Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bear Chase Trail Race Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, September 25
Lakewood, CO
Half marathon #154
Weather - perfect

I was off to run the Bear Chase trail races for the 6th year. A had asked to run the Baby Bear (10k) this year as well.

Race Day

We actually had to get up even earlier than we did for a race in the mountains 2 hours away. Alarms went off at 5:05, and we were out the door about 5:30, arriving at the park around 6. I was really surprised to see someone at the front gate at that hour. For the first time in years we were parking inside the park instead of being shuttled in.

The start/finish was at Pelican Point for the second year, and we were ushered into a spot close to the fence. We saw David right away, fixing cones and spray painting the dirt for the loop around the parking lot for the half marathoners. It was chilly out, and we initially planned on hanging out at the start until 7 when I would be racing. It was still cold and dark, however, and no one was at the Roost tent yet, so I just used the port-o-potty and then we went back to the warm car.

We headed down for real around 6:35, when the sun was just coming up. I of course had to use the bathroom again, so I got in line. The race seemed smaller than in years past, but the bathroom line still moved slow. A ran off when she saw Phil, and I met up with Heather to get to the start line. We got some pre-race pictures from Lisa and Jen, and before we knew it, it was time to start. (I'm including pictures taken of A pre-race - I was already running, she didn't start until 8, an hour after me).

I was pretty sure I was going to be going slow, but Heather still wanted to run together, so I made sure to tell her that we were starting in the back and going slow.

When we jumped on the trail after the first .6, I was pretty sure we were dead last. Fine by me, I would rather NOT have to jump off the single track in the very beginning because I am slow. My legs felt like lead and my calves were fiery hot again, which I haven't had happen in a while. I think I made it through the first mile before I had to walk.

Somewhere around mile 2 my legs finally loosened up a bit. We got into a decent running rhythm, and time went by quickly as we haven't spent that much time together lately so we needed to catch up on all our gossip. We had similar mindsets on walking up all the hills (especially Mt. Carbon!) and then running the flats and downhills.

Ah, the lovely view of Mt. Carbon's base
Standard view of the lake from the climb up Mt. Carbon
Neither of us needed to stop at the Homestead, the first aid station. Shortly after we arrived at the river crossings. The first one seemed deeper than in the past and the water was definitely cold! During the ultra races this is always my favorite part - helps to cool down!
Water crossing #1!
Selfie at water crossing #3!
We ran up the sidewalk to Fox Hollow, where I slammed a cup of Mountain Dew before we headed out on the most exposed section of the course to Cattail. This section is mentally draining for sure. Could not imagine how I have ever run multiple loops here!

Very happy to see Pete and the crew. Filled up my handheld, grabbed a pickle and headed out towards "mini Mt. Carbon." A few people in front of us missed the turn, weird that there wasn't a course marshal out there this year. Luckily, I knew where to go.
This is so much steeper than it looks
Mile 8 clicked right at the top of the hill, which is also when I took off the arm sleeves. The course changed just a bit and we got to run down a nice section of single track towards the boat ramp. Alison was volunteering and I grabbed a small cup of coke and finally opened my Stinger chews, although I only had a few. I like that in this new course that we get to run the prettiest section at the end!

We came upon Ali (doing the 10k) and we were running along nicely in the shade. Just at mile 12, Heather tripped over nothing and  messed up her knee. Thankfully she wasn't seriously injured and we both ran well into the finish. A slower time than last year, but faster than I ran the day before, so I was happy.

Right as we were finishing, they were doing the awards - A got first in her age group!
These adorable kids tore up the trails!
We stayed at the finish for a while eating Flippin' Flapjacks, drinking pumpkin beer, doing a jello shot with Jen for her birthday, and hanging out with all our friends and teammates. This is seriously one of my favorite events of the year. Can't wait to come back next year!
Team picture
Jello shots with Jen
Winner, winner!
Jen (overall female 10k winner, A and Ben)
Official Time - 2:48:17
Overall Place - 190/241
Gender Place - 107/147
Division Place - 41/60
Garmin Time - 2:47:48 (weird)
Garmin Distance - 13.01 miles
Mile 1 - 12:34
Mile 2 - 13:53
Mile 3 - 13:43
Mile 4 - 12:45
Mile 5 - 14:02
Mile 6 - 14:37
Mile 7 - 12:01
Mile 8 - 13:07
Mile 9 - 11:44
Mile 10 - 11:33
Mile 11 - 13:12
Mile 12 - 12:51
Mile 13 - 11:36
Mile 13.01 - 8:52

A's results
Official Time - 1:15:32 (which is a substantial PR for her!)
Overall Place - 111/176
Gender Place - 73/126
Division Place - 1/2


  • Such an awesome event. Throughout the weekend you have your choice of distances - 10k, half marathon, 50k, 50 mile, 100k. Something for everyone!
  • The shirts this year are a sweet royal blue - will wear this one again for sure.
  • Medals for all distances (and buckles for the 100k runners). If only I was fast enough for an overall podium - those awards are super sweet!
  • The course markings are phenomenal (probably a giant pain to have to clean up though) - much respect for race directors David and Ben for this.
  • Aid stations are amazing. Plenty of volunteers, well-stocked with just about everything you could hope for.
  • Finish line party is super fun - music, food and beer.
  • I of course will be back next year. Just a little sad I missed the inaugural year, I could totally be a legacy runner. Anyway, I'll be back for year #7 in 2017.
  • Random tidbit - shout out to Brock, half fanatic from Florida that came all the way out to run this event after having read recaps on my blog. Hope you had a great time!


  1. I wish there were half as many races up here as there are down there! so awesome, I love that A is getting into running so much too.

  2. Great job to both you and A! Want to do this one too!

  3. Just do the 100K, then you'll be one of the only finishers, and have a good shot at an award, haha!! Congrats on another race - it was good to see you and A out there!


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