Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Wicked Thorn Trail Run at the Reno Galena Fest 2012

I was hesitant to sign up for The Wicked Thorn trail running race especially because my track record has been one or two runs in the last few months of no farther than 5K.  Not to mention, this run was 10K of trails which snaked up through the Galena Forest. A race I knew full well I would be ill prepared for after coming back from a leisure trip to the California coast.
Since I was struggling with motivating myself to run this past summer, I decided the race would be good for me.  It could be the catalyst to kick my butt back in to running and the chance to gallop across new territory will be a nice change.  Besides, my friend Joan was running so I won't be alone (at least not for the first few yards of the race anyway).
With John also present to support me, I didn't care how well I did as much as as long as I enjoyed participating.  This morning, after the Bloody Rose mountain bike race started we lined up by our pace to start the run.  The trail run is part of the Galena Fest where there are also vendors, food trucks, live music, and a 1.7 mile fun run for everyone to enjoy.

The first section of my run was uphill and without any warmup prior to the start, I have to admit I was having serious doubts as to whether I could finish the race. How disappointed would I be to give up now and by doing so, let down my best supporter after running not even a mile? So I kept going, following the thud of other runners' shoes hitting the solid dirt.  Then I came up behind a woman who was complaining to her husband about her thirst and being dehydrated (she had been drinking the night before) and it would be nearly two miles before we would come across the first water station.  Oddly enough and aside from the whining she did for me, she was my motivation and she didn't even realize it.  I told myself things are bad for her and if she is out here doing it then so can I.
After what seems like forever, the trail gave way to the downhill portion which I took in big long strides, caught up and passed several runners.  I could see the valley down below but I tried not to stare too long so I could watch my step and not trip on the rocky descent. 

At the water stations the volunteers offered moral support and nutrition.  Their smiles and encouragement pushed me onward.

The route was an out-loop-and-back (I'd have to look at the route profile but I felt there was an equal amount of inclines and declines) but the downhills I so loved were climbs that stood between me and the finish line.  Actually the run profile has 1,400+ of elevation gain over 7.3 miles (and I'm glad I didn't look beforehand or I would have chickened out LOL).

After an hour into the race, when the pain in my lungs weren't so great I had plenty of time to admire the surrounding forest and creek rushing along beside me.  I pretended I was running with my friend Joan and trying to keep up with her.  I channeled a teammate (who was the fastest runner on our running relay team) and imagined I was him running superfast!  Other times when my heart rate was through the roof, I feared that I would blow myself up and not finish the race.  So I slowed down to recover and to avoid the embarrassment of being carried down in a stretcher.
Up the road, my friend finished the race.  Meanwhile I was feeling good and wondered when I would use everything I had left in the tank to finish strong.  Then the finish line appeared around the corner and it was downhill the rest of the way.  Boy was I relieved to see it.  I would complete the race after all!! 
Like the Rock-N-River half marathon, I ran across the line on fire.  I was ready to run all the way back home!  I guess that's the runner's high we try to achieve. I couldn't help but feel a little regret for not pushing myself for fear that I couldn't finish or for not running past people over the last few downhills because I didn't want to be rude (nearly everyone was nice about giving the right away when I ran up behind them).  It was nice to run with people and cheer each other on.
True it was a race and I could've moved up in time and several places but I was there to have fun and get a good workout -- and THAT I did!!  Despite being ill prepared for The Wicked Thorn 10K Trail Run, I came in under an hour and 30 minutes (which was what I had hoped for).  Not a bad way to bring closure to our vacation. 
~-Update-~ My finish time was 01:30:17 at a 12:32 min/mi. pace. Out of 177 runners who finished, I came in 130. Placed 22 in my age group (Female 30 - 39 year old).  Now I have a goal for next year!


Dolly said...

Way to go Daly!! I am so proud of you, the fact that you were willing to step out of your comfort zone to run this race is really something!! A change of scenery is really nice too. That elevation profile looks like no joke. Great job and I hope you enter more races :)

JoeinVegas said...

Wow - off the bike and onto your feet - good work!

Anonymous said...

Either it was a little chilly out, or you were very excited about your time...LoL!!