On September 21st, TeamSFQ'er and veteran ultra-endurance athlete Heidi Videto will be taking on a unique challenge: traveling 90+ miles by foot from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of Humphreys Peak (the highest peak in Arizona). We talked to her about the formulation of this goal and her preparation for it and will chat with her again afterwards to hear all about the event!
Can you tell us how you came up with the idea of this adventure, to travel from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of Humphreys Peak by foot?
So... when I returned to work after IMAZ 2017 a coworker who went to IMAZ to support me was in awe as it was his first time witnessing ironman firsthand. We talked about it for days afterwards reliving all the amazing high and low points. About a week later he asked what my next big adventure would be. I said probably IMFL and I was definitely going to try to PR at the 24 hour bike in WI again, but that was probably it. 2017 was such a great year for me and I had not yet 100% believed that my body would hold up so I had not really planned anything "BIG".
He told me to look up Hole 2 Hump and gave me a brief synopsis of what it is: a little underground event that called for starting at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and run/hike/walk/jog/crawl your way to the top of Mt Humphreys (AZ's highest peak) in Flagstaff by routing a course yourself...I was IMMEDIATELY EXCITED!!! I just had this little voice in my head that said I could do this and it would be an Epic adventure. My husband Bruce was not on board though. He asked me to wait a month to make sure that my body rebounded from IMAZ first.
I tucked that little gem away and then sent Mary Knott a text
"I have a crazy idea and I know you will understand why I want to do it, but I need you to tell me that I CAN do it first--that I am not delusional."
She responded immediately with "I love it! Let's do this!" and apparently that is all Bruce needed to hear to be on board 100%.
What inspired you to take this turn from organized events like ironman to a self-styled challenge?
I love Ironman deeply. It helped me find confidence, friends and a challenge outside of how many beers I could chug before getting sick (That's a part of my life I would like to forget). However, I feel a bit of a "been there, done that" with Ironman. I was looking for something more. Something that has no medals, no spectators and at the time nobody other than a few close friends who would even know I was going to do this. Something truly just for me. Something I could say...hell yes I did THAT!
Without giving away patented #TeamHPB secrets, can you tell us a little about your preparation for H2H and how it has differed from ironman training?
Training..whew...It has been hard trying to PR a 24-hour bike only then going to a solo long run only. We did a TON of bike training starting in January getting ready for the 24-hour and long runs were sprinkled in on weekends. I remember laughing at one point in time--probably mid March--and thinking I have never ever run close to 20 miles on Forest Roads this early in the season and felt this great. I swear biking so much made the running easier to recover from. And I've been walking...lots and lots of walking. I've been walking to and from work and during my breaks 2-3 days of my 4-day work week and trying to stand during as much of my 10-12 hour shifts as possible. It has definitely helped a lot! I was so shocked when we did a test hike of the Grand Canyon last weekend and I had zero soreness the next day. Bruce is leaving for Moab this weekend for 10 days and I am doing a little #walkmore project instead of renting a car ( we only have 1) and plan to walk everywhere.
What's the hardest thing you've done in your training for this event??
I think the hardest part of training for this has been the mental aspect. Getting past the thought of how fast I should be and listening to other people talk about how fast they can hike this peak or run this course or hike this trail. I have really had to let that shit go. Mentally I can get through anything (even if I cry from time to time when I feel like I am never going to sleep again between work and training) but getting past the thoughts in my head that used to tell me what pace I "should" be running/ hiking at--that was the hardest. I have pretty bad asthma so I have to keep reminding myself that the fact I even was out here in the middle of nowhere on a trail 10 miles away from my car was a huge accomplishment in and of itself.
How long do you think the trek will take and what kind of support will you require for the journey?
Good Lord I've asked myself this a million times and done estimates and pace charts and worst case scenarios over and over for the last 4 months. Now that it is getting closer I hope that, so long as we don't get lost or I don't have some major health or body issue, I can get this done in about 32 hours: 4.5 hours up GC and 3.5 hours up Humphreys Peak with 24 hours between the 2. Honestly though, if it doesn't look like that is going to happen I will just take my watch off and keep trudging away. This is definitely more about the journey than the final clock time. The people who have done it in the past consider it a failed attempt if they don't complete it in 24 hours total. I am not concerned about what they think though :)
I have a crew of 5 that includes my husband Bruce and his friend Kevin (Captain) Mary (Kochi) Tracy and Colleen (Team HPB and SFQ'ers) and Rachel (Sherpa Extraordinaire from last years 24 hour bike attempt). Mary and Kevin will hike down GC with me at 9pm then hike out with me. Bruce will mountain bike part of the course with me and everyone else will take turns doing SAG, feeding me, telling me what I need to eat and running/ walking with me. I decided that since it follows a lot of the AZ Trail we should all also have trail names. Hilarious btw....
We love that you have chosen to raise funds for a cause very close to your heart while taking on this physical challenge. Can you tell us a bit about your mission (which predates this fundraising project) in sending out cards to law enforcement departments and how that inspired you to want to do more for this cause?
On 4/12/18 Sergeant Sean Gannon was shot and killed while serving a warrant in Barnstable, MA, a town 50 miles from my hometown of Braintree. It was heartbreaking. I started sending cards out to all agencies that lost an officer in the line of duty on that day. 77 Departments since that day with a total of 98 Officer deaths this year so far. While telling my Chief about Hole 2 Hump back in January he said that it seemed like a perfect event to raise money for something. By early June I knew I had to try to do something and asked Mary what she thought about going public with it and raising money. She agreed it was a good idea if I could get help and not have it add to my work/training stress. I asked for the help of a friend who is "in the business" and we were off! 100 Club of AZ assists families of fallen officers. 100 being the goal # to keep Officer Deaths under in a year. It has not been under 100 since 1944 ( 94 deaths). I work in law enforcement as a civilian and witness firsthand the negativity towards law enforcement. It's hard to listen to at times and when you hear of officers dying at such a high rate-- it really tugs at my heartstrings.
Click here to contribute to Heidi's fundraising efforts.