On Saturday May 15, 2010 I ran the Silver State 50 Mile Run in Reno, Nevada to top off a busy week of travel and work. The previous Saturday I flew back to Salt Lake City, Utah and spent the entire week there at the SLC Ernst & Young office for New Senior Training. It was an exciting week as I learned what my new responsibilities will be as a new Senior in our firm running an audit engagement. In the evenings after training I was able to visit my Grandma, and other family and friends that I don't get to see very often. I was also able to visit with my Mission President and his wife, who I got to know very well while I served a two year mission for my church. I also enjoyed sight seeing around downtown SLC. With all the work and fun, I was only able to get a couple treadmill runs in at the hotel. Just enough to know that my new Montrail Masochist shoes shouldn't cause too many blisters during the big 50 mile run in a few days since the shoes were brand new.
My plane landed at 4 pm in Sacramento on Friday afternoon and Holly was there ready to pick me up. I threw my luggage in the car and headed straight for home real quick to pack my race gear, then continued our drive up to Reno. We arrived around 7:30 pm at Eclipse Pizza where the packet pickup is. We ordered a medium pizza and met up with Erik Skaden. The three of us enjoyed pizza, telling stories, and talking a little race strategy for the next morning. Erik was hoping to run together at least the first 20 miles. I agreed, but threw in the disclaimer that since the AR50 I only averaged running 20 miles a week because life got so busy with moving and trying to purchase a home. I hadn't run any hills since the AR50 (a month before Silver State) so I was not sure how my body would react to the shock of climbing 9,200 ft and descending 9,200 ft at high elevation. Close to 9 pm we split our ways with Erik and headed to our hotel.
The next morning the alarm went off at 4:50 am. I put on my race gear, zapped an egg burritto in the microwave I bought at a gas station, and filled my Camelbak handheld bottles with my Clif Shot electrolyte drink mix. Holly and I arrived at the start line at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno with about 10 minutes to spare before the race start at 6 am. I quickly put on my sunscreen, waist pack, and strapped on my Camelbak handheld water bottles. We ran over to the start line to meet up with Erik. The gun went off and I hung with Erik. The first 12 miles of this race are uphill and climb to the top of Mt. Peavine Summit. We kept our pace relatively conservative on the way up. After 9 miles or so, I could tell that my body was a little too "fresh"(lack of training) for this pace as I had not been running too much and I was starting to feel like I needed to back off a bit if I was going to save any energy for the second half of the race. I let Erik know I felt I needed to slow down my pace a little, so I told him to feel free to take off and not let me hold him back.
At the top of Mt. Peavine I filled my Camelbak bottles, had a salt tab, and ate a couple of my Clif Shot Gels. The more races I do, the more basic my diet gets. During my races now, I just use my Clif Shot Gels, Bloks, drink mix, and occasional salt tabs. When I first started ultra running, I was wolfing down a lot of food early in the race, but it seems like the body adapts over time and becomes more efficient. After cresting Mt. Peavine, we drop down the other side and work our way down to a 12-13 mile trail loop that crosses the border into California. This downhill is a great opportunity to pick up so time and let gravity take me. On the way down we had to run through a few patches of snow, but nothing.
The back loop in California is very beautiful. From the high desert landscape we enter a forest with large trees that offer plenty of shade. The view from the top of Peavine is very impressive as well. On the way down the back side of Peavine, the Sierra Nevada's on the California side offer an amazing backdrop of trees and snow capped mountains. I think I hit my first wall when I started at the bottom of Pevine on this large loop. I felt like I was running in slow motion. My quads were already starting to scream to me wondering what this shock was that I was subjecting them to again after the little break they had from all of those hills. For this race I didn't have any big expectations for myself, I just wanted to enjoy it as much as possible and use it as a jump start training run to get back into racing shape. With that in mind, on this back loop I was a little less rushed at the aid stations and I walked a little more up the hills, anticipating a tough uphill climb out of Boomtown back up Peavine.
To finish this back loop we about halfway up Peavine and take a trail for a couple miles around the side until we reach another trail where we drop straight down for three miles to Boomtown. By this point the sun is out and we are back in the high desert with no shade. The past 10 miles or so up to this point I had been in my "slump." Once I started charging downhill towards Boomtown I started feeling much better. I made it down to Boomtown at a good pace. I took my Clif Shot Gel, filled my bottles and turned around to head straight back up the way that I had come down. Once to the top of the three mile stretch, we continue straight up for 3 more miles back to the top of Peavine. On this stretch I caught up with the legendary Gordy Ansleigh (first one to run WS100) who was running the 50k. We talked for about five minutes while walking up the steep part of the hill. He had some funny stories to tell as usual.
Once to the top of Peavine there are only 10 miles left to the finish and it is mainly all downhill. At the top of Peavine I took another Clif Shot Gel, a salt tab, and filled my bottles. I took off on my next 10 mile downhill journey. At this point I was still feeling fine so I pushed my pace. I have learned that when you feel good, you need to take advantage and go because you will inevitably hit another wall. Fortunately this time I felt good the whole way down to the finish. I kicked it in with everything that I could muster and finished in 8 hrs and 43 mins, 9th overall. Holly was there to snap a few photos of me finishing and celebrate the finish. I cleaned up a little with the hose and ate at the BBQ they had for all of the runners. Holly and I hung out in the picnic table area for a while analyzing the race with Erik. I signed up for a free massage from the local school that was there and then we headed down the hill back home. My next race is going to be the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile on July 17th, but I might try to find another 50 mile race soon. I will be pacing at WS so I will see everyone out there! The best of luck to those who are in your final training days leading up to WS!