Race Report: Silver Rush 50 miler, 17 July 2011
We started at 6AM. The start is at the bottom of a steep hill and goes straight up it. The first male and female to the top get a silver dollar. I was more interested in running a smart race so I left the sprint to about 6 really motivated people, set my own pace and started walking up the hill.
After making it to the top of the hill we ran down a finger and then started up the first big climb. This climb starts essentially at the beginning of the race at 10 thousand feet and then goes up to 12k+ over the next 10 miles. I settled in behind some other runners, set a solid pace and ran whenever the course flattened out for a bit. One and a half hours later we made it to the first aid station at mile 7. I was good on water and food so I just pushed right on through making it to the top of the climb at mile ten after 2.5 hours.
The course starts a long downhill at this point to 10k feet. I set an easy pace letting gravity do the work and rolled into the next aid station (mile 13) about 20 minutes later. I quickly refilled on water and then continued the descent. After about 2 more miles of downhill we started up the next big climb. I was still feeling good and got a lift seeing a runner I did the Big Horn 50 with a few years ago standing on the side of the trail cheering us on. At 10AM I made it to the next aid station at mile 19.5 and pushed on through, still good on food and water from the last aid station. The trail climbed for about another mile before dropping about 500 feet and then started a slow climb to the top of the next pass at 12k+ feet. A few minutes later I saw the race leader coming back towards me. The guy was impressive, 30 miles into the race, somewhere around 11.5k feet above sea level, two competitors only a few hundred yards behind him and he is running like I run a half marathon on the road. To top it off he sees me, says, “Looking good dude” and high fives me as he runs past. What a cool sport!
I struggled to the top of the pass, crossed a short section of snow and then started the long descent to the turn-around point. Running into the turnaround I yelled my normal “Woooohooo!” as loud as I could and then was surprised to see a friend of mine that just moved to Denver walking up to meet me. We quickly exchanged greetings and then the tv cameras found me.
“Mind if we film a bit?”
I told them sure but I learned one thing today. I have absolutely no future on TV. The mike was a distraction and I really had nothing to say except, “Can you pass me the electrolyte pills” and “Yeah, I just want water in the hydration pack.” The camera crew lost interest pretty quick.
I stepped out pretty quickly leaving the aid station about 5 hours ten minutes into the race. I had a quick conversation with my coach and then started moving. The climb back up to the pass was brutal and made harder by hard cold rain. Still, an hour later I was on top and started running towards the aid station at mile 31.5. I felt good so I pushed through arriving at mile 37 about 7.5 hours into the race. I quickly refilled on water and started up the last climb.
Things fell apart quickly. My stomach started rumbling and before I knew what to do I was vomiting everywhere. I had been pounding water and eating so I figured I needed more electrolytes. I kept walking as I popped some electrolyte pills. The pills caused me to vomit again. Nothing to do but try again. This time they stayed down but I still felt queezy. I finished the climb to mile forty having to stop only one more time and started the downhill slowly. By mile 43 I was starting to feel good again and started pushing the pace. At 10 hours and 53 minutes after the start I crossed the finish line. This is a new personal record for me at the 50 mile distance and I set my old record at 8k feet so I felt pretty good.