Race Recap: 2013 Reno Galena Fest
Reno NV Sunday
September 29, 2013

This was the 5th year of Reno Galena Fest but my first year running it. I was training to run it last year but found out I was pregnant just a couple of weeks before the event. I am a little shaky on trails and have been known to fall down regularly so I made the decision last year to back out. So, this year was my chance to conquer my first trail race.

From the Reno Galena Fest website
The Wicked Thorn – 7.25 mile Trail Run
Taking advantage of the most scenic trails in The Galena Forest, “The Wicked Thorn” trail run accommodates runners of all calibers. Participants will find the entire 7.25 miles challenging and rewarding.

Galena Fest Map
Galena Fest Profile

The race was scheduled to start at 9:30am, so we arrived at the park nice and early to pick up our race packets, watch the start of the mountain bike race (another huge attraction of this festival) and make sure the baby was happy and secure with his grandparents who graciously came with us to allow both of us to run. When I stepped out of the car my first thought was “damn its cold and yuck it’s windy!” but I quickly embraced that cold running is still 1000 times better than hot running. This is a pretty small race but check-in was super easy and organized and there were a decent number of clean portable bathrooms, a totally happy pre-race situation for me!

We don't want to get out of the truck!

We don’t want to get out of the truck!

As we started to line up at the start, the race provided approximate areas to start based on your expected mile times. Being my first trail run and still being unsure since I have started running again, I positioned myself just behind the 12 min/mile pace flag. Final results show that there were 210 runners.

My husband, who ran this last year, said his biggest piece of advice was to pace myself and remember that since the majority of this run was an out and back, any hill I climbed I would get to come down and anything I came down I would have to go back up. This actually proved to be really motivating for me. The trail itself had some tight, relatively narrow areas. A couple of time I ended up behind some athletes walking which forced me to change my strategy, it wasn’t all about when I needed a break but instead how to manage myself with the others around me too. Since I was running this for fun, I didn’t totally mind this but if in the future I can run more competitively, I will make sure to start in a faster pace group. The majority of the trail was fairly protected from the wind expect the top peek where the wind provided me with a huge gust dirt to the face! There were also probably four times where I was sure I was actually going to fall but managed to save myself (and my knees and palms) by flailing my arms and finding my balance and I’m sure looking totally amazing at the same time. Those were my only downfalls of this race (and weather and my lack of balance cannot be controlled!). The trail was beautiful, the volunteers along the course were friendly and encouraging, and there were a couple of water stations along the run. The race used chip timing so my results were accurate and the finish line was surrounded by cheering spectators and an announcer welcoming you in. The post-race festival was stocked with food and beer and results were being placed almost instantly. I ended up finished in 1:32:29, 153rd overall and 39th of 55 in women’s age 30-39. My husband finished in 1:18:06, 80th overall and 13th of 22 in men’s 30-39.

Post race family picture!

Post race family picture!

I can’t wait to run this race again next year! It was not super expensive, especially because the organizers offered Groupon and Living Social deals and also offered discount codes for following them on Facebook. It was really organized and on time. They had a fun festival atmosphere set up that was fun for runners and also for spectators and supporters. Overall, this is an event I would highly recommend to anyone who likes to run trails or anyone looking to try it out. Thank you so much Reno Galena Fest for a great first trail race!!!

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