Thursday, October 4, 2012


My friend Heather, who lives in Colorado Springs, told me about the Bear Chase and since I've never raced in Colorado I was very interested. After checking the website it wasn't long before I registered.
I gave myself 16 weeks of great training. (probably 7-9 three plus hour runs) and since I've raced 50 miles before (Lookout Mountain) with a time of 8hrs and 13min, I set my goal high. I wanted the same or better time than the previous 50 and if I did that I would be in the top 10.
This course is a 12.5 mile loop repeated 4 times. It had 3 water crossings ankle to knee deep and one major climb up to 5800ft .My goal was to complete each lap as close to two hours as possible, keeping a check on how I was feeling and go from there. I train on the red-white-blue here in Nashville so I figured it would be about the same in difficulty.
(a truly beautiful course) 
The race started at 6:30am under a beautiful full moon with a temperature of 55F.  Perfect for the start but it was going to be close to 80F during the day. By the first time check I was back in 40-50th place figuring everyone was going out way too fast, so I settled in to my 2 hour per lap pace and finished LAP  1 in 2:01. Didn't really pass anyone that lap, just took in my nutrition and ran but knew the next few laps where going to be a little slower.
LAP 2-come mile 15 I knew I was in trouble.. Just wasn't feeling right and within a few miles started cramping. Calves, upper thighs etc.. I have never cramped before in a race so I knew my fluids and/or sodium was off.  Basically, when I tried to pick up my pace to stay on pace the cramping would start. When I slowed it stopped. So I ran in Lap 2 in 2:25 feeling frustrated.

                                              (one of three water crossings)
For LAPS 3 and 4 my friend Daniel (a pro mountain biker) who works for CTS (Carmichael Training Systems) served as my crew and tried to help solve the problem. This is really hard when you are behind and still have 25 miles to go but he did great. At every aid station he was there with some form of electrolytes making me drink. However, the cramping persisted. For me it meant running slower, taking a walk break when I would feel a cramp coming on and just trying to stay relaxed and push through it.

LAP 3 was the most painful lap and with a time of 2:55 the slowest but I was still in good spirits. The course was awesome, the weather was awesome plus I was running. Slow but running. I had plenty of cardio/respiratory strength I just couldn't put any power into my stride.

LAP 4 my last lap, so I made up my mind to just enjoy the course. It's not everyday I get to run in Colorado and by this time all expectations of finishing in 8 hrs or a top anything were gone. So with no pressure and a belly full of pickle juice (which was the answer to the cramping as I never cramped afterward) I ran the loop for the last time, taking in the beauty of the place. I believe I turned this loop in 2:40 something and then DONE.        50 miles in 10hr 19min for 48th overall

Now to recover and look forward to the next Ultra........

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