Mother Peavine and myself have a pretty rocky relationship, literally and figuratively.
Several years ago Silver State Half Marathon was my first trail race ever. It whupped my butt, but it also sparked my love of the trails over road. I ran it with a couple of girlfriends, whom I’m pretty sure gave up running afterwards (or at least went back to road running).
A couple years after that I dropped in on the 50K and had my first DNF ever. New to running and under prepared I experienced blister problems that I couldn’t come back from and dropped at mile 19. This is also the year that Michael famously announced after he finished the 50K that “Peavine hates us, it doesn’t want anyone on it, we should just leave it alone”…..Ahahaha! He hasn’t been back to run on Peavine since!
After that DNF I decided that maybe Silver State isn’t my race. Sure, I’m happy to train on Peavine, but the rocky-rutty-exposed trail is just not my happy place for race day. Told myself that I’d only ever run it again if and when I got into States. For the time being I just love to volunteer at it!
Packet Pick up? Sure!!
4am Start line runner check in? Sure!!!!!
Stay all day at the start/finish cooking and serving food? Absolutely!!!
Well, come 2017 and I’m in States….so that means I’ve got to run the 50 miler. I’m not too stoked on it, but I’ll do what it takes to finish States so here we go!
Winter has been hard on our trails, no doubt about it. Our fire roads have man sized crevasses, our single tracks are gone, and our mountain’s been ravaged by the run off. Maybe Michael was right all those years ago, it really doesn’t want anyone on it, it’s trying to erase all access trails to her secrets!
The weeks leading up to race day are spent doing 30 milers on the backside. Scoping the course, assessing the damage, enjoying the wild flowers….so many wildflowers!! Maybe it won’t be so bad!
Race morning I toe up still grumbling about not wanting to run today, but settle in at an easy pace early. I know it’s going to be hot so I relish the cool morning as long as I can in Evans Canyon. I’m quite possibly the last 50 mile runner and happily hike-running (but still making adequate time to make cut offs).
Up and over the top and down and around to Long Valley! This part I’m looking forward to because it means that it will be more running and less hiking!
Get some high fives and some smiles from Katie and Annie back in Long Valley and trot along towards Dog Valley. So glad to have spent some time training back here, I know just where to run and just where to hike to make the most of my time and effort.
I can hear Dog Valley AS before I can see it, wahoo! I come around the corner to a high five from Brandon and I’m stoked to see them, he’s even in chaps and a cowboy hat, ahaha!
Until he turns around…
If I can’t unsee it, you can’t either!! (Photo credit Valerie Hewitt)
Motivation to get in and get out! Although I do have to say that they are the most boisterous aid station on the course!
Up the rocky hill to the top and down the destroyed single track to head back to where Ranch Creek AS used to live (we couldn’t get it in there this year due to the road conditions).
Not gonna lie, I was real angry by time I got back up to Sommersett Road. With that destroyed single track it made for really technical and slow going hiking. It’s 12:55 and I have an hour and 20 minutes to make it 6 miles down to River Bend to make the cut off at 2:15pm. I text Jeff and Michael to let them know where I’m at.
I spend only about 15 seconds in the Sandy Hill AS as I literally have no time to chat. I declare that I hate running and that I have to go.
I roll into River Bend at 1:55, 6 miles in an hour…I guess training is starting to pay off!
Michael brought me a burger! (Photo Credit Raymond Hurley)
OMG I LOVE BURGERS DURING ULTRAS!!!!
I pick up Jeff as a pacer and we head back up Peavine to the top. We’ve got to make it to the top by 5 when the cut off is.
(Photo Credit Amy Taylor)
Back up and through Sandy Hill AS, this time I have a little more time to chit chat. Grab some snacks, chug my coconut water, get cracked in the head by a flying pop up, and we’re out!
We make it up with pretty ample time, some time just after 4pm.
Strut that stuff! (Photo credit Allie Cook)
In and out. With 12ish miles to go of all (well most) downhill. Music is on, let’s go!
Earlier in the week I heard that Jeff had told John Trent that he was “going to make me run” all that downhill and push me hard. Hum….that sounds like a challenge!
After a quick puke and rally just outside the Peavine AS we start making our way downhill.
Motivated! (Photo credit Jeffery Conner)
Somewhere around mile 43/44 I kind-of get a niggle that if we book it I can break my PR. Break it by a lot. My previous PR for 50 miler is 13:48 at AR several years ago.
We make it to Ridgeview and grab a popsicle and couple hugs and we zoom out. If we can average 10 minute miles for the last bit we can break 13 hours. That would be amazing!
At the 50 mile mark I call an “all halt” and check the watch….broke 50 mile PR by over an hour! HooRay! Still have to get to the finish line though!
12:55, PR baby! (Photo Credit John Trent)
Ok, so that wasn’t as bad as I thought that it was going to be. I think that I actually like the 50 mile course much better than the 50k course. As much fun as I had for the day, I think I’m going to go back to volunteering for Silver State rather than running it.
For now, I’m just satisfied to be laying in the grass!