To be clear with everyone, I’m a 55 year old male athlete who lives for challenges. So the challenge of a double crossing of the Grand Canyon was right up my alley. I’ve done crazy stuff like this my whole life, so this seemed like a perfect fit. The big thing for me was that my daughter Nichole and her husband Felix have helped make this a reality, like anything in life when you put a date on a dream it becomes a goal. That’s what Felix provided for me by helping me lock in a date. This allowed me to go to work and do the needed preparation. This post will review how I actually prepared over the last 18 months. As I stated before, I hope this will help those that want to do it as well.
First I had to be realistic with my schedule and what I had to do, to effectively be able to accomplish a R3. I also want to remind you that I do have a pretty good endurance background. So here we go!
My first four months involved running on Tuesday-Thursday and every other Saturday and every Sunday. I did strength work on Monday-Wednesday-Friday and every other Saturday. I made a decision early that muscle strength was going to be a major part of my program. As an older athlete I know that strength and recovery would play a huge role in my R3 training. I also had a secret weapon that over the last 18 months I have turned into very specialized training. It involves pulling a weighted sled and tires of various weights. I pulled the sled or tires 2-3 times per week, with a long pulling session every other Saturday during my first four months. My biggest problem was that I just didn’t know what to expect from my first event, a 75k night run in September of 2013. My training goal was to get 30-40 miles per week on the trails, with 15-30 coming on my long runs which was every other Saturday. This seemed to be working well, but I still wasn’t sure what I would experience. I really didn’t talk with anyone who had done such a long run. I was pretty much flying blind on this one. I was ok with that. Also being in Phoenix the heat was an issue with training but I still pushed through. The first 4 months helped me to get into a training groove and I learned a lot about what my body could do. My short term goal was to get in just enough miles on the trails to feel as if I was making progress and to do enough strength work and sled/tire puling to overcome and prevent injuries while maintaining my strength. During my next post I will discuss the details of how I trained and what I learned from my first ultra races on my way to my double crossing of the Grand Canyon.