Updated 6/11/15

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Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim Running adventure Grand Canyon, Az October 2 - 4, 2015
(Trail runners don't get fancy medals) 

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!

Sunday morning, 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!

Photo Pictorial

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 Flagstaff, Az Sept 19 , 2015
  The Medals for all events
The 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 trail race! 
Photo Pictorial
Pre racing at sunrise

All the medals on display

Food in the tent for post race runners!

Registering on race day

Tent banner

Winners in each age group

Pre race

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 Flagstaff, Az Aug 22 , 2015
  The Shirt for events

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 camera. 

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 even better!

 Photo Pictorial
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 and 5k Flagstaff, Az Aug 8 , 2015
The Shirt both events

"Sticky 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.

 Photo Pictorial
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
 Medals Left is the Full, right is Dawns Half
The San Diego Marathon & Half San Diego, Ca May 31 , 2015
The Shirt for Marathon
We 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.
 Photo Pictorial:

 Medals Left is the Full, right is Dawns 10k
The Whiskey Row Marathon & 10k Prescott, Az May 2 , 2015
The Shirt for Marathon
We 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. (San Diego)
 Photo Pictorial:
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!
 Medals Left is the Half, right is my second place!
The Brian Mickelsen Half Marathon & 10k Cottonwood, Az April 18th , 2015
The Shirt for all events
We 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!
 Photo Pictorial:
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!
 Medals Left is the 10k, right is the Marathon
The Phoenix Marathon & 10k Phoenix, Az Feb 28th , 2015
The Shirt for all events
We 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.
 Photo Pictorial:
Below:  The start line early in the morning for the 10k

Below:  Lining up for the 10k

Below:  Fireworks!

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!
 Medals Left is the 10k, right is my silver medal for second place
The Lost Dutchman 10k Apache Junction, Az Feb 15th , 2015
The Shirt for all events
Another 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.
 Photo Pictorial:
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.

Race start!

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 ----------->>>
Final four pieces
The Sedona Marathon Events Sedona, Az January 31 , 2015
The Shirt for all events

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 it.

 Photo Pictorial:
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!

Below: Gathering at the starting line before the race

Below: Lifting 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 course.

Below: Passing 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!