"Yeah, this is where the fun begins", he replied. (Or something like that, I can't remember exactly.)
We had just stopped to refuel at the mile 19 aid station, just over halfway through the 34 mile course at the Peterson Ridge Rumble. At 2 hours, 37 minutes, I was less than an hour out from my longest run since the Capitol Peak Mega Fat Ass back in January and I was already feeling the 19 mile pounding in my quads even though I had been focusing on running lightly in the typical ultra-runner shuffle since waking up that morning. I could see the same effects on many other runners around me as well. Everyone was moving along well, but not quite as daisy-fresh as a couple hours earlier.
We ran on down the trail side by side for a few minutes until we realized we were on the same pace and were running comfortably together so after a few more minutes, a light conversation started up. You know, the usual... "Have you done this race before?" "Do you live around here?" "How long have you been doing ultras?" "What other events have you done?" "What is the flight ratio of a coconut-laden swallow?" And on and on... Until my new running partner mentioned doing the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim. And my ears immediately perked up. "Eh? Really?! Wow. Me too!" "Really? Well I'm going down to run it again in three weeks if you want to go." "No way! Wow, that's tempting..." And on down the trail we continued together, passing the miles under our dusty shuffling feet whilst bantering about... whatever. Life. All good things. The positive energy circle.
I finally decided to introduce myself after more than just a few miles. (You know, guys don't really bother with names right off the bat, right?)
"I'm Trevor, by the way", I said, turning to properly meet my new friend.
"No S$#@!", came the response.
Which surprised me. I was, at first, a bit stunned by this because normally, this is not the reaction I get when meeting someone new. But thankfully, he continued, and I quickly understood his reply.
"I'm Trevor too", he said.
We both turned to look at each other like we were looking into a mirror. Sizing each other up, perhaps. I wondered if what I saw looking at him is what he saw looking at me. Was he thinking the same thing? Do I see him looking at me looking at him? Does he see me looking at him looking at me? What?
"Wow, that's pretty wierd", I said mundanely, not even coming close to actually expressing how entirely surprised I was by the fact that, first of all, of all the races I have done, I have never ended up running with anyone for more than a mile, and now, here's this guy who not only shares the same pace as I and has been running with me for like 3 miles already, but we have the same name as well. And I've only met maybe two or three Trevors in my entire life.
It was around that point that I think we both silently made the loose assuption that we would be running this thing in to the finish together. The company would be nice. And that's exactly what we did. Our pace slowed down gradually over those last long 10 miles and we got passed by 10 or so runners over that stretch, but I didn't mind so much. We were still shuffling along at a sub-10 minute mile pace and I thought that was pretty darned good given my lack of proper trail-running training leading up to that day. We ended up crossing the finish line together in 5 hours, 5 minutes, and change. (I was hoping to break 5 hours, but oh well. I was still quite pleased with how my body held up and that was the most important thing to me. The worst thing was the instant hamstring cramp in my left leg when I hopped over a fallen log on the trail at mile 30-ish, but I was able to quickly stretch it out and keep running. The tendonitis in my knees that has hampered me since last July was nowhere to be seen. Giddyup!)
Coming in to the Mile 19 Aid Station with Trevor showdowing me silently behind. At this point, I had no idea he was even there.
My parents snapped this photo of Buddy and I when I did a quick deep knee bend and Buddy hopped over to say hi. Good boy.
Because the course was shortened by four miles this year due to deep snow on the upper section, the course designer(s) decided to eek out as much mileage as possible by routing us around three-quaters of the track. Evil. The hurdles were there for any clown who considered giving the spectators entertainment was more important than their individual health and safety. From what I heard, only one brave soul made a successful attempt at them, much to everyone's pleasure.
Which brings me back to the topic of today's post.
On Thursday night, I'll be blasting off southward again in the slippery little Saturn eco-rocket on my way down to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I'll hopefully make it past SLC Thursday night, stop to sleep, make it the rest of the way on Friday, meet up with Trevor and his friend Nelson that evening at the South Rim, camp out, then embark on our 48 mile journey at 6am on Saturday. The goal is a mellow 12 hours. (Well, as mellow as 12 hours across the Grand Canyon and back can be...) Sun-up is approx 5:30. Sun-down approx 7:15. Starting and finishing in daylight will be a first! (There's quite a bit more daylight in May compared to November)
We'll be descending via the Kaibab trail this time instead of the Bright Angel trail which I have done the two previous times I've run across the G.C. Both trails end up at the river crossing at the bottom at the same place. The Kaibab trail is a bit shorter, but a bit steeper. And the lost mileage is made up on the way back by ascending the Bright Angel trail and having an extra couple miles on the road to get back to the car.
I still have not done a whole lot of running since the Rumble on 4/13. But here's a sample of what I've been up to in the meantime:
I rode up to Jackson Lake and back on Sunday, 4/20, for a five hour ride in 28 degree temps and 30 mph winds with occasional snow flurries. The lake is still not even close to thawing.
The wind was blowing snow across the road with such force that it created a small ground blizzard. I was coated in a frosty layer more and more as I continued to ride back to town.
This is what our local trails look like as of last Friday, 4/25.
I did another five hour ride in Grand Teton National Park this past Sunday, this time in much better conditions. I met up with some friends to enjoy the last Sunday of vehicle-free park road enjoyment along with 1,000 other people. I've never seen it so crowded and I've never seen so much snow up there at the end of April!