Saturday, October 3, 2015

Bear Redemption

Third time's the charm...

The first was in 2012.  That didn't end well.  I am trying to put that nightmare behind me.
The second was much better (2013).  I got a sub 24 hour finish.  I still had an off day and thought I could do much better.
2014 was another injury year (6 weeks with Mono) and I wasn't able to make it to the starting line (I was actually drawn for Wasatch 100 and had to withdraw).  I was happy to pace Mike though at The Bear that year.
This year, it was meant to be my year.  A few years wiser and more importantly, I was healthy.  

** Spoiler Alert - 4th Place in 21:05:30 (PR by 2 hours and 32 mins)

I spent my last long run pacing Mike at Wasatch 100 from Big Mountain to Brighton as he went on to nearly break 24 hours.  Ohh so close.  A good taper and I was all set to go.  I lined up a dream team of pacers which included a few inexperienced at ultras (but energetic) runners, Keegan and Corey.  My anchor was one of my main training partners Erik.  I had heckled Erik during his battle with the Bear 100 last year and he was anxious to put the hurt on me as revenge.  More on that later.  Included in my dream team was my awesome crew (Beth and the kids) who would follow me all day and all night and my Sister and Mom who would take the kids home.  It takes an army to run one of these things (for me at least).  They helped save me hours I'm sure.

The Race

Instead of telling a blow by blow I want to share the highlights and lowlights.

  • Seeing the crew at Miles 20, 30, 37, 45, 52, 61, 76, 85, 92, and 100.  Yep, they were pretty busy all day 'waiting' on me hand and foot.
  • Running a few hours early on with Zac before he got stuck behind some cows or something in Richards Hollow.
  • Making Keegan (my pacer) squirt water on me and fill my bottles.  It's fun bossing people around.  Thanks for putting up with me.
  • Sitting in the creek at mile 41.  That was heaven.
  • No blisters or black toenails (Thanks Altra!)
  • Climbing up Blind Hollow with Corey to escape the heat and feeling half decent at that point in the race (that never happens).
  • I didn't turn on my headlamp until Logan River Aid (Mile 69)
  • I felt strong on the shallow climbs the second half of the race.  Usually the downhills are my strength, but for once I could run the climbs late in the race.
  • Smart pacing.  I was in 21st at the first aid station.  6th by halfway.  4th by the end.
  • Having the legs to run the split from Beaver Creek Campground to Ranger Dip in 1:35.  
Mick (1st place) did it in 1:23!  Dom (2nd place) did it in 1:43.  Jesse (3rd place) did it in 1:40
  • Crossing the finish line within 5 mins of my 'A' goal of 21 hours and an hour ahead of my more realistic 'B' goal of 22 hours.
  • Hardrock and Western Qualifier - done
  • September on the Bear Course!  It is a spectacular, totally under-rated race.  The Bear River Range is an amazing place to live!  - Shhh don't tell anyone!
  • Doing a superman impression while running down the steep hill off Millville peak saddle.  Guy (Ben Hauschulz I think) I was running with was like "Dude, you slid like 20 feet!"  That one hurt.
  • Hottest Bear Year Ever!
  • Massive stomach cramps right before Tony Grove causing me to walk the downhill.  This would plague me for the next 2 hours until I could flush the system.  My guess was a sugar overdose mixed with dehydration from the heat.
  • IT band pain kicked in at mile 50 or so.  That was seriously bad news.  This caused me some serious grief for the rest of the race.  It got progressively worse.  Miles 72-75 were the worst as the downhill hurt it more than the uphill.  We tried an emergency tape job on the trail with some Duct Tape.  Not recommended.  Ouch.
  • Too much stomach cramping and leg pain to hammer the final section (I did it in 1:35) .  Perfectly normal to feel like that at this point in the race though.
Mick (1st place) did the last 8 miles in 1:13.  Dom (2nd place) did it in 1:21.  Jesse (3rd place) did it in 1:13 - Great job guys, amazing!
  • Having Erik pace me by running 50-100 feet in front of me.  That is the worst "one step" technique ever.  I hated him for his energy and incessant in-ability to be satisfied by my pace.  Always demanding more (while managing to encourage).  He managed to get every last bit of effort out of me.  Well done.  I guess I don't hate you after-all.  I lost count how many times I mumbled "I hate you" and then picked up the pace.
Overall, I am satisfied finally with my favorite race!  I have been either running an aid station, pacing or racing this race every year for the last 8 years.  I love it!  I can't say I am done with it as I would love to be back someday, but I am hoping to try something new next year.

Here are some awesome pics Bethany took - she will post more soon...


Coming into Leatham (Mile 20)

 Coming into Cowley (Mile 30)

 The Crew found some shade!

 Not a bad spot for a game of Head/Shoulders/Knees...

 Kids pacing me into Tony Grove

Wow, just wow!

 Corey and I leaving Tony Grove

And coming into Franklin Basin (it's still light out!)

 The Hundred Mile Stare

My personal favorite!  We were that fast!

 And finally, the obligatory finish line pic (at 3am)

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