Getting closer

Jemez 50 miler is coming up and Im getting super stoked! These past few weeks have even been spectacular when it comes to weather! 75 degrees in Santa Cruz and not a cloud in the sky! Now the only thing that has been just a pain in the ass has been the intermittent rain that seems to be every other day which is just playing with my heart, soul, and the dampness of my shoes. The combination of track practice and getting in my consistent long runs have been spectacular and my legs are feeling good and strong.

Last Sunday my friend Josh (who is probably the only person in Santa Cruz that is down to do a 20 mile run on a whim) and I decided to get on some new terrain. We drove over the 17 (hate doing on my days off) to Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos. Josh had finally came to the conclusion that he should be running with water so I gave him one of my vests and gave him some options for water bottles. We both only grabbed one 16oz bottle and stuffed them in our vests. The trail started on a mellow grade were it was easy to chat, a mile in it really started to ramp up and the trail progressively became silent aside from our huffs and puffs. Luckily the goat trail grade we were going up was in the shade but it wasn’t going to last forever. We got to the top of the first ridge and looked down on the Bay Area and it actually was a nice view, super clear and you could actually see the Bay Bridge. We looked the opposite way towards our trail and saw our demise. A fire break cut lined with power lines, it looked brutal meaning it was going to be much worse.

We both were doing fine with water since the first 3 miles were shaded but it was heating up! We should have started earlier I thought to myself, but hey I actually had a running partner to stick out these long sunny miles. Our gears were switching each quarter mile and the 5% grade quickly switched to 24% to 31%. Three more miles passed and we made it to the top, I was half way through my bottle and Josh was much lower but we made it. Now when I was mapping out the route Strava did not show the elevation on the top ridge as accurate as it actually was. After reaching to about 3,000ft we dropped down to 1,500 ft with an average 13-20% grade. We both were not stoked that we had to go back up that to head towards the reservoir. Parts of it were cool, you could see Mtn Umunhum up above looking a villains hideout in James Bond.

photo from hikingproject.com

We got to our turn around point and discussed how shitty going back up the grade we just went down is going to be. Ate a snack and lethargically started the run back. Water was getting lower in our bottles and the temperature was getting higher. The climb back up wasn’t as bad as we had made it in our mind and we crested the highest point. Started to head down and we both started to slow way down. It was at quad blowing grades and we were both pretty dehydrated and started talking about beer, we were both pretty over the run by now. Miles started clicking down and we progressed closer to the reservoir looking like an oasis in the middle of Sahara desert. We got to mile 17 and had totally sucked our water bottles dry and paused for the view we had already stopped for before. I was looking around and saw some plastic jugs in the underbrush, we both approached the jugs and saw they were completely full of what looked like clean water. Josh opened the lid and smelled the liquid. It wasn’t piss but actual water! We both filled our bellies and bottles, took a picture of a family and bolted down the last three miles of trail.

Getting to the car and stripping off the vest, shirt, and shoes, we both felt instantly better. We hung out for a couple minutes and the fatigue that we had both felt was gone, unfortunately the thought of beer was gone as well. We got back to Santa Cruz and I got into my car and instantly drove the Burger. and ordered a milkshake, fries, burger, and a beer. Instant gratification.

The rest of the week played off the end of that 20 mile run, I was not fatigued and my legs felt even stronger then before! The track workout on Wednesday was spectacular and I was able to do some of the fastest splits I’ve ever done. This years training block has been very consistent and Im feeling the results of it and Im feeling really prepared for the Jemez 50 miler. The only thing that Im hesitant on is the elevation of the actual race, 8000ft +, yikes. Gives me more excuses to go up to the mountains and visit my parents and to get some backcountry skiing in! The amount of skiing has been at a significant low this year due to having so many storms and it finally mellowing out. Looking forward to this weekend were I can skin up and get some turns! Have a good weekend!

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