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Last and First

I just got back with Jill from Wendell’s Berry Creek Falls 50k – a small event in Big Basin, small mostly because there are 3 races in the Bay Area alone this weekend (Quicksilver 50K/50M taking the lion share of runners as an old, fun, but very fireroadish event and Diablo Marathon/60k tomorrow) – and a Big Sur marathon not too far away as well. Oh living in the Bay Area can be hard sometimes … The Diablo races are extremely steep (the Marathon makes most 50 milers blush with 7900ft of climbing alone, the 60k makes you cry with 11000ft of gain …) and while usually my conclusion would have been to run both Berry Creek and the 60k, it seems a little ill-advised recovering from my Achilles injury right now. So the “easier” Big Basin run (with “only” ~7000ft of climbing) was my test to see how well my recovery was going. The course offered many opportunities to drop, which was another plus of this choice – that and Big Basin is one of my favorite areas.

The race itself was tough. I woke up with a sore throat, which still remains now, and hadn’t run really any distance in the last 4 weeks (or at all the last 2). I also took the downhills and uphills deliberately slowly as to not aggravate my Achilles. Soon though the deliberate slowness became simple my race pace – I had been queasy from the start and I ate very little. Jill and I ended up with a record 7:50 finish – the slowest 50k I’ve done ever, I checked. I would have deserved to be last, though one person came in after us.

However, I did not mind at all being out there for so long – because I had no problems whatsoever with the Achilles – laying to rest some significant anxiety about the injury, which had previously seemed pain-free, just to flare up very nastily with a little longer activity! Of course careful monitoring, continued treatment and slow ramp-up (I know this sounds a bit ironic …) is still in order, but that’s a big relief and in line with the results from my MRI (which I just got yesterday), which showed only mild tendionosis (tendon degeneration – expected given my running history anyways), no tearing, but a hematoma and some bursitis – compatible with soft tissue damage on the damn Wickersham Wall at White Mountains. ¬†All in all, I enjoyed every minute I was out on this gorgeous course on a perfect day with temperatures that were just right in one of the most beautiful places the Bay Area has to offer (and, which I think, can certainly hold its own in the world). Jills decision to stick with me made the run all the more joyful – a great day indeed.

This time around I took my camera and shot some pictures myself, so I don’t have to steal them from Jill. Somehow all my shots of the big waterfall didn’t come out, but you can see it on Jill’s post.

Jill in a new happy place!

Jill always posts butt-shots of me, and I'm very sorry for that. Especially since hers is so much nicer!

View from the "Ocean View Summit", which wasn't a summit at all. Still nice!

Gratuitous cute Jill shot.

Redwoods are awesome.

The trail was even unexpectedly fun in a few spots!

We were running along stuff like this for quite a while. Heaven.

2 comments to Last and First

  • Oh you ultrarunners and your charmingly skewed view of the world. “I’ve been injured for months, so I’d better just run the 50k!”

    Looks like a beautiful race.

  • Danni

    Fun!!! I am jeaous. I think I might try running tomorrow morning for the first time in almost 4 weeks.