April 11, 2009

Lost with M&Ms On the Pacific Crest Trail

What I like about running on the Pacific Crest Trail is that I rarely see anyone (mountain bikes prohibited), the trail is usually in good condition and, as of today, I can get lost to keep things interesting!

Today I ran the PCT from Hwy 18 (Big Bear) from the Cushenbury Grade Summit, elevation 6,892’ to Onyx Summit, elevation 8,500’. This was a good training run that provided a little taste of elevation, single track trail, climbs, and descents. I tested myself by eating only solid foods with no gels. I opted for the more nutritious choice and grabbed a bag of peanut M&Ms and a couple of pop tarts. Oh, yea, I threw in a Mountain Dew for good measure. From the beginning to end I will say things settled well, No bloating, no indigestion, no stomach cramps. Just energy.

After making the turn around Onyx Summit, I realized I’d been climbing for quite a while. Turns out, after passing through Balky Horse Canyon and across Arrastre Creek I climbed for a solid 5 miles. I’m not sure exactly the elevation gain of this segment, I guess around 1,600’, but I am sure that as I approached 8’500 section of the trail I was sucking some good, thin air. When I turned around I felt my legs turn over nicely and I let them go a little down this 5 mile descent.

Then came delirium. The PCT passes near Baldwin Lake, an area known for horse ranches and properties and where one can find a plethora of horse trails. Problem is these horse trials masquerade as the PCT. Its simply not enough to scream obscenities when I realize I’m off my trail. I have to actually ask a mounted horseman to know that I’m lost. After asking a few equestrians where the PCT was, I put my head down and continued on, right for Victorville! I finally stepped out of the maze and on to the trail after a mile of going nowhere.

All is well that ends well, however. This 28 mile run had some great scenery, good and varied terrain and even a little intrigue. A good day on the PCT.


Mel-2nd Chances said...

Wow, I think I'd have serious issues if I ate that stuff while running! LOL Sounds like a very scenic run!

Kevin (K1) said...

Guess that beats me getting "lost" in El Morro...way to go Will....it's all part of the adventure........

Insert Here said...

I've never really got into trail running, but this looks like a great afternoon adventure. I live in Richmond, VA and my cousin lives outside of Denver. I'm thinking about visiting later this summer to do some some running around the mountains. Do you have any recommendations when it comes to shoes?

Kangsan said...

Could never eat like you did, without heaving sometime into the run. More power to you.

I knew a guy who ran the LA Marathon with me who swore by eating a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast about 90-120 minutes before every race.

He did this and in this particular marathon in 2005, also accepted, and wholeheartedly ate, a greasy, thick cheeseburger at mile 18.

He still ran a 3:10 marathon. Some people can just get away with eating that in a race. I can't.

Of course it helped the guy to be 5'6" and 134 lbs to run a time like that.

I ate "clean" and ran a 3:14, but had I been 5 lbs lighter it may have been a race. :)

I asked him many times if he wanted to run a sub 3 hour marathon and he said yes, everytime.

Everytime I would say, well then don't eat like that, and he would just say, nah!!!!

He never did break 3 hours for 26.2.

What a waste.

In any event, I appreciate your blog post and that you are willing to share your running experience, training schedule, what you eat during ultras. Thanks for it all.

Good luck in all your races. You may always be in front of me a ways, but that's fine.

Good luck in Western States. I'm hoping to run the AC100 this year. If it's the Great Spirit's will, I will.

Take it easy.