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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blood, Sweat and Beers Trail Half Marathon Race Report

I don't travel for work often, but when the opportunity came up to attend a conference in Vegas within days of a trail race in the desert, I had to jump on it.  After 3 days of Data Warehousing classes, my wife and I played around in Red Rock Canyon on Friday and made it to another Canyon (Bootleg), near Boulder City on Saturday for this year's edition of Blood, Sweat, and Beers.

Interesting Nevada History during the prohibition days

Sweet medal lineup.  Yes...they're bottle openers!

It was our first race in Nevada, yet alone in the desert.  We weren't sure what to wear, but knowing the sun would be out and temps in the 40s and 50s, I opted for shorts and a short sleeve shirt.  Coming from PA and growing accustomed to winter runs in the teens and 20s, this felt like summer (or at least spring).  We were definitely in the minority, as most folks showed up in long sleeves and pants.

Who wears short shorts?
The race started about 20 minutes late, due to some last minute registration and head counts.  The 30K and Half Marathon runners started off at 9:20am, and the 10K'ers (including the wife) around 5 minutes later.

Having some recent shin splint issues, I hadn't run all week but felt surprisingly good throughout the entire race.  There were some decent short climbs around mile 6 that left the quads burning, but overall it was just a great time to be roaming around the hills east of Vegas.  There was one particularly playful section around mile 9, hugging the hillside and winding through various small canyons that I really, really enjoyed.  The view above the golf course was an interesting green canvas among the sea of brown (why do races always bring me alongside golf courses?!?).

Aid stations were well stocked and staffed, I didn't really take any nutrition at any of the 3 I passed, only stopping briefly at the second for some HEED.  My water bottle and stash of Powerbar Energy Blasts were enough for 2 or so hours on the trail.

Killer bike jumps
The only issue came in at around mile 12 where the orange flags marking the course disappeared.  I took a left turn which in hindsight was correct, but ended up turning around after about a half mile of not spying any flags.  Several others followed me and we eventually made our way back to the finishing area, adding about a half mile on to the course via the wrong direction.

Admittedly, I came through the finish line a little frustrated and I apologize to the race organizers that I bitched at a bit.  But some great fellowship with other runners, and (unattended) coolers full of cold local craft beer from Joseph James Brewing Company made up for it pretty quickly.  What more could a guy ask for after running for two hours!?!?

Post race smiles
After the race we made it over into Arizona for a geocache, then a quick visit the nearby Hoover Dam, and lunch at The Dillinger in Boulder City.  I highly recommend the Dillinger Burger.  A Burger, Bacon, and Brisket...yep, it was awesome.

On a geeky note, I found it interesting when I uploaded the activity to Strava and Garmin Connect that the distances were vastly different, around 0.6 miles.  Based the mileage recorded on my watch, Garmin is more accurate.  I believe Strava only takes most of the data points recorded on the GPX/FIT file, making several of the short twists and turns not read on that application.

The activities can be found at the links below if you're curious:

Garmin Connect

Even with the SNAFU towards the end, I would totally run this race again.  I can't express how much fun it was to experience a completely different trail run than I'm used to.  Some individuals got a chance to do just that, as the race offered a night time option for all day distances, plus a 5K.  We didn't have time for a second run though, Anthony Jeselnik's comedy show at the Mirage was calling...and we were ready to be offended.

Thank you to all the volunteers and organizers for putting on the event.  It was great to snatch up the opportunity to do a little work and a little play in sin city.

1 comment:

  1. Ah. I Can't Believe How Cold It Was! And I Can't Believe How Much Farther You Ran! Good Thing We Didn't Do The night Run.