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Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Great Silverado Footrace

Rain began to pour about 2AM last night, and I awoke about every hour.  5:30 AM, I finally said, "What the heck" and got out of bed.  I felt like I slept very little.  Rain continued to pour all morning.  6:45 or so, I hopped in the car to pick up donuts for the boys, and my Dad arrived soon after to take care of the household while we were gone.  That's right WE.  Dave was doing this race with me.  : )

I really wasn't too thrilled about running in the rain.  But at the same time, I wasn't gonna let The Great Silverado Footrace pass me by.  So, we left about 7:20 in the POURING RAIN, and the downpour continued all the way into Silverado Canyon.  We even hydroplaned on the freeway.

Waiting for the start (clean and warm), rain has ceased or at least slowed to a drizzle, maybe, just maybe the rain has stopped for good.  I've got 2 shirts on, a tank and a t-shirt, plus sleeves, a camelback full of water and two running belts (one in front, the other in back) -- in them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chapstick, gum, motrin, endurolytes, camera and phone, bandaids and a couple papertowels.  This is a self-supporting race.  No aid stations. 
Waiting to go, standing with Chris Diaz (who I have met on a few occassions, 09 Silverado Footrace & Calico, plus running Santiago Truck Trail in 08)

Me and Race Director, Chay Peterson

Me and hubby, raring to go -- rain has ceased!!  Why, you may wonder, the nerdy socks?  So that I don't end up with scratched and bloody calves.

Chay giving race instructions

At Start Line -- still no rain : )))))

The race began on the road, rain still refraining from falling. Then after hopping the guard rail, we went for a very short downhill stint, and the steep, muddy climb began. Being toward the back of the pack made the climb more difficult with the slippery terrain torn up from the front runners. Relief came with the down hill. We squeezed through a barbed-wire fence. We climbed down a rock face, with the aid of a rope. Wearing gloves, I found going down that rope much easier than climbing it last year.

Heat built up inside my rain jacket. Finally, I stopped to tie it around my waist. Dave folded his up tight and tucked it away neatly somewhere (I'm still not sure where : ). I'm not like that, I'm quick and sloppy -- just get the job done. But that hanging jacket annoyingly caught on the thicket, and I wished I had taken the time to fold it away. I really had no such place to tuck it though. The socks however, worked out great. While sticks poked into my face, and knees, they also tore at my socks. And my calves took no harm. : )
Breath Taking! Looking back on Holtz Ranch, Silverado Canyon (notice the picture at top of my blogspot, same scene, different year : )

So, so slippery

Racing thru the forest, crawling at times beneath branches, feet sinking in mud

Branches/trees thin out, mud coats the shoes

And then the rain began to fall. The climb seem to go on forever. There were spots were I crawled like a cat, the climb was so steep. And there were times, when I could not get a grip on the land, I kept sliding downhill when I was supposed to go up. One point was so tough, the sweeper (I believe his name was Jeff) directed me around the slippery climb, where I could grip my feet into the leaf litter. It was tough, tough, tough. I had to use heavy duty uppper body strength to pull off the feat. Dave pushed me from the rear to get me up one slippery slope. Other times, as I slid backward, I grabbed onto trees and shrubs, hoping I wasn't going to yank them right out of the wet dirt.

I kept that rain jacket tied around my waist for a long time. Branches tore at my limbs as I braced my foot on rocks in the mud.   Dave and I switched off who led.  I hoped for the rain to cease.  Though it did not, I didn't feel cold.  I continued to snap photos, and I continued to offer words of encouragement to Dave.  Though, I don't think that helped.  I think it would have been better to shut my mouth.  Things like, "we're almost to the top," "don't look at the top," "put one foot in front of the other," or "breathe through your diaphragm," he didn't need me to tell him that.  Hubby was very kind though and took this from me.  I'm a teacher by nature (& profession) and I'm always trying to find ways to make things easier for people -- which is how I get through these physical feats.  I come up with ways to make it easier.  Like DON'T LOOK AT THE TOP OF THE HILL.  Just keep going forward.  Have some mantra to repeat again and again.  It can be, "forward, forward, forward," or something more complicated, like a poem or a song.

Anyway, we joked and even sang a tad, remembering lines from movies as we slid up and down that mountainside.  And the rain came down more.   And the wind blew cold.  But it was a beautiful sight, a beautiful, slippery, grinding sight.

More Climbing Ahead

What we've been through, where we're going back to

Self-portrait -- I'm looking pretty ragged and old here, but I'm gonna put it in anyway : ) 

Downhills weren't always easier, because it was so slippery and muddy (notice orange ties in bottom right corner -- we followed these)  HOWEVER, I think that I am mistaken -- this is an uphill, I am looking back to take this photo.  Still, the same holds true; the downhills were tough as well.

So close, but yet so far!

These were the easy parts, when there’s leaf litter to dig into and rocks to grip onto.

The terrain got a little easier, that is the climbs were less steep.  But the hillside was much muddier.  My Salomon shoes held up great.  Toward the end though, I plunked my foot directly in the creek.  From then on out, I had a few pieces of gravel in my shoes.  Ouch.  I also fell twice toward the end of this race.  Once flat on my back, but it was more of a slide than a fall, so I'm not adding it to my fall talley.  I twisted my shoulder some, but nothing terrible.  The next time I fell was on that final descent, homeward bound trip.  I just slipped going downhill, again which is why I'm not adding it to my fall count.  I'm not adding it, because eventhough I ended up on my back, it wasn't an actual "fall" that got me there -- it was a slip due to the mud.  That second "slip" I don't recall injurying anything. 

When we finally hit the road, I ran it in all the way, because I just gotta cross the finish line running.  But I'll tell you, I really wiped out my hip.  It's like I'm back to square one with my injury.  (Hopefully, it will be better tomorrow -- more about that then tomorrow :)

Back at the community center they had an awesome spread of food laid out for all of us -- pork and chicken fahitas, cookies, drinks, etc.  We both filled up our plates.  Dave however said that he didn't even feel like eating.  I however, was famished and ate up. 

Just after crossing the finish line

Can you believe, after all that, more than three hours in the mountains, we only traversed five miles!  Anyone who is local -- you've got to do this race -- it's the toughest around.  Seriously.  I have been in some tough races.  Calico was tough.  But I've done that NINETEEN  miles in less than 5 hours.  Bulldog 25k was tough, but I did those FOURTEEN miles in less time than these FIVE miles today.  My best 5 miles is around 48 minutes.  Hopefully that gives you some kind of idea of the difficulty of The Great Silverado Footrace.  I highly recommend you do it if you can.

To borrow someone else's words, I'm sure, HAPPY RUNNING.  (That's right, those are Jessica Deline's words : ) 

Miles logged today:  5
Injuries:  Minor -- scraped and bruised left knee.  Not-so-minor:  my hip, it's red and swollen and hot to the touch and aches (I contribute the setback to my hip from slidding downhill)  Ice, ice, ice -- that's my remedy tonight.  That, plus motrin. 


  1. Lauren, Great story! I enjoyed hanging with you and Dave yesterday. Even though it is a tough race, I know we all had a good time. "Sweeper" Jeff

  2. Thanks Jeff for all your help. Can you believe how sunny and beautiful it is today???

  3. Great pictures, and a very tough race!

  4. Very inspiring! I hope you heal well and quickly.

  5. Thanks to all of you! It was a great time. Can't wait to do it again next year. Melissa and Tom, perhaps you will join us : )

  6. Have you ever tried Salomon shoes before. I am looking into buying some new running shoes and just looking for ideas.

  7. Hi Nathan. Sorry it took me so long to respond. Your message disappeared after I read it, for some reason Google moved it to SPAM, and I just found it.

    These were my first pair of Salomon shoes, and I wanted to like them so much. They are very nice shoes, nice lacing system, good traction on dry trails. But I really rarely wear them. 1) they have too much toe room for me (& I don't have small feet) and 2) traction is terrible on wet rock, or basically anything wet or damp. I still do wear them, but just for short hikes.

    Hope you found a pair of shoes you like. I pretty much always buy New Balance.