The Big Bear Lake Race is on the Big Bear Lake Campground grounds. This is a 6.5 mile loop. It is a nice, pretty flat, technical trails. Very rocky!
Race morning dawned hot and humid. We had a good turnout of WV Trail Runners at the race, although we were all surprised at each other-maybe we should communicate more LOL!
For the 12 hour race, there were solo runners and team relays. Heather Parks, the Race Director, had an increase from 17 runners in the inaugueral year to about 67 runners this year. There were 17 solo male and 7 solo female runner fools. The relay runners took off while the solo runners dawdled around at the back of the pack. I chatted with Angela, a runner friend that I had met at Rocky and Umstead, before moving a bit ahead of her down the trail.
I had no goals for this race, although Dan Lehmann gave me some right before the race. He said I should be about to finish 6 or 7 loops. I wasn’t really setting any goals until I saw the loop. And then, since I forgot my watch, I figured I would just go out there and run and have fun!
It’s a beautiful trail, a great day to be in the woods. This trail is very runnable, a nice gradual downhill in the first few miles, a little climb. It’s very technical (or very technical to me). We’re up on top of a mountain, kinda, so it’s mainly many rocks. The woods were nice and lush and it was just nice to be out in nature. I kept my eyes peeled on the first loop for the bear-there was a momma bear and cub spotted the day before. (The first two runners on the loop-the bear was on the trail!!!)
With this being a loop course, I carried just one handheld and did not wear my waistbelt-boy that was nice not to have that constriction! I did stuff some ClifBlok Shots and a gel into my skirt’s pockets. I did drain my handheld as I came up to the first water stop around 3 miles in.
The next section, to the next unmanned water stop was my favorite. I think the unmanned water stop must be around mile 5 or so, because it’s then a short distance back to race headquarters. This also contains the pine woods maze that I so enjoyed in the 20K race there. After the unmanned water stop, I pop back out of the woods in no time back to race HQ.
Nutrition: WIth this being a short loop course, AND it being so hot out (we had a high of 90 degrees!!!) I went with liquid nutrition. I had Boost on ice in my cooler. I drank one of these on each trip back to HQ, and did also eat some gels and Shots and a few bananas on the rounds.
As I started loop # 4, I found I was really getting hot. I was getting a headache, which I hoped was not the start of heat exhaustion or stroke. I was stupid enough to still only be carrying one bottle of fluids between AS, which gave me the dilemma off cooling off my head, or putting the fluid inside of me.
Tony really helped me out here. He was on a relay team, and feeling the heat of the day too. We walked and ran a mile or two together, which made the loop go by much quicker. He pulled away in the pine woods, but I felt much better having had his company-thanks Tony!
As I came out of the woods on this lap, I saw most of the West Virginia Trail Runner contigency lounging in the shade at the edge of the woods. I called out to them “you better not be drinking beer yet!” Bradley indicated that he was only on rootbeer, and he had stopped after five laps, he’d had enough of the heat.
I entered the extremely hot HQ tent, and they asked if I was done. “Heck no!” was my answer, and got a little cheer from the runners. Heck, sure it was hot, but this was a 12 hour run. The idea was to run most of the 12 hours, wasn’t it?
It’s funny, as I kept running laps, that I would notice something different in the woods on each lap. I saw some really cool mushrooms that I missed on a previous lap. I spotted three deer stands on loops five and six previously unnoticed. The loops were long enough so that I didn’t get bored on them, yet recognized enough landmarks to know how far away each water station was-ultra running is ultra running, whether it’s point to point or loops, you run them AS to AS.
As I was finishing loop five, I wondered what time it was. I figured if it was past 530pm, I wouldn’t go back out again. Imagine my surprise when I got back to the HQ and found out it was 358 pm! Of course I’m doing another lap!
Dan snapped a pic of me as I finished up the race:
On the whole, I managed my nutrition very good. The icy Boost, supplemented with some gels, bananas, and some jelly beans provided enough nutrition. It was much easier to get down than dealing with a bunch of solid food.
To my surprise, as the awards were announced, I was 3rd of the 7 females! Top female ran 9 laps, 2nd was 7 laps, and I ran 6 laps for 39 miles. I think, if the weather had been a bit cooler, I could have ran a bit more, and a bit faster. I was very pleased with my performance. It was a rocky, technical course, and I enjoyed being on it.
There was plenty of pizza after the race also! For a 25 dollar fee, aid station, pizza afterwards, and free camping at the race start, this was a very good deal!
Post race, the WV Trail Runners settled in around the campfire for hotdogs, hummus, marshmellows and some of us had a beer or two. I actually was very good, (and really tired) and didn’t over drink, knowing that I was still dehydrated. In fact, my last drink of the evening was Gatorade!
I love this bar