BSTM 08 has come and gone again. Three years in a row that I've participated in this unique and sweet event. I knew going into this race that it would not be an A-race for me this year. School/finals has been very stressful and I'm still working on my base since my injury prevented me from setting a big base in Feb or March. Plus I'd spent all day Friday on my feet flyfishing. However, I wanted to still push it and run well.
I got there late like usual and was in a horrible position when the race started. I kicked it into high gear the first 1/4 mile and put myself in 7th or 8th position. I felt comfortable and wanted to keep a very consistent pace throughout the race. I continued to pick my way up, occasionally passing people over those first couple of miles. By the time we got to mile 6 and one of two extremely steep and large climbs, I was less then 3 minutes behind the leader and in 2nd place. This held for a mile or so until Karl Karvis caught me. We ran together for the next couple of miles but on a long steep descent I felt a blister coming on my left heel. I hadn't blistered on my heel since last year BSTM. I was upset. Heading up into the first aid station I let Karl get a little ahead of me in preparation to stop and fix this oncoming blister.
I was carrying a little athletic tape with me so at the aid station I quickly took off my shoe and sock and taped up my heel. It seemed to work. It only took a minute or so but then I was off. The next section was a bit of a struggle for me. I was trying to catch up to Karl Jarvis but it wasn't happening. The wind was ridiculous, lots of mtn bikers, and my legs seemed heavy. I pushed through it and soon I was feeling better and cruising down the trail. Coming down Dry Canyon I felt awesome. Coming into the hospital aid station I was notified by a spectator that was exactly 4 minutes behind the leader! I wasn't doing too bad considering my preparation. Coming down the hill, Karl was at the aid station only a minute ahead of me. I filled up my water, ate a banana, and was off.
From AS#2 over to Red Butte Canyon I caught glimpses of Karl and I felt good motoring away at a nice clip. I was trying a new system of nutrition. I used the new Golite belt with one bottle, a 6 oz gel flask, and two small easy access hip pockets. The flask I filled with 4 oz of gel and 2 oz of water. My theory was I wanted to eat every 30 minutes, which in the past was too much for my stomach, but now it would only be 2/3 of a gel. Over the whole race I finished the 6 oz gel bottle, one clif blok, and two full gels. It worked great and I had no stomach issues and plenty of energy the whole race. My real problem (something always has to go wrong in an ultra) happened cresting Red Butte Gardens. My blister ripped open. I never get blisters while training. In fact I don't even get hot spots, but for some reason on race day my luck wears out and I blister. On a positive note I have learned to deal with blister pain. However, the first couple minutes after the blister rips is extremely painful no matter what.
I kept up my running pace as I ran through the UofU campus and up to the final aid station. Again I quickly filled up my water bottle and off I went. One of my goals this race was to run, not walk at all, the length of Dry Canyon until the off trail section. I was happy to accomplish my goal! As I started up off trail section of Dry Canyon I felt a few twitches in my legs. I quickly realized what it was. I was cramping! With the high winds my perspiration never accumulated and one water bottle with 3 aid stations was not enough unless I drank lots of extra water at the aid stations (which of course I had not). I took some salt and drank the last of my water bottle as I hobbled up onto the last huge climb. I hate this hill. My cramps were minimized for the moment so I got up the hill as quickly as possible. Last year my race ended here when the same heel blistered. This year was different but those last couple miles of downhill were all too similar. My blister was painful and the cramps returned. Several times I stopped due to the pain and tried to stretch and rub out the cramps. I still managed to get to the finish line in 3rd place with a time of 4 hrs 31 minutes.
Although the blisters and cramping sucked I felt I ran a great race. The wind was fierce and there were several sections of snow making this years conditions much slower than last year. I did run 12 minutes faster last year but with much better training. The nutrition was great but I just needed a handheld bottle and maybe a little more salt and I would have been fine on the cramping. Before the race was a bit of a rush and I think my shoes were a bit loose and I should have put Sportshield on my heel, which always keeps me from blistering. I had plenty of energy though, even at the end of the race which is a very good sign. Squaw Peak here I come!
Also, the Runner's Corner Ultra Team rocked the race! Karl Karvis was 2nd, I was 3rd, Shane Martin was 4th, and Joe Martell was around 10th (full results have not been posted but when they are, the link is: http://www.users.qwest.net/~cirnielsen/bst08.html Anyway, Happy Trails!