I didn’t wear my glasses during my Tour Du Mont Blac (TMB), a 100-mile circumnavigation of Mont Blanc, which I completed in five days. My husband and I only had one pair after losing a pair to the chaos of being on the road for two months. Since he gets migraines and had a few earlier in the week, I offered my Silvertons to him to help mitigate the headache problem. But I wish I’d told him to suck it up after frying my eyes for 22 cumulative hours above treeline.
Here are three reasons I am a total idiot for not wearing my Method Sevens:
1. My eyes are STILL fried.
First, and most obviously, when you don’t wear sunglasses, you’re at risk of damaging your eyes due to high levels of UV. In fact, you're at risk of UV damage even when you do wear sunglasses, depending on the brand and quality of the lenses. But, if you run for a total of a full calendar day in the Alps without eye protection and on exposed terrain, eye damage is more than just a risk.
UV radiation is classified into three different categories, with UVB rays being the most common source of burning the eyes. UVB can penetrate the sensitive outer layers of the skin. These rays are most common between 10 am and 4 pm, which happens to be prime running time and can be more intense in high altitudes and reflective surfaces, like water, snow, or, yes, glaciers.
The symptoms of sunburned eyes can vary in intensity, and they usually appear within a few hours after exposure. Some of my symptoms included major sensitivity to light, pressure, and pain behind the eyes and seeing spots for literally days after closing the loop. I swear, even ten days later, some of these symptoms are still present.
Our Method Seven lenses are best in class for UV protection and are UV400-rated, the gold standard for UV protection. Don’t settle for less if you don’t want weird growths on your eyes when you’re older.
2. To Keep Me Sharp
Days one and two were dream days. I had only run twenty miles once since coming off surgery this past March, and in two days, I ran 50 miles with over 15,000 feet of vertical gain. Day three, the most exposed day on the TMB, started similarly, but twenty miles behind me and eight miles to go, I started feeling fatigued.
My legs were OK, and I hadn’t slowed down even after running 70 miles in three days, but it felt like I just didn’t have the capacity to push. My brain was tired. I just didn’t want to focus anymore that day, and I didn’t want to run. I was confused at feeling this way, and since this section was just eight miles, mainly on the road, I counted them as inconsequential and had Carson pick me up to save myself for the last 30 miles.
Our eyes are part of our nervous system. It is the only part of the brain that is exposed and is responsible for the integration of subconscious commands throughout the body, and I had just fried them.
I was feeling fatigued, even though my body was fine. It was brain fatigue, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my motivation dwindled as my time in direct sunlight accumulated. I felt unreasonably tired and unfocused, even though I was sleeping enough and eating like it was my job.
The Method Seven Trail26 lens is equipped with best-in-class infrared protection, which helps prevent mental fatigue caused by constant sun exposure.
3. So I Could Keep Up with Carson on the Downhill
During the 2021 edition of CCC by UTMB, a 100k traversing over the same terrain I was running on during this trip, I wore a prototype with the Trail26 lenses. The first 50 kilometers of CCC are all exposed, giving me no reason to take off my eye protection. It wasn’t until I got to a shaded five-mile descent on a tricky, single track littered with rocks and roots that were hard to see in the shadow that I thought to take them off. But when I did, I noticed that I could actually see better on the shaded sections with the glasses on.
While most sunglasses just darken and distort your vision through overly dark lenses and over-polarization, the advanced notch filtering, and never-done-before trail-optimized partial polarization, these lenses give me insane amounts of light and incredible contrast.
When Carson, who was wearing our only pair of glasses, kept dropping me on the downhill, I asked for them back to see the difference. Here is a photo of the contract that these lenses offer. It wasn’t on a technical section, but you can see how the contrast when looking through the lenses can make a huge difference when blasting downhill.
If you’re like me, getting that edge by being able to see clearly on the downhill is the most significant selling point of these lenses. While I’m sure my tune will change as I age, performance is sometimes a priority over health. Even though they go hand in hand more often than not, the performance benefits tend to be the catalyst for change that I need, and not being able to see in the shade of the trees, and therefore running much slower downhill, was enough to make me regret handing over my Method Sevens.
The Silverton, our newest frames and the first official Ultra Trail product is out and has been a huge success, loved by badasses like Cam Hanes and Dean Karnazes.