Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Colors Trail Half Marathon

To wrap up a double race weekend, this morning was the Fall Colors Trail half marathon. I did this race last year with Amber, and we took it really slow - tried to go a little harder this year, since it's the last race in the High Sierra Trail Half Marathon Series. I was the lone member of Team Library Dork here as well, too - Dave and Chris were up at the Run Through the Colors in Nevada City, and Amber was off somewhere checking out new trails with Gretchen.

I think the Daylight Savings change happened at a different time last year - we started in the dark then, but it was nicely light when I got there to register. Still dang cold, though - had a hard time deciding what to wear. Settled on long sleeved shirt over short-sleeve, and gloves. My fingers were still cold for the first couple miles, but the gloves and the long sleeve both came off after awhile.

We started out with a race briefing - lotta information there, as the course had changed slightly from last year. It was well-marked, though, and I don't think anyone had a problem...



Lined up at the start, which already gave us a good view of some colors:



And took off. The course basically goes up the road in the Thomas Creek drainage, does a little out-and back, crosses over to the White's Creek drainage, does another little out-and-back there, then continues back to Timberline Road and finishes with .7 back to the trailhead. Here's the course:



And an elevation profile. I'll spare y'all my pace data on this chart - it's really spiky from all the hill walking...



Here's a shot from the slog up the first big hill - about 3 miles on this road, then another 1.2 on the trail. Heavy legs after that.



After some downhill, we had to cross Thomas Creek to head over the hill to the next drainage. (That meant more climbing.) There was this nice bridge:



I tucked in behind these two (one of whom was named Erica?) and kept pace with them for awhile. They were slightly faster than me on the uphills, but perfect on the downhills. Pretty quickly, we hit an awesome grove of aspen trees, and I couldn't stop snapping pictures. Again, I wish I'd bought a camera with image stabilization, but some usually come out OK. Those that didn't I do a little watercolor filter thing on - see what you think:











Then we popped out into a meadow, and I got this shot. I really like the sun white-out effect:



(Of course, you can click to enlarge any of these, or see them even bigger on my Flickr page...)

The next one got blurry, so I played with it a little again:



Back into the trees for awhile:



A little more climbing and - I love this part - there's Slide Mountain. You can tell what a beautiful day it was...



There was a little downhill, and I had a mountain biker I had to let past, but I did get this shot of a few runners ahead:



There was an aid station, the second out-and-back, and some fun downhill trail back to Timberline road. Nice swoopy trail here, but starting to be more traffic...



Back to the road and just over half a mile to the finish. There were two sneaky little hills in that half mile, though, that were TOUGH. Made it in, though, and my watch said 2:12:38. Didn't get me an age group award like last year - oh, well. I hung around and tried to talk myself into having a hot dog, but couldn't do it.

I eventually asked the RD if he knew anything about the Series standing. He said that the Tahoe Mountain Milers were running the series, so he would just get the results to them and they'd take care of it. I've had a hard time finding out anything about the point system, standings, or anything - it sure would have been nice to have that all spelled out somewhere. I'll wait and see, though. I't a great collection of races, and I still think the trail half marathon is my favorite race to run.

6 comments:

King Crimson said...

Thanks for the post.
I had fun, too, as this is one of my favorite training routes.
Bruce.
http://www.facebook.com/bruce.cyra?ref=name#/note.php?note_id=191803390725&ref=mf

slowrunner77 said...

nice pics as always. the aspen grove looks awesome. RTTC went fairly well - my slowest over the last 3 years, but still a win. i'll post soon. good job, and let us know about the series standings...

SnowLeopard said...

Ahhhh! The beauty! Gorgeous! I'm sorry I missed this race, but Gretchen and I did get in a nice trail run this morning too, but not as strenuous as this race. Way to hold up the team! And nice job taking 50 minutes of our time from last year~ :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Thanks for the write up and the pics man. I am amazed you have time to snap pics during the race. Thanks for sharing and hope to get in some more runs. adam

Anonymous said...

beautiful yellow leaves.
No, Daylight time ended Nov 2 in 2008. It was several years back when it ended earlier; you must be getting old when the years all run together in your mind.

HiAltDawg said...

I dig this post because yesterday I wondered about the course and wanted to ask you if you still had the profile data and then decided to search your blog. I'm plannin' racing this race in Oct and got an idea of the course.