• Juan J. Arrieta

Race-day patience, persistence, and flexibility

Updated: Jul 7, 2018

Disclaimer: I received a set of BUFF® gear as part of being a BibRave Pro. Find and share race reviews by going to www.bibrave.com. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro by going to https://www.bibrave.com/bibravepro.

On race morning for the Chicamocha Trail Run, those of us participating in the 25k distance had to be up early, much earlier than the programmed 8:30 a.m. start time for the race in order to board a set of buses which would transport us nearly 40 kilometers away to the town of Carcasí, the beginning of our point-to-point route across the mountains.

The buses traversed a long, windy, and narrow dirt road on the edge of the mountains to get us there. The views on the route were absolutely stunning as we climbed higher and higher, but at the same time reminded us just how far we'd have to go and the drastic elevation changes we'd have to manage.

Once in Carcasí, while we waited for approximately one hour to start time, I was glad to have brought my BUFF® Microfiber reversible hat to keep my bald head and ears warm in the mid-50s temperature.

Just before we started, I removed it along with my long sleeve 1/4 zip top since I knew I'd warm up right away and stowed it on the back pocket of my hydration pack, where it easily fits as it is very small and compact and weighs close to nothing.

After just a few minutes of running and climbing, I began sweating and switched my multi-functional headband from my wrist to my head to keep the sweat from going into my eyes. I did that a few times during the race, as my pace and temps differed quite a bit depending on the terrain and climb or descent angle all along the way until the very end.

The biggest test for me came at around the 21k point on the course, shortly after crossing a fast flowing river on a wooden bridge, when I suffered a severe attack of cramps on what felt like each and every muscle on my legs for a couple of minutes. Not only did that take most of what little energy I had left out of me, but it also came at a point in which we had to start the steepest climb of the day; approximately 2,000 feet (600 meters) on only the last 4k of course distance.

Each and every step I took from that point on required every ounce of persistence I had, as well as encouraging words and help from other runners and local folk supporting us on that stretch. Completing the final climb this way and crossing the finish line made this an even greater accomplishment for me, bigger than I had even come to imagine.

I look forward to sharing my experience with other fellow athletes interested in completing this challenge one day and perhaps accompanying them in their quest.

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