Monday, September 30, 2013

Bear Chase Trail Run 50K (Race Recap)

Lakewood, CO
September 28 29
Ultra Marathon #8
Bear Chase #3
Weather - Freezing at the start, sunny and warm

I love the Bear Chase. I will likely run this event every year. It is a well organized and supported race and I always know a ton of people that run. This year, they added a 100K to the distances and I had entertained (very briefly) running the distance, but decided with the time limit and just NOW getting my run love back, thought it wasn't a great idea.

Here's how the weekend was going to go:

Saturday - run the 50K with Hope (her first ultra!)
Sunday - volunteer at the race for the shorter distances.

Here's what REALLY happened...

So... this all happened at about 6:45 on Friday night... literally, less than 12 hours from when the ultra distances would be starting. For Hope and I, all this meant was that we would no longer be able to volunteer on Sunday. People, however, were LOSING THEIR MINDS. It is unfortunate that the race had to be rescheduled, BUT, in case you have missed it, we have LITERALLY had FEET of rain the last few weeks.

Instead of running on Saturday, I spent an hour waiting in line at the new Dunkin' Donuts (and was DISAPPOINTED with the donut choices), got A a few new pairs of shoes (that kid is GROWING LIKE A WEED) and sat around doing nothing.

Race Day

With the rescheduling of the race, we were no longer going to be starting at 7:15. We were going to be starting at 6:30. I had planned on picking up Hope and driving down with her to the start. That meant getting up at 3:58 (DISNEY EARLY!) so that we could catch the bus to take us to the start. We made good time and got there with plenty of time. It was obviously still very dark when we got there and there was NO wait at the bathroom lines. Peeing in the dark in a port-o-potty is still one of the most terrifying aspects of running.

It was FREEZING at the start. I was wearing sleeves and gloves and my teeth were CHATTERING. The longer distances were doing staggered starts a few minutes apart (for timing purposes, not necessarily for crowd control). We got this picture of us literally minutes before the start!

INKnBURN "50" shirt, INKnBURN jean skirt, pro compression socks, and Mizuno Cabrakan trail shoes

Due to all the rain Colorado has been getting, the course was going to be COMPLETELY different this year. Instead of a small 10K loop and the two large 12.5 mile loops, we would be doing three loops of 10.3 miles. Hope and I started in the back since we knew we were going to be some of the slowest people on the course. I stopped and snapped this beautiful pictures a few minutes in to the race:

No filter!
First thing I noticed about this course was the amount of pavement we were going to be running... I had heard that the new course was going to be about 20% paved, and it seemed more than that, which was kind of a bummer. Also, in previous years, we had three river crossings and this year, we just had one:

Hope - River crossing, loop 1
I simply could not wrap my brain around where we were and where the course was going to route us. Turns out, we were going to be running up the west side of Mt. Carbon (on paved road). I finally figured out one main reason the course was going to be totally different this year:
The top picture is what running up to Mt. Carbon looked like in 2012, the bottom with the red arrows shows where that part of the trail was this year
So... the back part up Mt. Carbon I didn't find that difficult. I did NOT enjoy running on pavement in my trail shoes. Had I know how much REALLY was going to be paved, I probably would have nixed the trail shoes all together. We got to the summit of Mt. Carbon and then next mile or so was the same as previous years. The gradual section of single track that I just LOVE SO MUCH. When we got to the base, instead of heading to the west for the shaded/trees/three river crossing section, there was the Homestead aid station. We instead went the opposite direction, running mostly on road and THROUGH a golf course (mostly just running by the parking lot). Not the most fun ever. We then ended up at Fox Hollow (where in the past there was an aid station, and the section from there to the aid station at Cattail Creek was the same as previous years (about 3.5 miles). There is one decent sized hill right at the start, and then a lower section that in the past I've hated, and this year, seemed like a nice gradual downhill. Grabbed a bunch of food at the aid station and according to the sign, 2.4 miles until we would be back at the start/finish area.

With the change in course, we now would be running along the road a bit, by the pay station for the park entrance, but then FINALLY we got a tiny reprieve and a short area (maybe 3/4 of a mile) on soft trail in trees!!!

I was pretty impressed with how quickly we ran the first loop (about 2:18). Hope has been battling various injuries over the last month, from IT band to her hip, and we moved fairly easily.

I decided to leave my arm sleeves on a bit longer, as there were still some "chilly" sections on the course, instead of leaving them in Hope's drop bag.

Starting the second loop was a bit confusing as the half marathoners were running their smaller (about 3 mile) loop in the opposite direction we were. Thankfully, I knew that would be running the same loop three times and I kept us going the same direction - no getting lost for me!! Hope took this pictures of me at the river crossing for loop two!

I tried really hard not get my feet as wet this loop!
Took this picture on the way up Mt. Carbon. There was NO LAKE there last year! But so pretty!

We crested Mt. Carbon and I took off down the back side and went a good half mile or so before I realized that Hope was not right behind me. She told me that she wasn't really hurting that badly, but that she was trying to take it easy to not aggravate anything. So, about this point is when the running became mostly walking. I had planned to spend the day with Hope, so even though she told me to go on without her, I stuck with her. I hope I didn't aggravate her too much with my constant chatter!

Marshy area in the tree section, completing loop two
Loop three took forever. We didn't run much at all and it was HOT HOT HOT. (It was supposedly only about 70 degrees, but the course is very exposed and it really did feel hotter than that.

I walked through the river crossing the last loop in hopes that it would cool me down. The water was still just below the knee!

I spent a lot of time on my phone the last loop, texting with L and Heather. L had been racing in Granby, but came down to watch us finish, she got this picture of me crossing the line.


Me and Hope
Official Time - 8:07:38
Overall Place - 150/202
Gender Place - 70/95
Division Place - 37/45
Garmin Time - 8:08:01
Garmin Distance - 30.90 (measured DEAD ON)
Miles 1-5 - 12:52, 14:35, 13:34, 14:05, 13:06
Miles 6-10 - 13:29, 13:23, 14:34, 12:41, 13:32
Miles 11-15 - 14:43, 15:59, 14:02, 14:18, 15:50
Miles 16-20 - 12:44, 16:09, 12:40, 19:47, 14:02
Miles 21-25 - 19:32, 16:27, 17:28, 17:43, 21:26
Miles 26-30.90 - 18:41, 19:14, 16:40, 21:04, 15:38, 19:36

LOVE the ribbon this year!!
One of the best parts of this race is the finisher area. The pancake guy was there again this year, and he made me a delicious grilled cheese sandwich, which I generously shared with L since she hadn't eaten yet after HER race either. The beer choices were much better than in previous years, and I had two (I earned them!) and of course a soda, because that is my second favorite drink after a race:

  • I was NOT crazy about the change in the course, but it was a necessary evil due to the weather we have been having, and of course it was much better than the race not happening at all.
  • The race shirt is awesome! Mizuno, gender specific. I'll be wearing it to the gym, as it seems light enough that I won't sweat to death in it.
  • I was really relieved to see that they were not short-handed on volunteers since so many had to bail in lieu of running.
  • The aid stations were great, as in previous years (chocolate chip cookies, oreos, m&m's, skittles, fig newtons, potato chips, pretzels, pb&j sandwiches, pickles, watermelon, coke, mountain dew, electrolyte drinks, etc...)
  • It is REALLY REALLY hard to run with someone for this distance. In the last 2 years, I have not run WITH someone for any ultra distance. I'm a big fan of running when I want and walking when I want. It has been a long time since I have allowed someone else to dictate my pace. I'm not sure I will do that again, although I'm really glad I was able to help Hope get a finish (and I don't think she had the Worst Day Ever).
  • Due to all the distances being on the same day, there were some congestion that would not normally be an issue.
  • I will OF COURSE run this event again. Rumor has it that L would entertain running the 100K with me next year...
  • The race director did an excellent job of communicating with everyone about the rescheduling, course changes, etc. 
Edited to add a few of my (FREE) professional race pictures!


  1. Does this mean you won't pace my first 50k attempt????????????

    I wish CO had oxygen, your tails are so so pretty.

    Congrats to Hope!!

  2. Beautiful photos! Congrats to you both!

  3. It looks so pretty there! Awesome job!

  4. You and Hope are the cutest runners ever! CO is so pretty, I wish it were closer and had air for those of us who need it to race.

  5. Love this! Great race report! I hope to do the 50k next year (I only did the 13.35 miles this year) :)

  6. I'm always jealous of how photogenic you are in race photos. I generally look like I'm being tortured...


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