Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Final Thoughts on Bear

The Bear 100 is behind me and, other than some for fun events, my season is done. The Bear was a tough day and not at all what I hoped for. Naturally, I have been doing quite a bit of thinking and introspection on what went wrong. Now that I have nailed a 50 miler, I feel like the next big goal is to do well in a 100. Defining what it means to "do well" is subjective topic, but I'll know it when I do it, if I do it. So, here are my rambling thoughts about why Bear didn't go as I'd hoped.

Let's start with the obvious stuff....

  1. I didn't make Bear my target race for the year (instead it was the North Fork 50) and my training and "life plans" were not geared toward a Fall race. Clear indications of that were that in my decreasing motivation in July and August as well as my decreased training. Training decreased partly due to taking some time off after North Fork -- which was expected so I could take vacation with my family -- and due to injury in August. The results should clearly in the stats: I averaged 250 miles per month in April - June and only 175 miles in July and August.
  2. The weather at Bear was not conducive to running well. The day time high temperature peaked somewhere between 85 and 90 degrees, but the heat was pretty much a factor from the start of the race until about 1 am when it started raining. Then the torrential rain made efficient movement tough the last half of the race.
  3. Mentally, I just wasn't quite ready for another 100. I have eluded to this in the past here, but I hoped I would find the mojo by race day. The short version is just that running 100 miles the first time was an emotionally and physically exhausting event. You simply must be in the right frame of mind to push through it. It is more than accepting it will hurt, it is welcoming that hurt and desiring to problem solve and push through the pain. There are ways to improve things, but sooner or later it is going to hurt. And I just wasn't ready to embrace that fact.
Now the less obvious stuff, much of which I covered in my race report.
  1. I was patient to start the race but I got too confident too early and started racing hard around mile 25, way too early for a 100. To my credit, I knew it was hot and started slowly, but I should have continued with my patient strategy for longer. This is a historical problem for me racing. (Though the alternative is to never go out hard and swing for the fences.) And, having even split nearly every other distance of race, I don't see a reason why I shouldn't be aiming to get at least a 45/55 split in a 100.
  2. I employed a strategy at North Fork where I would get my head, shirt, and even shorts wet to combat the heat and keep my core cool. I continued this tactic during the middle portion of Bear 100 and it worked well for me. I dumped my hat into a stream at least 12-15 times to wet my shirt and cool my core. Unfortunately, as it got dark, I gave up on this strategy and I was just cooked by mile 70 because it never cooled off at night.
  3. I need to train more specifically, particularly for the night portions of the race. My night running is never comfortable.
  4. And, I probably should consider more Ibuprofen. It is dangerous, but maybe not as dangerous as first thought.
Anyway, that is all I can think of for now. I am very likely to do a hundred (or two) next year, but I will change some things and try to get a better outcome. The first thing I need to do is get my head right and embrace the challenge!