Monday, September 30, 2013

The Wicked Thorn Trail Run at Galena Fest

This past Sunday was my second year participating in The Wicked Thorn 7.25 mile trail running race which took place at the Galena Creek Park (on the way to Lake Tahoe via Mt. Rose Highway). The Galena Creek Recreation Area is a great place to mountain bike, hike and snowshoe (in the winter) with breathtaking views of the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest.
The park is a quick 15 to 20 minutes' drive from Reno depending on whether you're driving from downtown or from the airport. Next time you visit, take a walk through the aspens or go on a challenging day hike through the forest along the creek and have a picnic. There are beautiful the photos of the Jones Whites Creek Loop Trail here:
At Galena Fest before the race with friends.

The Galena Fest is growing every year and starts with the Bloody Thorn competitive mountain bike climb to the summit of Relay Peak overlooking Lake Tahoe. There's also food and beer booths, other vendors, and live music for families to enjoy.

I have to admit, I did not feel like running the race this year and could not get excited about it. But I had already paid for registration and so I told myself it would be a training run at the least. My friend, Joan, was also there to run so I would not be at the race alone.
The course was out-and-back with a loop around Jones Whites Creek and had about 1,400 feet of elevation gain. As usual, the start of the race was brutal because it was a climb for the first half mile of up to 14% grades. Then there was relief for half a mile before climbing again of grades up to 22% (you can see in the race profile, 15 minutes into the race).
Not having a pre-race warm up made it even harder to run the first few miles. I usually do not warm up before races anyway but I also know that I do better after a one mile jog before regular runs. So you can imagine that for the first three miles into this race I seriously wanted to just stop, turn around and go home. But I kept going, spurred by the thought of the embarrassment I'd face from being the first to cross the finish line and having to say I dropped out. So instead I kept following the single track trail behind other runners all the while telling myself I am NOT running this next year!

Perhaps the views, such as these, that kept me going.  I thought at least it was sunny and I was outside doing something active.  On the bright side, the longer it took to finish, the more time I would have had a cardio workout.
Photo credit: Galena Creek Visitor Center
Photo credit: Galena Creek Visitor Center
After three miles I crested the hill and knew the rest would be a descent to the creek and relatively flat. I was more familiar with the trail at the point and so I made up my mind to run a better time than I did last year.

I really surprised myself when finished 9 minutes 17 seconds sooner than I had clocked last year. I had a slow start in this race and dragged my feet for so long that after the turnaround point, I started to pick up the pace and pushed myself to make up time. I knew I was not going to win but I was not going to lose to my time last year because then I would really hate myself for not putting forth the effort.
My friend ran with me for the sprint to the finish.
I ran SO HARD I thought I would never catch my breath after I crossed the finish line. I had set a new personal record (PR) of on 1-mmile (it may have been during the downhill but it was the fastest pace I've held for a mile) and a PR on 1k
Nearly collapsed running 1 minute 20 second min/mile faster than last year.

Unlike in last year's Wicked Thorn, I did not cross the finish line with a smile on my face but with a grimace and a mouthful of sport beans I couldn't swallow and then was gasping for air until I recovered. But I finished, 9 minutes and 17 seconds faster than my time last year!!

Wicked Thorn 2013: My finish time was 01:21:00 at a 11:12 min/mi. pace. I came in 91st out of 210 runners who finished within the 2 hour time cut off and placed 24/55 in my age group (Female 30 - 39 years old). 43.3% overall, 43.6% in age group.

Wicked Thorn 2012: My finish time was 01:30:17 at a 12:32 min/mi. pace. I came in 130th out of 177 runners who finished within before the 2 hour time cut off and placed 22/36 in my age group (Female 30 - 39 years old). 73.4% overall, 61.1% in age group.

Don't ask me yet if I plan to run next year. ;-)  I have a year to think about it, LOL.


JoeinVegas said...

Maybe it was the beer and brats from the below post -

Daly said...

It just may be the beer and brats, LOL!! One time I overdid it with the drinking at the Italian Festival the day before a half marathon in the Bizz Johnson and I was hurting the entire run--and afterwards!