Irunfar.com has recently featured an interview about some kid setting a new FKT at the Grand Canyon. I am waiting for them to call me about my record, but since it's Monday and they haven't called yet (time is money, Bryon) I decided to sell the story to myself at a steep discount.
There is a rock, somewhere in between Phantom Ranch and the Cottonwood Campground, that marks the turn around point of the standard R2RandomPoint2R route. I can not describe it exactly, though it makes a nice seat, and there is probably still a large wad of phlegm in the vicinity. I travelled from the South K-bob trailhead to this point and back in 6:53:38. My original goal was to complete the entire R2R2R, but generally I set the bar high and gradually lower it until my level of competence is matched (it's important to remember that at one point I wanted to be a doctor, then a teacher, then just to find any job).
The Grand Canyon is awesome for many reasons, the most important being that the Double Crossing is not an official race and my DNF wouldn't appear on ultrasignup.com. This allowed me, mid-run, to create my own route, set an FKT and make it back to the South Rim in time to see Dakota steal the FKT spotlight from me. What a punk.
Our day started with the national anthem, sung by a chorus of runners whose voices were more Biz Markie than Mariah Carey. This picture was taken less than .01 miles into the adventure, and proves that I was on FKT pace, if only for a switchback.
We made our way down the canyon, and I enjoyed a PR cliff-pee (it had to be a 1,500 foot drop). The group acted like the ends of an accordion, splitting up and regrouping down the trail, straining for glimpses of our 7th and fastest member. At the river we split for good. Some running happened in the next section, but I decided that sight-seeing would be the order of the day as my legs were moving as slowly as the mighty Colorado cuts through granite. At the aforementioned sittin-rock I turned around and headed back to Phantom Ranch. Beer at Phantom Ranch costs $4.95, I was in a place where I would have needed at least four to feel good so I decided to save my money and start walking up.
It's a cool but daunting feeling to stand at the bottom of the Grand Canyon whilst totally spent. There are no chairlifts and the mule train had left the station. At every other race I've DNFd this year (2, but who's counting) I hitched a ride back to the start. This does not work in the Big Ditch. I still had to get out. So I hiked, and passed the time cajoling hikers to cheer on Dakota when they saw him. I chatted with a 17 year old kid about football (not even Tebowing would save me), I cursed the "3.5 miles from South Rim" sign and enjoyed the truly spectacular views. Finally, about .25 miles from the rim I stopped and waited for Dakota. We both got our FKTs and spent a few minutes waiting for the bus, flexing under our spandex tights for the tourists to prove our manliness.