Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Twenty-Four Hour Race

So, I'me getting ready for my 24-hour race in Phoenix at this end of this month. I'm running with my brother and his son, who are doing the 48-hour race. I'm leaving my options open for a 48-hour race but that is so unlikely as to be folly. My non-running friends can't believe it.  I know they're laughing behind their hands.

The wonderful thing about the 24-hour race is that there is food and a bathroom every mile, so my usual worry about those things vanish. The terrible thing about the 24-hour race is that it is flat. Without the usual variation in an ultrarun, a runner can quickly stress out the quads or hammies by repetitive strain.

My preparation has been wholly inadequate. It always seems to be inadequate.  But, I've run a recent 50 miler and two recent back-to-back marathons. I also hit the road every morning for a 10 to 15 miler, with the occasional 20 miler.  Lots of running under the moon. I even run the days I'm heading off for a full day of snowboarding. I run when I travel.  I run in the rain, because where I live in Southern California, the rainy days are ten degrees warmer than the clear days. I run in the dark, and have on occasion done a face plant when I'm running in an unlighted area.  In my last face plant, sitting in the street was a lawnmower part, a loop, like a metal fan belt.  The loop was lying flat. I stepped on it with my left foot.  It sprung up and my right foot didn't clear the top of it, so both feet were entangled in the loop. I was below an 9 minute pace, so I went down very hard.

I run with new shoes -- so comfortable and cushy that I am concerned about wearing them out and revert back to worn-out running shoes where the padding has been crushed.

I run listening, principally, to Def Leppard, Guns N Roses, Journey, AC/DC, Eagles, .38 Special, Cheap Trick, ZZ Top, Jackson Browne, with guilty pleasures Elton John, Toto, Pat Benetar, Tommy James and the Cars thrown in the mix. Also, lots of sports radio and some Phil Hendrie. I tried audio books. Other than the impossible cost, at $25 a whack, it becomes tedious when the reader demonstrates his silly ignorance by mispronouncing words and place-names. I don't like audio books.

Preparing for the ultrarun is a long and lonely activity. Long miles on empty trails and roads.  Even though running is very popular in my valley, I rarely see runners on the roads away from the local popular river-side trails.  I know every public restroom; every water fountain. I plan my runs to pass those things.  These days I can run 20 miles in cool weather without a water break. On hot days I can run 10 miles without a water break.

I have running friends. They train for yearly marathons, a completely different experience than mine, which is basically being marathon capable on any given day. They are usually faster than I am but it is a function of age.  I run with my 68-year-old friend Frank.  He is impressively fast, and came within ten minutes of me at the Los Angeles Marathon. He beat me once on a 12-mile training run, two weeks after my surgery three years ago.

My wife refuses to run with me. Our last complete run together was in Maine when she said she needed protection from the moose. But on occasion we meet up. She kills me on the hills. I've got 70 plus pounds on her.  Go figure.

I run on occasion along with the cross-country teams for Hart High, Valencia High and Saugus High.  The Saugus team is tops in the area. I come across the Saugus kids when I'm on the river trail next to Newhall Ranch Road. The Hart High kids like running up the valley where I live. I live at the end of a long box canyon. Those kids are fast and their running looks effortless. I can keep up with the back of their packs.

I run over and around dead animals all the time. Crows and hawks working away on them. Road kill. I don't have time to stop and divine their entrails to tell my future.

People stop me all the time to ask for directions.  I do my best to help, but do they know what they are doing, interrupting a runner trying to keep his pace up?

There are parts of my runs I detest.  Running the frontage road (The Old Road) along the freeway.   Freeway underpasses. Intersections. The stretch on Soledad Canyon Road (Saugus) from Bouquet Canyon to Whites Canyon (Canyon Country). Basically, any part of Soledad Canyon Road.  Through Fisherman's Wharf.  Houston, along the drainage canals. Dayton, away from the hotel. The sidewalks from the Waldorf to Central Park. Waikiki, any part of it. Las Vegas, any part away from the hotel.  Recife, Brasil (the hotel concierge told me to stick to the beach; two blocks in I would be dead).

There are runs I love to live for. Central Park, the loop. The waterfront between Fort Mason and the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge. Stevenson Ranch Road. Santa Clarita's river trail system. Newhall's The Beast.

When I run my brain moves faster. When I think about work and clients I sometimes come up with bright ideas. In the middle of my last lengthy trial, it seemed that my bright ideas were in the area of graphics -- better ways to display pictures and charts to the jury. I don't bill my clients for that time.

I ride bikes with the local bike club. With virtually no bicycle training I can be a middle-packer on my bike trips.

I snowboard with friends and my kids. I don't need to take a lunch break.

My wife and daughter showed me recent articles which suggest that endurance training for runners my age can shorten one's lifespan.  t makes the heart work too hard and become stiffer than usual. I think of Jim Fixx.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Up to Mentryville 14.7 miles

A favorite but rarely-done run of mine.   I run up Pico Canyon to Mentryville, a county park.  Mentryville was founded in the 1870s as an oil town.  Today it is a county park but for some reason is never open, with signs posting warnings of environmental hazards.   Given that this is California, it is more likely that it is just cheaper to close it.  Mentryville today is a collection of old homes.  There are a couple of modern structures and somebody living there.

I like this run because there's water at a county restroom at the intersection of Pico and Stevenson Ranch Parkway.   As well, beyond Mentryville in the fire road to the top of Odeen Platform (I didn't run this today, not wanting to get my brand-new road shoes dirty) there's a water hose.

Today's run was a surprisingly warm day, getting close to 80 in some of the sunnier areas of the run.  I didn't have a lot of energy, perhaps putting on too many miles this week after last week's tough marathon and too much food this week.  But, up and down the canyon I had some sub-9 miles as there were other runners.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Completed: Valley of Fire Marathon 4:16

I finished the Valley of Fire Marathon today, at 4:16, or 9/27th overall in a very small field.  This was a completely different marathon than a Boston-certified course.  Lots of ups and downs and a couple of miles on an unpaved road filled with rocks.

This was perhaps one my favorite runs.   It takes place in the Valley of Fire state park, near the Valley of Fire exit on I-15 north of Las Vegas.  The state park is sort of like a mini-Zions National Park.  Lots of cool sandstone rock formations, an arch, narrow canyons, rolling hills.  I really did want to stop and see some of the sites.

I actually did a lot better this week than last week's Santa Barbara Marathon.  I had lots of gas in the tank near the end.   After the first mile, I was passed by only one runner the entire race, and did my fair share of passing others.  I overran the first two aid stations.  They hadn't set up yet.  The volunteer at the second aid station actually asked me how to set up the station; I just ran on.

One guy my age was running in those toe shoes, Vibram.   I had to laugh when I got in my car to go home, which took me back over the last 10 mles of the race.  He was in dead last, still 6 miles to go, had taken off those shoes, and was attempting to run barefoot.  So much for that fad.

I was also running with my new Nike Air Zoom Structure Triax+ 15. After buying my Hokas, and finding them too unstable, I looked around for heavily cushioned lightweight running shoes with a medial post.   These are the ones I've found, and they are perfect.   Like most of my shoes, I order them a full size larger than my street shoes to give me more room in the toe box.  These shoes are sized slightly larger than others I have purchased, so I find myself on occasion tripped up, but so far they are super comfortable and light.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Valley of Fire Marathon Nov. 17, 2012

After a total whack job performance this past Saturday in the Santa Barbara Marathon, I'm running a very hilly road marathon this coming Saturday, November 17, 2012, at Lake Mead, Nevada in the Valley of Fire Marathon.  Back to back marathons spaced by a week!  I've never attempted that before.

Take that, the grim reaper!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Santa Barbara Marathon: 4:09:19

In perfect conditions, I turned in the second-worst lifetime performance in today's Santa Barbara International Marathon, at 4:09:19.  19/48 in my age division.   The last time I did so poorly was when I was running sick.  Ran with friends William, Belinda, and Frank.

I trained many miles for this one.   Perhaps I didn't taper enough.  I don't really believe in tapering down.  But I think it is just old age.

I could tell I was having a hard time because the last five miles was filled with walkers; I don't usually see that.

Friend Frank was 68 years old and came in about 20 minutes behind me.  Amazing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Golden Gate Bridge 15.63 Miles

Just ran my favorite run in almost the entire world from the Omni Hotel across the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County and back, 15.63 miles.  My pace was terrible, 9.5.   Can't qualify for Boston with that.  But half the run was in the complete dark.

See here for the flyover video.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Upcoming Santa Barbara Marathon

My recovery week after the Twin Peaks 50 has been slow because of injury.  My injury?  Swollen tendons in my hand!  Who would have thought?

On my pace run in the Bear 100 two weeks before Twin Peaks, I had a major face plant and really did a number on my hands, with deep road rash on both hands.   I didn't think there was anything really wrong with the hands otherwise until two days after the Twin Peak 50 when my left hand became swollen in the palm.   OK, that's just weird.  Two weeks of nothing and then they swell up?  X-rays reveal nothing.  I guess the constant trashing of the wrist while running might lead to something like carpal tunnel.

So, I've signed up for the November 10, 2012 Santa Barbara Marathon, which I've done once before.  I desperately need to re-qualify for Boston, but for some reason my times with this marathon are not the speediest.  It has some annoyingly tight 90 degree turns, crowded conditions at aid stations with the public obstructing runners who don't want to stop, and then several miles on narrow sidewalks through a city park.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Twin Peaks 50: 14:07

Considered one of the toughest 50-milers in California, the Twin Peaks 50 ultra ascends 15,000 feet in the first 45 miles. It combines fire roads with very technical descent single tracks (boulders and water courses through the middle of the trail). The race is actually somewhat longer than 52 miles.  The race director warned us that finishing times were more in line with 100Ks, but I felt I was ready.
The Twin Peaks Ultra climbs Santiago Peak and Trabuco Peak in Orange County, each twice. The single tracks are on Holy Jim Trail (Santiago) and Horsethief Trail (Trabuco).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Twin Peaks 50

Well, it looks like I have a client conflict with my 100 next week.   I've signed up therefore for the Twin Peaks 50 mile this week on October 13.    It is a very tough course with lots of altitude gain.    It is in Orange County and climbs Trabuco and Santiago Peaks twice.    It can be crowded with hikers.  

I've done the 50K before which is the same as the 50 mile but which leaves out a peak, and I came in 11th overall.   Most of the course is easy fire trail but the aid stations can be iffy.  When I ran the 50K I got there before two stations were fully set up.   I usually like to run my first ten mile leg without water and I was surprised at the first aid station.  But that was a few years ago and it looks like it has grown up.

This time I weigh ten pounds less with two solid long running weekends in front so I'm hoping for no trouble.   The great thing about an ultra run is the taper down the week before.  I get to sleep in.

I'm bringing multiple shoe changes in case the Hokas don't work.  I still am a little doubtful of them.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Triple Ascent of "The Beast"

I made a triple ascent of Newhall's The Beast today.   I drew a lot of comments from runners and walkers going up and down.  It was slightly over 30 miles because I ran the very top leg a fourth time to make sure I went over 30 miles.

The reason the elevation chart above doesn't look like three trips is that I ran triples of individual legs rather than a triple of the whole thing, but it added up to a full triple.   As you can see from the first "hump" above, I tripled the top leg, ran to the bottom and then ran to the top again.

But, my normal up and down of 1:50 for a single trip suffered in the later trips.   The last trip was hot and I was chafed and dragged myself up and down. I had lots of energy until the temps went over 80 degrees and then that is all she wrote.

I'd made two doubles in the past, with one of them being kind of a cheater as I went down Los Pinetos trail and came up the second time on the "Viper," a shorter route.  One of the doubles was in the winter -- pretty easy.   The true double was many years ago and I recall it was difficult.

Too fun.  My feet held up in my Brooks.  That made it six ascents of the Beast in one week.

Friday, October 5, 2012

T minus 14 to Pony Express

Another pre-dawn The Beast ascent this morning.  That's 30 miles on The Beast this week alone.  I'm contemplating another 30 miles tomorrow.  We'll see if I can get my mind around a triple ascent.  The flesh is willing, the mind is weak.

To my utter surprise, I saw a pair of runners coming down in the dark as I was headed up.  That is a first after a decade of running The Beast.

Ran in my Brooks shoes.  A little cooler than the Hokas (because the Brooks are actually heavy road shoes) but too much moving around in the shoe; too much potential for blister.

Cold today. Fifty degrees to start.

Still distressed over the meeting conflict I have with the Pony Express.   Clients first!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mitt Romney

Just say'n.   Second cousin.

T Minus 15 days

Another pre-dawn ascent of "The Beast," this time in a close to personal record time, 1:02.   Today I got up there long before dawn.

My new Hoka shoes are comfortable except that I feel a lack of lateral support that I usually have for my medial post shoes.   When I'm running on a slope that slants to the right or the left, the up-slope shoe feels like it is slipping off its tread into the lower slope. I don't quite have the same stability as my other shoes.  I'll probably lay off running in these shoes until race day.

I have a work conflict for the start of the Pony Express 100.  Wonder if it will clear. Something always comes up.   Last year it was bronchitis.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pony Express 100: T minus 17 days

OK, you're thinking.  Another picture and post about Bob.  Can't he quit talking about himself and his running?  Well, it really is the only way I can self-motivate myself to run this upcoming 100 race on the Pony Express Trail.   If I tell everybody I'm doing it then it will be harder for me to back out.  A 100 mile race, and climbing Denali, are the last two things I need to do before hanging out more often at the cemetery.

This morning was another 10 mile trip to the top of Newhall's "The Beast."   I arrived at the trail head  forgetting my flashlight, and had to do most of the ascent in the moonlight.  But, having run the route so many times before it wasn't too difficult.  I arrived at the peak somewhat before sunrise.  A hazy day.  The above shot is looking north towards Santa Clarita.

Today's run was three days after my 60 mile experience in Idaho in the Bear 100.   My heel hurt terribly from the blister surgery I had to do then.  It felt just like a bruised heel.  In fact, the needle surgery probably bruised the heel.

Today was my first day running in my new Hoka One One ("Onay Onay") shoes.  A complete different experience, these.  Somewhat more cushioned, about a half-inch higher, and very light.  They are not expected to last many miles, and I couldn't get them with a medial post (for overpronation).  And expensive -- $200.   The reason I got them was that I have been told they help fight foot fatigue.  Today's run was fine but I think I know where the hot spots are going to be.  The shoe runs hotter than a normal trail runner.

I blasted to the top today in fine order.  It was hot -- over 70 degrees starting at 5:00 a.m.  Hazy, too.  

There are funny things I think about whilst running.  The next run, where will it be?  The weekend run, how long will it be and where?  The stuff I need to do at work today.  The people trying to beat me down.  (Litigation is a zero-sum game.  Winners and losers.  Half of all persons I deal with every day plots to do me professional disaster.)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bear 100

I paced about 50 miles of the September 28, 2012 Bear 100 which begins near Logan, Utah and ends at Fish Haven, Idaho. My brother Dave was running his 50th 100 event. He was a little out of shape after breaking his leg earlier in the year.

This was my third pacing at the Bear 100; previous races are discussed in this blog.

Things got off to a poor start as I ran up about three miles up the trail to meet Dave at mile 20. I made a wrong turn and got lost, and then did a face plant and destroyed in one fall my Canon Elph and my Nano. So, no pictures. I made a serious dent into my first aid kit as I had to scramble for bandages.

I jumped in as pacer at about mile 30. It was about 2 pm and hot. Dave scolded me as I wanted to run between stations without water. What is ten miles? It was a dry section of the race and exposed to the sun, probably close to 80 degrees.

Nephew Kevin jumped in at the next leg, a 4000 foot climb. By 11:30 pm or so I was having difficulty keeping up due to foot soreness and blisters. At this point I was questioning my planned Pony Express 100 in a month, but runners I talked to along the way assured me that I could bring my walker. I dropped out and drove with nephew Ryan to meet them at Beaver Lodge. Dave and Kevin appeared at 4:00 am and Kevin dropped.

I spent a lot of time thinking about completing my own first 100.   My last attempt was in March 2012 in the Salt Flats 100.   I was doing very well time-wise up to mile 60 or so and then started feeling nauseous, which caused me to lose all interest.  When I run with Dave on these long ones, he hurls with frequency and thinks nothing of it.  I will need to learn to hurl at will.

Kevin complained to me in this run about being chided by his Dad for not behaving in the manner expected of pacers.  Dave complained about Kevin just wanting to do another training run.

Each of the stations was a class event with lots of runners' food and roaring campfires.  We saw lots of runners drop out at the larger and more comfortable aid stations.   At one of the later stations, a runner came in at 4:00 a.m. and left at 7:00 a.m. in an attempt to recover from hypothermia in a car.   I didn't understand the guy; it was below freezing at dawn and he insisted on running in warm weather gear.

I jumped back in at about 7:00 am after blister surgery, new shoes and new taping. It started to rain but slacked off. I completed the final two legs with Dave into Fish Haven in the middle of a hot day.

Part of these final two legs was along a high ridge line.  The view was worth the entire trip.

The last 15 miles was easy as Dave labored through it, moaning and hacking a lung. I don't know how he manages it, but he does.   My job as we came into the aid stations was to find Dave a chair next to the camp fire, to fill his bottle, to find him soup and otherwise do his bidding.  Contrary to the evening before, I had lots in the tank.  I learned a little with all this, and that is when I start feeling hot spots I just have to stop, not worry about the loss of position, and repair the blister, re-tape, change socks or shoes.  Changing shoes just means a different set of blisters, but at least it relieves the old ones.

The last ten miles or so was a descent into the Bear Lake basin; quite a wild loss of altitude and hot, as the slope face was directly exposed to the morning sun.

The last two miles was through neighborhoods and on pavement. I did my pacerly duties to encourage Dave to pass another racer who could not manufacture a trot.

Do you want to transition from being a recreational runner or a marathoner to an ultrarunner?  Team up with an ultrarunner and be a pacer.  A typical race won't let you in until the racer is already dog tired; in a 100 miler pacers typically enter around 30 miles.  Ultrarunning is a fabulous sport; you get to see lots of scenery in a short period of time, covering ground in one day backpackers take one or two weeks to cover.  It isn't quite as grueling as a marathon because you're constantly using different kinds of muscles, and walking is not frowned upon.

Dave at the start. Bob with nephews Kevin and Ryan.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hot 26-miler

Super hot day today.  Above 90 at run's end.  My blood pressure drops to very low levels and it is hard to stop or slow down and stay conscious.   I need the electrolyte tablets, which I use only for super long runs.

I ran up to North Valencia, way above Valencia High School.   I kept up a great pace until about mile 20 when it was getting hot.  

The City's trail system along the river beds is so great.   Thanks to Councilperson Laurene Weste we also have equestrian trails, which I followed when I was on the river.  On the upper west side of San Francisquito Creek, the trail isn't fully developed at spots and the horse trail descends into the sandy and garbage-strewn dry riverbed.   But I really think the restored railroad crossing near the trailhead at Magic Mountain Parkway is the coolest-looking thing. 

On this particular route, which I chose to maximize stress at the end, the run is particularly exposed to the sun between 20.5 and 24.   There is no shade cover; no adjacent trees, and some of that is along the fence next to the freeway.   Hot, hot and more hot.   Plus, between 18 and 19.5 I chose to run the Old Road with no shade instead of the road on the other side of the freeway next to College of the Canyons which has lots of shade.  But, often, I like the shade.

Practicing techniques for the super long run today, I learned to keep as much stuff as I can off the body to prevent chafing.  On my last 100 attempt, my super lightweight Nathan backpack had pouches in front which rubbed into my swinging arms.  I need a different solution.  On these local long runs, I know where all the water fountains are (here, at miles 4.5, which I usually bypass, 8 in a riverside park, 16.5 at the new trailhead, and 21 in a park.)

The iphone got to be a drag in the real hot stuff.  As much water as I can drink at the various drinking fountains. Regular energy chomps (which I didn't do today.)  Always on the run for at least 25 miles.      No stopping except to drink.

Continuing to battle the sinus-related bronchitis I picked up last October, which knocked me out of the Santa Barbara Marathon, and the 24-hour run in Arizona.   What a drag.  I feel like it is cutting into my lung capacity, but when I went to see a pulmonologist, he said my lung capacity was off the charts.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mt. Baldy -- 15.5 m loop.

I ran the Mt. Baldy trail to the summit of Mt. Baldy, and made the ascent in 2:59, a personal best.  That isn't saying much.  One prior ascent with my wife was up the easier Mankar Flats route.   One prior ascent was in the snow.  One ascent was with a friend with altitude sickness.  So, I've only made two running assaults of my five total.

Starting elevation was about 4396 feet, and the summit was 10,068. In the map above, the summit is right before the 7 mile marker.  The trailhead is hard to find.  It is at the church on the north side of the highway in Baldy Village.   Parking is very hard to find, but not at 3:00 a.m. in the morning.  I parked in front of the Forest Service information office; the trailhead was about 100 yards below the office.

The first mile of the trail up takes you past some homes and cabins for one-half mile, and then along a well-worn trail to Bear Flats, a camping spot and the only source of water in the entire route.   Up from Bear Flats is a very steep section of switchbacks which, in the middle of the day, is like an oven because it is directly perpendicular to the sun.   Eventually, the switchbacks come to an end near a prominent rock feature  sticking up out of the ground on the left of the trail as one heads up.   The trail then progresses very steeply up the ridges to what I think is West Baldy.   You skirt the peak of West Baldy, descend into a saddle, which puts you at the base of Baldy about 1/2 mile away from the summit.
I arrived at the summit to see sunrise seconds before my chrono hit 3:00. The fact that the chrono was about to hit that number encouraged me up the last 10 minutes at a faster-than-usual run.

 A few minutes after my arrival at the summit, four search and rescue climbers arrived from the much easier Devil's Backbone trail and one said that less than 3 hours was a remarkable time. To the west the Glendora canyon fire was raging. The shot below shows the almost full moon over the smoke. 

During the darkness ascent, it was quite a sight to see the ridge lines burning. Fortunately, the smoke only slightly drifted in my direction at times.

Instead of descending the Mt. Baldy trail back to the trailhead, I descended the Devil's Backbone trail which took me through the ski resort. I took the easier route down because I wanted to try and get some flat running in to prepare for my upcoming 100. That plan didn't work out well. I took a wrong turn and descended down a very difficult gorge which emptied into Mankar Flats. I was hung up for two hours in about 2 miles of gorge, boulder-hopping.

But I could see footprints and knew that somebody else had descended or ascended this way, so I kept on pushing. I missed several miles of road switchbacks from Manker Flats up to the ski resort, switchbacks I should have been running. In the gorge, I had to do some difficult climbing with toe and finger holds, all alone in a rarely-traveled area. The gorge was dry and filled with large boulders. When I arrived at the steepest descent in the gorge, the bottom of the gorge was filled with vegetation and I was forced to edge along the gorge's walls.
I'm unhappily dealing with nettle poisoning. It's exactly like a neural affliction, since I have that already in three fingers. A nettle extract is used to deal with arthritis. I had no choice but to face nettles in the gorge. I've never had it so bad. Numbness and tingling where I had to touch it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hot 50 mile weeks in Santa Clarita

This is a cool video of my 20 mile run today in Santa Clarita. It was a very hot day. The video took my stats from my Timex watch and used Google 3d. Parts of the video are accelerate. I failed to turn the watch on.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Running Ascent up Mt. Baldy (Los Angeles)

Mt. Baldy is really Mt. San Antonio. Its peak is 10064 feet and is the highest in Los Angeles County, in the San Gabriel Mountains. One of the most difficult climbs of Mt. Baldy is from Baldy Village at 4297 feet. There are easier climbs to the top, including one that uses a ski lift to get most of the way up. Most hikers take the trip from the ski resort. Another hike is from Manker Flats, with the trail head several more miles up the canyon from Baldy Village.

This was my fourth ascent, but this one was running the entire way. The hike usually takes about eight to twelve hours but today I completed the round trip in 4.5 hours. Mileage accounts vary; I've seen websites that say the round trip is 14 miles and some say it is 11 miles. Next time I'll have to GPS it.

This is less than a Class 3 hike, which means that there is an established trail the entire way with no scrambling. I'd compare the difficulty in terms of steepness to the easy way up Mt. Whitney. Perfect for a run, although some parts are steep. Several websites say it is extermely difficult but it is difficult only due to the 5700 foot elevation gain. If you're an average hiker and want a challenge, start at Manker Flats and take the trail past the Sierra Club hut.

My new adizero xt 3 (addidas) trail shoes are terrific. I had some break-in issues with blisters on the heel because of the stiffness, but some duct tape around the heel has resolved these. This shoe is extra-stiff and lightweight. This shoe has a tighter than usual toebox, which I wanted to minimize the sliding around in the shoe that occurs on difficult boulder descents. This shoe also has a forefront in neoprene and the entire tread is Continental rubber -- a technology from a tire company. This is very low to the ground shoe.

I've been lazy about posting lately. The first week of May was my first attempt at a 100 miler and I bailed at 65 miles when I started having gastric distress. I know, what a way to wimp out when the legs and feet are otherwise functioning. But, I had a terrific crew using my old Landcruiser. Seeing my truck parked at the aid station made it too easy to climb in. Thanks to Vince Romney for organizing a terrific event! Thanks to Scott for the crew!