Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mt. Baden Powell, concluding a 50 mile taper week

I have not been to Mt Baden Powell since the last time I ran Angeles Crest in 1991.  I had clean forgotten what a fabulous, beautiful trail is the PCT in this area.  I woke up early to get out, get 'er done, so as to get home to the family.  I hit the trail from the Vincent Gap trailhead at 7:30 and made the high point of the AC100 in 1:05.  The amazing tree just beyond the summit trail/PCT junction is the Wally Waldron Tree, dated as 1500 years old.
The Wally Waldron Tree at the PCT/summit junction

View running back towards Mt Baden Powell.

Today I ran past the junction and on to 7.5 miles read out of the GPS, then turned around, ran back and hiked up to the summit.    I felt so strong.  The run was a bit slow though;  I hiked up Baden Powell, intentionally-  I have no intention of running a  2800ft climb above 6600ft on race day;  and hiked a lot of the uphills today. Most of the run was above 8500ft and I was sucking air, feeling the altitude.  Total time was 3:20 for 15.2 excluding photo stops (lots!) and water-bottle-screwing-around stops.

I ran in a pair of Merrell Ascend Gloves.  I made special ninja gaiters out of a retired pair of spandex shorts, to cover the front open mesh in order to keep the sand out.  The whole thing was covered with an oversized pair of Dirty Girl Gaiters (size 13).  It worked perfectly on the left  and so-so on the right (shown below) at keeping sand out of the shoe.

Ascend Gloves with ninja gaiters plus oversized Dirty Girl gaiters
The race plan will be to run in the standard Merrell Ascends* from the start, with the ninja gaiters.  Despite having to go to some lengths to keep the sand and grit out, the fit and feel of these shoes is perfect, I just love wearing them.  I will keep my Skechers GoBionic Trails for the later section of the course, most likely out of Chantry, where I may be wanting a bit more cushioned ride.

Anyways-  the training for AC100 is done;  I have run 480 miles in 6 weeks and feel great.  I didn't know that I could still do this kind of mileage.  Its been a great adventure learning how to do it.


 (as an aside, I had against my better judgement bought  a pair of Merrell's Ascend Glove Goretex to try to solve the grit problem-  these $160 shoes do keep grit out but they just do not breath enough for summer wear, at least in southern California;  my feet were soaked after a 6 mile noontime run.  I can't blame Merrell for that;  the Goretex shoes will just go in my closet for the winter season.  Ouch.  Chalk it up to an experiment, and I will use the shoes, just not for this race.)

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