Half the course, twice the fun!

American River 25

I’ve run the American River 50 a couple years ago and aside from it being a great event with exceptional organization, marking, aid stations, finish line festivities, and swag….the first 1/2 of that course is at best BORING! That being said, the addition of the American River 25 was an intriguing option! Being deep in the training cycle I needed to get in a 25 mile run this weekend anyway, so why not do it without having to carry all your nutrition?

Head over the hill with some friends Lauren, Jimmy, and Angie stoked to have a fun weekend with friends in the sunshine, dry dirt, and warm weather! Grab some dinner and head to Lauren’s parents house who’ve graciously opened their home for us to crash in and stage out of in the morning, thank you Bill and Karen!!!


Enjoying carbs and laughs at dinner! (Photo credit: Jimmy Watson)

Alarm goes off and the morning routines commence! Jimmy has volunteered his entire day to shuttling us all around and has just gotten back from dropping off Lauren at the start line for the 50 miler. We fill up on some breakfast and coffee and head out to the start line.


Jill, myself, and Angie at the start line! (Photo credit: Jimmy Watson)

Gun goes off, well kind of…everyone starts moving forward so we assume that it’s go time and off we go! The thing I’m looking forward to most about this race is that we get to experience the best part of the course without having to run the 25 miles of bike path first. We warm up on the rolling trails outside Beals Point and up and over the Meat Grinder. Much like the Meat Grinder we have here in Reno, it’s a tough and technical section consisting of a big climb and a steep downhill….but the views are amazing!


It’s good to see so much water in the reservoirs!

Glad to see so much green and water over here, the last couple years have been so dry! The goal of this race is to a) keep the pace comfortable to where I could go all day, all night, and all day while making aggressive (for me) cutoffs; b) limit times in and out of Aid Stations; c) test a different electrolyte/supplement system other than just salt tabs; and d) make it in under 6 hours (about a 14.5 minute mile).

Goals a & d: Done! Pushed a bit harder than was comfortable, but never to the point of feeling like I was headed for a spectacular crash while keeping the pace on schedule. Finish time of 5:48 and felt strong and happy the whole day.

Goal b: Done! Limiting time in and out of Aid Stations all the while getting ice, water/Tailwind, snacks, and gels. With 21 Aid Stations in Western States, keeping time-in-aid-stations to an absolute minimum is going to be key to making cut off times. Even 5-6 minutes in each aid station is an ENTIRE TWO HOURS of time not spent moving forward.

Goal c: Work in Progress….having used S-Caps or Endurolytes for nearly 5 years of ultra running makes it kinda scary to test new systems. With States being 2 months out this is the best time to try to work out some options. My goal of changing things up is to try to take in more salt through food at aid stations rather than through capsule form and using Sport Legs which is more of a product that focuses on reducing “leg burn” with natural-source European lactate compounds rather than electrolytes. I’ve used these for years while skiing to help keep the burn away but have never used them for running before. Hopefully this will help keep the salt levels low but easily maintainable and hoping that this will help keep blisters to a minimum. I say that it’s a work in progress as I did feel that I craved salt in a big way at each aid station and it was a bit like dancing on the lip of a volcano to keep the calf cramping at bay. But, potatoes dipped in salt was an easy way to combat it, and I know that most if not all aid stations at States will offer potatoes and salt. (If you have any suggestions, feedback, or any personal experiences using Sport Legs over the usual S-Caps or Endurolytes feel free to leave a comment below!)

Aside from all goals *if not accomplished* achieved the long story short is that it was a great day on the trail. Sunshine, soft trail, and lots of happy smiles at the finish line!

Great job Striders on getting the job done out there!

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