Sunday, September 29, 2013

2013 Bear Chase

52 miles 10:00:33 (11:33 pace), 3400ft of climbing
15th overall, 3rd in age group

Last year I ran my first ultra-marathon a 50k and although it was a great accomplishment I didn’t feel like I was an ultra-marathoner. This year my #1 goal was to run a 50 mile race and I have been preparing for this race since that 50K (April 2012). Everything that I have done this year has been with this race in mind. I have sacrificed race times in order to turn them into training and build up for this race.

The course was 5 – 10.3 miles laps around a lake near Denver. Each lap had one big climb and some short but steep hills. Because of flooding the course had some extra sections on the bike path traded in for trails that were under water.

Lap 1 – 0 to 10.3 - 1:44:38 (10:03 pace)
The race started before the sun came up it was dark windy and about 45F. I decided to wear my jacket for this first lap. Once the sun came up I was a little warm but it was only a few miles until I was able to ditch the jacket at the finish line. One of my major worries of this race was the creek crossing every lap. When I got to the creek instead of crashing through the water like everyone else I skipped across some rocks and kept my feet dry. During this first lap I stayed calm and took in my normal amount of fluids like any other run. The only slowdown of this lap came from when I needed to stop and use the bathroom (too much coffee). One of the benefits to the multiple loop course was that I didn’t need to carry much. I drank my 20oz bottle of Gatorade and only ate a little at the aid stations.

Lap 2 – 10.4 to 20.7 - 1:56:43 (11:13 pace)
My sister met me at the finish line with a new Gatorade bottle. Again during this lap I only consumed that bottle, 40oz for 20 miles is pretty normal for me. Again at the creek I skipped across the rocks and kept my feet dry. The last rock was over 2 feet from the bank and wondered if I would be able to keep taking the dry route later in the race. My stomach hurt a lot this lap and again I had to stop and use the bathrooms at the top of the climb. I only ate one of my granola bars because they made me feel like I was going to puke. From here on out I relied on aid station food only usually 1 piece of watermelon and a quarter PBJ sandwich. 20 miles when so quick I didn’t really think about the distance.

Lap 3 – 20.8 to 31.1 - 2:02:40 (11:48 pace)
At the finish line I stopped for a few minutes to put on sunscreen and reapply body glide. My sister had another bottle of Gatorade ready but looking at it almost made me puke. Instead I started using the race sports drink, it was almost clear and it had a really light flavor. The temperature was rising and I started to drink more even though it hurt every time, during this lap I finished my bottle off twice. I also kept up eating a piece of watermelon and quarter PBJ sandwich every 3 miles. In the middle of nowhere and unmarked was the marathon split 4:45 not a bad time. I coasted into the finish line relaxed and feeling pretty good except for my stomach. This was the finish of the 50K I ran 5:43 which is about 12 minutes faster than my 50K PR. Only difference is I felt nearly dead that day and today I was ready to run another 20 miles.

Lap 4 – 31.2 to 40.5 - 2:05:27 (12:04 pace)
This was the lap I was worried about, at mile 40 I would have a pacer but first I had to get to mile 40. All of the 50K runners had finished and now it was a lonely road. The runners left running were so spaced out that I didn’t see anyone for the first 4 miles of this lap. My mind was getting loopy and I missed a turn and headed down the wrong path. I turned around mad at myself for adding distance to already long course. I almost fell in the creek while hopping across the rocks but I stayed dry for at least another lap. My fluid intake increased again this lap I was now filling up my bottle every aid station, that’s 3 20oz bottles for this 10 mile lap. My stomach hurt but I knew that in the grand scheme stomach problems was small problem compared to energy issues. It was weird watching the miles click off on my Garmin into unknown territory. My only comfort was that a few weeks ago I had run Pikes Peak in 7hrs. I knew that I could run for 7hrs and on this terrain I could run a lot more miles in that same time. I was taking salt tablets every hour so when it was time for a salt tablet at hour 7 I realized I was just shy of 38 miles. I thought to myself “12 miles that’s nothing”. I got a second wind and picked up the pace. Suddenly I was passing people left and right. I thought that I was moving up in the standings but then I figured out that I was lapping people (but it still felt good).

Lap 5 – 41.6 to 52 - 2:11:15 (12:37 pace)
Every lap it was hard passing the finish line and heading out for another long lap. This time was different all my family and friends were not there, my kids each made signs. I didn’t stick around long because I knew that I still had a job to do. My training partner Laura came out to be my pacer for the last lap. A pacer can’t carry any of your stuff or you they are basically there to keep you company and keep you motivated. Coming up to the creek I was thinking “I don’t know if I can make the jump” but like all the laps before I skipped across the rocks and made that last long jump to the shore without getting wet. A mile or two later I stopped to get a rock out of my shoe and found that it wasn’t a rock but a giant hole in my sock under my heel. Like the last lap I was drinking a ton of liquids, one bottle per aid station so again 3 -20oz bottles. At this time I was doubling up on my salt taking one tablet every 30 min instead of 1 per hour. By the 5th lap I knew every turn every hill of this course. We walked up the big hills and ran all the downhill and the flats. My quads were now starting to complain, my feet had been hurting for the last 15 miles. Like the previous laps I killed it the last few miles. Again passing tons of people but only moving up in the standing 1 place. The people I was passing did not look like me they looked broken and beaten many of them were limping some siting and stretching. The last mile I realized how close I was and I decided to not stop and run all the way to the finish even over that last big hill. I felt euphoric the pain was gone and I knew my family was just over the hill waiting for me to cross the finish line. My son ran with me the last 50ft to the finish line where the rest of my family was waiting. It was an amazing feeling.

This was my goal race of the year and I couldn’t have imagined that it would go this well. Compared to the people I was running with I think I was really well prepared. I finished 15th overall and 3rd in my age group. One of this things I am most proud of was my never give up attitude, the thought of quitting didn’t even cross my mind in those 10 hours.

So if anyone one was keeping track that was 10 – 20oz bottles or 200oz consumed during the race. That just the liquids I can account for I also drank random cups of water at aid stations while they were filling my bottle. I was a little concerned about this but I knew that I was also consuming lots of salt too.

This is the lake that we looped around, notice the trees that seem to be out in the middle. Interesting note: Most of my trail runs are on that mountain in the background.

Here I am at mile 31 looking strong

My awesome spectators

My son and I crossing the finish line. He thinks we won the race

My Age group award – Cool race mug with a gift card
Check out those feet, that’s not a tan line that’s 10hrs of trail running dust

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