Monday, August 29, 2011

Bulldog 25K Race Report

Well, I didn't die. It was touch and go for a while though. But let's start at the beginning.

In case you missed my preview post below, this race is a trail run in the mountains with a nearly 3 mile hill of over 2000 feet, followed by a few more hills, a huge descent, and then one more hill just before the end. We are having a heat wave and the high on the course would be over 100.

I was up with the DW at 4:40 as we had a bit of a drive. First stop, Hollywood, to pick up aschmid3, or Abby. Introductions were made, and once she decided I was not actually a serial killer, she hopped in. We got to the course at 6:30, in time to see the start of the 50K, for the truly crazy. Then we had an hour to chill and get ready. I met up with another friend, C, who would start with us. Water bottles were mandatory, and I had 2 filled with Gatorade.

Pre-race photo

There was still plenty of shade the first few miles and it was relatively flat. The three of us got split up right from the start however; C moving ahead of me and Abby falling behind. It was a little crowded but i was just running. Didn't have the racing mentality. We hit some single track when it was still crowded so I had to keep my eyes on the trail for every step. But it was really fun.

After about 3 miles we hit the beginning of the serious climbing, and for the next three miles it was almost all up. 15-20% grade I'm guessing for 75% of it. Shortly almost everybody was walking. It was a little odd having so much walking going on during a race, but there was no way to run it. I would jog once the slope came down or on the few flat portions, but switched to a walk whenever my lungs or legs told me it was time. Meanwhile we were now in the sun and it was heating up toward the 90s.

So there was a lot of trudging, but purposeful trudging. I wasn't dead yet and was looking forward to getting over the top. I was passing more people than not. Check out the splits for the first 7 miles:
9:03, 9:45, 10:05, 11:41, 13:59, 18:10, 10:57

Once I got over the top I was feeling pretty good. It was beautiful as we could see for miles. I pulled out a camera for a few pics, and asked a runner to take one of me, and he laughed as he ran by. Oh well. The next section was fun, with some ups and downs. There was an aid station with icy sponges and I refilled my bottles and guzzled a few glasses. I was just enjoying the day and paused for a few more pictures.

That's the ocean there with some far-off islands poklng through the mist. And you can see the trail that we ran on.
So I was cruising along. Very hot though. My fingers were tingling and I was starting to feel pretty exhausted. Still having to walk up some steep portions. Next three miles were 12:49, 11:57, 10:21. I was mainly running alone at this time, only occasionally passing someone or being passed. Then I hear footsteps coming up pretty fast, and it is Abby! She looks fresh as a daisy. We chat a bit and i get her to stop and take some pics.

You can see how high we had climbed! Then the downhill started in earnest, and it was controlled freefall for much of about two miles. Still my splits were 9:10, 8:51. Abby and I ran together for 2-3 miles until we reached another aid station at 12.5. At this point i was feeling really dead, like I had hit the wall. The heat was becoming overbearing. I stopped and drank a lot and decided to just rest for about 5 minutes. I let Abby go on ahead.

Finally I headed back out. It was flat and had some shade for a while, but then we hit the last hill. I had to walk, and even walking I felt the need to pause for a break occasionally. I started to feel like I would puke, but it passed. I felt like someone lost in the desert, trudging hopelessly. It was just about survival at that point. I was sure glad I had water on me. Once I got over the hill I managed to jog almost all the way in to the finish, but I was toast. Last 3 miles were 15:37 (with the break) 15:42 and 9:30. My total average for the day was 11:52 per mile.

It sure was nice to see the finish area. I found a bucket of ice water and stuck my arms in it and splashed my face. Phew! It was beautiful and fun at times, but I don't know if I'll be doing this one again. All that walking just isn't that much fun. But it was a great accomplishment and good memories, so I am walking proud, although stiffly. Final time 2:56.
Post race photos:

The DW tells me what she thinks of my time. And yes we climbed over that mountain behind us.

So, an awesome day, a fun loop meetup, and a medal (for finishing). On to the next challenge!


  1. Those pics are gorgeous! Congrats!

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  3. I'm glad you didn't turn out to be a serial killer, too. Or die! Nice job, that race looks tough...and hot. I think I would have stayed home and ran a 25k on my basement treadmill!! :)