Man, it was a great day for a race. Just wish It didn't take me so long to finish it...
Rode my bike over to the start of the Silver State 50/50, down by the Wilbur May parking lot this year. Milled around and chatted with Darren, who was trying to get some aid station stuff organized. A few minutes before 8, we all trekked over to the start line, up near the entrance to the dog park, and got a pre-race briefing.
Chris stopped by to say hi after he had run a ways out with some of the 50K people. Talked for a minute, and before long we were off with a bang.
Last year, I was worried enough about my start position that I scouted out the best route through the marshy area near the dog park, so I wouldn't get stuck in a pack through there. This year, I just hung back and tried to find a group that was going my speed. Eventually we filtered out so that, heading up Evans Creek Canyon, I was in a pretty comfortable spot. Pretty much walked all of the hill out of the canyon, ran a little on the flats, then walked some more. That was pretty much my M.O. throughout the race.
There's the aid station at the radio towers - those folks had one of the longest days, since they had to be out early for the 50 milers who started at 6, and stay through when the last people went back through with only 3 miles left. Big thanks to all the volunteers.
It was a great day out there for wildlife. Early on I saw some of Peavine's ubiquitous rabbits, and just after the radio tower aid station, I almost ran into a snake crossing the trail. Not long after that, a coyote went loping across the hill just in front of me. Later on, the lizards were out in force, swishing back and forth on the rocks. Of course, there were birds all over the place too, singing to us the whole way.
There's the snake. Tried to get a picture of the coyote, but I can't pick him out in either of the shots I took. But here they are anyway - he's in there somewhere...
There was some nice flat fire road for a while, and I did a good portion of running. Then a short downhill before a good climb up to the pond and the aid station there.
Then, of course, the huge grinding hill up to the ridge aid station. Seriously, a fixed rope would not be out of place for that climb. A quick cup of sports drink at the aid station, and a long downhill section with great views awaited.
I sure wasn't flying on the downhills, though. I'd describe my uphill gait as "trudging", and on the downhills I was "trundling" along. So I trudged and trundled my way back through the radio tower aid station, over the ridge and back down into Rancho San Rafael.
They changed the finish are this year to inside the Great Basin Adventure park. I thought it made a great change - you get to finish running along the ponds, with red-wing blackbirds and waterfowl swimming around. And the park area was nice and contained, unlike the wide-open finish are from years past. I hope they can keep that change to the course for future years.
By the time I finished and had a couple cups of lemonade, they were already about to start the half marathon awards. Since I wasn't anywhere near getting an award, and was super tired, I hopped on my bike and rode home to take a shower and lick my wounds.
The statistics: I finished in 2:48:06 - barely less than an hour slower than my time of 1:48:51 from last year. (It felt like I was drinking more water out there this year, but since I was out there for an extra hour, that would make sense.) Went from 8th overall and 1st in my age group to 89th overall and 15th in my AG. Full results here.
Despite my slow time, and the soreness I'm having today, I'm glad I got out and did it. Thanks to the Silver State Striders for putting on a great race.