This was my second running of the timed event, the 12 Hours of Big Bear Lake. Located at the Big Bear Lake Campground just off Bruceton Mills/Hazelton, West Virginia, this race, in its third year has grown in popularity. The first year there were 17 registered runners. Last year, around 50. This year, around 150. You can run this race as a solo runner, or there are three relay team divisions-2 person, 4 person, or 5 person event. This means if you are on a relay team, you’ve got serious downtime in between your laps. Which gives you more time to cheer on your solo running friends-which I greatly appreciated!!
This event was to be my “heat training” long run in preparation for the fast approaching Burning River 100 Mile Race. Well, race day temperature had to be around 68 degrees or so…it took a mile or so just to warm up the muscles…
A bit of pre-race excitement: Friday night, some “punks” came over the border from Pennyslvania, raided the aid station that Heather Parks, Race Director, had set up-stole the popup tent, slashed the water jugs, and stole the Hammer Nutrition (serious death penalty there-do NOT steal the Hammer products!!!) Somehow, the campground police caught them, Heather saw her pop up tent in the punk’s vehicle and snatched that back. Far as we know, they’ve got underage drinking, trespassing, vandalism, and theft charges looking at them. (Me during all this excitement? I woke up when I hear a car go by very fast on the gravel road, I saw blinking lights, and heard someone “call for backup” then I realized how warm my sleeping bag was and went back to sleep).
Also the night before, at our campfire, we met up with two Liberty students (I can’t remember their names). We had a good conversation with them about their running, Dr. Horton, and the Beast series. They were at Big Bear to get a qualifying 50 miler in so they could run Grindstone in the fall.
It was a very cool morning, it had to be in the sixties when we started. The relay runners made a beeline for the woods, while I just started walking. It was going to be 12 hours people, no need to get into a line on the trail.
Well, actually, there was about five of us in a line. I passed a tall thin man, and we started chatting…as the conversation went on, I realized I knew him! This was Jim from California, whom I had run with at YUTC two years ago! I had to stop and give him a hug before we continued on.
The 6.5 mile loop is very runnable. The first two miles are on a downhill, the third mile is an almost impercetible uphill creep. There is only one hill, just about mile 4, then some flat, and a bit of a downhill. I will have to look at the Garmin to check it.
I carried a handheld for the first loop. On loop two I was to don my hydration vest-not that I needed it for this run, but this was training for the Burning River. I had set up my stuff outside of the aid station. I came into the AS, donned my hydration vest, and got out quickly. About two miles into this loop, I realized I had forgotten to drink my Boost! Doh! Luckily I had some Hammer gels on me, and had that for nutrition.
It was just a beautiful day for a trail run. Since we were around 3000 feet, there was fog for the first two loops around the pine forest portion, just surreal to run through. I picked up my Zunie for company on loop two, but keep one ear plug off so I could hear the relay runners. Probably the only negative comment I have for the day: relay runners, a “hello” or a “on your left” is still a nice practice to follow, especially when I step off the trail for you.
I just kept it up, using Booster and gels mainly. This ended up with some extra bathroom stops, so I did switch to solid foods for my last loop. I also tried “Monster Mash” energy shot drink, which I think I will stash in my BR drop bags. My BR music playlist was also tested out and accepted.
I was hoping to run 8 loops, but checked the time and saw that I would only have enough time for 7. As I started loop 6, I was starting to get tired. So I decided that six would be a good ending for the day, as I have BR in two weeks. I picked up the camera on the last loop, but never had an SD Card in it, so only got a limited number of pictures!
I picked up some hardware…I didn’t walk back up to the race start for the awards presentation. Julie’s daughter brought down my nice plaque, but didn’t know what place I had got. Heather, the RD, stopped down later, and couldn’t remember what place I had got, but she said “she’d gone deep” in the placings, so I imagine this is for fifth or or six female LOL!!! I do love the plate though!!!