I've been putting off writing this and I'm not sure why. Maybe because it was just another day on the trails and I really don't have much to report. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately I don't have any funny stories or anything too exciting to share. Don't get me wrong finishing a 50mile trail run is a huge accomplishment and I did it successfully. I guess when you have your mind on a 100, 50 miles seems to be just another step in getting to finish the 100.
I've shared with others that the during the 50 was there no time I didn't think I was going to finish or that I thought this is too hard! I guess that is where the training pays off. I did finish much slower than I had hoped but I had nothing to gauge how my body would do with 50 miles since this is the furthest I have run ever. Yes I did get tired and the elevation/climbs really took it out of me...good thing I'm off to CO in a few days, lots of hikes at high elevation and climbing planned.
About a week before the run, I was pleased to hear I would have a travel companion. It turned out that Liam was also planning on running the Silver Rush 50 so we coordinated our travel plans so we could head out there together. We flew out to Colorado early Saturday morning and made it to Leadville about midday, picked up our race bibs, stopped at the local grocery store and decided to camp despite the intermittent rain. Luckily, the rain was tolerable and we were able to stay dry.
At 6am Sunday morning the gun went off and we were on our way along with close to 500 other runners. If running 50 miles wasn't enough it started at the base of a steep hill that we had to run up or if you were me walk up. I settled into a conservative pace knowing that I had a long way to go. The race was an out and back with the 1st half of the race having more climbing then the 2nd. Also we were to climb up to over 12,000 ft on 6 occasions. I hit the turn around at 6hr 16min 39sec. On the second half I became extremely fatigued. I thought I would be able to make up time on the last 10 miles which were downhill, but I just couldn't get my legs to run. So I alternated between running and walking hoping that my running legs would come back but they never did. As I mentioned before I never had the thought that I wasn't going to finish the race, but during the second half I was slowly getting closer to the cut off times at the aid stations on the way back, 1st I was an hour ahead of cut off, then 45min, etc. At the last aid station at mile 42 I made the cutoff within minutes. I got emotional at this point because I knew for sure I was going to finish and was about to accomplish something I never had before. It was the last big challenge before the 100. So I did the calculations in my head and figured if I averaged 16 min miles I would come in right before the 14hr cutoff.With about a mile left I realized it was going to be close. With about 1/3 of mile left I saw Liam who was waiting for me to finish. He told me I better hurry because I was within minutes of the cutoff. I asked him if I was going straight down the hill or going around like the finish of the 50 mile bike. He said I had to go around I laughed and said "no way will I make it" so I didn't push it, I just didn't have it in me. So either my calculation was a little off or I was just a bit slower the 16min miles. I was the 1st finisher after the 14hr cutoff with a time of 14:02:56. Was I disappointed? No, I really wasn't, I finished, I got a medal and my time was listed on the results so I was happy I had accomplished something I never had. According to the results 89% of the runners that started finished, that means 1 in every 10 runners did not, and I was not that 1 in 10!
My only concern about my time was for the 100 miles, I do not want to be that close to the cutoff! So that was a little scary for me, but I've thought about it and knowing the 100 mile course, I know where I'm going to need to push it a little to stay ahead of the cutoffs.