The Canyons 50K is a new race. It covers 16 miles of the Western States course and it is tough! The race contains 9714 feet of elevation gain over 32 miles. It starts in Foresthill (mile 62 of WS), runs to the base of Devil's Thumb (mile 46) and heads back the same way, back to Foresthill.
|The views were fabulous!|
It was my 11th wedding anniversary. Somehow, I was able to convince my wife to let me go off to run all day in the wilderness, hours from home. I'm really lucky to have such a loving and supportive wife! I would have run long the day before if I could find someone to run with. The Western States canyons are fairly remote and can be dangerous for anyone running alone, unsupported, and in the heat! And unless you know the trails, the chances of getting lost are pretty high.
|The charred trees on the Devil's Thumb climb is sad - but it helps us appreciate the green forests a little more.|
After contacting the race director, I was able to sign up, minutes before the start of the race when a handful of runners did not show up. I think I was the only race day entrant!
|I was full of energy climbing Devil's Thumb! Hopefully I can do that again at Western States!|
It was a great day to run, out on such beautiful trails. The volunteers were all fabulous, as usual. And the fellow runners I got to run with were all amazing. I took it really easy for the first 16 miles. For me, it was just a long training run and I took my time socializing with everyone out there. At the turnaround, after running down Devil's Thumb, we get to hike back up it!
|Gretchen Brugman took this picture of me shortly after I climbed Devil's Thumb|
It took about 4 hours and 7 minutes to cover the first 16 miles. My legs felt super fresh, so I decided to work a little harder in the second half. I passed a bunch of people and ran up some of the hills. I took my time to eat and drink at the aid stations, and just had a blast! I finished the second half in around 3 hours and 48 minutes and felt great. I would have added some bonus miles, but my left toe was bugging me a little, so I just called it a day and drove home (3 hours away).
|This is "Devil's Thumb", a rock formation that looks like a black thumb! The view is obstructed - it was the best I could do without scrambling off the hillside.|
There were a lot of special details I left out - particularly about the new friends I made that made this run so special. One new friend, and Western States finisher, will be pacing me at Western States! I was also chatting with someone who remembered me from the American River 50 way back in 2010. He remembers me because I blew by him near the finish line! Since we were getting close to the finish line of the Canyons 50K, there was no way I was going to try the same thing again!