The Bear Chase Part I: The Race

Due to the unexpected chain of events that took place last Sunday at the Bear Chase, I’ve decided to split the blog into two parts: the race and the proposal (hopefully to peak your interest in reading part II!).

To preface the race recap, I feel inclined to point out a few things.

  1. This would be my last “official” race of the season.  After a completely stocked season I was definitely feeling the miles, travel and pressure from the season’s races.  I also think that after my DNF at Leadville I was mentally checked out.  Whether it be the disappointment or simply anticlimactic finish, I wasn’t as gung-ho about the final races of the season as I should have been.
  2.  The Bear Chase is my absolute favorite face.  With all that was said in point numero uno, I felt indubitably inclined to go out and murder the course last Sunday – not only because it would be my final race, but because I love and know the course and I wanted to go out “on top,” so to speak.
  3. My sciatic had a vendetta out to get me.  About 3 weeks from the Bear Chase I began having sciatic pain – as in shooting pain down my right leg. At one point during a run it felt like my entire right leg was ON FIRE.  Ouch.  So training took a downward turn and I didn’t have the pre-race miles under my legs that I wanted to.

Wow.  That totally sounded like an excuse-fest, didn’t it?  Crap.  Let’s just say that I wasn’t in tip-top shape but wanted to have fun and leave it all out on the course last Sunday.  There, that’s better.

I was pretty pumped up on race morning, and even more so after seeing the fabulous Earl and Betsy Cornelius prior to the start.  Earl would be running the half marathon as well so we lined up together and chit-chatted before the gun went off.  UPDATE: Earl’s an animal and killed the race in 2:03-something!

I must have had too  much caffeine or shot blocks that morning because when the gun went off I went out WAY TOO FAST.  I knew it too.  As we made the half-mile loop around the start/finish line area I was jazzed to see so many familiar faces and wanted to get some speed under my legs.  Well, mission accomplished – my first mile split was 7:48 – much faster than what I wanted.  My race style is to go out at a comfortable pace and then make adjustments during the race and pick up as I see fit.  Well, it would seem that wasn’t going to happen during this race.

Enjoying the beautiful colors and cool weather!

While I did tone it down during the next several miles of the race, my lungs were feeling the effort and I was trying to get comfortable.  I kept reminding myself to HAVE FUN, RUN HAPPY, and find a happy-medium effort to still give it all I had.


After ascending and descending Mount Carbon I was feeling pretty good – I think I had finally found that point of effort + enjoyment.  I wasn’t looking at my Garmin and was surprised to finally look at my wrist around the 8-mile mark.

Love those water crossings!

I think right around mile 12 I decided to push it.  I saw a Runners Roost singlet ahead of me and decided to pick her off and do the same to a few more during the final miles.  My legs were tired, I was feeling my sciatic, but I had some energy to burn and knew what the course was like.

I looked at my watch at mile 12.45 and it read 1:55.  Damn.  I really wanted to sub-2:00 hours.  I started hauling down the final descents of the race to cross the finish line at 2:00:17.  So close!!

Crossing the finish line with NO CLUE as to what was about to happen…

All in all, I’d say it was a rather successful finish to the end of my racing season.  Bear Chase #3 was in the books and I just barely missed my goal (17 seconds is so little, but also so much).  I can confidently say that I gave it all I had and left quite a bit out on that course that I love so much.

Garmin stats – click for details

After crossing the finish line I looked up and saw several familiar faces.  Why the heck are all these people here?  Stay tuned for Part II!

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