Let's see, how to begin this.....
Way back before Hardrock I entered Deb and I in the Bear to get in before the entry fee increased and forgot about it. Then at Hardrock I decided to give up my spot for Deb, which left me fit and wanting a 100....the Bear!
So I returned to New Hampshire, while Deb returned New Mexico. The training this Summer in the White Mountains in New Hampshire was great, while Deb was busy with moving into our new house and tending to the granddaughters, so her training wasn't as robust as mine was...but that didn't matter, she was as strong, if not stronger than I was, as was evident at the Ring three weeks before the Bear.
At the Ring we decided to use it as a test run for the Bear, by running by my low aerobic heart rate of 135 or lower, which for me is around 65% of my max. It worked great, we ran together all day and moved up through the field to finish tied for 4th. (Some runners in front of us took a minor wrong turn and were dq'd and we were told we were 1st, but we really finished 4th).
Cory, David, Deb, Steve and Paul at the Ring Finish
So at the Bear we decided to do the same thing....no racing, have fun and follow the low heart rate. Again it worked great and we went from running (walking) in last place at one point which was around 170th to finishing in 78th overall.
On to the run....at 6AM we gathered at Hyrum Park in Logan, Utah for the 100 miles of trails through the northern Wasatch mountains. It was chilly, but not as bad as they were talking about, so I went with my short sleeve Wasatch Speedgoat shirt and my long sleeve WSMRT shirt over that, with a light windbreaker tied around my waist. We got going right at 6 and I began by videoing the start....this was all about having fun today and getting a finish!
Runner's gathering at the start close to 6am
After about a half mile or so of local roads, we started on the trail and the climb up the first hill. At this point I can't say much about the course or the race because nothing much happened. At one point one of us stopped for a pit stop and we were in last place...no lights behind us. But I had confidence in the fact that we would move up through the field as the run went on, if we could keep fueling and drinking, we certainly wouldn't be going out too fast!
Deb climbing up that first climb
The day rolled on and we made sure to stay under the 135 heart rate and at some places it felt like we were at a standstill going up some of the climbs, but we stuck with it. Even the long downhill into Leatham Hollow, we held back our downhill run to maintain the HR. I think in future races, we'll try to bump it up to 140 just to see....I do really thing at many places we could have gone a lot quicker without going "too" hard. This is a lesson we are learning and we have to try different things.
The plunge into Leatham Hollow
The interesting thing about the heart rate....it only works for about half way or until dark. Usually by then I can't seem to keep the heart rate high enough no matter how hard we try, whether this is physiological in the heart or what, my theory is that once the legs begin to tire you can't move fast enough to get the HR up to where you want it to be. So at Tony Grove I took it off...many things happened at Tony Grove, but I'll get to that in a moment.
Here we are at Temple Fork, still feeling great
At Temple Fork, mile 45, I ate a ton and that was a mistake. I don't have a good stomach and filling it with food is never a good thing, but I never feel this good late in a 100 and knew I had a 5 mile climb up to Tony Grove. Up to this point I ate lots of fruit and had a container of chocolate soymilk or about 130 calories, plus maybe 50 more calories from the fruit got me close to 200 in the aid station. This time EFS Liquid Shot didn't work for me, I was gagging on it so never got another one from my drop bags. I did do some Clif Shot Blocks between aid, some Endurolytes or Succeed Caps and the tummy felt great and I had a lot of energy. Deb did her usual Ensures (gag) and anything else she could put down...I wish I had her stomach!
Free range cattle in the night on the climb up to Tony Grove
Back to Temple Fork and the climb up to Tony Grove...at Temple Fork I had my milk (130 cal's), a can of V-8 (maybe 50 calories), some fruit (50) and a large cup full of southwest vegetable soup. I was stuffed! During the climb up to Tony Grove, mile 51, I started to get lethargic as nighttime started to fall. I usually just take a No-Doz, but this time I decided to try a 5 hour energy. I drank it and it just did not taste good to me. Very acidic tasting...yuck! We kept climbing and had been passing runners all day long, but went into TG alone in the dark and checked in. Here while sitting in our chairs and having some soup, Sue Johnston comes up to us with her hubby, Chris Scott and says she was going to drop due to gagging and dry heaving earlier, but asked if she could come with us and run the 2nd half with us.. I said we'd be honored and once she was ready, off we went. We left with a friend of hers, Sandy, and immediate went off course out of the aid station. There was a split in the trail and no course marker there. We went left when we were supposed to go right and only went about a half mile and realized something wasn't right, so we all turned around and got back on the right trail. Between this and one other place we got off course, we lost about 30 minutes total, not as bad as some others...
Sue, Steve, Sandy and Deb about to head out of Tony Grove and get lost
I made some comment about my harem or many wives here in Utah
I absolutely do not remember the next section, it was dark and we did a lot of talking and laughing...but what I do remember is that when we got into the aid station and took a seat, my stomach didn't feel great. So I went over by some horses standing in the darkness (they didn't seem to mind) and emptied my stomach...I immediately felt better, but this meant that I most likely wouldn't be able to eat much for the remainder of the race. This is just what happened to me, but we were going at such a slow pace that I knew I could move forward without bonking and putting minimal calories in my stomach, which means soup and soup only. What this does is "guarantee" that I will not be able to move quickly...
We crossed into Idaho sometime during the night
Let's see, what's next....climbing, downhills, more climbing, more downhills, darkness and more darkness. In Beaver Lodge we had some soup and some potatoes and got out of there fast. It was cold here....some told us it was around 22 degrees. I didn't really have enough warm clothes and had to keep pushing the pace a bit to warm up and when I did this, I'd leave Sue and Deb back aways, but always waited for them. The table turned, though, as daylight came. We got to Beaver Creek, around mile 85 and had some more soup...Deb tried to gag down some Ensure, but couldn't do more than a couple of sips...yes it's late in a 100 and there's not much fueling going on.
Sue, Steve and Deb about to leave Beaver Creek
Do we look tired?
Chris Scott photo
The climb up out of Beaver Creek killed me...Sue and Deb were both leaving me in the dust, I couldn't breathe up here at around 8500"+. Deb's been living at 8000' and Sue spent a couple of weeks at snowbird for some acclimating, while I lived at around 500'. I was sucking wind and also low on fuel, so could barely move. We struggled to Ranger Dip aid and Sue waited for us there (Deb was nice to wait up for me, too). I tried to eat some saltines and was gagging on them, so I just filled my bottle with Coke like I've been doing since around mile 65. Deb was telling me I had to eat something, but there was now way....I know me and I know I can get in on fumes, I've done it at Hardrock! Sue was able to eat something and drink a Coke....and on we went after a few minutes up the really steep climb up to over 9000'. It was an awful struggle, but I knew at the top all the hard climbing was done, so grunt up we did. Somewhere along the way George caught up to us and the four of us worked our way down to Bear Lake, which we could see to our right.
Beautiful Bear Lake to our right
Down, down we went and at one point I decided to get in the lead in an attempt to pull us in under 32 hours, but it just didn't happen. We were all tired and doing the best we could on this awful, sandy and bouldery jeep road. At one point somehow some ATV's came and Deb and I had to step aside and we lost contact with Sue....there were 6 ATV's kicking up the dust and we just couldn't go until they went by....by the time we hit the gravel road to the Lake with 2 miles to go, Sue was out of sight...so we jogged as much as we could and got to the final turn to the finish. I was about to finish the Bear for my first time in three tries and Deb was about to take over an hour off her time of last year....I guess the low HR thing worked!
We finished in 78th overall in 32:06...Sue finished with George 5 minutes before us.
Deb and Steve finishing together...Woohoo!
Chris Scott photo
So what did I learn? That pacing does work, we went from last to 78th...if we had gone just a little quicker in the beginning, which we are easily capable of, we'd most likely have taken another hour or so off of our time, but the best thing was that this was the first time Deb and I were able to run the whole 100 together and finish hand in hand. That was worth our going slower if that made it happen.
The Bear has become a special race for me....I like its laid back attitude, I like the course difficulty and most of all I like the people involved. We will be back next year...
To see the rest of my photos, go here: http://picasaweb.google.com/ultrastevep/2010Bear100#
Shoes worn...LaSportiva Skylites for 45 miles, LaSportiva Imogenes the rest of the way. Deb wore her LaSportiva Wildcats.
Packs: Nathan 2V Plus waist pack
Fuel: See above...everything and anything.
Until next time,
Steve and Deb....