Grand Canyon’ing // Rim-to-River-to-Rim

It has been nearly three weeks since I made the trek down into the Grand Canyon with Robb + I think it’s a safe [but embarrassing] truth when I say at least 10 of those days were spent fighting with or avoiding the DSLR camera we used. Turns out shooting photos in RAW is fantastic for the marketing + graphics guys but straight up terrible for anyone attempting to upload them anywhere, especially on a hotspot. Or, at least that’s my excuse for failing miserably at sharing my van living adventures…now, without further adieu, here’s how our little trip into the Grand Canyon went down, then back up.

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Monterrey’s Mountains: Cerro de la Silla

The city of Monterrey is surrounded by mountains, lots of them. They aren’t exceptionally high mountains so you won’t need to worry about elevation but they are steep. Really steep + the trails don’t exactly “switch back” so you’re often hiking straight up the mountainside.

The biggest obstacle I’ve had while attempting to explore the mountains down here is the complete lack of trail markings or obvious trailheads. But, through trail + error I’ve found a few routes up Cerro de la Silla, the iconic ridge of summits you see in a lot of Monterrey photos.

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Mexico’s Mountains: La Marta

When I came down to Mexico I have very few plans…but after my visit in February I knew there were mountains so they were definitely on my agenda. After two weeks of playing in the mountains surrounding the city of Monterrey I started chatting with Daniel, one of the Lycans Endurance Team founders. It was decided…we would spend our Saturday in the mountains west of Monterrey. More specifically, La Marta [also, La Martha].

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Mexico’s Mountains: La Malinche

Oooh…it only took three days, four attempts and a whole freaking case of blue Powerade but I finally snagged a mountain summit in Mexico! It wasn’t the one I had planned. Heck, it wasn’t even on our agenda until we started eyeballing the mountains that were kinda sorta “on the way” back to Mexico City. I did a little weather forecasting [ahem, Googling] while Jeremy napped for a hot minute after his Pico de Orizaba summit. A few Google’s later it was decided, La Malinche it was! Or Volcan Malintzin or Matlalueye…which ever name you prefer.

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Mexico’s Mountains: Pico de Orizaba

The day after our three failed attempts on Iztaccihuatl we headed further east to Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico [and 3rd highest in North America], topping out at 18,491. This beauty was originally the only mountain I planned to summit while in Mexico. I had whittled down my packing list to make room for glacier gear, borrowed ice climbing weaponry and had high hopes for an epic sunrise summit.

None of that happened.

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Mexico’s Mountains: Iztaccihualt Volcano

Some mountain adventures lend themselves to long, elaborate stories. Others…well, others are such an in-the-moment experience that I cannot wrangle the right words to truly explain what happened. My week in the mountains of Central Mexico is the latter. Just during the two days we frolicked along the trails leading up to Iztaccihuatl we survived three thundery snowstorms, wandered way off trail twice + literally danced down the mountainside courtesy of some “energy pills”. There aren’t words to describe that…so, instead I’ll share photos + two video mashups of our time on Iztaccihuatl. You can decide if we had any fun!

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#GameOnPGH: The Recap

As I pinned my Pittsburgh Half Marathon bib on my Runner’s Roost singlet on Saturday night as I was tossing together my race day essentials I had a tingle of remorse. I was supposed to be proudly rocking a Pittsburgh Marathon bib that flaunted my name while stashing road race snacks in my SPIBelt. Instead, I had backed down to the half marathon at the race expo. I kept telling myself it was the right choice…I was grossly under-trained for a full marathon + I had big plans that a race day injury would really kick in the face. Plus, I knew running 13 miles with Lynne would be more fun than running 26 miles alone. I refused to feel guilty for playing it smart!

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#GameOnPGH: Taking a Step Back

Okay. We’re about to let the #realtalk roll. Phew. Tomorrow afternoon I’m head to Pittsburgh for a few days of harassing Lynne…and partaking in the Pittsburgh Marathon races. Initially I had high hopes for a crazy successful marathon. When I signed up I imagined a strong training cycle with speed work, confident miles, a PR + possibly a BQ. I was optimistic, and a little delusional. And then…reality happened.

More than once [all the times?] I opted for rocky trail runs over speedy road runs every. single. time. This lead to a fair bit of “oh crap” moments as the marathon date approached. Today I officially took a step back. My bib has officially been moved from the Pittsburgh Marathon to the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.

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Summer Shenanigans: Mixing Work + Play

Spring showed up in February…but winter came back with vengeance in March. The mountains still aren’t sure what season it is, bouncing between fresh powder mornings and slushy afternoons. We might get another dumping of snow, in true Colorado fashion, but in my mind…summer is just around the corner. So close!

Heck, my version of summer kicks in before April is officially over! I actually have a lot on deck for my summer, but not in the traditional sense. I’m trying something new — combining a full-time job with a consistent travel-for-fun life. I’ve spent the last few months plotting, planning, working + negotiating to make this happen, and now it’s about to start happening!

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#GameOnPGH: Still Running

Cross training is essential for a successful, injury-free race…right?! I sure hope so, because that is currently my game plan for this upcoming marathon. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still running! But I’m not running nearly as much as I thought I would be considering how many times I threatened myself + my lack of training during the Steamboat Marathon last year. I’ve been active + playing outside a lot lately, more often than not with my running shoes on my feet; however, I’m not always doing the whole arms pumping + legs churning running thing while I’m out there. #GameOnPGH, right?!

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