Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Endure the Bear 50km trail run September 10th

So it is a Friday evening and I am with Al and the kids at Big Bear Village CA; thanks to Paul Romero and Karen Lundgren two VERY accomplished adventure racers. The event a wee 50km trail run up in the mountains of Big Bear...mmm did I mention Altitude..
On the evening we stayed in a nice lodge and slept well, despite loud thunder and rain which the dogs did not gel well with!

Race morning came very quickly and as the Endure the Bear is extremely well organized by Elite Adventure racers there is not much to worry about, as there are so many aid stations a need for a back pack in not necessary, I opt for my fuel belt and have enough Hammer gels, endurolytes and perpetuem to get me through the 50km, I soak my insoles of my cascadia running shoes with kool n fit, and make a few final checks I am as ready as I can be!

I was super happy to see the event well sponsored by Hammer Nutrition and did not have to carry all my race nutrition as there was ample Hammer products at all aid stations.

The race began, I started out conservatively as Kurt Madden who has won the ultraman Hawaii event several times in the 80s, told me the altitude once it starts to affect you thats it! So start the race easy so as not to over load my muscles and keep very hydrated.

Without a doubt this is one of the most beautiful trail runs I have ever experienced, the views were spectacular, the trails well kept and the slogan Reduce, Reuse & Recycle kept playing through my mind!

 Here I was running and as the Open Air Big Bear site says:

"This is high altitude alpine trail running at its best!

I was all smiles for the first 20km and ran most of the event with a new running friend John Arnold. Yet even though I had been duly warned about the altitude and taken well the advice I would soon fall prey to altitude sickness making my final 15 km a very miserable affair indeed! All my knowledge and professionalism would help me ENDURE the BEAR! I was besieged by headaches, nausea, vomiting and bathroom malfunctions, my fingers were swollen and tingling yet I never stopped taking in liquid nutrition and hydrating as I knew how important these things were, I am not sure how high we were I think around 7000 feet but next year...yes I said next year I will get some high altitude training in to adjust to the thinner air!

As I kept on plodding forward my thoughts went to the beginning of the venue when we had all sung the American National Anthem and had a moments silence in remembering 9/11, I then thought of the women and men who are suffering from Breast Cancer a cause which I run for through the AVON Crusade of Puerto Rico and I kept on putting one foot in front of the other.

The view of big Bear lake and seeing other runners on the course helped me over come the feeling to quit (which really was never an option) And soon I was running down a long down hill, my momentum was off and I was not going as fast as I would have liked, my head was still pounding but a glance at my Polar RCX5 told me I was less than 2 miles from the finish line and that meant I could stop running or jogging...depending on how you defined my pull through this gait, and I would see my family at the line,

Turning the corner onto the asphalt I could suddenly see the finish my youngest step daughter Montana was running up to me with Hammer my running mini pin, this was it the finish line was insight and Hammer was bringing his human momma home full stride!

It was not my fastest time and managed a third place female in 7 hours and 15 minutes, considering the amount of walking I had had to do with overcoming the altitude I was really pleased to have finished. I was so pleased with the medal and the bling made it all worth it! and I also raised dollars towards the Crusade Against Breast Cancer for AVON.

A huge shout out to Hammer Nutrition, Brooks USA, Polar Monitors USA, Rudy Project, Fuel Belt, Kool n Fit and to Ocean Potion and Polar USA for giving great products for the podium finishers.
A very special thank you to my husband Al Wiscovitch for all the driving and support he gave me during the race day.
It was truly a family affair as my two step daughters Cheyenne and Montana also volunteered at the race helping with registration.

So next September 2012 I most likely will return to Open Air Big Bear and tackle the 50 km run again this time with a little better preparation for altitude running!! The race directors Paul and Karen deserve a huge shout out for their dedication and well run events.