Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall Colors Trail Half Marathon


I didn't get to do the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon this year, so instead I ditched the Meridian Gold Run for Education (it was only a 10K, and the boys didn't want to run a half mile with me anyway) in favor of a brand spankin' new course, the Fall Colors Trail Half Marathon put on by Reno's running club, the Silver State Striders. But the best part? I had company! Even though I'm sure he could have cut off an hour or so of our final time, Turi decided to stick with little 'ole me and make a nice hike out of the morning. We got a very early start- the race was supposed to kick off at 7:00 a.m., but we ended up starting 5 minutes late because there were a bunch of cars that drove up at 6:59, and when there are only about 55 people entered in the race, waiting for the few stragglers that probably took a wrong turn somewhere trying to find the start wasn't unreasonable. Here's the first picture of the day- Here's Turi in the dark. You can see the countdown behind him (13:47)- it did lighten up in the next 15 minutes so we were able to see the trail enough so we wouldn't trip and mess up our ankles within the first mile of the start line.

Check out the map and course profile. Looking at the elevation, it looks very intimidating- and it is! 1500 foot climb in the first 3.8 miles. We did a lot of walking at the beginning- pretty much treated this as a glorified hike. The serious runners just plowed right up the mountainside, but there were some other walkers too. One of them even offered to take our picture a couple miles in.

Here is part of the "runnable" track- you can see someone just in the distance-

This next one is on the switchbacks of the Dry Pond Trail, about 7 miles in. This was NOT one of the runnable parts.

There was an open meadow that I wasn't expecting, called Dry Pond Meadow. It was really pretty, with trees in fall bloom surrounding it, and the trail just on the inside of said trees. Wish I had taken a photo there. There were some beautiful greens and yellows. Turi, with his eagle eyes, spotted a hawk (falcon?) sitting at the top of a tree (my eyes were down watching the trail- "Careful girl! Pick up your feet!" gripping my elbow attached to my bum shoulder to my side.). I know it is a little hard to tell what it is with this fuzzy close up (that was closest I could get). Mom, do you know what kind of bird it is?

Couple more shots of the Sierra Nevadas in all their glory:

And the dusty track my knees prefer over pounding pavement:

Turi prefers to follow, so I did most of the leading on the single track, but I did get this shot of him after we started on our way from the picture pause from the above 2 pictures:

There were some beautiful downhill sections that I was able to just "let go" on and let gravity help me down the path. These were my favorite sections of the trail; here is a picture of the fall foliage, which I stole from Turi's camera because we were going to fast to pull my camera out. I think I was yelling for him to take a picture of this section, with the greens and yellows overhead...

There were trees growing over the trail completely enclosing it, and the path was springy and loamy, with lots of those pine needles I'm so fond of running on. Turi got some pictures and some running videos that you can watch. The temperature was perfect, in the 60's I'd say, and it was overcast up until the last mile, so I was comfortable with a light sweatshirt over my running shirt. That last mile, however, was one last little hill up Timberline Drive, and paved. The sun decided to fully make it's appearance, and the combination of heat and hill zapped the last of my energy. I did have to call it and walk for a minute before jogging to the finish at the top of the hill. Not my normal fast, almost-sprint to the finish. But the cool part about that was it gave the announcer at the finish chute time to look up our bib numbers and announce our names over the loud speaker! He even pronounced my last name right! They tore off the bottom of my bib and put a medal around my neck and directed us over to the chili, hot and waiting for us. 3 hours 4 minutes and somethin' seconds. Turi got a special plaque for finishing 2nd in his age group! And the finishing picture:

Thanks so much Turi for running and walking and chatting and hiking with me! It made for a fun morning, and I enjoyed it quite a bit more than I would have on my own- especially the arriving in full dark part. And finally, some of those fall colors that I talked about above that the race is named for (and Turi reaching for his camera too)...

5 comments:

Turi said...

Excellent stuff. I'll get my pics up soon, I promise... :)

Anonymous said...

Amber,
I think it is a Northern Goshawk because of the white eyebrows, whitish underbelly, and dark head and wings.

Love, Mom

PS great pictures:)

slowrunner77 said...

WOW, what an awesome looking course! I especially like the first pic that another runner took of the two of you...and pitch black 15 minutes til start time? Brrrrr. The other "colors" run was beeyooteeful as well. I took a pic or two after the finish, but i should have taken the camera on my cooldown. See you guys soon. Good job!!

HiAltDawg said...

Did you memorize the course? It might be good for training on come springtime.

SnowLeopard said...

Um, yeah. Memorized. (Ask me that again next year though!) It was really well marked, plus there is a map on the website that I linked to. I forgot to mention how well this race was put together (especially since it's the first year in existence!)- there weren't many things they could improve upon for next year...