A new race, an interesting course, and a lot of sweat. Great way to start the holiday weekend!
This was the first year of the Truckee Running Festival, and Big Blue Adventure put on a 5K, 10K and a trail half marathon. I opted for the half marathon, as it was part of the "long" section of the Big Blue points series.
Since this was the first year of the race, there wasn't a lot of info about the course. Big Blue's website had a Google Map link, though, and it was pretty detailed. For even more detail, though, I saved it as a Google Earth .kml file and looked at it there:
Pretty cool, huh? Another Google Earth option is to "show elevation profile", so I did that with the course as well:
Pretty serious looking hills, there - until you look at the scale and realize that it's only really a 4-500 foot climb. Didn't stop me from walking a few sections anyway, though...
Here's the map data from my watch, which matches up pretty close -
I drove up today with my friend Adam, who I haven't had the chance to run with since last year. He's a world-class speed hiker, but hasn't done much trail racing - in fact, I think this was his first race! I answered what questions I could about racing, but he was ready and went right out and beat me.
While we were milling around and warming up, we ran into Charlie Johnston - another Reno-area runner that I've met at different races here and there. Apparently Adam also knew him from some magazine work he does - small town, this.
Before the race, I also got hooked up with a pair of demo shoes - I'd eyed the Salomon Speedcross 3s at a couple of other races, and wanted to try them out. They let me race in them, and I liked them - but that's a whole other post.
The races started a little late, due to some issues getting the aid stations in place. Eventually, though, the 5k and 10Ks started first - here's their start:
Then the half marathoners lined up and were off. We looped around the soccer field and up onto the road, where we went about a quarter mile before veering off onto a dirt road.
This dirt road (which I guess I didn't get any pictures of) led us along the side of the airport before we jumped up on another paved road and climbed a little hill.
We topped the hill onto a paved path that led us across Martis Creek Dam. Just couldn't capture how beautiful it was out there, but I tried:
After the dam and the first aid station, we started the first main climb. Mercifully, much of it was in the shade - which was nice to run in but doesn't come out well in photos. Here's a sunny section:
I did some walking on the big climb, and lost the couple people in front of me. we transitioned out onto some fire roads, which were well marked:
Then back to some singletrack, then doubling back on the fire road, then some more pretty technical, rocky trail - and before long, were were heading back down to the dam to retrace our steps back to the finish.
After we were done, I heard some people saying that they got confused with the trail markings and took the wrong path. I certainly didn't have this experience - there were a few times that I didn't have anyone within following distance in front of me, but I thought the course was sufficiently well marked. There were a couple places that the trail we were on seemed like little more than an animal path, but before I could question myself, I usually saw an arrow sign or a yellow ribbon.
Anyway, the course did end up being a bit short - my watch read 11.90, but I heard others saying they had 12 point something. My overall pace ended up at 8:09, for a 1:37:09 finish - good enough for 8th overall, 7th male, and 3rd in my age group. Adam was just in front of me - a great showing.
Here are the half marathon winners - most of them fully clothed.
So, another good Big Blue race in the can. Looking forward to the Run to the Beach on Monday, the 4th.