Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kokanee Salmon Trail Half Marathon

This is my 4th half marathon this year (+ one at the beginning of February, one at the end of April, and one last month), but only my second ever trail half (I ran a very slow Fall Colors half with Turi last October). As it turns out, the kokanee salmon this race is named for are actually landlocked and as many as 50,000 fish swim up Taylor Creek for spawning. There were debates in the car as to where the salmon were coming from. I didn't get to see them, however, because of the blizzard we were driving through after the race. Yes, there was snow. But the skies cleared up just for the race, which gave us a fairy wonderland to run through, with the breeze blowing a sparkling dusting of crystallized snow as we passed under the branches of the great pines and redwoods. And this was not just any race: the entire Team Library Dork (Chris, Turi, Dave and I) made it for a reunion run after training as a full group only once this season. AND we were joined by fellow runners (and honorary members) Sarah (who is trying to qualify for Boston in her Biz Johnson Marathon next weekend!), my co-worker at the Carson City Library Abbey (running her first race- a half marathon! Yay Abbey!), and the infamous Gretchen who won the women's Lake Tahoe Marathon just a week ago in 80 degree weather! Thanks SO much for joining us Gretchen, even though you're still getting over the flu! Wouldn't have been the same without'cha. :) And front and center, our leader Hannah Banana. We'd follow her anywhere. From left to right: Gretchen, Dave, Turi, me, Chris, Abbey and Sarah.

Here is pre-race warm up shot:

And some of the best lookin' runners out there! (Excepting that dorky hat on my head, of course).

And Turi and I just before they started us off:

The race started at 9:00, which was good because it gave everyone time to get there in the snow. We started out on a bit of an incline, and I used this as a good excuse to warm up and go slow. Abbey and I ran together chatting back and forth as (my) breath allowed, and soon we found ourselves in a pack thinning out according to pace surrounded by the glory of the morning (thanks Turi for this photo!).

The time and first few miles flew quickly by, and after 45 minutes Abbey reminded me that it was time for a PowerGel. I thought it would be a good idea to walk for a brief minute because they are so thick and need water to get down. That turned out probably not to be the best idea, because my legs decided that they wanted to walk after that, and I lost Abbey around mile 5 or 6. I walked up a really big hill, but jammed back down, and got into a steady pace for the next few miles. Between miles 9 and 11, I started to get really tired, and realized that all the short training sessions on my treadmill with an occasional 7-8 mile trail run on the weekend was not sufficient training for the (granted, not huge) hills or distance of this race. I had a bit of a down moment at mile 11 because I was upset at myself for walking so much- I even forgot to enjoy the scenery because I was watching the trail and my feet. However at mile 12 I told myself to snap out of it- only one mile left, and it turned out to be all downhill. I powered through and ran a good hard last mile, and even passed a few people I'd been playing leap-frog with (I passed them when I ran, they passed me back when I walked- does that say something about my pace or what?). You can see how tired I am at the finish:

I came in last in our group (Abbey kicked my rear by about 10-15 minutes, and again, it was her first race! You rock Abbey!) But a finish is a finish! Dave even tricked me into drinking a sip of his icky beer (I guess it's called Ten Fidy) because I thought it was a Rock Star and could have used the boost. (Thanks again Turi for the photo!)

Here we are sitting around stretching and shivering waiting for awards. Hannah was dancing for us, and her grandma and uncle and mama Abby joined in the fun.

Dave ran the 5k and placed 3rd in his age group! He was awarded a bottle of local wine, complete with a hand painted Kokanee salmon- very cool and unique prize.

While we waited another hour and a half for Chris and Sarah to collect their winnings, they popped open a few bottles for those of us still standing around, and we warmed up a bit with wine in a Gatorade cup. Classic!

Standing and waiting for the sun to come back out, I caught sight of this peak through the trees- make you feel cold just looking at it? Worth it to click on this photo to enlarge it~

Finally they compiled the results for the half, and of course Chris won! Here he is collecting his salmon. Too bad more people didn't stick around to collect their winnings- there were a LOT of bottles and salmon left over, and they weren't just giving them away, as Gretchen and I found out. :) You had to earn those babies!

After a quick consensus, we decided that we weren't ready to part company as a group yet (although Abbey had to head back to her camp to pack up) and headed to The Brewery in South Lake for some excellent pizza (and a $10 glass of wine for me- my thanks to Abby-Chris's wife Abby, not Abbey who works with me- I've turned into a bit of a wine snob, and the inexpensive stuff I used to enjoy doesn't satisfy anymore). The only picture I got was of Turi making laughing at something that cutie-pie Hannah said:

It was a wonderful day spent with friends, and I was glad to be able to run, and partake in food and drink with them! Isn't that part of it- enjoying what we earn? I most certainly did! Thanks everyone for sharing this day with me~ :)


Turi said...

Totally fun race, and it was great to see everyone out there. Thanks for the awesome report, Amber! (Even if half of those were my pictures...)

Gretchen said...

Nice job, Amber! Awesome report, and what a great day! I'm so glad I made it. We'll definitely have to make the effort for some more group running events like that.

Oh, and I'm the last to get my report up! I'm such a slacker!! Open House was tonight, so now I can take a little breather for some blogging. Whew. And maybe one of those Ten Fidy's. ;)