Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Silver State 50K - 2011

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!


  1. Joelle beat Dan B. 2 women in top 4. Jenna rocked it! You ran great smart time. Hmm...chicks rule, right?

  2. Chicks do rule. Its something I want to teach my daughters too... Sounds like a nice place for a race. I definitely have to run this race someday soon. You run all the best ultras in California, but will you ever try other ultras out of state? Like JFK50, HURT100, or Leadville? You can make a nice little vacation out of it...

  3. Olga - There were some awesome performances out there for sure! It's nice to see some talented folks from far away make the trip out here for this race!

    John - I think it would be super fun to do some ultras out of state! At the moment though, it's hard to justify the money when there are so many great ones right here. I did have a great experience at Waldo up in Oregon last sumer, and that one's on my list for a return trip.

  4. What you need to do is write a book and makes lots of money. Then you can do all these great destination races all around the world. You can call your book "Trail Angels"... doesn't that have a nice ring to it? I'd buy a copy! =)

  5. Gosh, I am so humbled by your kindness... its funny, becoming a mama has helped me "focus" my efforts in running and frankly has given me sanity. I am so happy you are close by and hope we can train together!! Western States will be epic this year. I think you will do great things there as well. Enjoy this last push to get to that starting line.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful day! You're going to do so well at Western States!

  7. thanks for blazing the trail ahead! I enjoyed this race beyond expectations. Great support, awesome camaraderie, and beautiful views. Hope to see you again soon! Sarah

  8. It was a great day out there! I've always "worked" the race and never run it so it was nice to be on the other side of the aid station table.

    Your friend Sarah did a great job for her first ultra (not an easy first 50k).

    Thanks for your help marking the course earlier in the week. I don't think any of us were to keen to be out there that day!


  9. John - Sounds like a plan!!

    Jen - Great to hear. And yes, let's definitely get in some miles together.

    Sarah - Thanks!

    Sarah - Glad you had so much fun! You kicked butt. It was super great to see you. Now I can expect to see you at all the NorCal ultras. ;)

    Darren - That's awesome you got to run it this year. Nice job, too! Yeah, marking the course was a fun adventure. :) It's always good to get out there and realize how much hard work goes into putting these races on.

  10. You are a running and racing machine this year, I love it!!

    I see very good things for you at WS!