BHS 100K

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

Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 Bishop High Sierra Ultra Video

I finally put together all the video and pictures from the 2013 Bishop High Sierra Ultra and posted them to You Tube.

I am still living off of the high from this event and haven't done too much running since.  I need to get started again, but with summer and our 100 plus temperatures back it is difficult.  You say good conditions to train in for a future Badwater?  Perhaps.  For now I am preparing for a hike in the Sierra Nevada's starting in Mammoth Lakes and ending in Yosemite Valley 7 days later.  Hopefully we will be able to get a permit to climb half dome.  It will be so cool to have Amy with me this time.  She says she is excited too.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

2013 Bishop 100K Race Overview

View of the race course from the starting area - Mill Creek Recreation Area.  That high peak is Mt. Emerson, 13,204 ft.  We ran in that direction but not to the top.  Our race topped out at 9,400ft so we were below the snow line.  Most previous years there was still snow at that level through  the month of May but as you know we are experiencing some global warming now.  The brown hills in the foreground are the Tungsten hills which we had to run across from left to right then back again before the end of the race.
This year I completed the 100K distance of the Bishop High Sierra Ultra marathons and I feel that I just had one of those races where everything fell into place and went well. As anyone who has run marathon distances or longer knows that doesn't always happen. So many things can go wrong from nutrition, to hydration or cramps or wrong shoes or just having a bad day. But I am very pleased to say that there was none of that for me this time.

Amy and I arrived in Bishop around 1:00pm after about a 5 1/2 hour drive from Las Vegas. We checked into the motel, picked up my race number and did a little shopping in town. We found some nice stuff for the kitchen and had a good time walking around and enjoying this little town. 

Elevation profile captured from my Garmin

That evening we ate with the other runners at the pre-race dinner. I have been to a couple of other pre-race dinners before and i can tell you that this one beats them all. For the main course they had an excellent selection of good carbo loading pastas both with and without meat. We sat at a table and met some other runners from Fresno, San Francisco and Mammoth lakes. It's always fun to compare notes on things you have done and one of the guys from Fresno had hiked the John Muir Trail last August just one month after I had completed it. They even had a couple of kegs of beer and a carrot cake desert for us. I had a piece of the carrot cake and Amy told me the beer was really good.  I hadn't tasted the carrot cake the year before and  regretted it so that was one of the things I changed for this year.  Maybe it was that cake that pushed me over  the top this time.
Before the battle

 It wasn't until we got back to the hotel and I bumped into another runner that I found out that the race actually started at 6:00am and not at 6:30 like I had thought. It was a real lucky break for me running into him. Well at least I had all my stuff ready to go and really all I needed to do was set the alarm for 4:30am and get some sleep. In particular this year I had a couple of things to help me that I did not have last year. One was gaiters to go over my shoes to keep the sand and stones out.  The other was salt tabs to help prevent cramping from all the salt I would lose though hours of sweating. I did sleep well that night and at 4:30am I warmed up and ate a bowl of multigrain cereal that I had prepared the day before in Las Vegas. Then it was time to get Amy up and have her drive me to the start of the race.

 Amy has really been a good sport about this ultra running business of mine supporting me and encouraging me in my quest and I was really glad to have her along for this run. She would be taking it easy back at the hotel, catching up on reading and relaxing while I was killing myself which seemed to be a perfect match for us. She saw me off and video taped the start which occurred promptly at 6:00am. I told her that I hoped to be back before 9:00PM, 15 hours later. The start of the race was nice and cool, in the low 50's; then later, up in the mountains it was in the 60's all day and even when we got back down in the afternoon it didn't get much above 80F.

The first few miles are always easy. Still I made a conscious effort to run at an easy pace knowing that going out too hard would prove disastrous later on. I was averaging about 9 to 10 minute miles until the course started to consistently climb up the mountain around mile 5. At the same time, I was paying attention to my right hamstring trying to sense whether it wanted to tighten up and give me problems. It was a little stiff at the beginning, but somehow when I got warmed up it got better and after that I never thought about it again for the rest of the day - Halleluiah!
Somewhere around mile 10.

After mile 6 I started to alternate between running and walking. At first I would run 8:00 minutes and walk 2:00 min. I did this as much as I could and would walk more when I had too. After 3 1/2 hours I arrived at The Edison Loop aid station at mile 17 and elevation 8,000 ft - we had gained a total of 3,600 feet and actually climbed more than this because there had been some up and down. The last 1/2 mile to the aid station was a slight downhill which allowed me to run into it with great energy lifting my arms into the air to the shouts of the volunteers there. All the volunteers at all the aid stations were fantastic and we can't thank them enough. These events could not happen without their help. I didn't waste too much time at any of the aid stations though. I knew that it was going to be a long enough day already so I just grabbed water and whatever I needed at each aid station  and got out of there as quickly as I could. Doing this was fun too because this was how I got to pass lots of other runners that were lingering.

Bishop Creek Lodge Aid station - They had some delicious potato soup waiting for us at this one.
The next there miles to the lookout at mile 20 would be some of the toughest. It was all uphill with some of the grades approaching 10% and we were above 8,000 feet now. At this point like most other runners I was only able to walk or do my best to maintain a fast hike. I never really fell under a 20 min/mile pace though. It was tough, I was breathing really hard now but I got to the top, 9400ft, in about an hour. Running downhill was easier but I couldn't really fly down that fast because it was fairly steep. At one point my foot hit a tree root and I went flying. I anticipated the worst but was pleasantly surprised after I landed in a patch of soft sand. I just brushed that dust right off my shoulder, got up and kept pounding away at it. Like I said earlier, everything went really well.

The middle part of the race saw us continuing to go up and down the slopes between 8,000 and 8,400 feet.  When I arrived back at the Edison Loop aid station for the last time I had already completed over 35 miles and although I wasn't that sore, I was exhausted.  I told one of the volunteers that I felt this way and he said, "I bet."  Well that there summed it all up in two words.  What else did I expect?  I choose to do this, I knew that it would be hard and here I was feeling totally spent.  Somehow, though I knew that I could keep running and that I would keep running.  The next 14 more were downhill too and we would be out of the thin air of the higher elevations soon.  Yippee cayae, let's run back down the mountain!

At mile 49 we would have to make a left turn and go up the Tungsten Hills.  This is arguably one of the toughest parts of the race because you have already completed over two marathons in distance when you get to this final challenge.  However, I arrived at the Tungsten City enthusiastically because at this point I knew I would be one of those that completed the race unlike last year when I had to quite at this point.  

 Tungsten Hills Switchbacks

The final climb of the day involved the Tungsten Hill switchbacks.  With only 6 miles left in the race I still needed to climb these before I ran the final downhill to the finish line.  It was late in the afternoon, the sun was beating down on this side of the course, and this was the one point in the race that not only was I feeling totally exhausted, but my head was swimming, and my heart was racing too.  I founded a small piece of shade to sit down in and promptly lied down flat on my back to catch my breath and cool off a bit.  I rested there for several minutes before getting up and finishing the climb.  After that I ran strong until the end of the race, but that was a real difficult spot for me.
The Last 6 miles or so.  (My Garmin tracked the actual distance as 63.4 miles so we may have gotten a free bonus mile)
 My official finish time was 14 hours 11 minutes and 22 seconds.  I am very pleased with that.  Finishing in under 15 hours will allow me to add my name to the lottery for next year's Western States 100.  That will be the next super event that I am striving for.  Its a 100 mile race in the Northern Sierras between Squaw Valley and Auburn.  I am sure I will run some other events between now and then, but I am not quite sure what those will be.  I guess I am still digesting this one.  I have learned that these are not distances to be conquered.  They are distances that you learn to get in tune with.  One comes to learn exactly what ones body is capable of, how far it can be pushed and how to nourish and care for it in the process.  It's a long process that includes all the training and the buildup and I am already getting excited for the next adventure.  Perhaps a double crossing of the Grand Canyon next fall.  Anyone interested?
Lookout aid station - Thanks to the 2 gentlemen who drove us up water and supplies to this high point.  I am sure just driving up here was a feet.