The QuickSilver trail race includes a 50M, 50K, and 25K distance. The course is tough, but fair. I estimate 80% of it is on fire road, with almost no technical track. I think anyone interested in running trails at this distance would enjoy this race.
My experience started off odd because I switched distances for the first time…and I did it during the race. I was supposed to run the 50M but I ended up running the 50K. You know those runs where you get going and think, “I really don’t feel like being out here today. I just want to go back home.” Well, that was how I felt this morning, but I had a 10-11 hour run in front of me. At around mile 9 I decided that having 22 miles to go sounded better than having 41 miles to go. I was running with another woman who said, “You aren’t dropping from the 50-miler, you are joining the 50K.” I liked that. I don’t get an official time, but I don’t care. I had my Garmin and that was good enough for me.
The irony is that the day ended up being probably my best ultra performance. My 5:49 time is not a 50K PR, but this course was much harder than my 5:36-er at Lake Chabot last year. My time was almost 30 minutes faster than Way Too Cool two months ago.
Now the race.
It’s great because it is so close to home (20-25 minutes from Morgan Hill), and starts at 6AM (I was done before noon). You can’t beat that. Next, you get nice medals at the end (for all distances) — rare for an ultra or trail run — and an unexpectedly nice shirt. Luckily the shirt says “50K and 50M” so I can still wear it 🙂
I train on QuickSilver and it can be very tough. There are decent climbs around every corner. Having said that, I found it totally runnable for 21 miles and a perfect course for me. However… from 21-31 it is brutal. You go up steady for four miles, and then get a one mile reprieve, which is quickly followed by a number of very steep ups and downs all the way to mile 30.5. From there it is down to the finish. Hard hard hard. I ran the first 24 miles in 4:15, and the final 7 in 1:34.
The only downer of the day was that they took forever to return our drop bags. After waiting over an hour I ended up leaving to join my family at a Scouts event and then went back for my bag.
I encourage any ultra-freak, and those who want to give ultrarunning a try, to add QuickSilver to the calendar. I ran almost the entire course with a first timer. She was fantastic, and ended up beating me by a few minutes. I then enjoyed the post-race eating with her and her friends, all first timers. On the other end of the spectrum, I enjoyed a lovely post-race chit chat with a man training for Western States. He said that many Western States runners run Miwok 100K (took place last weekend), followed by QuickSilver. Clearly, the race meets the needs of all levels of ultra-runners. I plan to come back next year and do a better job on those final 10 miles!
And finally, so why did I have trouble staying out there for the full 50M? Why did I “just want to go home?”
It wasn’t because I wasn’t trained. I was. I am in the best running shape of my life. It was because my 9-year old broke into tears the night before when he learned I was racing. He thought that meant I was going out of town again. He asked me to stop running all together. Said I race once a month (he is right!) and that it’s too much. I had no idea he felt like this and it weighed on my mind throughout the first 10 miles. I knew if I cut it short at the 50K, I would make his Cub Scout activity at 2:00. When I arrived at the Scout-o-Rama, my son basically tackled me with hugs. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Kelly Historic Park, and then our whole family went to dinner and saw a movie. I will do 50 miles again, but I am glad that today I came home early.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!