I did it. Went about how I expected - maybe a little faster. I'm glad it's over.
Thanks to my father-in-law, I caught the shuttle from Carson City to Spooner at about 4:45 this morning. That got me there with the perfect amount of time to get my bib, wait through the port-a-potty line, get organized and head down to the start for the race briefing:
And at the crack of 6 AM, we got started. After the crowds thinned out on the first hill, I snapped what I though was kind of a cool shot of the trail marking ribbons:
Red was for 50K, blue for 50M, and yellow-orange reflective stripey for 100M (which was the same course as the 50M.)
I've been on and around this course enough now that I know what to expect - for the most part. First, some slogging up hills:
And then some great views:
Rinse and repeat. That pretty much describes the whole course.
Here's a couple of random shots from the trail:
OK, the one part of the trail I wasn't familiar with was the section from the Tunnel Creek aid station up to Mount Rose Meadows. I've run it a number of times from Rose down, but never this way. As expected, it felt pretty long - like usually happens when you're going somewhere for the first time. Didn't start seeing blue 50M bibs until I was almost to Rose, but then there were a whole bunch. So I wasn't too far back, but there were a lot of people out there in front of me. One of them was Gretchen, as always with a big smile on her face:
I was trying to keep track of how many 50M women I saw before her - I think she was in 4th at that point. Not exactly sure though - hope I didn't give her wrong info..
Turned around at the Rose aid station - it was pretty much a zoo up there.
I pretty much lost interest in taking pictures on the way back. Just set my sights on the next aid station, filled up with water at all of them, and took my E-caps - about 3 an hour. I was kind of a salt lick by the time I was done. Took a couple little tumbles and scraped up my hand a little, but mostly just got dirty.
From the Snow Valley aid station down to the Spooner trailhead is 5 1/2 great miles of downhill. I LOVE that part of the course. Like last year, though, I had a hard time getting the last 1 3/4 miles from the trailhead to the finish line over by the campground. Last year I was just spent, but this year I was fighting a side stitch (which I rarely get. I think I drank some energy drink too fast or something.) But I made it through the line as the clock read 10:32:30. We'll see how close that comes to my reported time.
Here's a view from a chair in the finish corral:
And the aftermath of my shoes and calves:
My ride hadn't made it yet, so I was hoping I could find Gretchen to say hi and hang out, but didn't see her anywhere. Another friend, Peter, was probably already out pacing a friend in the 10m, so I missed him too. Oh well. Hosed myself down, grabbed a burrito, and then my wife and kids showed up. So I got to scarf the yummy burrito in the car.
I'm extremely happy with the run today, but like I said, glad it's over. Still not sure whether I'll do another ultra, or concentrate on shorter trail stuff. But it's pretty cool that, at least today, I can call myself an ultramarathoner.
OK, I'm tired. Is there a beer around here?