Sunday, May 17, 2009

Silver State 50/50 Trail Half Marathon

Yesterday brought the Silver State 50/50 Half, which is:

- The second race in the High Sierra Trail Half series
- My fifth straight weekend racing (and last for a few weeks)
- The third straight week that I was able to ride my bike to the start of a race

This is only the second year they've offered a half marathon for this race, the other options being a 50K and a 50M, hence the name. I think trail half marathons are the perfect distance, though, and piggybacking on the ultras like that made for some super well-stocked aid stations. It also thinned the field for the half - there seemed to be less people running this race than there were at the Escape From Prison Hill a few weeks ago.

The ultramarathoners had gone off early, 50 milers at six and 50k runners at seven. The half didn't start until eight, so I was able to get up at a decent hour, have some granola, and get gear set up. A few gels, some sports drink, my camera, and my new shoes. First race on the Salomon Speedcross 2s that my REI dividend went for this year. Lighter than my XT Wings, I was planning on using them as my trail race shoes - I like them so much, though, they may get more play than that.

So; showed up at Rancho San Rafael at about 7:30 - followed another couple on bikes into the park, and they were riding to the start of the race too! Made me kind of happy. Checked in, took a little warmup jog, and wandered down to the start area where the RD was giving the obligatory megaphone instructions.

And we were off. After a strangely muddy section through the dog park area, and the tunnel under McCarran, we got into the trails. First we headed up Evans Creek canyon, a nice system of trails to the north of McCarran. Here's a view looking up:

(A little blurry there - I'm still wishing I'd bought the next camera up in the line, which had "Image stabilization." It's about 3 years old now, though - almost time for a new one anyway...)

Continuing uphill, we followed one of my favorite running trails (albeit backwards - I usually run it the other way) across to the radio tower area, where the first aid station was. Now began a long grinding climb up to a series of trails and roads. Here's a view looking back from near the top of one climb section.

White shirt guy in the foreground there is a nice kid named Garrett (sp?) that I ran near for a lot of the day. I'm not a great judge of age - he was maybe a high school junior? I'm sure he won his age group, anyway. He ended up in a lot of my pictures, simply because he was right with me when I was taking them. Here he is on a semi-flat road section right before the last big climb:

We turned off the road into another maze of trails - here's a shot of the canyon we headed into now. Our path leads to the left and UP.

There was a big hill that took us to an aid station at the little lake up there, then another short section to a ridiculously steep hill (the last one.) I think Garrett's body language sums it up at this point:

After a quick stop at the aid station, (and meeting a guy who recognized me from the TRT last year - sorry, I'm absolutely terrible with names), it felt awesome to get onto some downhill. Felt so good, in fact, that I took some video of the trail. Sorry if the sound is annoying...

And a different angle - inspired by the ultra running video that's been making the rounds lately.

Not long after this, I was slightly distracted by pulling my camera out again, and caught a toe on a rock. Managed to (fairly gracefully, I'd say) roll out of it, but my right arm and shoulder took a hit and got pretty dirty. Oh well, what's trail running without a few tumbles, right?

Back past the radio towers, and cresting the last little hill, we had a classic view of Reno:

This section was one of the only parts that was "Half Only" - the 50k and 50M runners didn't hit this part. I think it didn't get quite the same attention as far as trail marking - I lost the trail of red flags at least 3 times in about a mile and a half. Sure are a lot of little roads and trails crisscrossing around in there, though - must've been hard to mark them all. We met up with the trail we took up Evans Creek Canyon, and retraced our steps through the tunnel and to the finish. My wife and kids were waiting to cheer me into the finish - very nice, since they don't usually show up at my races. I tried to get a picture of them as I lurched to the finish, but it came out blurry:

Here's the whole route, from Mapmyrun:

And the elevation profile in green (with my speed in blue) from Garmin Connect:

Oh, time - I WAS keeping track of time. Funny - I'd told my wife I was figuring on about 2 hours, so she would know when to show up. I clicked my watch as I went through the finish, and it read 2:00:22. I'm totally happy with that - it was a great day on cool trails right in my backyard. Didn't really have a time goal, anyway...

So the downside to having the family meet me at the finish was that they wanted to head out and run errands right afterwards. We DID have a lot to get done, so I biked home, showered, and headed out. Didn't get to hang around and see results, but I did bike back over later in the day - I think my time got me 11th overall, and 4th in my age. I seem to be getting a lot of those AG 4ths - just out of the medals. Oh well.

One benefit to running errands was that I got to stop by a store in town that just started getting Dogfish Head beers. I was able to reward myself later in the day with a Raison d'Etre and a Palo Santo Marron. Exceptional beers.

Serious big shout out and thanks to all the organizers and volunteers. It was a hot day out there, but everyone was supportive and awesome. Thanks all.

Results are posted - nice and quick, thanks to the Striders. Turns out I was 13th overall, 3rd AG. So I should've hung around for the awards. Wonder if they mail them out?


Peter Lubbers said...

Great job. It must have been hot and there is not a lot of shade on that course!

Roy Goldt said...

Very nice job. Thanks for the coverage of my Grandson Garrett.
You may be interested to know that he is just finishing the eight grade.

Turi Becker said...

Yeah, I guess I'm not a good judge of age. Sure was cool to see Garrett out there...

SnowLeopard said...

Oooohhhh, another race I wish I hadn't had to work through! Looks awesome- maybe I can make this a race goal for next year, especially since it's right here in Reno. Nice job on your time- that's a great time, especially with all those hills out there~ :)

Gretchen said...

Great race Turi, and nice job on the photos! Kind of sorry I missed this one...but not really. ;) Also congrats on finishing up the slew of races!