messy for the trip and with the potential heat.  So, I will stick with what works in my training sessions and previous long runs- gels, bars, etc.

About two weeks out from the big day, I determined based on weather and nutritional requirements, my Nathan Elevation hydration pack was not going to work- too small.  I know, you should NEVER buy/use anything new for a big event, but I just could not fit everything I thought I would need in this pack.  After watching several r2r2r videos, I noticed lots of runners using Ultimate Direction (UD) packs or a similar pack with accessible front water bottles.  The UD pack would allow me to have quick access to my water bottles and also see how much water I was consuming.  Whereas, my Nathan pack had a bladder and it was going to be impossible to see my water level, and difficult to refill once packed with food and a few clothing items.  On several training runs in Virginia, I would consume about 1.5 liters due to the heat and humidity.  In Arizona, I would not have the humidity and my consumption levels would be entirely different.  So, I chose the UD Peter Bakwin Adventure Vest.  This pack would easily allow me to carry the food and clothing necessary to complete the trip.  Maybe it was a bit excessive, but long-term this will be a great daypack with the family.

This is what I packed to carry me during my adventure:

  • Food
    • Clif Bar – 2
    • Lara Bar – 4
    • Honey Stinger gels – 11
    • Honey Stinger chews – 4
    • Gatorade powder – 4
    • Gum (whole pack)
    • SportLegs – 16
  • Light rain jacket
  • Gloves
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Sunscreen
  • Aquaphor
  • Black Diamond Trekking poles
  • First aid kit with Advil
  • GoPro batteries and memory card
  • 2 x UD 20 oz bottles
  • Internal UD bladder
  • Black Diamond headlamp
  • Clothing: Pearl Izumi Ambassador hat and arm coolers, Columbia Ice cool shirt, Sugio Shorts, and Injinji trail socks, gaiters.




I credit Eric and his OCD for doing all of the planning for this event.  I believe without it, I would have finished much later and in a lot more pain.  His blog (runridelife) will have the finite details, so I will not go into it here.  He had prepared maps with elevation, an excel chart of all the points along our route (SK-NK-BA), including those that had known running water.  He also secured our rental van and cabin.  All we had to do was show up run!

Four members of the USMES team rendezvoused at the Phoenix Airport on Tuesday morning.  Eric and I were the first to arrive, and were shortly followed by Lori then Brian.  We traveled to Flagstaff and where a beautiful log cabin served as our base camp.  I wish we had more time here as this place was amazing.  Snowbowl, a popular ski resort, was the backdrop as we stood on the porch.  The cabin was so big that we each had our own space to relax, but ample room to socialize, too.




Wednesday, we decided to visit the Grand Canyon for photos and figure out a game plan for Thursday’s run.  We wanted to park as close as possible to the Bright Angel Trail.  This would eliminate any unnecessary walking afterwards.  This is also when we met Jamie, she was going to join us on this adventure, as well.

After some conversation next to the canyon’s edge, we decided it would be easier to meet Jamie and her friend JD at the Bright Angel Trail head then drive over to South Kaibab.  JD would take our van back to Bright Angel.


GC Planning


Another option could have been to take a bus or cab to South Kaibab, but that would have added more time to our departure/arrival.  The plan was to start running at 0430 Thursday morning.  Beating the mule train was our first objective.

Having JD there to ferry our van back was the perfect idea.




Tomorrow is going to be one helluva journey, both mentally and physically.  I think I am prepared, but only time will tell.

Running the Grand Canyon – Race Day – Part 3


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