Let’s run a 100k. And let’s pick one of the hardest 100k’s around. Why? Because sometime last summer I wanted to sign up for something that I wasn’t sure I could finish. I realized that I was starting to play it safe with choosing races and wanted to push myself further. And I wanted something to motivate me to push running further, since I needed something to balance a very busy time in other parts of life. And yeah, this turned out to be hard. And fun. And with perfect weather (light rain and 50s/60s). I went in just planning to finish and enjoy the course, since I was pushing myself a lot further than anything I’ve run before.
|First turnaround. Aka Swinging Bridge.|
|Calm before the Climb.|
|About to climb up to Devil's thumb|
|The weather theme for the first half of the race.|
|Somewhere on the way back to Foresthill (the first time)|
About training: I followed this approach: hard stuff, weight training, cross training, and consistent milage early. Endurance and mobility work at the end. Mobility issues are often the biggest single annoyance I run into in ultras, as opposed to fatigue. The 300 ft in 0.4 mile climb across the street from my house was quite useful. As was the incline trainer, since I had limited hours. A lot of speed hiking, including steep climbs (i.e. the Yosemite Mist Trail) with the kid on my back. Lots of hill and endurance repeats from Jan-March. There was a couple month span of ~50 mile weeks, then slightly lower milage to focus on easy endurance, getting up to an 80 mile week (including hiking).
What went well
* clean shirt in drop bag = best idea ever. Most people recommend shoes. I vote for a clean shirt.
* I power hiked hard hills really consistently for the entire race. I’d add more 30%+ time or stair time if i were to go back.
* Increasing more solid food, particularly after 12 hours, worked well.
What could be improved
* I mostly hiked the narrow canyon-side single track trail after dark. While I’ve run plenty of trails at night, this was outside my comfort zone. A brighter light might help.
* The left hip was the mobility bottleneck. I worked out a long standing deep knot a week before the race, which quickly caused all kinds of wonky side effects. It’s in a lot better place than it has been for a couple years, but there’s more work to do. This was also the first time I put deliberate mobility focus in before a race, and I ended up finding a lot of deep and subtle tight spots. It's the kind of thing you wouldn’t even know about if you didn’t run very long distances. The end result was that I had to take it easy on downhills again.
* Muscle fatigue really kicked in around 45 miles. Mostly hamstrings, hips, and quads. That’s consistent with how Mokelumne went.
Other things to remember:
* If there’s ever drop bag access point after mile 50-something, put a tennis ball in it. there was some muscle tightness in my foot that got really annoying.