BHS 100K

Here is some video and pictures from the 2013 Bishop Ultramarathon. I completed the 100K in 14 hours 22 minutes.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Red Rock "Fat Ass" 50K

Calico Hills at Red Rock National Recreation Area
I ran the Red Rock "Fat Ass" 50K yesterday and had a great experience.  It was a chilly 25 degrees F when my friend An and I arrived at the visitor center at 7:30am.  We were eager to get moving and warm up so as soon as people arrived we asked them for directions to the trail head and a general course description.  We took that information and made an early start.  There wasn't any problem with that as every was keeping there own time anyways.  I started off wearing long sleeves, arm warmers over them,  gloves, a headband for my ears and a running cap.  To carry food and water I had my Nathan hip belt with two 24oz water bottles and 18 gel packs, 3 per hour for what I anticipated to be a 6 hour day.  Each gel pack has 100 calories which gives me 300 calories per hour which worked out great.  It's nice to have that part of the ultrarunning worked out.  Gels also seem to digest better for me while running that any other food.

We started at 7:47am so we had about a 13 minute head start on everyone else.  We started on the Grand Circle loop at the trail head  just past the entrance gate to the left.  The first 4 miles of the trail passes between the roadway and the Calico Hills, and is quite rocky and rises steeply.  I was pleased that I was maintaining about a 12 minute/mile pace on this section without any overexertion or excessive stress on my recovering hamstring.  The trail was tricky and I did stumble and fall at the 2 mile mark but luckily I had gloves on so I was able to break my fall as I landed on a small bush (no thorns, thank God) and only sustained some small scraps on my leg.  Well I said to myself a little blood would only make me look a little more "bad ass" as I dusted my self off and continued.  This actually became my mantra throughout the day.  Whenever I would be going through a tough patch and start thinking of cutting it short and turning back, I would ask myself, "are you going to be a fat ass or a bad ass."

View from mile 4 looking back down into the canyon
At about the mile 3 mark the first runner passed me by than at mile 4 another group of 3 ran by.  For the next few miles runners continued to trickle by which was cool because it let me see the race unfolding and I was also able to follow them with my eye to see which way the course led.  At mile 6 we reached the White Rock loop and turned left to follow it clockwise.  By now it was warming up some and I had striped off my arm warmers and gloves.  (I still run with fingerless gloves to protect my hands in case of falls.)

White Rock loop

Three miles into the White Rock loop at mile 9, Britta was there waiting with water for us.  We would pass this spot 3 times in all giving us plenty of opportunities to refill our bottles.  I refilled just one bottle, enough for the 6 mile loop and continued on.  Up to this point the trail has been steadily rising and would continue to rise for another 2 miles to 5,500 feet.  We started at 3,400 feet and overall the 50k course had about 5000 feet of elevation gain, almost 1 mile, or approximately the depth of the Grand Canyon.  By this time I was really looking forward to going downhill although I was still maintaining a 13 to 14 min/mile pace alternating between a slow jog and a fast walk when the trail got too steep.  When I finllay started going down hill I was able to hit some 8 minute miles in open sections.  I couple more runners caugth up to me here as well and this gave me some inspiration to run as I attempted to keep up with them.  I did manage to keep pace with the second guy, Alex, and talked with him awhile which made those miles go by quick.  Alex is new to Las Vegas, having just moved from the East coast and is origanlly from Austria.

The back of White Rock loop
Alex and I arrived together at the water station after complementing theWhite Rock loop once.  I quickly refilled one bottle again and took off leaving Alex behind as he grabbed some food and snacks they had there.  We were exactly at the halfway point now and only needed to complete the loop one more time in the reverse direction and head back.  After climbing again for a couple of miles I realized I was going to be running short on water this time and should have filled both bottles.  I was reducing to only walking uphill now at about a 19 min/mi pace.  This was one of those low points were I needed to remind myself that I was there to be a "bad ass."  That seemed to help and as I passed a parking area, I asked some returning hikers if they had any water to spare.  Those nice people were happy to help and I scored two 12 oz bottles of water and wished them "Happy New Year" then started to feel the life coming back into my legs as I re-hydrated.  One more mile of climbing and then it would be primarily downhill all the way back to the start.  I was very please at how my legs were holding up as I was still able to running most of the time.  I did have a couple of sore spots on my feet though and suspected that I was geting some blisters but I wasn't going to let that slow me down.

With two miles to go I could see the visitor center.  At this point the trail joins and leaves the road a couple of times and I was on the road looking for the trail again.  I could have just stayed on the road all the way to the visitor center, but I wanted to do the full race legitimatley on the trail.  I looked down the canyon to my left and saw what I believed to be the trail.  I angled my way down the canyon to that trail and continued on.  One and a half miles later I began to doubt that I was on the corrrect trail as I should have only been 1/2 mile from the visitor center which was nowhere in sight.  Drat!  I stopped to check my GPS watch and yes I was off course and I was able to confirm this by the sight of  houses to my left.  I turned right and headed back up the canyon but when I got to the top  there was another canyon ahead and then yet another after that.  I could see the main highway now so I headed there and then made my way back to the entrance where we started.  In all I  had added about 2 miles to my trip.  My final time was 7 hours and 37 minutes for a total 33 miles, an average pace of 13:51 per mile, but that included a lot of walking and standing around at the end when I got lost.  I was getting exhausted and  discouraged now quipping to myself that I had gone from "fat ass" to "bad ass" to "dumb ass."  Oh well its all just part of the experience as occasionally all runners and hikers lose the trail at times.  At 50k my time was 6 hours and 21 minutes, just 21 minutes more than I predicted so not a  bad day at all especially for the first ultra of the year and coming of an injury.  I doesn't seem that I have strained my hamstring any worse and I look I am looking forward to running more miles in the coming weeks.  All in all,  I was very please with my run  as most of the  day went really smooth and I was even able to capture that feeling I am always looking for as I run - that feeling that you get when you have pushed yourself to your limit and you become totally focused on the activity you are in and feel a sense of connection between yourself and all that surrounds you.

The result, some minor blisters

No comments:

Post a Comment