I had a solid performance at Big Bear Lake12 Hour Trail Race this year. I ran 7 loops of the course, for a total of 45.5 miles. (The Garmin died around the 50K mark). I just posted the map to show it is a very runnable course, although now looking at the elevation, it doesn’t look that way. And ignore that drop to 2200 feet, that’s an anomaly.
So how did my race experiments go:
Perpeteum-it worked well. I used it for laps two and three. But it seemed like I was drinking the Perp to get the calories in, and so not sipping on my tube from my water supply. So I stopped using the Perp and went to gels. There were Hammer gels-plenty of them-at the two AS, so I was able to just use those. I did supplement with a few Pringles out of my vehicle from time to time.
New Trail Shoes-the size 9 shoes are just too small. My big toes had pressure on them into the second lap. I switched to my size 10, old trail shoes for the rest of the race. I had no blisters issues for this race either!
The S! Caps worked just fine. I tolerated them with no problems. The weather conditions were in the 80’s. I was sweating heavily and covered in salt. But I did not have any swelling issues. So perhaps that was why I didn’t have any blister issues?
Okay, onto race musings:
This is a 6.5 mile trail loop. There is a water drop/gel at mile 2, and a manned AS at mile 4. So you really don’t need to run with water if you were running one loop at a time as a relay runner. But since this was a training run, and I am planning on wearing my hydration vest during all runs, I donned it after the first loop through.
I wore the Garmin to keep an eye on my pace, and a regular watch on the other wrist with the chronometer set with each loop.
My first two loops were good. 1.28 and 1.34. The third loop was a bit slower. It was getting warmer. And warmer! I glanced at my time as neared the Race HQ. I t was something like 1.45. My first thought is “well, that’s not bad.” And I immediately get angry at myself. It’s not “not bad”. It’s very good dammnit! It’s a hot day out there, and I am doing very well! I was proud of myself for turning this almost negative thought into a very positive one.
Heather (the Race Director) asked me on one trip through how many loops I was doing-I told her 8! Although as the afternoon melted away, I glanced at my watch and saw that 8 wasn’t going to happen. I was still doing each loop under 2 hours, but I would need to speed up-and that wasn’t happening. Still, I was moving well. Nothing hurt, I was eating and drinking, and listening to music. Kind of an uneventful race.
I am out on lap five. I know now that 8 loops will not happen for me. I am kind of not looking forward to lap six-it’s just a placeholder lap, on my way to lap seven. So I immediately banish that thought too; lap six is just important as the others! I resolve to make lap six a good one.
I do have the low thought during lap six; of just stopping. I eat another gel and glance at my watch. Heck I got plenty of time! Low point resolved!
Lap seven. For the last two years, I have stopped at lap six-for no real good reason, both years still had time to go 6.5 miles more. This year, after the low point, there was no way I was stopping. No reason to!
Started out on Lap 7. Had fun saying ‘good bye’ to all the little nature spots I’d seen all day. It was fun counting down. At the unmanned water stop, it was just four (ish) miles to go. Then, two miles to go!
As I glanced at my watch, almost to the end of the race, I was pleased to see I was bringing this lap to a close two minutes faster than Lap 6-yep, time to get it done!!!
As I carefully ran up the mountain bike ramp over the road and down the other side (not the time to take a trail spill, in front of everyone!!) I was so pleased with my performance this day!!