Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bradbury Breaker fartlek filming

Trail Monster Running threw down another well marked, well organized, and wicked fun trail race Saturday, the Bradbury Mountain Breaker 9 Mile trail race. The weather cooperated if hot and steamy is your style. It's not mine so I'm glad I decided to not race it but instead, run it fartlek style with my new flip video camera (trying to not aggravate my piriformis too much). Two major problems with this plan: 1) even though the camera is easy to use, I hadn't really familiarized myself to its operation and 2) It only holds 30 minutes of video and I forgot to dump the approximately 15 minutes that I had on it before the race (although I hadn't thought about this until mid-race).

I started the race maybe 1/3 of the way to the front and ran in a thick pack of bodies for maybe 1/4 mile. The pack started to thin out and I just cruised along, filming both in front and behind me. About the point where the boundary trail turns SE (where it starts to climb), I picked up the pace quite a bit to see how close to the front I could get. The goal was to film the faster runners in the mad dash down the S. Ridge Trail. I caught up with the first place woman (Catherine Sterling) and then stopped to film runners do drop #2 (picture above). I filmed for a while, dropped downhill a little further and filmed more, only to discover that I hadn't been filming during my 2nd stop. One problem is that I thought you hit the little red button twice to start and stop filming. Once is correct. My other problem is the little red button is in the middle of 4 other buttons that sit at the major compass points (N, E, S, W) and my thumb is too big too hit the red button without hitting these other buttons (and I have gracile thumbs!). I'm not sure what the camera was doing; maybe playing an old video. I discovered this and started to film but there was a big gap between the runners that had just passed and those to come and I got bored waiting around so I ran again. Fast. So I could catch up.

This brought me to the hill. Yes that one. The summit trail. I stopped at the aid station at the base to drink some water and then decided to run the whole way up, with the camera rolling. This resulted in 1) really boring video of me passing racers walking up the hill (everyone walks that hill) and 2) one really hot, exhausted cameraman at the top. Indeed, running the hill after the hard run to the downhill section took away my mojo and I just kinda cruised for the next 3-4 miles. It was somewhere coming down from the hill that I noticed that the camera screen stated that I only had a few minutes of video left and I realized that I had forgotten to dump the old files. Ugggggh #1.

On the gradual ascent back to the top on the Northern Loop Trail, I was hot, sweaty, exhausted from running the summit trail, and disappointed about not having any memory left in my camera. Then I hit a root and went down hard. Kinda hurt everywhere, especially the knee, but no Camden-esque gashes. I felt a bit like a shaken baby so I was running pretty easy and Randy W. caught and passed me. I thought he was also running easy but he must have turned on the turbo at that point because he had a nice finish time. Give that my camera was out of action (I wanted to save the last few minutes for the finish) I handed off the camera to Emma just before the descent on the switchback. Bad move because that would have made great footage filming the runners descend back and forth from below. I briefly thought about running back up to Emma and grabbing the camera but my good sense had not been knocked out by my fall so I pressed on.

On the flat section of the boundary trail during lap 2, I was moving pretty slowly and even, gasp, walked the first tiny little uphill. Lily caught me at this point, which surprised me because I thought she had been ahead of me. Apparently she went for a tour of some other trails not on the race course. Anyway, we both seemed to not have much racing mojo. Karen S. caught me and I thought briefly it was her but then convinced myself it wasn't. It was. When the boundary trail started to elevate, I got some mojo back and ran a little harder on the uphill, passing Lily and Karen and some others. I took it really easy back down the S. Ridge trail to try to spare my buttocks. Lily passed me back. 2nd time around I decided to walk the summit trail to the top, even after a really long water break at the aid station and chat with Stephen W. When I got to the top, I had to dash off course for about 50 yards to retrieve my camera from Emma, dash back up and then re-enter the course. Thanks to Dora for keeping those behind me from following me off course! Down the Tote road at an easy pace (no hard pounding on the downhills!) but when I started to climb again on the Northern Loop trail, I picked up the pace and passed Nate P. and David D. but never did catch up to Lily. From the top, it was a nice, fast descent to the finish. I loved this section last year when I successfully held of James from passing me (woohoo), but like the rest of my descents today, I took this one pretty easy. I also wanted to get the camera rolling again. I started filming and ... within about 5s the camera read "memory full". Ugggh #2. So I stopped and figured out how to delete some of the old files so I could be sure to film the finish. Nate and Dave passed me yet again. And I think Karen passed me here too. I deleted a couple of files and took off again at an moderate pace, successfully passed bee corner without adding further bee toxin to my body, and finished the race in 1:28.xx, about 11 minutes slower than last year.

I'll make a video at some point. It won't be what I was hoping for. And about 1/2 of it will be sideways. I noticed that when I rotated the camera 90 degrees, the view on the screen rotatated, ipod like, so I thought the camera always knew what up was. Nope, filming sideways produced sideways video. Ugggh #3.


  1. Which model do you have? I didn't think that Flip made anything other than 1 and 2 hour videos.

    And I wonder if my camera flips the screen if I turn it...never tried that.

    Don't feel too bad about double clicking the button...I have video from a friend's wedding where Erin was trying to figure out how to start the video, which she had done by accident, while holding it up backwards so that the camera faced her and not what she was trying to film. That's worse, ha ha ha! (And yes, I included that on the DVD I sent my buddy after the wedding.)