Debriefing the Ridge Run.
It’s been over a month since I completed my third Bridger Ridge Run. As you can probably surmise from my not-so-quick final blog, I didn't reach my goal. I could roll out with a bunch of excuses, but, after a thorough self-evaluation, I know the reason why I failed. Here’s a quick rundown of my mistakes:
- Putting it all together. The training I did with Will Caton, from Swiss Fit Montana, was great for building my strength and lactic acid tolerance, but I failed to push myself hard enough on my long training runs. Each long run felt better and my average pace was consistent with increased distances. What I didn’t do was incorporate enough hill climbs in these runs. I did plenty of climbs in my shorter runs, but I needed to tie it all together. Long run, with elevation gain and loss. I realized this about two weeks prior to the Ridge, but hoped my competitive drive would be able to overcome this deficiency. I was wrong.
- The tapper. Doing only a couple small runs the week prior, with the most demanding one on the Sunday before the run, I may have embraced the tapper a little too much. Will agrees with this evaluation, saying that with a challenging run like the Ridge you want to keep you lactic acid tolerance as high as possible. Taking a break from training quickly lowers this tolerance.
- Not leaving enough in the tank. I made this mistake last year as well, but felt I was in a better position to handle a very quick descent from Sacajawea to Ross Peak. I was able to maintain a strong push for a longer duration this year, but from Saddle on it was a slog.
Feeling good along the Bridger Bowl ridge, just before the slog.
That being said, there are several positives from my training at Swiss Fit:
- Muscle fatigue and cramping were minimal during the run.
- I was able to run two days after the ridge; prior years it’s been more than a week.
- I’m probably in better all-around shape than I have been since high-school wrestling (which was a long time ago).
- My time was still better than 60% of the field. (I realize not everyone does the Ridge with a set time goal; for many runners it’s about the camaraderie and accomplishment, something I need to focus on more.)
- Much to my son’s dismay, I’m ready to chase elk up any ridge this coming hunting season.
- I’m looking forward to next year’s run—until then, happy trails.
While strength improved, mistakes were still made.