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Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim
Grand Canyon, Az
October 2 - 4, 2015
(Trail runners don't get
For our annual
trek to both rims of the Canyon this year, we had a had
a nice change of plans when we found out our friend Kevin from
Florida was coming out to join us! I used to work with
him years ago when he lived in Phoenix, and since then we have
stayed in contact and have met up on occasion in Arizona to do
hiking. This year Kevin flew in Wednesday night late and
met up with us on the south rim town of Tucsyon at the Red Feather
Lodge where we spent the night. We met up that day and drove
out to the South Rim where we did the shops and some scenery
photography. A dinner at the Lodge that evening capped
the day. The next morning, Dawn dropped me off
at 4am on the south Kaibab trail head in total darkness, and
I was on my own for the rest of the morning, heading down into
the Canyon on my 24 mile run. In the mean time, her and
Kevin drove around, stopping at the Cameron trading post and
taking in the sights of the Echo cliffs and Marble Canyon and
the dense forests north and west of there up on the North Rim.
Eventually, they met me on the top of North Kaibab trail some
9 1/2 hours after I left and we were all back together again.
The day was perfectly
clear and not too hot across the Canyon and coming up to the
trail head was fantastic as I was met by familiar faces, and
gorgeous golden fall colors in the aspens! Its another
world up there after spending the day inside the giant abyss
with its low desert like environment and cactuses. We did
some running around the Lodge the rest of that day and had a
great dinner at the Lodge dining hall (reserved as well a year
in advance), and retired to our big roomy Pioneer cabin we rented
as well. This has two room with a bathroom in between and
worked perfect for all of us. The following morning,
Saturday, we were off to explore the north rim. A back
road we came across and followed FR207 had awesome fall colors,
and we also found tons of Permian sponge fossils. (This
is just outside the Park). We also took a long back road
to an overlook that is also outside the Park with hiking trails
at Parissawampitts point. There we had lunch, hiked a few
miles and got some great not often photographed shots of a part
of the canyon few have seen. Then off to Angel Arch to
get some afternoon shots of the big triangular cut out on the
canyon cliffs. A few more scenic stops and soon it was
over, we headed back to the lodge for our second dinner at 5
pm. We watched an amazing sunset over the canyon after
dinner, and some of the most amazing orange colors in the sky
we have ever seen. Then it was time for me to get ready
for the big day Sunday - the run back across to the South Rim!
the alarm came way too soon. After getting up at 3am, I
was ready by 3:45 and Dawn once again dropped me off this time
on the North Kaibab trail head. (Kevin was still in bed).
Down I went again, not too sore from the South to North crossing
on Friday. As I was blasting across the canyon, Dawn and
Kevin drove around again and met me this time over an hour and
a half sooner than my north trek on the South Rim. (Just
under 8 hours). Back to civilization again, and the busy
sound of buses, cell phones and the real world. But then
about 10 minutes later as we were riding back to the South rim
lodge, the rain started! And a huge weather front lasting
for days came in, dumping over an inch of rain over northern
Arizona. What luck indeed. As we sat and ate lunch
on the south rim, a massive rainstorm rolled in, completely blocking
the view of the entire canyon and filling it with white fog.
Those poor hikers and runners still in the Canyon.
We already have
our reservations for next year, barely squeaking in another set
of Pioneer cabins in the first half hour of registrations!
Dawn's Shots with Panasonic on South Rim:
A helicopter parked on one of the peninsulas below
Below: Kevin (center) and me hike around the paved trails on the overlooks
Below: Kevin and Dawn check out the deals on the south rim lodge stores
Below: Dawn shooting cactuses
Below: Me on hiking trail with interpretive rock monoliths. Im not supposed to hike much on this day -
Kevin and Dawn are killing me! ;)
Then they dropped me off on the South Rim at 4am. (no photos in dark)
Driving around to the North side:
Below: On the drive to the north rim to meet me via Marble Canyon
Below: The bridge over the canyon
Below: This part of the Grand Canyon is narrow enough for a bridge to the north rim. Thats why you have to
drive so far to get to the north side!
Below: Gigantic California Condor circles
My shots running across from South to North:
Note - many of the shots taken early on are very blurry from how dark it was. I did not see the sun for like 4 hours...
Below: Heading down to the Black Bridge
Below: Mule camps and ranger stations below, im zooming now in the first light!
Below: Going through the tunnel to the bridge
Below: Crossing the Bridge over the Colorado River
Below: Finally - on the North side!
Below: The very first time you see sunlight, it is only in the cliffs high above
Below: Approaching a bridge across Bright Angel Creek, my first sunlight is up ahead!
Dawns Shots with Panasonic on North Rim:
Below: Kevin shooting two hikers at the trail head ready to take the plunge.
Below: Golden aspens in the peak of fall colors!
Below: Here I come, the last few feet to the top.
Below: North Rim Lodge overhangs the Canyon
Below: Fall colors with MOON
Below: The next day, we are about the north rim shooting the stunning fall scenery. Kevin and Me here
Below: Angels Window
Dawn and Kevin then drop me off again the next morning at 4am at the North Kaibab trail head. Down I go in a fast
blast to the south rim. (its much faster this way)
Below: Finally, here I come making great time (sub 8h) to the top of the south rim.
What do you mean - I AM running....
Below: Moments later - a huge down pour in the canyon!
My shots running across from North to South:
Below: First light - heavy clouds ahead? Ive already been running down hill for 3 hours at this point. In the dark.
with just a flashlight...
Below: Approaching Cottonwood camp. The green shales here are packed with Cambrian trace fossils
Below: Leaving the camp. Look how nice the flat smooth trail is here!
Below: Ribbon Falls in the distance with my awesome 3x zoom.
Below: Coming up on the Beaver Dam crossing.
Below: Crossing the bridge over the mucky beaver dam. Still, I had hundreds of feet of trail directly in black
gooey muck to get through!
Below: The river reflects the golden cliffs
Below: Finally, Phantom Ranch. But tons of construction in progress.
Below: Dining hall at Phantom. Water was back on fortunately.
Below: The time I arrived was early and no one was awake yet! (3h 45m)
Below: This was the alternate trail they made you take because the pipes repair work.
Below: Coming up on the river crossing at 4 hours
Below: climbing up the last steep steps to the bridge to cross the Colorado River
Below: On the other side 15 minutes later
Below: Big slab of Hakati shale, 1 billion years old recording stream wave ripples. My shoes are still covered
with muck from the beaver dam...
Below: A squrell on the trail digging for food.
Below: Out of the inner canyon requires some VERY steep climbs to the Tonto Platform (5h so far)
Below: Just after Skeleton Point, the moon and cliff window
Below: I asked some hikers going down to get a photo of me coming up.
Below: At the base of the Supai (6h)
Below: Looking down at Cedar Ridge rest area. Extremely steep uphill is the remaining direction. (7h)
Then I made it to the top, here is my shot of the pouring rain as we headed to the lodge!
The Flagstaff Half Marathon and 10k
Sept 19 , 2015
The Medals for
day was clear and crisp, between two monsoon storms. When
we arrived at 7:30 it was in the low 40s, but the sky was blue
and as the sun rose the day warmed to tolerable temperatures
at the race start time of 9 am. Once again we picked up
our packets at the tent when we got there, getting a great racing
shirt and a few goodies for our race bags. This race fills
fast due to the very limited amount of runners the forest service
allows on the trail at one time, and its reputation for being
one of the most challenging trail races in all of Arizona.
Finally at 9, I was off on my wood race and Dawn soon thereafter
at 9:30 for her 10k. Both of us were going to come in very
close to the same time and this works out perfect! I was
only a few minutes before her this year over the finish, it has
been the other way around in past years. I did not push
too hard on this race, because I will be hopefully running the
Canyon in a few weeks and wanted to be|
in good shape for that. We both finished in great shape
and at our middle of the line times over the finish. What a great
Pre racing at sunrise
All the medals on display
Food in the tent for post race runners!
Registering on race day
Winners in each age group
Directions on sign at intersection of trails
Waiting for the start of the Half
Start of the Half Marathon
Im in red hat on the right
Fireman running too
Here I am passing in the first loop!
Finish line shot - after the Half!
Dawn finish line shot after her 10k race walk!
Heading home, last look at the Peaks
Mormon Lake fall colors
The Gaspin in the Aspens Woods Run
Aug 22 , 2015
The Shirt for
All 250 slots were
filled again this year as we stepped on to the starting line
at the Flagstaff Nordic Center for this years race. This
brutal 15k trail run takes you over volcanic hills, up very steep
slopes and down rocky down slopes, through large flat grassy
fields with the trail barely visible. It is the second
challenging trail race I am doing this year out of three to get
ready for my 50 mile Rim to Rim to Rim run in early October.
You couldn't ask
for better weather this year, in the 50s, sunshine and a mostly
dry trail. The race starts at the lodge at 8002 feet elevation
and heads up hill to nearly 9000 feet before coming back down
to the finish line back at the lodge. All went well for
me this year, and I was making great time until I tripped in
a gopher hole ( so did the guy behind me). I was a bit
slower after that but still managed to come across the line in
about my average time for this event. Dawn did not do the
5k this year, but was taking plenty of action shots with her
This was a great
practice race to get the bugs worked out for the next much more
grueling Flagstaff Half coming up in September. Adjustments
to trail shoes, clothing and fueling will make the next race
Below: Before the race, starting line in the distance
Runners lining up at the starting line!
Pre race instructions - I am in center, yellow hat
Heading off into the deep woods!
Here I am passing Dawn with the camera, she did not race this year
Dawns Flower Images
Taken at the Nordic Center while I was in the woods
Racing in the woods
The final home stretch!
At the finish line, tired, battered and ready to race again!
The Big Brother Big Sister Half
Aug 8 , 2015
The Shirt both
volcanic mud sticking to your feet like Adobe bricks"
In what turned
out to be the muddiest water logged trail race we had seen in
years, over 500 runners took the challenge of running this years
half marathon. The monsoon storm the day before changed
the normally dry and dusty trail into a huge squishy woods run
with the sticky volcanic mud sticking to your feet like glue.
Pine needles would stick to the bottoms of your running shoes
and make an adobe brick like consistency you had to stop every
so often and scrape off! But what fun it was, dodging gigantic
mud puddles, sliding through the muck and running like crazy
in the gravely flats in between to try to make up time.
The cool temperatures were perfect, and while I slogged through
the trails, Dawn race walked the 5k.
Neil does a fantastic
job at coordinating this race, one of the very best held in the
Flagstaff area. I probably lost about 10 minutes from my
time due to the conditions, but still came in only 6 minutes
slower than my last years PR. Dawn did well on her 5k,
not having to deal with quite as much mud. I am still convinced
I will break 2 hours on this one soon, maybe next year.
This is the first
in a series of three challenging trail races I do before attempting
my 50 mile Rim to Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon in early October.
Next we will be racing the Gaspin in the Aspens race at 8000+
feet elevation at the Nordic center, then the super challenging
Flagstaff Half Marathon. We always look forward to this one too.
Below: Starting line when we got there an hour before the race
Below: Check in area, pickup for bibs and t shirt
Below: Looking toward the starting line
Below: Neil gives pre race instructions
Below: about a minute before the race start! I am in the yellow hat on the left
Below: Race start!
Below: Here I come, red circled with yellow hat
Below: Passing by!
Below: Coming into the finish line
Below: The last seconds
Below: Finish in sight!
Below: After the race, food and drink in hand
Below: Dawn after her race walk 5k
Left is the Full, right
is Dawns Half
The San Diego Marathon & Half
San Diego, Ca
May 31 , 2015
The Shirt for
ran San Diego again this year, after one year off doing the Seattle
marathon last year. Weather was perfect, but a bit warm with
temps around finish time of 80 degrees. This year, Dawn race
walked the Half with her nieces Genna and Alyssa coming in around
3:40 together, and I ran but not raced the Marathon, coming in
at 4:26. With the terrible hill at mile 20 on the new route,
I cant say that this is going to be a fast race for me anymore!
But this is still our favorite big city marathon, the ocean and
sea breezes make it a fantastic experience. Next year we will
probably go back to Seattle once again.|
Left is the Full, right
is Dawns 10k
The Whiskey Row Marathon & 10k
May 2 , 2015
The Shirt for
did not get rain this year, however it was really warm at the
finish line when the sun came out near the end. They have now
discontinued the early start on the Marathon. I always did that
because of no crowded racecourse and get to finish early enough
to beat the heat, and have some pizza left at the finish area.
But the race crew on the route were never ready for the early
times and finally they stopped doing this. No matter. We both
had a great time, and while near 80 at the finish, most of the
race was cool and filled with awesome mountain racing scenery.
This race is always the rehearsal as far as new equipment and
gear for the upcoming Rim to Rim runs in October. This grueling
trail race is very hard, and tests everything you got. Here I
had new trail shoes (Sketchers Ultras) and a new fuel belt. Both
did fine, with a few adjustments they will be perfect for any
upcoming trail runs after the last road race at the end of May.
Below: Packet pickup at the YMCA.
Below: The start of the race - I am in yellow just to the left of center, one row back...
Below: The final half mile is a nasty up hill all the way to the finish!
Below: After we crossed the finish lines. I DID actually get some pizza!
Below: Dawn at the finish after her race walk!
Left is the Half, right
is my second place!
The Brian Mickelsen Half
Marathon & 10k
April 18th , 2015
The Shirt for all
both did great as usual on this fun race, you can see the blue
skies and great temps we had. Dawn did great on her 51st race
and 27th 10k ever. For me, I sqeezed in a second place medal
for the age group and we both look forward to running this awesome
race again next year!|
Below: Me in yellow and orange at the starting line:
Below: Race Start! Perfect weather... I am on the left.
Below: Dawn after finishing her 10k
Below: Me at the winners circle accepting my second place age group medal! Brians surviving wife is giving it to me.
Below: Both medals at the finishing area.
This makes two medal winning races in a row!
Left is the 10k, right
is the Marathon
The Phoenix Marathon & 10k
Feb 28th , 2015
The Shirt for all
were prepared for the worst weather ever, a gigantic winter storm
front was predicted to be coming in on Saturday - race day -
and more than likely we would be dumped upon with torrential
rains. Fortunately, the rain held off till after the events,
and we lucked out again. But the marathon was for me, the windiest
race I have ever run in! Between miles 10 and 20, we ran directly
into 30 - 40mph winds from the coming storm front, and it was
like running in waist deep water for 26 miles. I very early gave
up on doing a fast PR for this race - it wasnt going to happen
with this weather. So I backed off a bit and ran into the wind
as best I could. Dawn did the 10k during my run and we both came
across the line in one piece. Just as I crossed the finish line,
rain started to fall. Dawn came across the line in 1:34:59 and
I came in at 4:34.|
Below: The start line early in the morning for the 10k
Below: Lining up for the 10k
Below: After the 10k at the finishing area (No race shots this year)
Below: Medals hanging ready to hand out to racers
Below: After fighting the massive wind for 26 miles - Im just past the finish line!
Below: Planned medals layout
Below: Concepts for future medals. Now we HAVE to race the rest of them!
Left is the 10k, right
is my silver medal for
The Lost Dutchman 10k
Apache Junction, Az
Feb 15th , 2015
The Shirt for all
weather close call for this one! However, instead of the predicted
heavy rains, we had partly cloudy skies and excellent temperatures
for this race. We both do the 10k on this one, I run it and Dawn
race-walks this event as well. I came in at :49m this year and
collected some hardware, and Dawn did a respectable race as well,
one of her fastest yet 1:34:00 at this event.|
Below: Sunrise from near the starting line.
Lining up for the race. Dawn is near coral 12 and Im up front in the 7 - 8 minute pace group.
View from the hill top of the runners heading out
Im in red here just after I came through the wall...
The mountains in the backgroud as Im coming through
Accepting my winnings!
Bringing home the silver this year!
Finish line shot.
Dawn at the finish line too!
Medals - The last year
in a four part medal making
this year a must!
See final set on the right
The Sedona Marathon Events
January 31 , 2015
The Shirt for all
A large wet weather
front was moving through for this weekend, promising rain, wind
and cold temperatures for the race. Even as we were driving to
the race at 6am that morning, it was raining on us most of the
way. We had come prepared - rain jackets and ponchos just in
case. By race start, the sky began to clear and blue sky was
forming above us! What an amazing turn of events.
I ran the half
again this year, after doing the 10k for a few years, and Dawn
did the 10k event. Conditions were perfect for a fast run, with
the temps in the 50s and little if any wind. I blasted two minutes
off my fastest time ever here, and Dawn did very well too. This
race has become a huge event, this year we had over three thousand
runners! What a great race and scenery with the lifting clouds
and fog over all the red rock formations as we raced through
Below: A rainy Friday packet Pickup, the race was the next day...
Below: Packet Pickup
Below: Friday the
day was full of clouds and rain
Below: Race morning,
the clouds are lifting and the sky is clearing!
at the starting line before the race
clouds form a fairyland of scenery
Below: The firemen
start their half marathon trek in full gear
Below: At the start
of the 10k, waiting for the gun to go off!
Below: Start of
the 10k, Dawn is doing her race walk.
Below: Race scenery
along the route. Im up ahead, running the out and back Half Marathon
Dawn coming back, Im in yellow today
Below: A fast finish!
Below: After the
race, Im at the finish line!
Below: Dawn at
the finish line too.
Below: And walking
back to the car we find a road runner keeping an eye on us!