Life’s a rollercoaster.  Just when things are looking up, well, down you plunge into the next ravine.  I was feeling pretty good about my fitness after last weekend’s long run.  It wasn’t a lights out performance by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a solid effort and a step up from my first long run after OD100.  I was assuming thinking it would carry over to this weekend’s long run.  I was planning on running my “benchmark” 50K route that I used as tune ups for both of my earlier 100s this year.  It didn’t end up as a complete soul-crushing run, but there was definitely quite a bit of squeezing going on.

The temperature was already 73 when I hit the road at 6am.  While there were some gravel roads and a couple miles of trails, about 25 miles was on roads.  Last year I think I spent too much time walking hills leading up to ES100 so I’ve tried to run as much of my long runs as possible.  This means cutting down on the vertical and also spending more time during my long runs on the roads.  The goal was to run virtually all of 31 miles and walk only a couple of the longer and/or steeper hill sections.  That goal started going out the window after only 8-10 miles as my legs were feeling very heavy.  I did a 14 mile loop, which brought me back to my house for my first aid station.  I swapped out my water bottles (only needed 40oz for the first 2.5 hours) and was back out in no time.

It was right after here that I started to enter just grind it out mode.  Not only did I start walking most of the uphills, but I started wanting to walk portions of the downhills as well.  It’s odd because I was in a pretty decent state mentally.  I was drinking plenty of water and getting in the necessary calories.  My body just didn’t seem to want to go.  So I listened to my body and ran what I could and walked the rest.  I figured the heat would slow me down a little bit, but didn’t think it would knock an entire minute off my pace.

My best guess is that I was partially dehydrated going into the run and my diet wasn’t all that stellar the day before.  So what was going to be a hard workout (31 miles ain’t no joke) turned into a really hard workout.  The whole point of these long runs is to push my body and I definitely accomplished that.  My legs were sore the rest of the day, which isn’t normally the case after a long run.  Physically, I’m as prepared as I can be for ES100.  Now I need to work on prepping my logistics and working on my mental game.

Shoe Change

I haven’t been entirely happy with my last couple shoe purchases.  The shoes themselves are fine, but for some reason my normal size feels a little too tight.  Both times I wasn’t able to determine this until it was too late to return them.  The tight fit isn’t too bad for my normal one or five mile runs, however my poor little piggy toes get smashed to smithereens on longer runs.  I bought a new pair last weekend bringing my current rotation up to 6 pairs.  I know, I know.  Yes, this is a bit extreme, but my Vasques were the only pair I can do long runs in and they’ve got 438 miles on them.  I tried my other pair out last weekend for 25 and let’s just say I won’t be using them on any more 25 mile runs let along something 4x that distance.  I’m pretty sure I can get another 100 miles out of the Vasques, but they don’t have a lot of traction which isn’t the ideal shoe for ES100’s uber-technical terrain.

I had never heard of Nevados before, but they were within my price range on Amazon ($40-50) so I decided to take a flyer on them.  Even though they are supposed to fit true to size, I went ahead and ordered a half size higher than I normally wear just because I’d been burned two times in a row.  Who knows?  Maybe the muscles in my feet are getting really jacked up from all the running I do.  When I tried them on they were definitely extra roomy so I was scared worried curious to see how my feet would hold up.  I didn’t just immediately go run 31 miles in them though.  I did a five mile test run two days ago and there were no glaring problems so it was all systems go.

And go they did.  I didn’t tape my feet at all before the run because I wanted to see where they would cause problems.  Well, I’m still looking.  Besides the beginning of a blister on one pinky toe, I had no other issues and no hotspots that would lead to additional problems.  The course I ran was almost entirely roads so I know I won’t get this lucky in 3 weeks.  But the shoes wore much better than my Vasques so I guess it’s third time’s a charm when it comes to shoes.  Between the shoes and a new headlamp (not sure what I was thinking when I bought a 100 lumen one earlier this year), my gear is all set now.

Oh, I also wore a new pair of running shorts for the first time.  Because I like to live life on the edge.