The sound of my footfalls as I slogged through ankle deep puddles punctuated the white noise of ephemeral waterfalls and rain falling into forest. Visibility was reduced to one ridge looming in the mist, downed trees blocked the path occasionally, and the creeks were swollen and cold. Each crossing numbed my legs like a little ice bath, and provided a respite from the aches of four hours on the trail. Each time I crossed I would linger longer in the cold water, only to have to remove my shoes and shake out the pebbles which had accumulated in the swift runoff. David and I happened upon a fawn at the edge of the trail which remained still as we approached.
"I guess we could actually call that a rain deer today, eh?" David remarked, adding a rim-shot.
"So we're at that point in the run already?" I laughed.
|Ready to go at Highway 49|
"Who knows how long it was actually following me, but I've talked to a few people about it, and most agree what I saw was a mountain lion. They've been known to follow people for up to ten miles."
|Stomping a stream, err, trail|
Another runner came towards us and asked how to get across American Canyon Creek. We had forded a few ankle and knee deep creeks already, but she told us that the creek was too swollen to cross. We told her our plans to continue, and she joined us to see if we could cross safely with each other's help.
|There's a trail in there somewhere...|
While the weather made for an epic run and a good scout of the race course, I was also trying out a new fueling strategy on this run. I took a Vespa supplement at the start of the run, and carried a variety of options in case I got hungry: Gu's, a Bonk Breaker Bar, a Picky Bar, Clif Bloks and hard candy. I took an S! Cap every hour, Sportlegs at halfway and drank about 50 ounces of water. The Vespa worked well, as I took only one piece of hard candy in the first three hours and felt good energy all the while. However, at 3:15, I felt a little low, so I took a Gu, but I never quite recovered my energy. Over four hours and 18 miles on 130 calories! A normal fueling schedule would have resulted in over 800 calories for the same run. I think if I had taken a Gu at 2 hours and then another Vespa at 4 hours, my energy level would have been nice and consistent. I'll try it again in the next few long runs and see if I can get the timing down before the American Canyon race. Not having to carry (or eat) all those extra energy gels sounds attractive. I hope to have it dialed by April for the American River 50 Miler.