Northern California is full of experienced, talented ultra runners. I don’t really consider myself one of those. Since I started running Ultras in 2009 I have done 11 ultras, only 6 of which took more than 6 hours and just one 100 miler. I think Ian Sharman did 11 already this year.
So when I had a bad day at work and ended up registered for a 100 mile race last October I went into sponge mode. When Ian asked if I wanted to run up Diablo with him I did not hesitate at the chance to pick the brain of the crazy man, Leadville Champion, and new Grand Slam record holder himself. Ian is only a year older than me, but in ultra running years (I think there is a McMillian or maybe Torrence Calculator for that) is light years more mature than me. The most critical thing I learned that first trip up Diablo was that just because you run (or hike) up slow, does not mean you need to run down easy. 3600 ft of trail descent with 3 sub 5:10s thrown in for good measure and I had my first “real” taste of downhill training. I say “real” only because I am not an exercise, running science, newbie, and I do understand training. Continue reading