Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bear Mtn - Race Report

North Face Endurance Challenge: Bear Mtn 50K
Overall Difficulty 5/5 stars
Technical Difficulty 5/5 stars
Elevation Change 4/5 stars
Scenery 5/5 stars (right...see first two rating to see why you wouldn't have a chance to notice the scenery, :))
Joanne and I prerace. 
 I meant to do this race last year but, I busted my ankle before the race and had to drop out.  This year my plan was to do Jack Bristol, that was until I met my new Trail Besty: Joanne.  Oh how I adore Joanne.  She is the BOMB!!! The first day I showed up at her place to run she asked if I wanted to increase our run by an hour, since then we have been kindred spirits out there on the trails.  She pushes my pace early on and I keep her going later in our runs.  She is a machine.  So on one of our runs she suggested we do the Bear Mtn race.  I couldn't say no.  Ok I didn't want to say no.  So I said no to the 50 miler and we settled on the 50K.  I once again didn't do much research.  I knew from last year that the course was supposed to be technical.  In my head that meant it was much like the North Face Atlanta race from last year.  Well...maybe I should have read the course better or looked at the rating scale where it is clearly the hardest race they have.  Ahhhhh.........!!!!!! 

It had been raining all week here so the trails were all set up to be uber muddy and all of the water crossings had water ready to go.  NICE!!  At the beginning of the race I tried to hang with Joanne but, it was just too hard on that technical course to try and stick with someone and I was really worried about my legs.  I had no idea when or if they were going to poop out due to the previous weekends 50 miler (that was only 6 days ago).  I knew this would be challenging for me and I also knew it would be a superb way to test my fitness.  If I could do back to back ultras I knew I was on track with my training for VT.   I went into Jack Bristol wanting to blast out the fastest 50 I could and I went into this race hoping for survival and to not be last, lol. 

So Joanne dusted me from the get go.  By one mile into the race I couldn't see her and all I could do was really work hard not to fall and bust my booty.  The pack was moving fast so I just went with them, later on as things thinned out, I was able to get into my groove and that helped a ton.  I realized quickly this was going to be an extremely challenging race.  I had to watch my footing every step of the way, literally.  The climbs were brutal, the downhills were rough, the rock climbing was silly and the water crossings kept my feet nice and wet.  I have to say 50K seemed pretty dang short and that helped a ton.  At just 10 miles in I was 1/3 of the way done, now that made me happy.  I met a few really neat people but didn't catch names.  For the most part I just kept focused on moving.  At the aid stations I grabbed liquids, skittles and bananas.  I had a really hard time eating or drinking while on the run because I had to be so focused on my feet.  I did of course bust my ankle once really good but I got up, tested it out, it seemed to work so I just kept going.  Towards the end there was one brutal section that will haunt me forever.  It was over a mile up on loose rocks and once you got to the top you didn't even get to run down the other side, it too was filled with loose rocks that required very particular foot placement, so there we were, a pack of trashed runners, picking our way carefully down our last mtn. section in the last miles of the race where all you want to do is run, so frustrating, no really, it made me curse, one mighty curse and then I just moved on.  I was a muddy mess at the end.  My time was around 6:30 (not sure on exact but that is close) I came in 17th for women and I think in the 60's somewhere overall.  The race was so ridiculous I don't even feel like looking up specifics, lol. 

It was an extremely difficult course but guess what??? Yep! We plan to do it again next year.  Joanne is way more nuts than me, lol. 

Happy Running!
Joanne took my post race picture while resting on the grass.  The angle makes me look tall but I assure you I haven't grown.


Anonymous said...

I always love reading your race report. We are in for next year staying with Chloe if you need us. XOXO Mom

runnerwannabe said...

You are awesome!! Can I be you when I grow up!? :)