I had plenty of nervous anticipation leading up to the Silver Rush 50 race. After the massive cramping I had at the marathon, I was unsure how my legs would respond. I had numerous good training runs since the marathon, but was still nervous. I spent the week of the race getting out on the course to see the remaining miles and resting up as much as possible. Saturday was the Silver Rush 50 Bike. I went to watch the start and then back to see the finish. It was great to see local Wasatch SkiMo team member Tom Goth come in 6th. Utah took 3 of the top 6 spots.
I have started the liquid diet that has been working so well for Emily for the last couple years on the day before the race. So far after using this diet for 2 races, I have had great luck with limited GI issues while racing. The challenge of the diet is that you are eating (rather drinking) non-stop all day, but you just don’t feel fulfilled. Since a liquid diet takes a lot of planning in order to get enough (and quality) calories, I included my liquid calorie intake for the day before the race below. The beer was critical as I really feel that it relaxed me and allowed me a good night sleep.
Race morning I enjoyed my first cup of coffee in 2 weeks, a quick bowl of oatmeal and was off to the starting line. It was a cold morning (low 40s) so standing around the starting line left me cold, shivering,and worried I would not be able to get my legs warmed up. Luckily as soon as the race started we quickly warmed up with the climb up Dutch-Henri hill and the fast pace the lead group set once we started running at the top of the hill. I was feeling really good and the miles were clicking away quickly and I was running on a sub 8:30 pace. I was ecstatic with this since my goal was 9 hours, but I knew I needed to go sub 8:30 for my overall Leadman time and to keep from dropping more places in those standings. I was able to move in and out of aid stations in only the amount of time it took me to fill my water bottle and felt like I was being very efficient.
I reached Stumptown, the 25 mile turnaround, in 3:54, I quickly refueled from my drop back (new gel bottle, Roctaine powder for my water bottle, chugged an Ensure, and chased it with a Red Bull. My calculated 8:30 split was 4:04 and I left the aid station at 3:57. I was really happy with this split, but I knew I had a long way to go and had to keep it together. It was a long climb from Stumptown back up to Ball Mountain and I settled in for a mixture of running and steep hiking. I don’t know why, but for some reason after dropping down off the back side of Ball Mountain, I started to feel a little bit of cramping. This was the exact same spot I started cramping during the marathon, only I was at around 30 miles instead of 21 miles. I increased my Endurolyte intake and kept pushing the pace. After circling Ball Mountain, I know I had 2 long descents and only 1 climb left. I was worried about the final descent knowing that it would be a knee and quad trasher since it was a rolling 10 mile descent. Everything went great, I had a good last climb and started the descent carefully knowing I had a long way to go. For the most part I had been running mostly alone. At this point in the race, I was getting passed by a few people who were very strong descenders, but also catching some of the people who had gone out too hard and were fading so I had figured that I was maintaining about 20th place. In the final 3 miles, the wheels were starting to come off. My left knee was starting to hurt quite badly, my sesamoid bone issue on my right foot hurt, and my quads were trashed. I slowed more than I would have liked at this point (probably about 45-60 seconds/mile), but kept pushing it and was able to catch 1 more person during this time and pass 1 person who had passed me at around mile 45. I didn’t know if I had it in me to ‘race’ to the finish, but luckily, it seemed like no one else did either. When I knew I could finish in under 8:30, I was hoping to make 8:15, but I just couldn’t push the last 10 miles hard enough for that. I came across the finish line in 8:24:45 for 18th out of 479 racers. In my age division I was 10th out of 134. I was extremely happy with my race since I was able to set a PR by over an hour, felt great for almost the entire race, and fought off the cramps when they started to rear their ugly heads.
I drove back to Park City after the race and am glad to be home for 11 days before heading back to Leadville for 2 weeks of acclimatization and training before the next 3 races of the series – 100 mile mountain bike on August 11, 10K on August 12, and 100 mile run on August 18.
Silver Rush 50 Elevation Profile
And as part of a past post, here are some links to photos from the Leadville Marathon.