2021 Ultra #3 – The Underminer 50K

There are two fun aspects of running an ultra every (almost) week. The first one is mapping out a route that’s interesting, looping back to the car every 10ish miles or so and the second one is naming the run! The Underminer 50K (huge Incredibles fan) is called that because it’s in the Almaden Quicksilver Park which has tons of historic Mercury mines. I picked a 15 mile loop and as it turns out bikes were not allowed. So, for much of the day, I had the trails all to myself. Here’s my Strava activity:

The Underminer 50K – Lap 1

I drove down to the Mocking Bird entrance at 9am, there was a light drizzle but the day was supposed to be nice and cool with an overcast. I was debating starting here vs. the McAbe entrance, but lucked out with the parking. Wasn’t very crowded. Decided to run the first lap clockwise, ‘cos I wanted to tackle the steep Virl O. Norton trail on fresh legs.

I don’t think I’ve ever been on Randol Trail. It’s a nice shaded wide trail that runs parallel to Mine Hill Trail, but slightly at a lower elevation. There weren’t many people on this, which was fine by me. Eventually it connected up to Guadalupe Trail, then Senador Mine Trail and eventually I got on New Almaden Trail.

Tortoise sighting on the New Almaden Trail in the last couple of miles before I got to the car. That’s a new experience!

When I got to the car, I was in 15 miles and right around 2:45. That’s a decent clip. Refilled my Tailwind, chowed down half a Pro Bar, a quick change of shirt and I was back on New Almaden Trail, counter-clockwise this time. Not sure if it was the humidity or what, but I was definitely sweating a lot more than last week.

Lap 2: Miles 16-31

Walk/ran the New Almaden Trail in the new direction, but was feeling pretty good. The wind had picked up a bit, but I had arm sleeves on and the buff served as a temporary mask as crossed a few hikers along the way When I finally hit the Mine Hill Trail, I ended up short-cutting the route by turning left on Guadalupe Trail, but eventually the miles added up fine.

Power-hiked up Guadalupe Trail that eventually connected up to Randol Trail. It was colder here with the wind and kept pushing. Was trying to ration my Tailwind a bit, since compared to last week, I was 15 miles away from the car and this was my main source of calories/hydration.

I still have PTSD about the Capehorn Pass Trail when I last ran Quicksilver 100K. It’s a really steep trail that gets you right around mile 38 or so in the hot sun. *whew* Didn’t feel as bad this time. Chop-step down Virl O. Norton trail and made it back to the car right around 5:40. Just a fantastic day out on the trails. And I’m 3/3 with Tailwind on these runs. I only had one Pro Bar, half a Clif Bar and about 900 calories of Tailwind in 2 liters of water. No bonking or GI issues.

At this point (I’m still hoping to run 47 more ultras this year), as I map out trails, I’m less interested in crazy verticals, but more focused on new trails, covering the distance, recovering quickly and letting my body adjust to the new, increased mileage. Also throwing in some biking the day after, Gaia Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength, foam rolling, stretching and of course lots of sleep.

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