Crossing the Canyon

Crossing the Canyon: Susan’s Story

by Lucia Parker on October 24, 2016 No comments

This is a guest post from Susan Ely who crossed the Grand Canyon in memory of her mother and her brother. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your story.

I crossed the Canyon in memory of two of the most loved and inspiring people in my life.

I crossed for my mother, Kathy Perritano Ely, who passed away when I was in second grade from an Astrocytoma brain tumor. She was loved by many and stories about her fill my heart with so much love and so much yearning. She was admired by many – both loved ones and strangers. People have told me that she had the biggest heart and that she always treated everyone equally and showed compassion for all. She loved the four of us children – Sarah (8 years old at the time she passed), her twins Kristen and me (7 years old) and the baby, Chris (five years old). My aunt still tells stories of my mother being the best of mothers. She talks about how she’d put the four of us in two shopping carts, playing and strolling us around, making motherhood look easy. Her love for us was unconditional.

And I crossed for my brother, Christopher Michael Ely, who passed away just two days after Christmas last year from Glioblastoma, Stage IV brain cancer. It took him quicker than any of us had ever imagined after a fight that, to witness, will never match up to anything else in my life. He was like my mother in the way he always put family first and he was a true gentlemen to his core. Chris always had a please and a thank you, a wink and a smile to make your troubles go away or to put you at ease. He may have been the youngest, but he was known as the big brother, giving advice and sticking up/by us sisters through all. He was wise beyond his years and he put others first, especially his family. Even when sick, his children and wife came first. He loved them more than anything and they were constantly on his mind and in his heart. He loved them with an unconditional love that will forever be truly admired.

Grand Canyon National Park by Susan Ely

What were your first few steps into the Canyon North Kaibab Trail  like? How were you feeling? What were you thinking about?

I was a bit nervous but excited to be heading down into the Grand Canyon with brother’s wife Kristen Ely. My brother, mother, sisters and family were in my thoughts. I was wishing we were all together on this trek but, was so thankful to share this journey with my sister-in-law. I was also hoping I wouldn’t fall and was excited to see the magnificent colors of the Canyon as the sun rose. I’d heard that it is a spiritual place and no words can describe it. Both turned out to be true.

Grand Canyon National Park sunrise North Rim

Describe the most difficult part of this experience. How did you get through it?

The most difficult part of the journey was the climb up the South Rim. The switchbacks started to take a toll. I was nauseous, too, at elevation and after hours in the sun. I fueled up on salty food shared by those hiking beside me. It was grueling. Yet it was a journey that led me to dig deeper physically, emotionally and spiritually. Luckily, I had a small group of people that inspired me and helped me fight through the struggles to climb to the top. But most importantly, I was inspired by my mom and brother, who were with me in spirit along the way. I could see my brother’s feet from when he was in physical therapy. The courage, determination and grit he had every day to try and get back up, no matter how tired or exhausted he was during his illness, just so he may have the chance to walk and playfully chase after his kids again. The thought of his feet guiding my feet every step of the way back up to the top led me farther.

What was it like taking your last few steps out of the Grand Canyon on Bright Angel Trail?

The last few switchbacks were emotional and exhilarating. We met a couple a mile from the top and their words were beyond uplifting and encouraging. Not only were they excited about why we were crossing and how far we had come, but they also shared their gratitude for our cause and told us about a friend whose son had recently been diagnosed with brain cancer.  Their words and encouragement, on top of the memories of my mom and brother, flooded my thoughts and emotions. Being at the top with a small group of incredible individuals that helped inspire me and encourage me as the sun was setting over one of the most magnificent views, overwhelmed me with such beauty it brought me to tears. So much hope and so much love. It was a moment I will never forget.

The couple Susan mentioned insisted on taking a photo of us. I’m glad they did. The woman greeted us by saying, “I can tell you’re coming to the end of a significant journey.”

What do you think you’ll carry with you from Crossing the Canyon 2016?

I will carry the stories shared, the hike and climb for our loved ones and thoughts of all those we’ve lost and those who are still fighting. I will carry hope that future generations won’t have to experience this unimaginable prognosis and loss. I will carry hope for a cure for this awful disease and I will carry the knowledge that we are not alone, that others share the same fight and the same hope.

We are honored to have shared this journey with Susan and Kristen, in memory of Susan’s mom and Chris Ely. In addition to her courage and encouraging spirit, Susan brought the gift of her amazing talent for photography. Many of the stunning photographs of the 2016 Crossing the Canyon event are hers.

read more
Lucia ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Susan’s Story

Crossing the Canyon: Gail’s Story

by Lucia Parker on October 24, 2016 No comments

This is a guest post from Gail Zaharek, who joined us for our 2016 Crossing the Canyon event. She crossed the Canyon for three brain cancer warriors in her life. Thank you, Gail, for sharing your story and being part of this effort to cure brain cancer.

I crossed the Canyon for three people in my life. The first part of my hike was dedicated to Jon Bass, husband of my good friend Kristen Erikson Bass. Kristen and I spent a lot of time rowing in a double as Jon’s health declined and Kristen found solace in rowing with all she and her boys William and Christopher were going through. Jon lost his battle to brain cancer in 2007. I am so happy to say that Kristen and I are back rowing (and laughing) together. The second part of my hike as I crossed the floor of the Canyon was dedicated to Anne Murray, sister to my husband, Mike, wife to Sean Murray and mother to Brendan. Anne has endured over 13 years living with multiple cancers. She is currently living well with brain cancer and lives more life than many of us. Always hopeful and maintaining a sense of humor, Anne has been on many adventures, crossed off more bucket list items than most ever get to. She is currently off chemo for the first time in years – and is healthy! The final part of my hike – the ascent up the Grand Canyon was dedicated to my best friend from college and maid of honor, Michele Washburn. Michele was the strongest fighter I have ever known. We rowed together on the Ithaca College crew and she was always able to surpass her expected strength and power for her size. It was my goal to finish the ascent strong, which I did. I did not stop once in the last 3.5 miles. Michele’s strength carried me through.

What were your first few steps into the Canyon on North Kaibab Trail like? How were you feeling? What were you thinking about?

It was strange starting out in the dark, mysterious not knowing what we were getting into. The first hour we kept peering around anticipating the sun rising so we could actually see the magnificence of where we were!
2016-blog-gail-04

Describe the most difficult part of this experience. How did you get through it?

The ascent back up the canyon was extremely challenging, both physically and mentally. The altitude had a big impact and the last 3.5 miles are a relentless, steep climb. I dedicated the final climb to my college friend who died of brain cancer 2.5 years ago. She was a fierce competitor who I called on for strength.

What do you think you’ll carry with you from Crossing the Canyon 2016?

 The connections I formed with the people who went through this with me will never be forgotten. Whether people knew someone with brain cancer or were there to support the cause, we were all taking on an extreme physical and emotional feat that will never be replicated. It was a special adventure I will never forget.
2016-blog-gail-02
 Gail is part of a wonderful group who joined us for this event from Primacy, an award-winning digital agency currently developing a ground-breaking virtual reality platform to amplify the impact of change-making organizations (among other amazing projects!). We owe Primacy a debt of gratitude for all they have done to support us in our mission since we met through Google’s Giving through Glass Initiative in 2014. The way this team harnesses new technology, creatively applying it to connect and empower and to make the world a better place is so inspiring. 
read more
Lucia ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Gail’s Story

Crossing the Canyon: Anne’s Story

by Lucia Parker on October 23, 2016 No comments

On October 11, 2016 Anne Paparella and 17 others crossed the Grand Canyon on foot, in one day. Beginning on the North Rim 9,000 feet above sea level, we took our first steps into the canyon before dawn. Thirteen hours later as the sun set, the last of the team reached the South Rim on Bright Angel Trail. The journey was 23.5 miles and tested us against 10,000 feet of descent and ascent. As we hiked together, we shared our stories, hope and encouragement. Thank you, Anne, for sharing your reflections from the journey.

I was honored to begin this journey walking for my sister, Jenny.  As I trained and fundraised, it became so much bigger. In my community, I know so many people who have been affected by brain cancer, and I walked in honor and memory of them.

2016-blog-anne-06

Anne wore this shirt, covered in the names of those she walked for, in her Crossing the Canyon effort.

What were your first few steps into the Canyon on North Kaibab Trail like? How were you feeling? What were you thinking about?

 I was so excited to be part of this group. I was nervous but felt ready to descend!
Anne in the early dawn light of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Anne stops for a photo in the early dawn light of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Describe the most difficult part of this experience. How did you get through it?

 The most difficult part of Crossing the Canyon was ascending Bright Angel Trail. The altitude caused breathing issues. I decided it didn’t matter how long it took, that I would make it out. I concentrated on the next step, one foot at a time and tried not to look at how far I had to go, but focus on how far I had come.
2016-blog-anne-05

Susan, Rob, Anne, Lucia and Carly (plus Maria, behind the camera!) in the last few miles of Bright Angel Trail.

What was it like taking your last few steps out of the Grand Canyon on Bright Angel Trail?

 The last few steps on Bright Angel Trail were so amazing, it was still light but the sun was setting. It felt like miles to go and then we were there. I was so proud of myself and humbled by the challenge. I could not have done it without the support and encouragement of my little group.

What do you think you’ll carry with you from Crossing the Canyon 2016?

 Crossing the Canyon was the most difficult physical challenge I have ever been part of. It made me realize how grateful I am to be able to walk and climb and have great health. I truly loved this experience and was honored to be with so many determined people. I felt loved and supported by my community back home too. What a gift to be able to spend time with my sister and niece and to meet so many lovely people along the trail.
Maria and Anne stop for a photo early in the morning on the North Rim.

Maria and Anne stop for a photo early in the morning on the North Rim.

read more
Lucia ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Anne’s Story

Crossing the Canyon: Nike’s Story

by Lucia Parker on October 22, 2016 No comments

On October 11, 2016 Nike Beddow and 17 others crossed the Grand Canyon on foot, in one day. Beginning on the North Rim 9,000 feet above sea level, we took our first steps into the canyon before dawn. Thirteen hours later as the sun set, the last of the team reached the South Rim on Bright Angel Trail. The journey was 23.5 miles and tested us against 10,000 feet of descent and ascent. As we hiked together, we shared our stories, hope and encouragement. Thank you, Nike, for sharing your reflections from the journey.

I crossed the canyon to honor my sister Dana and the many, many other friends who have lost their lives to brain cancer. Dana was my little sister and only sibling. She was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma at the age of 25. She had recently been married. Doug and Dana loved each other immensely and were determined to live life to the fullest, even after a death sentence. Dana was a gutsy, determined person who would not let brain cancer get in the way of what she wanted to do. The most important thing to her was to have a family. After her initial radiation treatments, Dana stopped taking all her anti-seizure medications and became pregnant. It was a perfect pregnancy and on April 30, 1996, she gave birth to Kati – my beautiful niece! After Kati’s birth, Dana felt a renewed sense of purpose and resolve to help others battling brain cancer. It was at that time that she decided to create a 5k run/walk to raise awareness, community support and research dollars for brain cancer patients. May 7, 2017, will be the 20th anniversary of the Race for Hope. In the past 20 years, the race has connected thousands and thousands of families facing this disease, given hope to survivors, and raised over $27 million for research. It is an incredible legacy that Dana leaves behind. She created a ripple effect…survivors and loved ones who have participated in the race have gone on to inspire others to get involved and make a difference.

2016-blog-nike-04

What were your first few steps into the Canyon on North Kaibab Trail like? How were you feeling? What were you thinking about?

As we descended into the canyon in the predawn darkness, I felt excited to start this unique journey. I didn’t think about whether or not I could make it – I had to make it, there was no other scenario. This mindset reminded me of when my sister Dana and I co-founded the Race for Hope DC with our friends Lionel and Sandy Chaiken. We had never created a 5k run/walk before, but it had to be done because it was Dana’s wish. It had to raise awareness, it had to raise dollars for brain cancer research. During my Crossing The Canyon trek, I dedicated each mile to a friend of mine who has been impacted by brain cancer. The first mile was dedicated to Pamela Sue Chaiken, Lionel and Sandy’s daughter who passed away from brain cancer many years ago.
2016-blog-nike-05

Describe the most difficult part of this experience. How did you get through it?

Once we passed Indian Garden, the final 4.5 miles was probably the most physically challenging part of the trek. Hiking those last few miles with a 3,000 foot elevation gain put us to the test. I got through it thanks to my hiking buddies, Kieran and Rosie. The mutual cursing, laughing and numerous photo ops (which was code for “I have to stop right now and take this picture or I’m going to collapse!”) propelled us to the top!

Nike's Crossing the Canyon Story

Mandy, Kieran, Anne, Nike, Kristen and Susan smile on the South Rim.

What was it like taking your last few steps out of the Grand Canyon on Bright Angel Trail?

 The last few steps out of the Grand Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail were exhilarating and bittersweet. Thirty years ago, I hiked the Bright Angel Trail with my sister Dana. We were young and carefree and laughed at our lack of preparation for the strenuous hike to Plateau Point and back. Somehow we made it back to the top and promised we would return to the canyon one day. Sadly, that never happened. I miss Dana and wish I could have been on this epic hike with her. I’m sure she was with me in spirit (and she probably made the last few miles harder just to kick my butt!)
Nike Beddow's Crossing the Canyon Story

Nike and Dana took a photo right here at the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park on their trip to the Grand Canyon years ago.

What do you think you’ll carry with you from Crossing the Canyon 2016?

 I will forever carry street cred that I hiked Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon! Most importantly, I’ll carry with me the conversations I had with my fellow hikers who had lost someone to this hideous disease or who had encountered other struggles in their lives but found hope and healing through this communal experience.
read more
Lucia ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Nike’s Story

Crossing the Canyon: Mental/Spiritual Benefits of Training

by Maria Parker on May 12, 2016 No comments

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

By now your 4 or more weeks into your training.  By this time some of the excitement of beginning is wearing off and we’re still a long way from the event.   If you find your motivation is starting to fail, below are some reminders of the benefits of this training program.  

But before we get into that, I’d like to thank you again for what you are doing. Your training and fundraising will make a difference for the many families impacted by brain cancer. A friend of mine recently was diagnosed with a brain tumor. As I watched he and his family struggle with the diagnosis and decide which of his limited treatment options to take, I felt angry and inspired again.   He knows he has just a little time left and he and his family are desperately trying to come to terms with this difficult diagnosis.  What you are doing will make a difference for my friend and others like him… so thank you again.

We all know exercise is good for us and we should do it more. We also know spinach is good for us and we should eat it more.  I honestly didn’t start eating more spinach until I discovered creamed spinach and spinach dip (spinach mixed with sour cream).  The point is, you have to figure out what makes exercise delicious.

One of the ways I make exercise delicious is to notice and focus on the ways exercise makes me feel when I am not exercising.  I won’t list the obvious ways exercise is good for you, the mainstream media has done a great job with that.  I want to enumerate the ways exercise benefits me mentally and spiritually.

  1. Exercise makes me more alert and productive.  For three hours after I exercise, I am clear thinking and motivated. This is such a noticeable benefit of exercise that lately I’ve started to go directly to my computer after exercise (do not  take a shower, do not collect a breakfast) and jump into the most challenging project I have.  This has reaped great rewards in terms of getting hard things done.
  2. Exercise makes me sleep better. As a menopausal woman, good, deep sleep is a rare treat.  When I exercise, particularly long or hard, I fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
  3. Exercise makes me happy, just ask my husband. Early in our marriage when I was cranky or irritable, my husband would kindly (and sometimes not so kindly) suggest I go out for a run.  He knew that when I got back I would be calm, happy and ready to deal with whatever had set me off before the run.
  4. Discipline begets discipline.  No one demonstrates this more than my son Steven.  He is married, with a child and one on the way. When we talk, I always ask him how his workouts are going.  The reason I ask him is that I know if he is working out, then everything else in his life is going well. By his own admission, when he works out he is a better husband, father and employee and, in general, feels much better about himself.
  5. Exercise gives you more hours in the day.  Exercise can be the first thing to go when life gets hectic.  I have found from long, painful experience that things are a lot easier on days when I exercise. There is some kind of magic going on here that I don’t really understand. When I exercise I seem to have more time to do everything else. Invest an hour in exercise and get back 2 hours – don’t ask me how it works, it just does. Try and see for yourself.
read more
Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Mental/Spiritual Benefits of Training

Crossing the Canyon: Equipment

by Maria Parker on May 11, 2016 No comments

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

Hopefully your training is off to a good start and you are also beginning your fundraising campaign. Remember to go steady on both!

Crossing the Canyon in one day requires just a little equipment, but it makes sense to have it early in your training so that you can use it during your training.  

  1. Waterproof Sunscreen – remember to use it during your training, and bring it with you on the trip.
  2. Camelback-type water bladder (enough to carry at least 100 oz).  Use it while you train so you can get used to drinking from it frequently and refilling it as needed.
  3. Lightweight hiking shoes or running shoes. Whatever shoes you decide to wear, train in them.
  4. Bodyglide or vaseline – I use this under my bra straps and on my toes to keep blisters from forming.  Your first long hike should show you where you are likely to develop rubs or blisters.
  5. Food – carry high calorie easy to eat foods with you on your long endurance hikes.  Trail mix is named that for a reason. It’s loaded with calories and easy to carry.  
  6. Camera – if you are planning on bringing it on the hike, get used to carrying it. At the very least carry a cell phone on your training hikes so that you can call someone if you get into trouble.
  7. Buff – this is a terrific piece – something you can wear on your head or neck that will keep you warm or cool.  I bought one for Crossing The Canyon last year, and have worn it many times since.  The description from the Buff website says it all:  multifunctional tubular accessory ideal for many activities. Designed to keep you warm in the cold, will also wick moisture (sweat) away from your skin to keep you cool when it is hot. The lightweight, breathable, microfibre fabric is extremely comfortable to wear. USES: can be worn as a neckerchief, headband, wristband, mask, hair-band, balaclava, scarf, headband, scrunchie, saharaine, pirate cap, beanie and bandana.
  8. Salty foods and/or electrolyte pills. As you train this summer and fall, be sure to replace your lost electrolytes with electrolyte pills or salty foods such as pickles or salty chips. I take a product called Salt Sticks which has sodium and other electrolytes in it. When I am sweating heavily, I take a pill every hour or so.  

Keep up the good work with your training and fundraising!

read more
Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Equipment

Crossing the Canyon: Fundraising Tips

by Maria Parker on May 10, 2016 No comments

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

Fundraising for brain cancer research will bring a sense of purpose to your training over the next months and weeks.  It’s much easier to train when you know your event will benefit others.  It can be challenging fundraising though, so below are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Start early.  As soon as you have your fundraising page set-up begin fundraising. E-mail people the minute you start.  E-mail them frequently. Do a weekly blog talking about your experience training and send that out to friends and family.
  2. Ask, Ask Ask and don’t be inhibited about it.  Get over the nervousness early in the process.  Remember you are asking your friends and family to give to a charity that will give hope to people with brain cancer. Hope is in short supply when it comes to brain tumors.  Be proud of raising money for 3000 Miles to a Cure.  Remember you’re giving people an opportunity to be selfless and help others.  
  3. What’s your personal connection to the cause? Do you know someone who has brain cancer, someone who whose family was impacted by a brain tumor? Were you inspired by someone who led you to do the Crossing the Canyon?  Read about brain tumors to understand it’s impact. Read about research and the hurdles that researchers must overcome to find a cure. Talk frequently about your connection to the cause.
  4. Create a fundraising letter/e-mail that is compelling and personal.  It must explain why you are raising money for 3000 Miles to a Cure, and why it’s a great cause for people to donate to.  Tell people your personal story, what brings you to this cause.
  5. Include a call to action in your fundraising letter.  This seems obvious, but be sure to ask for donations and to ask your supporters to forward the request to others who may support 3000 Miles to a Cure.  
  6. Share your story with everyone and anyone you can think of.  Most people know someone who has suffered from cancer.  It’s impossible to predict who will relate strongly to your cause.  If you are doing the crossing with some one particular in mind, be sure to reach out to that person and/or their family and community for support.. Use snail mail too. Many people will respond to a letter or card they receive in the mail more readily than to an e-mail. Other communities to remember: neighborhood association, work friends, congregation and clubs.  
  7. Social Media.  Tell your story on facebook, twitter and instagram.  People may like or share your story and increase your reach.  Social media is also a great way to keep people posted on the progress of your training and fundraising.  
  8. Follow-up.  If someone promises to donate, set a reminder on your calendar to follow-up. Don’t be too aggressive, but most people don’t mind being reminded if they have already committed to giving.  
  9. Send personal thank you notes to every contributor. Make sure they know that their gift will have an impact on people who are fighting brain cancer and their families.

Fundraising is an opportunity to bring people together for a cause. Most people are delighted to give if they know it is a cause you care about.  Asking for their support allows your community to become  part of something bigger than themselves.

 

read more
Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Fundraising Tips

Crossing the Canyon: Training Plan

by Maria Parker on May 9, 2016 No comments

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

We’re grateful you are joining us in this adventure! Experiencing the descent from the North Rim, crossing the Colorado River and ascending onto the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is incredibly beautiful and deeply symbolic of the fight against brain cancer.

Thank you for your commitment to use this experience to raise funds to fight brain cancer. Last year, when I did it for the first time, I was changed by the experience. I hope as you train for your crossing, and raise funds to fight brain cancer, you experience the pleasure of an increasingly fit body and the knowledge that you are using this experience to improve lives and give hope.

Crossing the Grand Canyon in a day is a great physical challenge. It will be more enjoyable and safe if you are in excellent physical condition. Today and in the upcoming weeks we’ll present training tips, motivational words and fundraising suggestions.. Most of the training tips will be for those of us who plan to hike the event. If you plan to run it, please follow a marathon training plan like this 16 week mountain marathon training plan.

  1. A couple of disclaimers:
    This is a strenuous event. Once down in the canyon, not finishing is not an option. There is no quitting if you are injured. Please come to the event physically prepared.
  2. Before starting this or any exercise program, you should consult your healthcare professional.

12 Week Rim to Rim Hike Training Plan

The training plan consists of walking, stair climbing, squats and lunges, and cross training. Walking is the most important part of the program with increasing endurance walks each week. Be sure to leave enough time on Saturday or Sunday for the long walk of the week. I find getting up very early and beginning my long walks before anyone else is up works well. When I get back, I’ve had a good workout, but I still have some of my Saturday left. Towards the end of the program, the long walk gets up to 22 miles. You might want to plan a couple of weekend trips somewhere new where you can enjoy the longer weekend walks. It’s also helpful to find someone to walk with. When I’m doing my longer walks or runs, I’ll get different people to walk with me for different parts of it. For instance, my husband might do the first few miles, my son the next section and a friend another part. If I’m doing my long walks solo, I will sometimes listen to a audio book or music. If you are doing your endurance walks in very mountainous areas, you can make them a little shorter.

Training02

On Monday after two days of weekend walks, an easy one or two mile walk can loosen up your legs. On Wednesday you’ll do a fast walk to improve your aerobic capacity, this should feel hard enough to leave you a little breathless.

Stairs: Doing stairs if you live in a flat area is very helpful for preparing for the ascents and descents of the Grand Canyon. I live in an area with no hills so I spend one day a week walking/jogging the stadium steps at my local high school. Both ups and downs are important.

Lunges and Squats: Lunges and squats, like stairs, prepare your muscles for the rigors of the canyon. Lunges and squats also help protect you from injury.

Squats: Stand with legs shoulder width apart and arms at your sides. Swing your arms forward and up, raising them above your head, palms facing forward. At the same time, bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair. Hold the Squat briefly, then stand up by pushing through your heels, until you are in a full upright standing position.

Lunges: Stand upright, feet and legs together, hands on hips, elbows out to sides. Step your right leg backward. Bend your left knee until the kneecap is directly above your foot, causing the leg to form a 90-degree angle. Simultaneously lower your right leg until the knee almost rests on the ground, forming another 90-degree angle. Step back to starting position, and repeat, stepping backward with the left leg. Continue to alternate legs

In general, the harder days are followed by easier days. If you find yourself very tired, back-off on the next workout or take a day off. If you have pain in a knee, hip or ankle on one side, see if it gets better after a few minutes warm up. If not, stop and take a few days off.

Cross training: This should be something you enjoy that is completely different. Yoga or swimming would be excellent choices.

read more
Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Training Plan