Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Silver Rush 50M Race Report

I, along with several other CRUDers, ran the Silver Rush 50* Miler on Sunday in Leadville. This event is just 3 years old, I believe, so is a fairly new addition to the calendar in Colorado. There is an accompanying bike race on the same course on Saturday. What I knew of this race was from a few folks who had biked it, and they said it was a hard course and fairly technical. This is probably true if you are on a mountain bike with 400 other riders, but for runners it turned out to be a fairly tame course. Like the Leadville Trail Marathon, this race is held on the east side of town (Mosquito Pass side) rather than the west side where the 100 miler takes place. The race starts at the little ski hill in town, and you run straight up it. This is actually the hardest hill on the whole course! Seriously, going from a resting HR to about 190 in 10 seconds really bites. The course then gradually climbs to about 12,200 at the base of Mt. Sherman and Mt. Sheridan. You then descend on a dirt road, and then a paved road, to the Printer Boy aid station before heading north to the main mining district. This part of the course shares a few sections (Ball Mountain) with the marathon and is stunningly beautiful. After going up and over Ball Mt. Pass (also about 12,000 feet), you descend into Stumptown for the turn-around. Coming back repeats those two main climbs and then the last 10 miles are all downhill back to town.


Ok, now for my day. This was to be my first test since my "pain in the butt" of a few months ago. My training has mainly consisted of the two weekly CRUD runs, so just slow hilly running. I'd finally been feeling back to my normal self for about a month but still wasn't expecting much at this race. My post-surgery training mileage is as follows:

Week ending:
4/12: 10 miles (surgery on 4/10)
4/19: 0
4/26: 0
5/3: 6 miles
5/10: 18 miles
5/17: 27 miles
5/24: 36 miles
5/31: 28 miles
6/7: 11 miles
6/14: 28 miles
6/21: 12 miles
6/28: 36 miles
7/5: 44 miles
7/12: 39 miles
7/19: 54 miles

After looking at the times from last year, and the website, I first realized the race isn't actually 50 miles; more like 46 which was fine with me! I was hoping for something in the low 8 hr range, and decided to try to stick with my training partner Rick H for as long as possible. He generally runs a smart conservative race and he'd been kicking my ass in training lately. We ran together up the initial 10 mile climb, with me having to take the first of 2 dumps for the day (two burritos and one enchilado the day before the race; will avoid that next time). While catching up I realized I felt really good and at the top of the climb I decided to just let myself go on the downhill to Printer Boy. I put a few minutes on Rick and at the aid station was told I was in 2nd place. I decided to push a bit to see if I could catch the leader (Ryan Burch - eventual winner). No such luck as he maintained the same gap all the way to the turn-around which I reached in about 3:35.


The 2nd half of the race is easier than the first, so I figured I might actually be in the low 7 hr range rather than low 8s if I held it together. The return was as expected; my lack of training proved to be a factor, I slowed to a walk on the hills, and I wasn't able to put up any fight when passed a few miles from the finish. I finished, shirtless, after running the last 45 or so minutes in a cold rain mixed with sleet. Results say 7:17 for 3rd which certainly exceeded my expectations. Rick finished about 8 minutes later, having closed on me the last 10 miles. It was sort of weird being awarded the Masters win; I don't really think of myself as a Masters but I guess the birthdate says otherwise. I would like to think I have a few more open wins in me, but who knows. I like to race but the hard training is loosing its appeal. For now I'll stick with the CRUD runs and just enjoy being injury-free.

I'd really recommend this race for anybody looking for a moderate high altitude 50. Several hours easier than San Juan, but still a good feeling of accomplishment at the end and some great scenery.


trudginalong said...

Great time Paul, I ran it as my first 50 and had a great time. If you run into Harsha Nagraj at one of your CRUD runs, please tell him that I (Patrick) really appreciated his company for the few miles we ran together, and for the advice.


FastED said...

Enchirito or Enchalado? At any rate Mexican food will do you in every time! Effing Mexicans! I'm looking forward to our 3 chipolte burrito speed challenge - I will beat both you and Rick! Maybe we can do it in Leadville while those other poor bastards are running?

Good job on the race, it's gotta be a good feeling to finally be back!

Justin Ricks said...

Nice job Paul, it is great to see you back in it so quick.

crowther said...

Sounds like good progress, Paul!

David Putney said...

Great job Paul, I know what you mean when you commented about not feeling like a masters runner!
Keep healthy, if you keep healthy everything else works out...

Glad to see you're enjoying feeling better.