Adding a 100k to the list

/// Doom! Gloom! Get away! Time to train for an awesome new goal distance: 100k! Chimera 100k, here I come!

///Honestly, I’m so excited can’t sit here and write. I’m going out for my easy 4 miler. (which turned into my fastest time up and down to Echo Mtn. Just under an hour! Let’s see what next Wed can deliver!)

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Los Pinos to VotG to Calico to Ray Miller

/// Been a while. Looks like I’ll never finish the race report for Los Pinos. Let’s just say, with all things considered, no distance seems impossible now.

/// Seems like so much has happened since the race finished. My previous life as a designer has shifted focus and I’m now a professional dog runner (pawsinmotionla.com). If you’re looking for someone to exercise your (or your friend’s) pups, just call me. Visit the site and you’ll see everything I now offer. At last I’ve managed to marry two of my favorite loves into one career. I’m prepared to take this bigger than just Pasadena and the East side. Downtown. Beverly Hills. Westwood. I have the resources to grow while taking individual care of each pup’s needs. Very, very exciting!

///There was a trail marathon in there put on my one of the DayBreakers. I did pretty well for myself. The finish photo has me crossing like I’d just qualified for Boston. Heh heh. After that, the holidays really took hold and my training suffered. Go figure. But it didn’t stop enough that I couldn’t tackle the Calico 50k in January.

/// If you have the chance, sign up for the Calico 50k. It is a challenging course with incredible vistas and amazing color splotches to keep you entertained for miles. It took me much longer than I’d hoped but I just happened to be struggling with a cold that threatened to slice open my throat with every breath (solution? wear the bandana over your mouth for as long as you can to keep the cold air from hitting the back of your throat directly. on the fly problem solving!) Tomorrow I go to find out what I can do about the Piriformis Syndrome that made the entire race a brutal test of hip pain.

/// Two friends went along for the fun and to run the 30k version. One of whom quoted the definition of addiction to me with regards to the fact I actively participated in an action which I knew could be detrimental to my overall health. Well, sure. But I also know that Piriformis Syndrome can be healed with strengthening of the core muscles. The cold? Well, I wasn’t going to let a stupid head cold stop me from taking on another familiar distance.

/// The 7 hours didn’t really feel as long as the 7 1/2 hours the Los Pinos course took. Weird. I did think I was going to drop at one point. Sitting down at mile 17.5 for 15 minutes, I watched as a couple dozen runners filled up and ate up at the aid station, leaving on to miles unknown. Funny enough, I thought the rest of the course would be downhill. Hah. Well, some of it was, of course. There’s a wonderful surprise to all you first timers when you reach the final 10 miles. I just think Dr Seuss had much to do with the design of this part of the desert…

/// This weekend is a training run on the Ray Miller trails which will be the same distance as the race I just finished. FUN! It will be with the Westside Coyotes. I think I’ve had the chance of running with them only once. The morning of the most insane windstorm Pasadena/LA has ever seen. At 4:30 in the morning, I was dodging trees on the 210 freeway. Scary stuff!

/// Lastly, I’ve been tapped to be the head coach for the entire LA basin’s American Cancer Society DetermiNation marathon training team. Quite an awesome opportunity! Time to work on schedules and line up clinic hosts.

 

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Everyone poops, right?

/// When it comes to race days, Mother Nature needs a good sized window to work her miracles through the body. This morning had been no exception. Before leaving the house, I’d had a chance to sit down but without success. Driving down the freeway, Randy & I debated whether or not to stop at the Starbucks to make another go at it (not that I needed his help!) The clock was ticking with the race’s start a mere half hour away. What the heck? It isn’t like I’d starved myself the day before? Quite the contrary. I’d eaten quite well. Mark this as the first of two things which didn’t go as planned. The porta-potty/outhouse near the race’s start became an altar, praying to the gods of fiber and prunes, “Please, oh please, let this extra weight go.” Why was it so important to be free of the excrement? To this day, I’ve not had to use a bush or hide behind a rock to hit up Number 2…and today wasn’t going to be a break in that Guiness Book attempt. Having half a dozen other acolytes outside the door, battling the noxious smells and making deals with their own demons of the undercarriage, didn’t help. Fine! I gave up. Swabbed a bit of Vitamin A & D salve to prevent chaffing, drew up the running gear and accepted whatever fate lay ahead.

/// “Five minutes! Get to the line everybody!”

/// Near the Start, Randy was shooting pics and trying to stay awake while I bitched about not being able to go. It was during this moment that the inimitable Jimmy Dean Freeman grabbed me by the shoulder, pulled me close and asked, “How you doing?” Should I mention the conflict I was having due to a lack of fiber in my diet? In my ear: “Just enjoy those first 12 wonderful downhill miles. Then think of the next 10 as a long hike in the park. Then use whatever you have left in the tank to carry you through the last miles. Got it?” Yep. Got it. Simple enough to remember. I could choose to view his advice from two directions: a) he’s a really great guy who cares for all the runners and knew this was my first ultra or b) he’s a really great guy who cares for all the runners out there and could see a disaster coming and wanted to be sure, in the presence of a witness (Randy), that he’d given me the best advice he could. For when they cart my body away, he could say to all, I was there for him and gave him the best advice but he’d just refused to listen.

/// In all seriousness, he made me smile and that always makes for a good race attitude. Thanks again, Jimmy for the 30 seconds of wisdom and believing in me. He might have been there at the finish to cheer me across, if his wife hadn’t finished 3 hours ahead of me. We’ll just figure he knew I’d finish and leave off at that.

/// “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!” Off they went! It was the last time I saw some of those elites. I didn’t head to the restroom but the choice to head out last carries some baggage because you might get teased the entire time you’re within earshot. Waving my last goodbyes, the miles began ticking off. Beautiful greenery and dappled sunlight forced me to swap sunglasses on and off while tearing along the trails. Even though I headed out last, I passed about a dozen folks who were taking the start even more calmly than myself.

/// No one in this group spoke until…”OUCH! OWW! OWW! OWW!” I could feel the electrons ripping along from neuron to neuron, activating the flight instinct. “What the hell!” From up ahead, “You ok?” “Something is stinging, burning…nettles? What the…” Behind me I could hear more screams…”RUN!” A quarter mile down the trail a triage was quickly set up where runners were examining each other. I pulled a black, spiny stinger from the backside of my right calf all while the pulsing pain pouring from my right calf flowed unchecked. It took a week of itching and scratching and ignoring before the stinger finally fell from that puncture.

/// Ok. That was the second unplanned part of this adventure. Apparently I was lucky with only two stings. One woman had 5 stingers pulled from her while a guy running ahead of me thought he might be allergic. “Uhm. It’s only a mile back,” I suggested. When running with folks, it’s nice to have a common thread to talk about, be it sports teams, pets, kids, next races. And as much as we now all had something deeply (embedded) in common, no one spoke of the stings again. Likely because all of their stingers had been removed. The compression socks had worked that little bugger into my calf and made the rest of the day just that much more fun.

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Los Pinos 50k – 10 Minutes to Start

///Cars scattered. Butterflies danced inside. I’m not going to fall. I’m not going to fall. This is the best mantra my subconscious could devise? Hm. Maybe I should include things like, I won’t die, I won’t die. I will hydrate. Eating is your best friend. Drink more. Inside my head there were a few hundred ideas as to how I should tackle the race. Taking a break from organizing my gels (again), I turned to Randy, “I heard in an interview that when the gun goes off, you should go to the can.” “Really? Isn’t that counter to the very ideal of racing?” Randy sipped his coffee, expertly dodging slow cars while flashing his visa at the OC border allowing us entry through the Orange Curtain. “Well, the guy said that he needed a way to ensure he didn’t go out too fast at the start of a race. Hence the bathroom run.” “Wasn’t he thinking about that in terms of 100 milers?” The chicken and quinoa were tasting a little better now, “Sure. But this is sort of my 100 miler, right? And I’m hoping to pass everyone on the climb from the Lazy W ranch.” “Could work for you, sure.”

///San Juan Capistrano – asleep and perturbed – jettisoned us from the freeway exit as you would a mosquito buzzing your dreams. Blind curves beckoned, drawing us into the hills and chaparral of the Cleveland National Forest. The butterflies were positively raving inside my stomach. Maybe they were a duped flock of the famous San Juan Capistrano swallows, tricked into my belly by cowardly orange Monarchs looking to avoid the trails ahead. In any case, it was getting very close to the race’s start time and I’m fairly certain the race would start with a military precision. This race director takes no chances of being called lazy. Besides that, today’s field of runners would be all pro. Crazy elites who ate miles for breakfast and knew the challenge ahead. No newbies would slow their progress.

///”Turn here!” Only a sandwich board with a comic grin hinted to our new trajectory. If it was the wrong sign, we weren’t the only lost souls headed up the twisting asphalt. When we pulled up behind a long line of parked cars with runners chatting and warming up, we knew the day was really about to begin. Did I have the right water bottle? He’s wearing those shoes? Are my lighter, faster Saucony’s gonna be a problem? What exactly did HE know that I didn’t? Comparing my softer, paler self to those leaner, more cut and sun-parchment faces meant there was no disguising myself as anything but a first timer. Today I would join the ranks of the ultrarunners (is that word capitalized? Marathoners isn’t.) Something inside settled. The butterflies or swallows rested, completing their swooping and diving runs long enough, allowing me the chance to wave and say hello to some of the folks I recognized from volunteering or during training runs.

///”HEY! Matt!” The race director let out a heartwarming holler as I made it to the registration table. “Hi! Very cool! Yes, very excited. Definitely a medium. Awesome!” A staccato of responses to her whip-fast questions. I could show nothing but admiration for her energy level at this hour. Next to me, some sort of origami magic was happening to a race bib. Ah. Very wise. Fold the edges of the bib, safety pinning the paper allows for an economical fit on the left or right side of the running shorts. You wouldn’t want to put your number on your shirt for multiple reasons, the primary one being the shedding of the layers and having to re-pin the numbers.

///”Gather up everybody!” A fun song and dance ensued where the race director, joined by the inimitable Jimmy Dean Freeman (and Spirit, the pup), detailed what we could expect during our 50k endeavor. Most importantly, we were reminded (again) to bring extra water for the course’s section between the Lazy W Ranch aid station and Trabuco Road station. Again. There is no support on the climb between Mile 12 and Mile 21.5. They took a poll to see who in the group of 60 odd runners had previously hit the infamous climb. Do you remember how good it felt when your teacher asked how many of you read the assignment with a show of hands and yours’ was one of the few to reach for the sky? This time, it was the reverse. Those of us who’d taken on the climb, looked around and there were a lot of muffled laughs. And some not so muffled “Uh ohs.”

///”Ten minutes, runners! Ten minutes!”

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Los Pinos 50k Race Report – Part 01 – PreRace

The vagaries of the Los Pinos 50k trail race may have diminished from my psyche but the toll to the body and mind are now etched into the DNA of my soul. You may wonder why such a twist of words for a race report. This race (or so it is called by the Race Director) stands outside the realms of normal 31 mile distances. A new sub-category of ultra could be generated for the miles placed strategically after the Start/Finish banner. Adventure Race or Excursion Adventures? Or maybe Masochistic Miles for the Mentally Mindless.

///For months and months I’ve been, not exactly warned, but facing the incredulous eyes of those “In the Know.” This race had only been run once before and a cultish awe has grown up around the survivors of last year’s run. The stories have been passed down from runner to runner to runner to the non-runners. On mentioning my trove of Endurolyte, Heed, GUs and Bonk Breaker Bars was for Los Pinos, the clerk stopped ringing in the packaged carbs and electrolytes. “I’ve heard of that one.” “What have you heard?” “It’s a beast. Awesome! How long have you been training?” “Have you run it?” “No,” she replied, “but a friend of a friend’s uncle’s sister’s mother was heard telling the story to her children as a threat to their eventual demise if they didn’t get to sleep.” “Uh, thanks.” Hm. Better pick up that extra water bottle…

///The inside tip on this race, as I’ve mentioned before, involves lots of climbing. 9000′ of climbing. Not that this will help anyone much because the RD decided this would be the last year she holds the race. And I’m fine with that. The elites took 5 to 5.5 hours to complete the course of 50k. If I could adjust those minutes with a realistic bookie’s handicapping, -2 hours should be applied to their times. As such, if you square the time of the runners who haven’t earned elite status (yet!), -4 hours should be applied to their times. Then you can get a sense of what the value of the course is to the runners, as well as it sets the goal numbers for future, humanly realistic, 50k runs.

///Let us now focus on the day itself. No longer should we truckle and give preferential treatment to the position of this race to others of its distance. You get it. To begin, this race would not have been a reality without the help of my dear friends, their patience, their guidance, their time and belief in this silliness. I’ve been fortunate to have a couple of steady running partners take me to this level; Mike and the early mornings of Eaton Canyon, Randy on many runs in the evening daring even to be the first madman to tackle the trails at night with me, and Javier who’s dedication to distance running surpasses any person I’d met. On this day, Randy was more than willing to be my crew, my driver, my support, course photographer, traffic negotiator and rehydrater. When you have a friend who is willing to wake at 4am for you and selflessly drive your nervous bag of bones to a race, keep them close. They are more valuable than gold or a WS100 lottery win.

///Quinoa and grilled chicken breast made for breakfast. My nerves prevented me from eating the whole amount. Already an interesting sign. The best thing to remember about these kinds of days: something is going to go wrong. How you handle that challenge can define your race and you as a runner. Not eating breakfast was low on the worry list. Falling on the downhills? Now that was running rampant in my mind. “You’re not going to fall.” Through the din of Beck or Smashing Pumpkins, Randy asked what I’d said. “Just making sure I don’t fall on the downhills.” “At least you’d get to ride in a helicopter.” “Hey! That’s true! Awesome bonus!”

///Through the hazy miles of the southbound 5, vast 18 wheeled monoliths rocked back and forth to the sequestered soundtrack of C.W. McCall’s Convoy….

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Soon to be updated…

///I owe you all a race report for the Los Pinos 50k (crawl).

///Give me a couple more days and I’ll have something for you. In the meantime, Leona Divide 50/50 go on sale tonight at midnight. There are now three races I’ve registered for in my future: Valley of the Giants Trail Marathon, Ray Miller 50 mile, and the Leona Divide 50.

///After listening to the UltraRunner Podcast interview with Frank Bozanich, I’ll need to revisit what all I carry on these runs. Talk about an old school master! Whoo! I paraphrase when I say all he needed was one bottle of flat coke and some water.

///If you haven’t yet, check out the UltraRunner Podcast site. Well worth the listen!

///Check back by the end of the week for more.

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Final Push – Aid Station Antics and 24 Miler

Thanks for all the great emails of support. They mean a good deal to me.

Saturday had me out on the course of the Leona Trail Races as an Aid Station Captain. Big words for the guy who’s allowed to call the Race Director and give her updates. Fortunately it was a very uneventful day for us as an aid station but for the area, bigger things were afoot. Just as we pulled up to the location (some 16 miles from the start line in the middle of the mountains) a man dressed in full camo with a rifle mounted to his 4-wheeler, wheels toward us on the fire access road. “You all know this is the first day of deer hunting season, right?” We all shake our heads, “Uh. Really?” “Whoever decided to have a race today in these woods sure didn’t look at a calendar.”

I’m pretty sure she did look at a calendar but our vegan race director sure didn’t have the 2011 Guns & Ammo edition hanging off her race medal rack. We thanked him for the information and watched him wheel away, visually adding comic word balloons over his head filled with words like “city folk,” “hippies,” and “dumbasses.”

Besides the steady stream of camo-wearing hunters (all polite enough to give a perfunctory hand wave), we had runners making it to our station. This race was special because it was setup as a 5k, 10k, half-marathon and full marathon, all on trails. I think a 12 yr old boy kicked everyone’s butt in the 5k. Not sure about the 10k and half marathons as they never made it to us. At Mile 16, we were the turn around point. Not too large a field, 42 I believe. The couple of folks whom I knew sped out and back in a flash. So inspiring! We wrapped out around 1, when, instead of driving back down the 5 mile road to the Community Center base, I joined one of the Westside Coyotes (running club on the westside of town) and ran back along the course to collect the neon marking tape used to guide the runners along the backcountry. Having not planned for this, I was running along in my old shoes, hiking shorts and a cotton t-shirt. Not to mention the world had been swimming around me for having only had 3 hours of sleep the night before (started at 4am!)(If you ever see the shirt, “I RUN WHILE YOU SLEEP,” grab it for me. 🙂 In any case, it was heaven just to be running down a long and winding trail, chatting about living in LA and being a runner. Really, truly feeling like I belonged.

Instead of sleeping when I got home, the shoes and water bottles were donned, the Sophie was packed, and I headed out to finish my 10 miles for the day. Then back home to a movie and some early bedtime. Sunday held 24 miles of serious downhill and returning uphill for me. Over two miles worth of elevation…

Sunday morning, late, I filled up the water bottles, hydration pack, extra water bottle, food, gels, first aid, and chutzpah into the car with a tall container of coconut water squeezed between two gatorade bottles of frozen water. (Very important part of the packing process – for knowing that I have a seriously delicious and refreshing reward waiting back in the car makes the day that much more bearable.)

10 miles downhill, right from the top of Mt Wilson. Turn around. 10 miles back uphill. Most of the folks you run into on these sorts of days are up for some sort of conversation, even if it were only to consist of a head nod. Others, we would talk about all the gear I was wearing or how perfect a day it was or, just what it was like to become a better tattoo artist while staying in a Polish prison (for marijuana possession, of course!).

Step by step. This was the last of the long runs before the actual race. How can I make the most of 24 miles on this mountain? Test how the foods settle in the stomach. What gear is working, which is not. (I’d forgotten to use a Vitamin A&D salve in the nether regions which paid me back in chaffing later!) There were definitely moments where I was singing out to the hillside, making up rhymes on the spot in a near-delirium. During one particularly shady point along the trail, maybe a mile from the top, I told myself, “Matt I love you, man! I don’t know who you were before but you have definitely gone out of your way to impress me! Way to go, kid!” Then the hill became steeper and I started walk/hiking again. “OH, it’s you again. HAHA.”

There was an internal discussion a-brewing: just making it back to the car (and finish with 20 miles) or complete the planned 24 miles? Tough battle and one which I realized wasn’t going to be up for discussion. Remember that coconut water? After gingerly finishing off half the container (stomach was upset from dehydration and eating energy gels all day), I threw my water bottles onto the seat, locked the car, restarted my GPS and ran the opposite way I’d come, back down the mountain on the roads where I drove in from. My body was sooo happy to be running again! Quads and glutes extended from their cramped, compressed sleeves. Calves pistoned step after step. “I love you, Matt!” chorused from my lips again as the white line bumped and dodged against the stone walls of the mountain beside me. 1+ miles. Inside my head I was starting to waiver, how much further down was I going to have to run back up from? A cruel joke, indeed, if the batteries finally died in my iPhone’s GPS. “Time…two miles…average pace…” My dear Gwyneth spoke in my ears (yes, I call my Runkeeper app, Gwyneth. What about it??) High-fived the wall next to me, spun on my heels and started running back uphill. Did you catch that? R U N N I N G uphill. Say what?!? Yep. Feeling strong! Feeling ready. The icing on the cake? “How far did you run up from?” a couple asked on the side of the road. “Well, I ran down the front, ran back up, ran down the back and am now around 24 miles.” “WOW!” “Yeah, wow! Thanks!”

My car looked so cozy in the near distance. The sun was flickering a molten reflective glow on the Pacific. For the first time ever, I could see, not just downtown LA, not just Century City, but I could see the highrises of Santa Monica in the distance (maybe Westwood) but still, they were sharp contrasts against the light rising from the ocean. Incredible. Really truly incredible.

Ok. Thanks for reading this far. Sorry for no edits but I gotta go to bed. 5 miles tomorrow morning.

Love to all,
Matt

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A little thank you…

Dear Crew of the 16 Mile Turnaround Station aka Testosterone Peak,

Thank you for a ridiculously smooth manning of the aid station today! I am most impressed that none of you jumped in the truck and hid behind the engine block after our first hunter came rolling into camp, rifle mounted to the front of his 4-wheeler.

Randy’s wisdom of wrapping the neon marking tape around our heads and loudly singing Lynyrd Skynyrd while tagging the last half mile of the trail was brilliant and lead to no fatalities or even near misses. Double-thanks goes to him for making sure I didn’t fall asleep today at the wheel.

Joe, or should I say Obi-Wan Ken-Joe-Bi? No hurting runner could disagree with you, that this was not the aid station they wanted to stop for…move along…Lake Hughes Road will gain you transport to the Mos Eisley Spaceport and home. (Additionally, you’re an inspiration for how you’ve changed your life for the better. Happy running for years to come!)

Fred showed no fear on the road heading up and apparently didn’t mind when Randy wet himself on the way back down. 😉 Thank you for checking runner’s numbers and filling in the blanks where my newbie station captaining showed(!!!).

Brian, when I saw you had the truck loaded and ready to go before I’d even arrived, there was no worry at all that you’d be all-pro for today’s little camping trip. Your wisdom shared from race experience was most welcome (even if the race participant had no clue what she were doing. (She really, really needed to turn off the music and listen to us, her body and the sound of the wind in the trees. That could have settled her stomach better than any gel/ade/salt/candy mix she dared chow on!)) Thank you, too, for sharing your hydration/eating/overall experiences from your 100s. I’ll take them to
heart and practice with them after Los Pinos.

Without you guys today, I’d hate to imagine what would have happened. Likely…and scary to think a reality…I’d have been a trophy, gutted and thrown over the hood of someone’s 4×4 after they’d logged no deer for the day. Ack! I look forward to seeing you all again sometime soon. Thank you!

Power on!
Matt

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Running/Walking on the Los Pinos course

This past Sunday was a training run on 21 miles of the race course in
the Cleveland National Forest. Forest is really a generous term.
Wilderness might be a better term. Another runner shot some video of
the experience:
http://bit.ly/p1aKLO

Overall, it was fairly brutal. 5,464 ft of elevation gain. A mile, by
the way, is 5600 ft. I’ve attached the elevation chart and a visual of
the landscape from Google Earth.

Stuff I learned. Eat steadily. Carry ginger for when you get nauseous.
Don’t worry about taking a minute to catch your breath. Enjoy the
view. What goes down, must come up. (The first 8-9 miles of the run
were a lovely downhill.) Consider a larger hydration pack but consider
what it means in weight. Some of the plants on the course can puncture
water bottles. Find a climbing/running buddy who can help push you
along and who you can be strong for. (The final 4 miles were spent
pushing a Navy soldier toward the finish. He’d been twice through SEAL
training…and was hurtin’!) Having an experienced runner tell you how
proud you should be of yourself because that hill was tough, feels
really, really good.

At the end of the day, I was done. Was going to be a no-show for race
day. Why would I want to do that to myself again? PLUS another 10
miles on top of that? As the coconut water, protein shake, fruit
smoothie, chocolate milk, tangerine soda, water, more coconut water,
started to rehydrate my body, I started to think of how I would do the
climb differently. “Damn it!” I bellowed in the car while sitting in
traffic on the 5 freeway. I guess I’m going to do it after all.
Hahaha!

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Past 20, over the step-back, on to 22

/// Lucky for you, intrepid reader, I’ve been busy running and resting and finishing the last of the 007 Bloodstone on xbox to post anything new. There’s also the question of what can I offer you as a reader to this blog. Day by day details of my training seems laborious. Instead, feel free to browse the runkeeper history of runs where I’ll try and put a quick note regarding the miles finished. Especially useful could be the record of routes. As I get into the longer distances, finding routes which allow for restocking of water, snacks and electrolytes becomes a real challenge.

/// The 20 miler two Saturdays ago was based on a 10 mile loop leaving from the Ray Miller Trailhead north of Malibu, across from the Thornhill Broome beach. The AllTrails iPhone app made itself useful with all the skills of an Eagle Scout, pinpointing our location to the foot and offering us the long view of branching trails, allowing us to choose the mileage more carefully.

/// My first trail race was on part of this course about a year or so ago. 11k of the XTERRA trail race was already known to me. There is nothing more vindicating than running up a fire road you previously compared to Pike’s Peak and flying at top speed down the same switchbacks you were sure would be your end. If the trail went up, we took it. If it added mileage, we covered it. If there were cute girls hiking in, we ran to impress. If old goats watched us in awe, we threw them high fives and carried on.

/// Twice around those hills tested gear and nutrition. The Saucony Peregrines were light and nimble, allowing for quick recovery if a toe tip caught rock or root. Rolling an ankle wasn’t a disaster as you could quickly bring the foot around and recover with the other foot. (I learned this trick more than ever on the trails up to Mt. Zion this past weekend.) Around mile 13, the Bite Me phase kicked in pretty hard and I stopped to let Randy know about it. “What do you need?” “I fuckin’ need a Shot Blok.” Then he asks how many. The yummy sweet goodness stuck to the teeth, making for savory sweet deliciousness as the smile creeped back across my face. “Thanks. That made all the difference.”

/// Did I mention lightning? Thunder? Oh, yeah! It was pretty much amazing stuff. The race director for Leona and Los Pinos and Ray Miller 50k/50milers suggested avoiding the Leona trails as thunderstorms were forecast for those hills. The clouds and a hint of rain made it down to us on the Ray Miller paths, making for one of the most visually stunning and exciting runs I’ve ever had.

/// Off to bed for a 6am 8 miler. Maybe the Bowl, maybe the trails. Tough call but I know I’ll be late for work if I hit the trails as I enjoy them way too much!

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