Sunday, September 8, 2013

Endure the Bear... its all about the people you meet...

Big Bear California is a special place nestled at 7000 feet and surrounded by San Bernardino National Forest, it was first occupied by the Serrano Indians around 3,000 years ago! Then in 1845 Benjamin D Wilson discovered and named it Bear Valley while in pursuit of Indians!! But in 1860 when William Holcomb was hunting bears he discovered GOLD! and that turned into Southern California's largest gold rush!!
Roll forward to September 7th 2013 and a female race director by the name of Karen Lundgren is staging a grass roots trail run to all levels of capabilities. A 5km, 10km, 15km, 30km and a 50km. This is now the 4th year and Karen changed the route to become more scenic and to include more single track mountain bike trails with names such as Coyote, Skyline and Knickerbocker it was a success....

My husband Al, Karen and I after the 30km journey.
Big Bear is home to some fantastic out door enthusiasts and Karen is certainly a World Class adventure racer as well as being one of the few women ever to climb all 7 summits (yes that includes Mount Everest) yet is warm and approachable and does a lot for the community of Big Bear as well as being a ski instructor and organizing many Big Bear events for children too!

The Race
At 8 am the 30km run began with a nice uphill which certainly seemed for ever but in actual fact may have been only 5km! it took the wind out of your sails not because of the steepness more so the altitude... 

There was plenty of aid stations 6 in total, and there was no way you could get lost as orange ribbon marked the course for the 30km and pink ribbon for the 50km etc..

 The course was breathtaking, once at the top of the climb it immediately gave out to incredibly well kept single track which was curvy and looped back and forth it was actually fun as I really had to concentrate on my footing  as I was snaking around another female runner had caught up with me (which is not hard to do when the slope goes downhill!) We began talking and I was amazed that I was running with a mother of 7 children! It almost stopped me in my tracks I said you have to be kidding! any twins or triplets in that grouping ....nope was the answer youngest is 8 months and oldest is 19 years old. Whoa that is ONE TOUGH COOKIE!
Kim mother of 7 children!
We were at around 7 km and the whole run was to be a friendly exchange of uphills and down hills between Kim and I. Made the run feel a little more fun and I was in awe at this Mother with all these children one of which is a pro mountain biker!!

breathe taking views
The new course was a little longer but really nice and I wore my fuel belt for the 18 miles. I had Montana Huckleberry Hammer gel in one flask and a mixture of Endurolytes, Endurance Aminos and Anti Fatigue caps in a small pocket and a Vegan protein bar just in case....Plenty water on the course I was a Run Happy runner with my blue Brooks Cascadias!

The single track downhills were nightmares but that is just me..... then the fun began I felt a huge drop of water land on my shoulder I thought no it cannot be rain... another drop and I realize that maybe rain might be on its way, which would be a good thing in one way as it would pack the ground and easier to run on but I hope it would not be cold....

The sky turned black and the rain began to pour and with the rain came loud thunder cracks and hail stones! Oh my 10km to go and it was raining....good time to learn to dance in the rain! I slipped and fell going uphill bruised my hip but nothing new I always fall at least once on a trail! The rain cleaned all the trail dirt and sweat from my clothes and skin! it was like running in the shower! The last climb out of the trees I thought would never end as the thunder was really deafening and I worried about the lightening...with 8km to go on fire roads which are my favorite I took off rolling hills and the last 3km downhill. There was rivers of water pouring across the trail I had to put my Rudy Project glasses on my Visor as I could not see anything I was absolutely soaked! All I wanted to do was get warm!

The last km is asphalt to the village and finish line, I see umbrellas and people standing under 10x10s! I am finished it is crazy 101 F where I live and high 40s with rain at Big Bear!

Kurt Madden Ultraman Champion 1983
At the finish line I saw Kurt Madden I could not resist a picture as this is another Big Bear resident and an unbelievable athlete in 1983 at 28 years old he won the first Ultraman Hawaii World Championships and this year 30 years later is going back to race again!!!He also gives a lot to the community of Big Bear for the children too.

The rain is torrential I run to the truck were Al, Montana, Hammer & Cookie are nice and dry and watching the Goonies!!We all hug and congrats and we all go back to the staging area for the awards.....

With Kim in the rain at the finish line!
 The 2013 Endure the Bear was a wrap at least for the 30km I kinda felt sorry for the 50km peeps the course was water logged and I would not have wanted to run an extra 20km!  But when Mother Nature intervenes there is nothing much you can do about it! I wish I had had mittens and beanie! At the finish my Ocean Potion lips were a shade of blue and funny so were Kims too!! Karen was great and let all the runners have dry Keen t shirts to wear!

Kim and I were very Happy we were 2nd and 3rd over all and then I was first overall in 40-49 and Kim was second in 40-49! A blessing to be on the podium!
Sheri Mursick was on hand to give out awards and help with the event. I also saw Susan Maya too!
 Both amazing Big Bear athletes!
Kim and I on the Podium.

Podium time 40-49 was pretty cool to stand up on the podium you really have to count your blessing when that happens and savor the moment as not often moments like that happen! 

It took me 90 minutes before I could feel my finger tips! and stop shivering! made me realize how quickly things can change in the Mountains...

New race bling, new friends and as always a well run event.

Big Thank you to Karen, and to Hammer Nutrition, Brooks Running, Polar USA, Rudy Project USA, Ocean Potion suncare, Kool n Fit, Fuel belt for their support. And most of all to Al and his daughter Montana for taking me to Big Bear and sharing my race experience with my two dogs too! That is a priceless moment...

Here is my racing data from my Polar RCX3 I really love the map print out!

New race bling
After the race Hammer made sure I relaxed!