Saturday, August 04, 2007

Test Run

Getting my final gear together for HH100 I made a few new purchases recently. I acquired a new waist pack from my good friends at PCTR (yes, they also sell gear). I tried out my new Ultimate Direction Matrix HHS last weekend doing a sweep of the Salt Point course. The pack felt good, but the little rubber nib came off the 26oz bottle the first time I tried to drink from it Luckily Sarah immediately replaced it with one of the old school UD bottles that same day.

I also hit up The Zombies for the rest of my stuff including two cases of Clif Shots (Espresso and Mocha), one of their small foot care kits and a new flashlight, the Fenix L2D. I've done must of my night runs with a paltry headlamp (or even no light) in past so at first I balked at this pricey little item. However, it came very highly recommended and I figure its good to splurge on at least one new toy before a big race. I plan to use the headlamp either in conjunction or as a backup item. As a side note, if you live in the bay area and opt to pick-up your Zombie order at their condo, I highly recommend trying one of Don's awesome cappuccinos. Don is about as passionate and knowledgeable about his coffee as he is about running. The only down side of doing this is that you may need to be dragged (or kicked) out of their home as it is easy to get too comfortable with all the good coffee, cool gear and great conversation!

OK, so with my full gear options available, I thought I should probably give the entire rig a good test run. I planned to run Mission Peak Friday evening anyway, but coming home late from work gave me the perfect excuse to make it a night run and test my new flashlight as well. I suited up with my new waist pack, filling the big 26oz bottle and the 10oz extra bottle, adding a few things to the zip pack and carrying both my 26oz and 20oz handhelds. I attached the flashlight to the waist pack and strapped on my headlamp. So, feeling like I was part runner, part McGuyver and part Borg, I had nothing left to do but don a totally cheezy expression and snap a pre-run picture.


So, after I finished laughing at myself, I headed out for a nice 9 miles up on Mission Peak a little before 10pm. Heading up the peak is really no test for lighting options as I not only know the trail like the back of my hand, but a slow uphill pace and tons of light from the valley makes it possible to run completely without lights. I started out, however, with my trusty old headlamp (yes, it is held together with tape). Partway up I switched to the flashlight. My immediate first impression was simply "damn that's bright!" However, it did take a little while to get used to the various settings and how best to hold/attach the light. In the end, I used the lanyard to hitch the light to the loop in my handheld and ended up wedging it inbetween the zip pocket and the bottle where it stayed pretty securely. This also allowed me to orient the light either up or down depending on the terrain. It also took some time to get used to the amount of jumping around the light does being in my hand rather than on my head which is generally pointed at the trail. It was especially troublesome since it gave off so much light that I had a lot better peripheral vision than I was used to at night. I was often distracted by things on the side of the trail or even off in the distance as I tested just how far that beam would go. All in all, the light works and the extra visible trail is a big boon especially when going downhill where I always prefer to look a little ways down trail. I think I actually prefer the headlamp on the steeper uphills as I tend to look almost directly down in front of my feet and the constant spot seems to help keep me moving forward. Switching back and forth may be too much, though, so I am going to plan and stick with the flashlight, but will keep the headlamp with me as an option.

The waist pack did similarly well. However, even during the 100 I may not need all of the fluid that I could carry with this full rig. With both handhelds and the bonus bottle on the pack that gives me a total fluid capacity of 82-ounces, certainly more than I can (or should) drink between aid stations, but the number of configurations should give me plenty of options. The pack feels pretty heavy to hold in your hands when everything is full, but it is pretty well distributed and the horizontal bottle fitted nicely into the small of my back. This is definitely better than the vertical (or angle) setup for me. There seemed to be no bouncing and minimal sloshing. The bottle will slip if it isn't pushed all the way in and oriented correctly so I may consider doing something to make it a little more snug like tape or some sort of sleeve. The zip-bag is very easy to access and retrieve things from, but it doesn't zip back up with one hand which is a little bit of a pain. There is a separate small zip above the water bottle which has a key hanger and enough space for some small items that won't be accessed often (I'm thinking Advil or other minimal first aid gear).

The night was beautiful and the run perfect except for one little fall where I was stupidly adjusting my waist pack and not looking at the trail. I practiced taking it very easy and the whole run took about 13 minutes longer than the previous time I ran this route. All, in all, a successful test run. I got home by midnight feeling good, but a little wired. Well, I thought I was just a little wired, but it turns out I may have made a terrible mistake. I think I may have confused my body into thinking it was supposed to stay up all night this weekend. I actually wasn't able to fall asleep until 5am. Not exactly a pattern I am trying to set for the coming week. I will be doing one more run on Sunday, again focusing on taking it easy on the trail. Next week I plan to do pretty much no running, but may hit the stationary bike at the gym for some easy spinning. My main focus will be on making sure all my muscles are rested and my joints and tendons all feel good. Lots of stretching, icing and perhaps a good sports massage if I can fit it in.


Norbert said...

Looks like you're all set!
I see you lit up like a christmas tree next Saturday!
I like your decision not to run too much next week - being rested is the ace of hearts!

Sarah (PCTR) said...

Yep, Norbert's right - being well rested is KEY!!

You look VERY cool, Steve, all set to go with your gear!! Looking forward to seeing you out there, day and night, next weekend!!


Eudemus said...

Thanks guys. Mentally I think taking the full week off is tough, but I know my body will thank me. I probably did a little more hill running last week than I should of as part of a taper, but I think that is going to help force me to focus on rest and rehabilitating all my little pains.

miki said...

"borg". heh heh. I haven't heard that word in years. your inner geek is showing. or is mine for recognizing it. :p

I was wondering how that thing was stuck to your head in your pic. Is that really tape! lol.

I think you're ready to go. I am very very excited. I will be at the Muir Beach station from 12 to 6 and will be around all night after that. See you at the races!

Eudemus said...

Miki, one might say that there is nothing "inner" about my geek based on that picture. As for the headlamp, no, it isn't attached to my head with tape. It is a Petzl Zipka which uses a thin little zip line. The light itself is held together with tape, however.

olga said...

Great job on TRT, and hey, have fun and NEVER EVER GIVE UP at HH100!

Brad said...

I've been freaking out about my upcoming 100 miler and this post really helped! Off to do some shopping! (By the way, I think Firetrails 50 has your last name as Ausell.)

Eudemus said...

Brad, its way to early for you to start freaking out for RDL100. Unless, like me, you tend to get less anxious as you get really close to the event because "what the hell can I do now, but show up and run?"

As for my name at Firetrails 50, yes, I need to send them an email. Your the second one to tell me that it is wrong. However, I told someone else that my "n" is upside down as a "u" because I am going to run the race on my hands :-)

Brad said...

I've actually settled down a bit regarding RDL. I was really nervous because I didn't have any pacers. I now have two and feel much better!

Running on your hands, eh? You'll probably still finish before me! :)