I got up and power walked the Sam Merrill trail again today, this time taking the traverse from Echo Mountain over to the Mt Lowe railway and power walking up to the 8 mile point, about halfway around the north side of Mt Lowe. It was a spectacular morning with Santa Ana conditions- the visibility extended out to Catalina Island
As I was changing bottles at my turn around point a group of runners led by Ruperto Romero came running past on the Lowe railway. I quickly got myself put back together and gave chase. Catching up with Ruperto we shared a couple of miles running down to the Idlehour trail junction, where he and his compadres split off down the Idlehour trail. It was great to talk with him; I hadn't seen him since he came charging through in the lead at the Idlehour aid station at the 2014 AC100 which he won at age 50. In a bit of karmic artistry, he ran a perfect strategic race defeating a deep bench of pre-race favorites and showing number of pre-race projections and comments on blog sites and social media to be a bit hubristic...
I started the run today in my pair of (clearance) Solomon Sense Ultra SG's. These shoes, which list at $160, had come available at $96 in an online clearance sale and I couldn't resist trying them out. After my first run in them a couple weeks ago I had an acute bout of plantar pain that took 3 days to resolve; today's run was a test to see if that experience was a fluke or somehow related to the Solomons, which are otherwise great shoes. I did stuff a pair of my old Merrell Ascend Gloves into my running pack as a back up.
It was no fluke: By the time I reached Echo Mountain about 3 miles in, the arches on both feet were just aching. I stopped and swapped out the Solomons, donning my Merrell Ascend Gloves....ah, relief!!
Something about the Solomons just does not agree with my feet: I suspect its the stiffness of the soles with their integrated rock plate, forcing my feet to bend/flex in ways that they are not designed for and that they don't like. I have strong arches: Barefoot running, or running in completely unsupported shoes like the Merrell Trail Glove gives me no problems; its seems its the Solomons. Pity that this lesson cost me nearly a hundred bucks. I'll see if I can find a pal who likes Solomons and give them away; failing that I'll put them up on eBay to try to recoup some of my money.
When I got home I went on line and bought a couple pairs of Merrell Ascend Gloves from various sites listing them for less than $70. I just love these shoes and decided I would lay in a stash while they can still be found, having regrettably been discontinued by Merrell in favor of more conventional shoe designs.