They weren't in it to break any records so I figured the pace would be easy enough to not do too much damage on the knee. Luckily, I was right and my knee did really, really well. I did have some dull pain for the last few miles of flat running on the Tonto Trail (around miles 17-19) but when we charged up the steep Bright Angel Trail the pain subsided and my leg felt really good again.
It felt good to put in a long run in the canyon again as I was feeling like I wasn't going to get in there again before the New Year and to do it with friends made it all the better.
I think that even though my knee did pretty well in the canyon I am going to continue to keep it slow and steady for now with shorter mileage and hills and do some more climbing.
Note: If anyone is interested in running a R2R2R still this year, they should. We are having very unseasonably warm temps and there is no snow on the South or North rims. No joke. Temps are perfect right now throughout the canyon for fast times and our good weather is supposed to hold for weeks.
Below are a bunch of photos and video that were my favorites of the trip.
(from left to right: Aaron, Me, John, Wyatt)
(Aaron starting down the Hermit)
(Nice running form...)
(Going through my favorite part of the Hermit Trail, the limestone band. Tonto Trail junction is at the bottom of this band)
(Monument Campground. I love this spot.)
The video below is of Aaron running one of my favorite stretches of the Tonto.
The video below shows another deer sighting.
(Nearing the Bright Angel Trail)
The video below is of John running near the junction with the Bright Angel Trail.