Sunday, August 09, 2015

2015 Race #10: The Bear

This was my forth year running the Bear and this time around, I didn't really do any training for it. I spent most of my spring working on hiking with a couple of half marathons thrown in, but no hill work or focus on this race at all. This is always a tough race but apparently I forget how bad it is every year, because I keep coming back. The race starts out at 3,654' and raises to 5,292' for an elevation gain of 1,762'! 

I started out in the middle of the pack again this year and it seemed a lot more crowded than I remember - there were people everywhere! I'm not sure if I started up farther in the group this time or if the number of runners who were trying to run around the same pace as I was increased, but it seemed to take a lot longer for the crowd to thin out this time around. 

I always know that miles 3-5 are going to be pretty terrible because that's the steepest part of the race, but I figured I would just run as fast as I could until that point and then walk when I had to. I'm not sure if it was my lack of focused preparation this year or if I finally paid attention, but those first 2 miles aren't very easy either! I didn't even make it a mile into the race before I was questioning why I kept doing this race - I was having to walk, I was too hot and it was just overall tough! 

As I got around the 2.5 mile mark, I remembered why I did the race - around this point, you come up to McRae Meadow where the Highland Games are held and all of the Scottish clans are out cheering everyone on, there's always 1-2 bagpipe players and it's a great atmosphere as you round the track and head up to the steepest section of the race. Coming through this area was just what I needed to get pumped for the rest of the race - my fastest mile came in this section, and not only because it was a quarter of a mile on a flat track. I walked a lot of the last two miles, running on the straight sections where I could, but mentally it was a lot better than those first two miles.

3 miles in, getting ready to run to the top of that mountain

  • Mile 1 - 12:53
  • Mile 2 - 12:32
  • Mile 3 - 11:46
  • Mile 4 - 15:11
  • Mile 5 - 11:11 (this was only clocked as .72 miles on my Garmin, which would really make that around 14:54)
Official time: 1:03:42

Registration for the 2016 race goes on sale in February but I've already decided I'll be back again next year!


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