Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mt Wilson via Sam Merrill, Idlehour, 27 miles, phyew!

This morning I awoke just before my wrist watch alarm went off at 5:30am;  had a couple espressos and headed out to do my old Mt. Wilson loop via the Sam Merrill trail-/ Mt Lowe railway returning via the Mt Wilson toll road and the Idelhour trail through upper Eaton Canyon:

The GPS put the run at 27.2 miles;  I took 5:46 excluding time spent at Idlehour to filter water out of the stream.  A bit  slow!  The last time I did this run was July 21, 2007, when I did it in 6:12.  My notes from that run state "had to walk out of steam!"  It was the same drill  today.  At noon the temperature hit 90F in Pasadena and it was fairly humid besides (30%, lower than Thailand but high for southern CA).   I lugged 3 qts of water this morning which was good as the Mt Wilson gates (and so, the spigot within)  were locked when I arrived;  I had enough to get to Idlehour and I had brought a filter pump for the stream there.  The water was cold and delicious;  in hindsight I didn't take enough water at Idlehour as I got dry by the end of the run and had the empty belly/ cavitation feeling that I get when I'm a bit too dehydrated.  Although I drank 6 qts of fluids in the course of the run and immediately after at the trailhead, I was 6 lbs underweight when I got home.  Its a heck of a run, much harder than the routes I've been doing in the Verdugos.   Its very bail out points -  which is why Ive been doing the Verdugos while I "find my legs"-- but lately I feel fairly strong. The trail grades are brutal especially going down.    Total elevation gain was about 7542ft per the GPS:   Here is the elevation profile off my Garmen GPS:

I walked the steep section for the first 2.5 miles (see left)  to warm up,  and the climb out of Idlehour-  the second big climb in the figure, was mostly sun exposed, and was largely a power hike today, the heat load was just too much for me to trot the uphills.

The calves cooperated (I wore compression sleeves as over the last week Ive been rolling out a few knots) and I remain  ambulatory;  but I do have a dull ache in my lower legs and knees.  As I said, this is brutal route.  I should have brought a camera...its a beautiful route, particularly the trail through upper Eaton Canyon.   The vertical relief is stunning, down in the canyon the granite rises on all sides like broken bones, its magnificent.    Didn't see any runners today.  Saw lots of hikers on the Sam Merrill (it was Asian girl hike day apparently) and a few mountain bikers on the toll road -  cool- and on the Sam Merrill trail (unfortunately).  One pair passed and then had to stop at a switchback turn, pick up their bikes and rotate them 180 degrees to negotiate the turn while I stood and waited.  I followed their skid tracks the rest of the way.  Its not a mountain bike trail guys....

I met a cool guy who was starting his run as I finished mine.  He was a lean, weathered looking guy running shirtless with a white beard.  As it happens he knows and used to run with all the local veterans including the guys that started AC100.  His age?  68, and believe me he didn't look it, I'd have guessed mid 50s.  He attributes his health to a raw food diet, and I am pretty certain that folks chowing the "Standard American Diet" don't run trails on 90F days at age 68.  It was inspiring to meet this guy.

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