Running on dirt: Feeling the thrill of the race | SierraSun.com

Running on dirt: Feeling the thrill of the race

Peter Fain
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE and#8212; I have many friends who are loyal to their morning runs. They get out there, get three shoes dirty and feel a sense of accomplishment after finishing 3 to 5 miles. Thatand#8217;s great and is one of the best parts of running. But for those of you who hesitate for one reason or another, this story is for you.

Racing is so much more than standing at a starting line with a belly full of butterflies and fear of failure. It is the reward for all those quiet solo mornings out on the trails; it is the opportunity to be around like-minded people and support them while they support you; it is an accomplishment to finish; often it is a new discovery. And those butterflies, theyand#8217;re ammo. They will give you that burst of energy when you start that you donand#8217;t normally have when by yourself.

Itand#8217;s worth a try. Trail racing is more about challenging a trail than it is beating that guy next to you. Iand#8217;d rather come home with my best performance, not in first, than a first place where I shuffled through. But thatand#8217;s just me. I will admit, it can be intimidating when you are and#8220;Joe 3-day-a-week joggerand#8221; and youand#8217;re standing on the starting line surrounded by sponsored athletes. To that I say and#8212; donand#8217;t let your ego get the better of you. Besides, there are many options to race where you can avoid that scenario.

For one. the Truckee Running Club hosts a series of races throughout the summer that are low key, cheap and fun. Theyand#8217;re usually 3-4 miles long and scheduled in the late afternoons midweek, so you can give it a shot rather than mess up your weekend plans. Contact Lucia Lake lkolkin@yahoo.com for all the details.

Then there is Todd Jacksonand#8217;s Big Blue Adventure trail races. Again you can choose a nice short distance, or you can do a full marathon. The first of the season is this weekend at Burton Creek in Tahoe City. Check out http://www.bigblueadventure.com for the full summer schedule. Todd does a really great job in creating unique and beautiful courses to run. Thereand#8217;s the Squaw Valley mountain run, always a popular favorite.

With some planning you can tackle the big races of our area. One of them is the Tahoe Rim Tail (50/50/100), or if your feeling gutsy, thereand#8217;s the world renowned Western States run (which is next weekend). These two I just mentioned take some work to get into. Tahoe Rim sells out the day registration opens, and for Western States, you have to qualify to be entered into a lottery. Start with the Tahoe Rim trail race, itand#8217;s my favorite. Dave Cotter, the race director, puts together an incredible experience. The aid stations are great, the volunteers are outstanding and the course is breath taking. I hope to see you at some summer races.

and#8212; Peter Fain is a local trail runner who competes regularly in regional trail races and snowshoe runs in the winter. He may be contacted at runondirt@gmail.com.