Long before my cycling obsession I had a fierce running obsession. Getting bored with running in the streets lead me to running in the mountains. Between those two places there was a night when I was running at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, where I live, and I looked up at the red lights of the antenna up on top of Mnt. Wilson and I set the goal to train myself to run up the mountain to those very same antenna. It took months of training but I did it. The two main things I learned from that experience is combined into one message. I try to keep reminding myself that with slow hard work there ends up being a massive difference between what I think I can do and what I can actually do. This opened up an almost infinite world of possibilities for me to explore if I so choose. I’m no super hero here, I’m just a normal dude. I still have doubt and fear that keeps me back from doing amazing stuff like that, and I also work and go to school so theres only so much time and energy that I have to dedicate toward my passion for exploring in my trail running but I do my best to get out there as much as possible. Nonetheless, the doors had been opened and I had walked through.
Rewind about 13 or so years, maybe 14. I meet George at the community college in Pasadena, PCC. We become fast friends and bond deeply over the next 13 or 14 years over helping each other through similar catastrophic experiences. This experience created a very special indestructible friendship between us. George followed the snow for I think 8 years up n Tahoe, Kirkwood, and over in Telluride, CO. I tagged along each winter climbing mountains with him this time with snowboards attached to our backs so we could blast down them together. Our love for the mountains has taken us on some amazing adventures together but none in comparison to the one coming up…
Years back when I went up to Telluride to visit him I was running a lot at the time so I thought I’d give running a shot up in the Colorado mountains at 10,000 feet. I’ve never been so winded in my life, but I did it a few days when I was up there and I talked about it a lot. I’ve always been like that, when I really like something I almost let it consume me and get hyper passionate about it, talking about it all the time and reading about it just as much trying to learn everything about whatever it is.
I’d like to think I influenced George’s entry into running but who knows. Just over a year ago he started running the trails in Telluride competing in a half marathon up there. He has since moved back to Pasadena and he’s training hard for the LA marathon coming up in a few months. I still stick to the trails still and if I have to I’ll hit the sidewalk at night after a long day.
Coming up in May is kind of a special anniversary for us so I decided we need to do an epic run together to share in the celebration of the sport we both love and our amazing friendship. We’re both in our early mid 30′s, I’m working and in school marching toward a career, George has a career and a wife and a baby on the way so no matter how fast and far we run life is catching up quickly so now is the time for us to get to it. A while back when George moved back to Pasadena, he asked me to run the Grand Canyon with him and I said sure only half seriously but recently rehashed the idea with him as a serious thing for us to train for.
So we’re running the Grand Canyon. The weekend of May 29th. Down into the canyon and out the other side. We’re hashing out the details and I’ll post them when they get finalized but it’s about 20 miles total. It’s a massive run and a really cool meeting of the disciplines as George has the distance on lock from training for his marathon and I have the climbing power from running in the mountains for so long. I’ll be sharing my training here, not only miles but how the hell can I get ready for this as I have a full normal life, not one of a professional athlete who can afford to train and run all day. It’s going to be an amazing process from here to there and I can’t wait to share this experience with both George and all of you who might be reading this. Keep checking in periodically for more and this gets underway.
I almost forgot! If anyone reads this and wants to come along on a good trail run, let me know! Comment me or email me at Patswalker@gmail.com. The Grand Canyon is for me and George but anything between here and there anyone can join.