Power Lines + Black Mountain = Achilles Pain

PG&E Plus Black Mountain equals Pain at EveryTrailMap created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

Trip Stats
Duration: 5 hours, 45 minutes, 32 seconds
Length: 25.3 miles
Vertical up: 5038 ft
Vertical down: 5060 ft
Average speed: 4.4 mph

Miwok 100K is 2 weeks away. I went deep in the well 2 weeks ago to finish AR50. I had to get some good hilly miles in so I drove up to Rancho San Antonio early this AM and started running at the corner of Stevens Canyon and Cristo Rey at 5:30 AM. It was great running in the dark and I started up the Power Lines feeling pretty good. I walked the steepest of the hills and got up to the top pretty easily. Cruising down the other side was nice and I hit the farm with 8.2 miles in the bank. It was freezing out and I waited for Duc to show up as we were going to go up Black Mountain via Windmill Pasture. Duc showed up and we started climbing up Windmill Pasture. Started to feel pretty lousy and noticed my hands were pretty swollen. I could not get my wedding ring off if I wanted. This was unusual for me. I had sore Glutes and was not enjoying this climb one bit. Duc took off ahead and I felt sorry for myself as I struggled up Black Mountain. Not sure if was the AR50, the shoes not working well (Fireblades) but this was just one of this runs that make you wonder why the hell you torture yourself. Its a steep hill and one mile near the top has 950 feet of climbing, so it was a 20 minute mile slog for my sorry self today. I finally summited and argued with Duc about how much harder this was than the PG&E trail. I find the last 2 miles of Black Mountain extremely tough. We turned around and things started to get a bit better. I got into a decent rhythm on the descent. Duc is going to pace me at Miwok and he took control of the last 8 miles and put me in on a good run/walk routine that managed to turn the day around radically. I loosened up, relaxed, and started to enjoy things as I zoned out letting Duc drive the pace. Duc took me the back way back to the car behind the Graveyard and I was silently cursing this extra distance, but it ended up up being close to a marathon with 5000+ feet of climbing. This is tough by any standard. 2 weeks after a hard effort made it really tough on me. I am glad I did it as I learned that Duct tape works well. I used it to tape up a big AR50 blister and I never noticed it for a second today. I also learned that light trail shoes are not for long runs with my lumbering style and size and flat feet. I cant handle it and get a ton of joint aches with these kinds of shoes. I do like them for anything under 10 miles as well with walking. It was freezing cold and I think I took in too much water as I had several pit stops.

Based on todays experience, Miwok will be tough for me. I am not experienced enough to be able to easily string these ultras together like so many others seem to. At the same time, I know I can succeed if I am careful and avoid any silly mistakes.

Damn: My left Achilles was really strained on this run due to the climbing with shoes lacking proper support. I must be the dumbest guy in the world when it comes to trying new shoes on a long run like this 2 weeks before a huge run. I would be very careful before you buy into the hype of a Racing Trail shoe if you have flat feet. I had to ice my achilles yesterday and the pain was 7/10 for a while yesterday! Its a bit better today. Hoping it continues to improve. The Fireblades will be gardening shoes from now on. Yet another lesson slowly learned as I crawl on my hands and knees to a 100 miler.