Monday, October 11, 2010

Bear Chase Trail Run

About a month ago, I spontaneously decided to run the inaugural "Bear Chase Trail Run". I signed up, then I started to run some local trails. Then, I realized this was going to require some trail shoes. Days before the race--my last "long" run, I rolled my ankle while running at Marshall Mesa trail. Oops...bottomline: my ankles and stabilizing muscles just AREN'T used to this...and that is what I found out on race day too! Eeek!

We woke up at 4:30am and hit the road after grabbing a bite of bagel + almond butter + normal pre-race food. The race was down in Lakewood, CO--just south of Denver. We got to the race site in plenty of time. I had sweats on over my running tights and top, but I was FREEZING! We were right off this lake, so the breeze was particuarly cold to me. I really wished I had a pair of gloves!

The event also had a 50-miler and 50k, so those (crazy) runners started at 6:30am. It was fun to watch the little group go off.

Jesse and Maxwell came to cheer me on. It was fun to be with them before the race. Max was crazy. Jesse is patient and very brave to even consider the idea. :)

Half marathoners started at 7am sharp. We went out on this quick loop, back through the start then out into the trails. I started off feeling great. I positioned myself in the middle of the pack and I was passing people, while keeping a comfortable pace.

I'm feeling good at this point! Seeing Jesse and Max was really fun here.

Then we started running through this "sandy, silkly dirt". I heard someone behind me say "are we on the beach??" It really felt like that. Little did we know, 50% of the race was like that.

Then we hit the enormous hills. Bottomline: we climbed 1,000 ft of elevation and descended the same amount. It was brutal. On top of the highest point, I begin to have issues. I had an immediate headache and my calves started to cramp. I was really careful about taking in water and also started eating some CliffBar ShotBlocks, but my stomach was also churning. I was very frustrated at this point. The trails were really windy, so you couldn't really see many people...and I knew I was really slowing up. I've never had "issues" like this on a half marathon distance, so I was mentally negative.

Then we hit the "creek". Now when I think "creek", I think we'll kinda splash through and it'll be fun. Now, this water was up to my knees...we crossed it 4 times. Now my shoes feel like they weigh a ton! Squish, squish the rest of the way...

Towards the end I met a nice lady from Denver. We chatted til the end--she's in the photos below. It was her first trail race too and she thought the same as me! Oh, what a relief and encouragement to run with her :) Unfortunately that didn't cure my leg the end I was trying to push it in, but both calves and hamstrings were cramping--I literally couldn't straighten my legs fully. But I finished. I kinda felt like I ran 50!

My new friend, Danielle (I think that's her name! ha :)) We are just around the corner to the finish. My calves were goin' crazy at this point!!

Yay for altitude. Yay for hills. Yay for rocks, sand, roots, creeks, and the like that you run through when running a trail race. Hmm...we'll see about another one...maybe again. Looking back it was of those good, "Colorado" experiences. ;)