It has been over 2 years since my last double crossing of the Grand Canyon. The first attempt resulted in a time just under the 24 hr mark. I remember being thrilled with this accomplishment and satisfied with our efforts, but as time tends to erode the landscape of our memories so too does it allow the roots of ever growing questions to take hold in the conscious working their way toward the very change in perspective leading to the unthinkable.
How could we have approached the hike differently? Did it really hurt that much? How could I have managed my diabetes more efficiently? Could we have cut out or at least shortened our breaks? How did the season help or hurt us in our pursuit? Many other questions regarding our hike have filtered through my brain over the course of the last couple years, but there was none more vexing, none more compelling than, "Could we have done it faster?"
Each time I asked myself this seemingly simple question I had one and only one response... YES!
This summer, despite the warnings and suggestions to pick almost any other time to attempt this, we will be making another attempt at the crossing, but this time with the goal of going sub 20.
The plan is to arrive at the canyon on July 29th and begin at 2pm the following day. The timing is crucial as temps at the base of the canyon can climb into the 100s during midday. It will be a warm trek, so attention to hydration will be imperative.
The team will consist of two health challenged individuals battling our own distinct and separate obstacles. I feel confident in my approach in taking into consideration what I learned on the North Rim last time and making sure that I test more often.
The only missing piece at this point is the conditioning aspect. I have recently made the push to rededicate myself to training, so as we approach our departure, I am certain I will be in a much more appropriate state of mind and body.
The question I received from friends and family most the last time I embarked on this adventure was a resounding "WHY?" The answer can be complicated, but the easy route is blaming it on who I am, and who I have been for awhile.
Dating back to at least the elementary school I have thrived in situations where I have been doubted or told I could not succeed. I feed off the challenge. I think Moliere said it simply enough, "The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it."
Don't get me wrong. I don't believe there is anyone out there doubting me necessarily, but I love the feeling generated from pushing myself up, over or through an obstacle to experience tangible limits. For me, there doesn't need to be a person doubting me anymore. Since I have been living with Type I Diabetes for a little over 5 years, I constantly feel I have this stigma to overcome. Everyday I focus on what I can do despite having the disease while never paying mind to any conceived resulting constraints.