Friday, July 8, 2011

Truckee Running Festival 2011

This past Saturday I ran my first trail running race.  I had a blast and there will be more to come this summer/ fall as a result.  I was fortunate enough to ride up with a running buddy Turi who has let me tag along on some fun runs in the past.  Turi has been running several of the Big Blue Adventure runs this summer and had posted some fast times in many of their races earlier this summer.  He answered several questions I had about running this race and it definitely helped.  I think I was the most concerned about getting to the single track in the top 10 runners (I called this the hole shot in mountain bike racing), running in a pack/ starting in a pack and warming up for the race.  Turi explained that he warmed up less on a long run which didn't make sense at the time, but does now.  In a short run you almost need to be warmed up more since the race is over so quickly.  You don't have time to warm up on a short run.  On a longer run though you have time to warm up during the race and settle into a groove.

I was happy with the low key feeling of the event that Big Blue Adventure was putting on for this running festival.  Everyone seemed laid back.  I was a little nervous seeing some of the runners milling around as some of them seemed to have the physique of body builders.  Ended up bumping into friends from work Ivy and Charles who where up with a friend of theirs who was Italian who was running the 5K.  I also got to meet in person Charlie Johnston who is very fast and wrote a article about the SWIP Trip in Nevada Magazine.  It made me feel more relaxed having friends around and having Turi to hang with as he obviously knew the ropes.  I took a few laps with Turi around the soccer field to warm up and spent most my time getting my brand new MT 101's just the right amount of tightness in lacing them up.  I find with these and the MT 100's this takes a little getting used to out of the box, but once I get it right I don't have to worry about it much.  I would have raced in my MT 100's but they have become my favorite trail running shoe for distances up to 1/2 marathon and the tread under the ball of my foot is gone.  I don't mind this much for training, but I figured the added benefit of having sharp tread for the race would be good.  Turi had checked out the course on google earth and figured that we had 3 miles of relatively flat course up to the far side of Martis Dam and then on the return this same 3 miles of flat back to the finish.  This was really good beta as I was flying this course blind which I don't consider a advantage in racing.  When I used to mountain bike race I would get to the course a day early and hike the entire course.  This allowed me to get a mental image of the course at a much slower pace than biking it and really input it for race day.  This helped me place top 3 in all my mountain bike races I did back in the early 2000's.  I wanted to run with just my sweatband on, but realized quickly that we would be running into the sun for the first 3 miles.  So I donned my brim over my sweatband.  I also was running in my hiking shorts and singlet from Hammer Nutrition.  I wasn't sure what the heat would be like up in Truckee at 9:AM which is at a elevation of 6,000ft.  It ended up being plenty warm to run outfitted like I was.  I carried my 13 oz handheld filled with HEED, 2 Hammer Gels and 2 Endurolytes.

Charlie Johnston and Krud pre race
Toeing the start line was easier than I thought.  Most of the folks up there ended up running the 5K or the 10K.  I just sauntered over to the start line and ended up being in the front row.  I looked back to make sure I wasn't cramping any ones style and no one seemed to be put out.  This worked fine for me.  The race is started with a countdown not a gun going off.  When the race took off two younger guys basically blasted out ahead of everyone.  I could tell based on their pace that I wasn't going to be running with them, but I looked around and the pack didn't seem to be chasing them down either.  So I took off chasing them anyway just to get out to the singletrack before the pack.  We skirted the edge of the soccer field and then the course pinched immediately to a 15ft peice of single track before dumping onto a road.  I wanted to be here before the pack so that worked fine since I was in 3rd place.  I climbed up a short hill onto a more major road and then ran down the side of this road for a quarter mile.  2 guys where right on my shoulder, one of them being Charlie.  The course took us off this road onto a sandy 2 track and I started to ease off my pace a little as I didn't want to burn up this early on.  Charlie sensed this and immediately blasted past me.  I tried to pace with him a little, but it wasn't happening.  At this point I had 2 more people off my shoulder as I picked my way through this sandy 2 track.

Charlie just off my left shoulder and the 2 young guys off the front
This section of 2 track climbed steeply for a few feet and dumped us back onto pavement for a long grinding climb.  I could still see Charlie up ahead of me and I tried to match his pace on the climb.  One of the guys off my shoulder was clopping along at a really heavy stride.  I wasn't too worried about him as his running style didn't seem very efficient.  As I topped out on this climb and traversed the dam a second fellow past me who looked to be 10 years my senior.  He didn't blast by me as quickly as Charlie did, but again I couldn't match his pace and he opened up a gap on me coming into the first aid station.  I looked up ahead and saw Charlie grab a cup at the aid station on the run and I decided this would be my strategy as well.  As I came into the aid station I was asked Gatorade or water and I opted for water on the run.  Right at this aid station the road ended and we made our way onto single track.  I looked back and saw the fellow with the heavy stride kind of walking through the aid station so I figured that was the end of that.

Carrie bridging the gap on the way across Martis Dam for the 1st time
Heading across the dam with my heavy footed friend off my shoulder and Carrie closing the gap again
Now I was running entirely on my own.  I could see the older fellow in front of me going up a long climb, so I king of ran his pace up this hill.  I definitely ran all of the hill, but this being my first race I was a little nervous that maybe I had overdone it too early in the race.  I never intended or thought I would be running in the top 10 (not that the field was that deep).  I could here a couple folks talking behind me and one of them was Turi and a woman I would end up running much of the race with.  For now though on this climb I was able to hold off any more racers passing me as I shifted into a nice low gear on the climb.

On top of the climb I was still able to make out the older runner in front of me which gave me the confidence that I was still on trail.  I bombed down some old dirt 2 track fast as it was smooth running in here.  Part way down I ran through a second aid station sipping a little water and dumping the rest over my head and back.  I appreciated the helpfulness of the aid station volunteers as they where all definitely on it and into helping us front runners keep moving.  I got into the habit of asking as I approached if I may have a water and that prompted them to grab on and hand one off to me.

During the downhill the older fellow gapped me so he must have been descending faster than me.  I heard behind me a very high cadence padding along and was surprised to see as she passed me that it was a woman.  This would be the first place woman whom I would run much of the race with.  I was actually glad she took the lead as I was becoming a little out of it and she saw some turns on the course I would have blown through.  She also reached back at the 45 min mark and grabbed a gel on the run which I was afraid of doing myself.  Before she caught me I was considering doing the whole run without, but when I saw her take one on the run I figured I could do the same.  I am such a cheapskate with gels that I usually try to roll and re roll them several times to get all the gel out.  Today though I just squeezed as much into my mouth as I could and put them back in the pocket of my handheld.  I could do this and still keep pace with her.

Eventually the course led us back onto some technical single track and I noticed her slowing down on the descent.  I asked if I could come around again and she graciously let me by.  I blasted down the hill which was pretty technical, but fun running.  It then bottomed out and made its way back over to a 3rd aid station.  I again got some water on the run.  From here the course climbed back up the hill we had descended, but staying on the old 2 track.  I shifted into my low gear as I was now starting to feel more and more like I was in survival mode.  I wanted badly to stay where I was in 5th place overall.  While I was thinking this I started to notice runners coming at me?  I was confused and hoped I hadn't blown out of a turn coming down the hill as I didn't expect to run back on the course on the way up this hill.  Carrie (1st place women's) caught me again and ran her high cadence up the hill like it was nothing.  I again paced with her up the climb as I found it easier mentally to do this than to drive my own pace.  Carrie mentioned we where doing well, but I broke it to her that I was most likely in 5th place.  I did tell her though that she was definitely first women's though.  After the climb we topped out at the 4th aid station and got more water on the run.

Just past this aid station the course took us back onto singletrack that climbed a bit and was quite technical.  I kept us both on trail as Carrie accidentally blew out of a turn.  I took this opportunity to take the lead again though as I wanted to be in front for the next downhill.  I would say this ended up being the most technical section of the race as it was rocks cemented into the tread scattered all over the place.  I really had to concentrate and let go of the racing aspect and just try to make good time in here.  I heard someone else coming up behind me on trail and based on the sound of their gate I knew it wasn't Carrie.  I started going faster, but I couldn't hold of "Tat" as he was coming in hot.  The minute I heard him on my heels I yielded and let him by as I wasn't about to hold him up.  I couldn't even pace with him so I just let him go.  I looked at my watch and we where about 1 hr into the race and it dawned on me that I was going to be out here a whole hour more.  Or that is at least what it takes me on the half marathon training runs I have been doing in the BLC.

The trail descended some really nice single track down this bluff.  For a minute I was disoriented as I saw a giant body of water not realizing it was Martis Lake.  For a second I thought how did I get over to Lake Tahoe?  I forgot to mention that all of this single track since crossing the dam 3 miles into the race has been under the shade of big Ponderosas.  I liked having the shade as it was getting hot out by now and I was glad not to be out in the hot sun.  All the fun switchbacking singletrack finally dumped back onto the base of the first climb and I really opened it up again to see if I could catch "Tat".

As I neared the 5th aid station I looked over my shoulder a few times to see if anyone else was coming up from behind.  Where was Carrie?  I could hear someone talking behind me off and on on the last descent, but couldn't see anyone as I came into the aid station.  I picked it up a bit as I now had a idea of the mileage to the finish and I noticed "Tat" wasn't to far ahead on the pavement.  I gave it my best trying to catch him, but he was just out of reach.  As I got to the far side of the dam I looked back and could see Carrie and another man coming through the aid station (the man being Turi).

The race was on now as I didn't want to get "chicked" (no offense) by Carrie and I sure didn't want to get passed by another man.  I got to the last real downhill on pavement and opened it up as much as I could closing the gap a little between "Tat" and myself.  Here the course took us off pavement and back onto the sandy 2 track back to the finish.  We where running in the direct sun here and the sand just seemed to suck all my energy on the way in.  I felt much better on the way out!  Try as I might I couldn't catch "Tat" and to make matters worse I could hear Carries quick cadence gaining on me.  I knew she was too close for me to hold her off back to the finish.  As she came up alongside me I jokingly said, "you again?"  She laughed and just blew right by me, and again try as I might I couldn't match her pace.  She did help me pick mine up though.

As she bridged the gap between "Tat" and I did my best to focus on finishing strong.  "Tat" looked a little surprised as she caught him, but he must have had a little left in the tank because he dug in again fending her off by a few seconds.  I made my way down onto the soccer field, but had kind of given up on catching them at this point.  I was on empty.  It still felt good to have a successful run at my first race.

Turi was only 1 minute behind me which blows me away as he is able to snap so many photos during the race.  I had hoped I would be pacing with him during the race, but it didn't work out that way.  I ended up with 6th place overall and 2nd in my age group with a time of 1:36:04.  If you check out the results page just picture me where Carrie is as she beat me.  I contacted the race director about the discrepancy so depending on when you read this it may have been fixed.  Honestly there was a few mistakes with timing at this race (although I was totally ok with it and would still do this run again next year).  First they had me before "Tat" in my age group.  Turi caught this and we introduced ourselves to "Tat".  The 3 of us approached one of the timers and got that fixed.  Then they accidentally added 10 minutes to our time for some reason when they should have subtracted.  "Tat's" partner went and fixed that for us.  Lastly is the mistake I noted above with me coming in in front of Carrie.  As much as I wish it where true, it just didn't shake out that way.

I was given a pint glass for 2nd place mens with my friend Turi taking 3rd.  I ended up with a ton of stoke for going to the race.  Turi even had made me some nice duct tape wallets.  I can appreciate the amount of effort that goes into them.  He even has little slots for the credit cards and one with a window for your ID.  I dig it as it is definitely unique and it allows me to save my spinnaker cloth wallet for fastpacking.  Got a cool shirt from the race which is a nice silky weight with decent graphics on it, a nice mesh bag from Solomon and water bottle to boot.  They had a keg of Fat Tire, but I'm not really drinking this time of year.  Burgers, fruit, sports drinks.  It was nice to sit under the Solomon tent in the shade too with the people I raced against and just relax.

I would also like to share that Race Day Boost by Hammer Nutrition is a excellent product and I will be using it before my other races this summer/ fall.  I only got to use it for 2 days prior to leading up to the race, which Hammer recommends a dosage of 4 times a day for 4 days prior to your event.  Even at only half the suggested dosage I noticed results during the race.  I can't compare it to times as I don't have a prior time for this event, but I can comment on how I felt.  My quads are usually the thing that gives out while running and they felt awesome the entire race through.  I know at the distance of this race and some of the grinding uphills and fast downhills I should have felt some fatigue in my quads.  I didn't and if I could describe it best it felt like they where relaxed and loose instead of being tense and bound up.  They felt like this the entire race through and I don't feel like this even on my training runs.  I also was amazed at how fast I ran the race as I never come close to 8 minute mile during training.  I would definitely attribute the way my quads felt and my fast race pace to using this product.  The taste isn't great, but it isn't so bad I can't stand it.  I basically mix in 2 tablespoons into warm water 4 times daily.  Warm water is to help the sodium phosphate dissolve completely.  I would recommend the powder over the capsules as you get glutamine in the mix over none in the capsule form  Glutamine is a supplement used for muscle growth in endurance sports.  Evidence indicates that glutamine when orally loaded may increase plasma Human Growth Hormone levels by stimulating the anterior pituitary gland.  It is one of the 20 amino acids, but not considered to be one of the essential amino acid.


  1. Nice job Krud. Great race report as well...first of many it seems!

  2. I hope so Comet! Looks like they got the results fixed with Carrie in front, but I stayed in the top 5 the way they count as 3rd place tied, but check out the times they really didn't. So I guess I am really 6th after all. Funny timing at this event would be my one complaint.