Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Silver State Half Marathon

The last week has been incredibly busy with a whirlwind trip to southern California to visit family, preparations for my daughter's 5th birthday, and of course, a quick run up Peavine Mountain in Reno.
This post will be about my not so glorious run in the Silver State Half Marathon and I'll tackle the other 2 topics in future posts.
N is for Nevada of course, on Peavine Mountain
I signed up for the Half knowing that it would be tough since I had taken 2 weeks off running and only done a few runs of 3-4 miles in the week before the race. The race was on Saturday and also included 50 mile and 50 km events. I had to work Saturday so I took a few hours off and arrived at San Rafael Park just before 7:00am to watch the 50K race start. The 50 milers had started at 6:00am.

50K races milling around before the start
The day started beautiful but promised to soon turn hot. Another reason I was happy I was only going to be out there 2-3 hours. This event was created by the Silver State Striders in an effort to provide a tough ultradistance event for the local runners for training for Western States 100 and other 100's. It provides a quality race and a way for Nevadans to run on their local trails and not have to "drive over the hill" (Donner Summit).

Runners getting last minute instructions from RD Scott

And they're off!

Eventual womens winner Bev Anderson-Abbs

My race started at 8:00am so I had a bit of time to do some last minute race prep before we lined up to receive our own instructions. Our course would follow the 50/50 course for the first 7 miles, pretty much all uphill on the flanks of Peavine Mtn. At the "pond" we would make a left hand turn and after a short but brutal climb start the descent on some fun singletrack.

I've run on some of these trails during training but I was looking forward to exploring the mountain further. My fire station is right near the course and anytime there is a fire on Peavine, we respond. So you can also call this a reconnaissance run to familiarize myself with the confusing web of the many dirt roads and trails on this mountain.

We lined up for the start and I could already feel the sweat forming. I looked around and was impressed with all the fit looking women there. I swear it seemed like the women outnumbered the men for this event. (sorry there won't be any more pictures because I didn't take my camera on the run).

We started promptly at 8 and immediately we were faced with a muddy, boggy section that was created by some excess irrigation of the surrounding lawns. Some ran right through but most tried their best to skirt the mud, me included. Too early to be running in wet, muddy shoes.

I settled into a pace and tried to keep my heart-rate from sky-rocketing on the early climbs. I knew I was going to be slow and that proved correct as I was passed by many runners. I reminded myself that this was just a good, solid training run and I was in no condition to try and race it.

After climbing through the Evans Creek Canyon which was familiar to me, we started the more serious climbing onto unfamiliar trails. The course was really well marked and there was never any doubt about which way to go. The trail was real rocky in places and you had to really watch your step.

I reached the first aid station at 4 miles in relatively good shape. A quick refill of my water bottle and I was soon climbing again. I was able to continue a slow jog on some of the hills that I noticed others were walking but it was slow going. I was sluggish and my legs felt heavy, no spark in them. I continued the grind up to the pond enjoying the beautiful wildflowers where Dave Cotter personally refilled my bottle with ice and water, Thanks Dave. I told him I'd see him in a couple months at the TRT 50 mile.

After fueling myself with some delicious and refreshing watermelon and some M&M's, I headed for the final steep climb. It wasn't too long but it was the "head down, hands on the quads" kind of climb. I guess you have to earn the final 5 miles of downhill. It was definitely warm but a nice breeze kept it from getting too hot. I hit the high point of the course (for us anyway) and started down some sweet singletrack. Normally this is where I feel myself kick into over-drive and start to really push the pace. However, that extra gear just wasn't there this time and I just continued my consistent pace down the hill.

Of course it can't really be "all downhill to the finish" (is it ever?) and I found myself walking a couple of the uphills that I should have been able to run. Finally I was back down to familiar territory and through the muddy bog and onto the grass to the finish line in 2:36:48 (good enough for 61st place, UGH). It was a tough effort on a tough course but it was just what I needed to jumpstart my return to training.

I enjoyed the post-race BBQ and visited with some other runners. For one guy this was his first trail run, he's now a convert from the road! I ran into Mark Winkelman, a captain that I work with, who had spent the morning running the 50K course making sure the markings were still in place. He had recently done the very challenging Miwok 100K in tough conditions and he was feeling good in his preparation for WS100.

I had that really good achy soreness in my legs as I laid in bed that night and it felt good knowing I had worked hard. The WS training camp is this weekend and it will be a tough test of my fitness. But I know that running on those historic trails with a lot of other amazing runners will help the miles fly by. I can't wait.

Thank you Silver State Striders and all the volunteers that made this a fun run. I look forward to doing the 50K or 50M next year and seeing more of Peavine Mountain. For full results go here.


Gretchen said...

Nice job, that IS a tough course! Are you going to be at the WS camp all weekend? I'll be at the Deadwood aid station on Saturday, so say hello!

Anonymous said...

Good job, sounds like a nice run. It was great seeing you all this last week,even though it was short it was sweet.

Jorge said...

Catherine Hello, good afternoon, good reports of their participation in the half marathon silver, looking at photos of the route is very beautiful here in the U.S. you have great places to run.

Congratulations to your daughter for her birthday.

Get a hug out of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil),