Trailfest Day 3-Horseshoe Bend

The organizers of Trailfest clearly saved the best for last in my opinion. Also they saved the warmest for last, as we started day 3 with the temp being 60 degrees. This course was amazing, and definitely a bit adventurous as it was kind of “find your own adventure” as we ran across the desert trying to spot the course markers. But the views of Horsetooth Bend and the beginning of the Grand Canyon were breathtaking. I think one of my favorite shots early on in the race was one that another runner got of Clint and I just on the edge of the overlook to Horseshoe Bend, right next to us is a course marker pointing…which just makes me giggle in case we were thinking or considering continuing straight. The other thing that neither or us were prepared for was the sand. We ran/trudged through tons of sand. At times the sand was so deep that it was easier to walk rather than attempt to run. But the sand just made me laugh and at one point near the aide station we stopped to empty our shoes with some fellow runners and the guy next to us mentioned that those that came after us would clearly have an easier time because between the 3 of us we had the entire desert of sand in our shoes. I agreed with him on that one. Right after the one aide station we dropped down into a beautiful 1.5 mile long slot canyon which was beyond amazing. At times I could touch both sides with my hands and they were a deep red color that changed in the various light. Clint was fascinated by the stripes and textures all the way through. After we made our way through the slot canyon it was a 4 mile run down a sandy road in the desert to the finish. I felt great at that point and just took off, Clint was struggling a bit and so for the first time we separated. I was at the finish to cheer him on and watch him complete the course. We got our medals, said hi to some new friends from the week and then loaded up in the shuttle vans to get the ride back to our car that was parked in Page. Since our run had all been on the Navajo land in order to protect the land and the people no spectators had been allowed on the course or at the start or finish, but there was a whole group set up at the parking lot and they cheered for everyone as each shuttle van pulled up which was pretty amazing. After grabbing some food we headed to do a hike near Lee’s Ferry which is the official start of the Grand Canyon. The hike was a little too intense for our legs, it was a lot of scrambling across a small slot canyon with deep sudden drop offs. We made a decent dent in it but our legs had put in some 47 miles in the 4 days and had nothing left. So we hiked out and drove a little ways up to the boat launch area of Lee’s Ferry and stood in the Colorado River at the official beginning of the Grand Canyon. The trip was amazing, I had serious doubts about whether or not I’d be able to complete 3 races in 3 days, and while day 1 didn’t go as planned, I still got the miles in that day, and surprised myself at my body’s strength and perseverance. Clint has already mentioned going back next year, and I’m hoping we do.