Saturday, July 2, 2011

Truckee Running Festival Half Marathon

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.


slowrunner77 said...

Charlie ain't got no pants on in that there photograph!

Anonymous said...

Turi it was awesome running with you and I only did well because I had beta from you! I would say I am definitely interested in doing some more races as a result. I really liked the low key feel of these races. I learned a bunch too. Charlie is definitely fast, but maybe we would have less drag too if we ran naked? Hey thanks again for the duct tape wallets too, I already transitioned to one. I can appreciate the time you put into them, really well made. Hope to get some more runs in with you this summer/ fall. Nice photos!

Gretchen said...

Sweet! Judging by your photos though, looks like you got your butt kicked by some skinny chick in a blue tank top. ;) Good for you.

You should still drive up for the Firecracker mile!!

Nice write up. You running anything at TRT? How about the Squaw Mtn Run? Hope to see you somewhere soon.

SnowLeopard said...

Way to go Turi! Always great to place, and you've gotten super quick! Wish I could've run with ya~ :)

Piglet said...

Thanks for the great report on the course. ��