Sunday, January 2, 2011

Boney Mountain Trail Race Preview

With one week to go before Boney Mountain Trail Race, I decide to run the course today with SCAL Coyotes. With 40% chance of rain on race day, I want to scout the course to see flood damage and to gain experience running in mud.

Unlike going to a Halloween party, I always dress for the occasion when I go trail running, especially running in cold and rain. Even though I am running with a group, I pack as if I am doing a solo run because the chance of getting hypothermia is very high. Exit point is far from my car so I need to play it safe. I have three layers on top and one short - TNT tri top, Coyotes Running Shirt, Arm Warmer, and my Arcteryx jacket. I also carried two pair of gloves (one light weight one heavy), a beanie, headlamp, small first aid kit, drink, food, a chemical heat pack, and a headlamp. I know my Arcteryx is too heavy to run with, but I want the protection from the element.

What? Flour? Is this what ultra marathoner drinks? ok fine I'll drink it too. Kate: No that's gross. This is for Jimmy's Course Marking.

I got there around 8:45am and started to prepare. After Coach Jimmy gave a pre-run talk we started running. Right after we started the run people just thin off rapidly. People then broke into groups on the big downhill 0.75 mi into the run. I kept my pace because I knew all of them are trail runners and matching their pace is just plain stupid. After the downhill on paved road we entered the muddy single track. I ended up catching a few people who were not as comfortable running on mud and crossing stream as me. I even passed a runner who was wearing the Boston Marathon jacket. Did I just pass someone who qualified and finished the Boston Marathon???

I got a bit warm too warm at mile 2.9 so I took off my arm warmer and Coyotes shirt. I put my warmer and glove in my Arcteryx jacket for easy access while stuffing my Coyotes shirt in my tri top. You got to love the stretchy TNT tri top. The Boston Marathon guy passed me while I was taking my stuff off. I closed in on the Boston Marathon guy and we talked for a bit. Again I stopped at mile 4 for blister treatment. Kate Freeman (as a sweeper today) caught up to me and waited for me to finish my first aid (Thank You very much Kate). Since I took off my gloves I was having a difficulty putting the patch on because it was freezing cold. After a few minutes I was on my way again, then I realized my hand and arm was very cold. Not good! I increased my pace and swing my arm wildly to get some blood flow into my arm… which worked. It also helped when my jacket protect me from the element. I caught up to the women that were with Kate and continue my way. They were doing the 8 miles route.

By now I gotten used to the mud. Balling wasn't a big issue during the run (balling is a condition where packed snow "balling up" onto the sole of your crampon which make you lose traction... I thought similar condition can happen when I step on mud).

Single Track

After a mile of gradual downhill at 1hr 45 min, I am now going up the mountain. My goal is to catch the Boston Marathon guy and to move as fast as I can so I delay Kate catching up to me. Not that I don’t want her to catch up to me, but I know she is probably cold and she will only get colder if she run at my pace (too slow for her)

a mile before going up Boney Mountain

Another half an hour later I got to the saddle. By now the wind really picked up but my body temperature is still ok thanks for my layering (my setup is good for a snow climb up to Baldy!... as long as I don't stop!). From the saddle, the course went downhill for a while only to go back up hill again =( After another half an hour I got to the top. Now comes the super long downhill which took me 18 minutes. Then the 7 minutes on the last uphill. I timed each section so that I know the time to beat next week. It also tell me how much to push for next week’s race. Say 7 minutes on the last hill, I know I can suffer for 7 minutes and run more hills. As I was running the last section, I saw someone that is of catchable distance. I speed up and almost caught up to him when he was only 30 ft in front of me. I finished the run in 3hr 20 min with ~2800ft of gain. 10 minutes before the cut off! If I didn’t stop to put away my layers and apply blister patch, I can do 3hr 15 min.

Overall I am very happy with my time. I didn't go all out and still make it under the 3 1/2 hr cut off. And guess what, the Boston Marathon guy only did the short loop (that's why I never caught him). So yes, IronteamLouis beat someone that ran the Boston Marathon Ha Ha Ha!

I am ready, so does the other VitaPanda

VitaPanda after party

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