The Silver State 50/50 races always seem to find their way into the perfect high-volume training time in my spring schedule. It doesn't hurt that the starting line is only a 30 minute drive from my home in Truckee, but the real reasons to hit these races are the beautiful trails, high-desert scenery, and running friends.
|With Sarah at the start.|
I opted for the 50K version this year, instead of the 50 mile race. Given my lack of any sort of taper and the underlying fatigue still remaining from Miwok, I am thankful that I made this choice. I was thankful at many points during the race, too!
I planned to take it fairly easy since it was only to be a training run, and things went fairly well in that department. I met up with Sarah at the start, and my only concern for the day was what to wear. I've had incredible luck with weather at the races so far this year, but this day's forecast called for rain. Since I'd be running at a casual pace, I was a little concerned about being cold. I'd also been up on the mountain a few days earlier and it had been frigid and insanely windy. I decided to forgo my usual race-day tank and opted instead for the Waldo shirt and a pair of lavender arm warmers. Paranoia induced clothing - yes - but it worked out for me. Plus, Gordy said he liked my outfit, so I may have to keep this one around.
Before the start, I ran into Jennifer Benna, whom I had met at Miwok a few weeks prior. Let's pause in the race report for a moment to talk about Jennifer.
This woman blows me away. She has a 7-month-old, just finished Miwok in 11 hours, and then two weeks later put down Silver State in 5:20. That impresses me beyond explanation. I know there are a lot of great performances out there, but to see someone so strong right after pregnancy is a beautiful thing. She'll be toeing the line at TRT 100 later this summer, and I can't wait to see what she does!
I enjoyed the first climb, while reminding myself that I needed to take it easy. I watched Jennifer pull ahead of me up the hill and felt no need to try and keep contact. The pace felt right.
The biggest thing I noticed this year was that the 50K is a lot shorter than the 50 miler. I know, right? Crazy. I just came up to Micheline's Ranch Creek Aid Station so darn fast, I was almost disappointed that I hadn't entered the 50 mile race. But by the time I hit mile 20 and the Summit Aid Station at Peavine, I had changed my mind about that. I could feel the fatigue from all the training, and I was thankful that A) I had taken it easy, and B) I only had 11 miles to go.
I tried to simply stay relaxed on the long downhill to the finish. After a few light sprinkles in the morning, the day had cleared beautifully and I found myself simply enjoying my surroundings. Yes, I was tired, but the birds were singing, the trails were good, and my legs were strong.
I had figured 6 hours would be an appropriate time for a relaxed run on a course like this, so I was perfectly happy to cross the line in 5:44. Sarah came trotting in right behind me in 6 hours, totally glowing from her first 50K. Yeah, Sarah! You're an ultrarunner now, girl!
I stretched out happily in the sunshine, coke in hand, and cheered finishers across the line. Peter Fain had won the 50K in 4:15, with Jen Pfeifer taking the women's win in 4:52. Tim Olson looked relaxed as he crossed the line in the 50 Mile race for the win in 7:16, while Joelle Vaught was first woman in 7:54. (Complete Results) Also, Joelle and the Idaho contingent definitely took the carpool award this year. Nice job, ladies!
Thanks to the Silver State Striders and everyone involved in putting this event together. It has really become an excellent race, and I think that's reflected in the high level of competition that it's attracting. Great job, everyone!