This post comes from Chris Cloyd, a TMS Ambassador and lover of endurance sports. When Chris isn’t training for his next big run in the mountains or out exploring the Eastern Sierra on bike or splitboard, he’s training clients at the Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso. Watch for more race reports, gear reviews and fun reading from Chris and other Ambassadors of Tahoe Mountain Sports
As is the case with most of these ideas, Steven and I started with a map, a Sawyer Mini water filter, a few thousand calories, and enough to get through a few hours of night without freezing to death.
We took up bivvy running out of necessity – neither of us have long enough legs to run 12 hours straight with any sort of consistency – so we started bringing just enough gear to overnight in the woods and still be able to run steadily over most of the terrain. Run ’til you’re tired, lay down, sleep some, then get up and keep running. That’s not the “worst case scenario”, that’s the plan. It’s an interested mindset to start a run with, that’s for sure.
After 6+ hours of running, our target summit of the trip, and a bunch of miles scrambling ridgelines, we ended up on the shores of a sub-alpine lake for the night. After digging what can only be described as shallow graves to get out of the wind, we curled up in our bags and watched the sun go down without another human in sight. Nightfall came on slowly; we could count the stars one by one as they made their presence in the sky known. As Steven enjoyed the fajita wrap he lugged around all day, I forced down a small tube of expired (oops) baby food. I took a mental note of my envy, and resolved to bring something a bit more palatable for our next bivvy run “dinner”.
We rose before the sun the next morning (it’s not hard to get up early when your alternative is lying in a bag owning distinct layer of frost ice for a few more hours) to a handful of pelicans policing the lakeshore in front of us – it was their domain we were renting for the night, after all. We were running within 5 minutes (striking camp is quick when everything you have with you fits in a Salomon running vest) in an effort to raise our body temperature, and were back at the car after about 2 hours of steady running on OHV trails.
Our first order of business was to head to a local diner for a real breakfast, eggs and bacon and about 2 liters of coffee. As we decimated the portions delivered to us, a woman placed her order and requested that the chef skip the toast, which accompanied all breakfasts at no additional charge according to the menu. Steven, with his rapist wit, immediately said “I’ll have her bread.” at the exact same time that I thought the same words.
Those 4 words sum up the overnight running experience better than I ever could.