The month of May was very busy. With Busy season officially over, the month of May is very busy with many different trainings at Ernst & Young, which is one of the great things working for EY. They are always investing their money and resources in us to gain very valuable and useful skills and knowledge for auditing financial statements. I found myself flying to the Los Angeles area each week during the month of May.
With that said, I was in LA the week of Miwok. Friday, the night before Miwok, I caught a flight at 8 pm and landed in Sacramento around 9:10. I did not get home until about 10 pm and it was time to say hello to Holly and Warren, and quickly pack my running gear for Miwok the next morning. I had to be to the coast a little over 2 hrs away before the sun came up at 5:00 am.
I finally got to sleep a little after midnight and woke up at 1:30 am. I am very fortunate to have some good friends and supporters of my crazy adventures that I work with. My friends from work, Kendall and Ronnie, were very nice to drive me down to Miwok leaving Sacramento at 2:30 am! Kendall drove and I rested in the back.
We got to the race site with about 30 minutes to spare. I quickly checked in and finished my final preparations for the race. I filled my small waist pack with my Clif Shot gels and a package of Clif Shot bloks. I grabbed my favorite Camelbak Quick Grip bottle, threw in one more Clif Shot gel into the little zipper and the three of us walked to the start line on the beach at 5 am. It was pretty cold just standing there in only running shorts and a race top, but very beautiful with the a hint of the sun now thinking about coming up and the faint sight and noise of crashing waves behind us.
The gun went off and I quickly fell into my conservative race pace. I am the type of runner that performs better by starting out at a conservative pace and continue that pace all the way through not slowing down much and keep pushing hard.
With my nagging plantar faciitis still in both feet, I was curious how I would hold up. After a few miles I started feeling it again. I knew it was not going to go away so I just embraced it and mentally prepared myself for the long run with the pain.
Eric Johnson around Mile 18 at 2011 Miwok 100k - Photo by Pedro Martinez
The race progressed well. I stayed in control and didn't overdo myself. I stayed hydrated with my Camelbak bottle and kept my electrolytes up with my Clif Shot gels. For pain management I made sure to keep some Advil in my system, which I later learned it is not good to use ibuprofen during these long races.
I got to the turn around point around the 35 mile mark after a substantial and long downhill. I was excited to see Kendall and Ronnie there waiting for me to pump me up mentally again and restock my supply of Clif Shot gels and Shot Bloks. I refilled and began pushing back up the hill. I had a good stretch up the hill and felt really good. It was also a mental uplift to see and say hi to many running friends coming down the hill in the opposite direction down towards the turn around.
Eric Johnson and Karl Hoagland around Mile 45 during 2011 Miwok 100k - Photo by Rick Gaston
I continued along my way and kept up my pace. Making my way down to the Muir Beach we ran through many dense weeds that stood 6'4'', the same height as me. The weeds hung over the trail and scraped up both my legs. Thankfully I did not see any poison oak down in this area as I am very allergic to it; however, soon after the race my skin on my legs started to burn and developed large welts. I am not sure what plant caused it, but I think it may have been stinging nettle.
I continued towards the finish. As usual, I like to push to the end, often running close to sub 7 minute miles. I usually pass people in the final mile and I often think that they think I am a jerk running them down the last mile after a long race, but I just like to push myself hard to the end and am not worried about catching and passing anyone.
With about 400 meters left I came around a turn and saw Kendall and Ronnie waiting in the middle of the road. The sight of them gave me a last minute adrenaline boost as I knew the finish was very close. They sprinted in with me and I finished in 10 hrs and 12 mins. I was 35th overall. I was very happy with my finish especially given the little sleep and lingering injury. It was fun to hang around the finish for a little bit, grab some food, catch up with some running friends, and receive the nice finisher's gear.
My good friends Kendall and Ronnie drove me back and that wrapped up another good day. Recovery from Miwok was pretty good, but by pushing myself my plantar faciitis flared up again and it would take a few weeks until with started to feel better again.