Race Report: Blood, Sweat & Beers

photo source: http://www.bloodsweatbeers.com

A couple of months ago as I was putting together my training calender I was looking for races that matched distances I needed to cover for training purposes. During my search I came across the “Blood, Sweat & Beers” trail run scheduled for July 28, 2013. The 10.5 miles offered on the beautiful trails in Auburn, CA fit perfectly for me with my 10 miles planned for my training that day. This is a run I completely forgot about because the last few years it has always conflicted with The San Francisco Marathon, and for those of you that are regular readers of my blog know that the SF Marathon trumps all races for me.

Packet Pick Up – Saturday July 27
The event which is managed and put on by Fleet Feet Sacramento, had an early packet pick up at the Sacramento location, which made it convenient for me since I was attending an event in the Mid Town area that day. Like most packet pick ups at Fleet Feet the process was simple, walk through the store and head straight to the back where all of the goodies were being handed out.

The pick up took about 2 minutes to grab my bib, safety pins and shirt. Since this is only my second trail run, the numbers at packet pick up seem to be smaller due to the limited field sizes, which makes the process nice and quick.

the race “swag”

Race Day – Sunday July 28

Railhead Park

With a 7:30 wave 1 start, I headed up to Railhead Park in Auburn. When I arrived around 6:45 there was plenty of parking at the park and surrounding areas. The environment was pretty low key but still had plenty of onlookers for the 2 race distances being offered. There is the 10.5 mile distance as well as a 5.9 mile distance.

As the time started to get closer to the first of 3 waves for the 10.5 mile distance, runners started to gather at the start line. I was excited to mix in this fun trail run as part of my training and to be honest I wasn’t really sure what I was in store for outside of what the website had posted about the trail and course.

“The Blood Sweat and Beers Trail Run is nestled in the American River Canyon. The course has rocks, roots (to keep you on your toes or on your face), lot’s of dirt, hills, and wildlife. Both the Long Course (10.5 Miles) and Short Course (5.9 Miles) are a challenging mix of single track trail, a cool canal system, unimproved dirt roads with just a hint of paved roads to keep things interesting. So leave your pretty racing flats at home and accept the challenge to have some dirty fun!”

The horn went off and we were on our way through the park and headed onto a little pavement before hitting the stretch of single track running. During this time I was able to run along some familiar faces including one of my former athletes I coached, Justin. We actually ran most of the event together, though I had to show him I could still leave him by crossing the finish line just before him :).

course elevation chart from http://www.bloodsweatbeers.com

The mix of various terrains did keep thing interesting, I am so glad I didn’t kick rocks or tree roots end end up on my race, however some other runners found them and got a bit dirty. The up and down trails kept things nice and challenging while some of the flatter areas allowed me to keep a steady pace and groove. One thing I noticed about trail running that differs from road running is that walking up some challenging hills is okay and just part of what you do to get to the top.

10.5 miles completed time for a beer

Throughout the course the age stations were awesome as they were fully stocked with water and electrolytes. The volunteers also provided tons of energy with their words of encouragement and ringing of cowbells throughout.

After working back up towards Railhead Park, I made my way to the finish at a time of 1:33:29 and watched a few other runners cross before heading to the Hoppy Brewery beer tent. I figured I had to at least partake in 2 of the 3 parts of the name of the event. There was definitely some sweat going on, I was fortunate enough to avoid the blood, so I had to grab a beer. Each runner over the age of 21 was provided 2 beers of their choice.

Save a Medal, Drink a Beer

For those of you looking for a shorter trail run and an introduction to trail running, this is the perfect event. Be aware that this event sold out pretty early for both the long and short distances.

chatting it up post run with Clint (@ClintLikesBeer)

Have you ran a trail race before? Do you ever use races as part of training?

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