Sunday, June 6, 2010


I decided to do one last race before the Western States 100 mile Endurance run. I was trying to decide between Auburn Trail 34 miler or the Mt. Diablo 50k. I asked around and most people suggested the Diablo run so I would get more hills and heat. So I decided to do that one.

Saturday morning started hot and it got even warmer as the day progressed.

I got to the race start and checked in. Sarah Spelt from PCTR was there and we exchanged a hello. Then I got my gear together. As I was placing my gear in my waist belt, it slipped down the trunk lid of my car. I didn't notice this and tried and to close the trunk, slamming it on the waist pack. Later I discovered that my camera, stored in the waist pack, was caught in the pack and the trunk lid cracked the screen. So I had no idea if it was still working but decided to bring it and just aim in the general direction and snap photos. The photos here are the results.

Soon we gathered at the starting line for last minutes instructions.

Then we were off.

The run started with a common theme of the day......a climb up in the heat.

In the beginning I ran/jogged when I could but often find myself in a power hike. Five minutes in the sweat was already pouring down my forehead. I was using this a testing grounds for certain possibilities to use such as a new Ultimate Direction two bottle waist pack (that fits oh so nicely between the trunk lid and the trunk) and two sets of shoes - Asics and La Sportiva

As we went on, we went higher up the mountain. This gave us views of the east bay....and soon the San Francisco skyline and the south bay.

I was feeling pretty good at this point. I was trying to maintain a strong hike without pushing too hard. The sun was really beating down though. I was drinking plenty (water and Clip) and downing a S! Cap per hour.

After awhile, the uphill climb became a downhill. This felt good. I love downhills and went tearing down. This felt good and was a nice change from the uphills.

I was definitely getting the heat training I wanted. Soon the downhills leveled off and became uphills again. The sun was high overhead and the temps were increasing.

Soon I reached the aid station. It was in a camping ground parking lot. The aid station workers were very nice and helpful, filling up my bottles. Then we were off again - the trails wrapped around the mountain, heading up to the peak of Mt. Diablo. Soon, the lead runners from the 25km and Chikara leading the 50km came tearing down the mountain.

Suddenly the visitor center at the top of Diablo came into view - the turn around was just past the last trail section. As I approached it, Mountain Man Steve Ansell came racing down the mountain and we exchanged high fives. I went up through the trail and reached the turn-around - this sign:
The views from the top were unbelievable.

Then it was back down. And I mean down. This race had uphills....but it had an equal amount of downhills. As I went down, I was tearing down a trail and, like at Quad Dipsea, I was concentrating so much on my footing in front of me, I missed the trail juncture to the right. Not knowing this, I kept running down the wrong trail. After about a quarter mile things did not look right. I stopped and looked around. No trail marker ribbons could be seen. I saw some hikers coming up the trail and asked if they had seen any runners. They said "Yes" so I felt relieved. Then they said "We saw two, but they seemed lost and confused." No I didn't feel relieved any more. I turned around and started trudging back up the hill.

I found the trail again and got back on track. I tore back down the mountain. But now my lower back was acting up. Each footstep downhill caused pain in my lumbar region and then down my legs. But I continued and reached the turn-around point. Time was 3:35.

I changed shoes (into my La Sportiva) and switched into hand held bottles. Then it was back up the trail. I was feeling pretty good and moving pretty strong. The trail did have some nice scenes such as waterfalls, trees and flowers.

Soon however, my back started throbbing and my pace slowed down. My stomach wasn't feeling so great either. But I kept climbing and soon went through the aid station again. Then it was up on to the summit again. Soon the summit sign came into view.

Then it was at the summit again.

My return trip down was slow. My back hurting and my legs feeling empty. But eventually I finished. My time was unbelievably slow - 8:54 (I have done 50 milers faster). But with the high temps and almost 9000 feet of climb over 31 miles (by comparison, Vermont 100 has 14,600 feet over 100 miles!) I am thankful my last WS100 training gave me what I was looking for: heat, hills and time on my feet.

Sarah and PCTR put on a great race and as I relaxed and looked at the Mt. Diablo dust on my legs, I looked forward to Western States 100 in a few weeks.

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