Monday, September 29, 2008

Lake Tahoe Marathon - Full Report

I probably should have just done the half. It was kind of interesting, though, to see how my body would respond to a marathon on the amount of miles I've been doing recently - which was about to be expected, I guess. OK, here was my day yesterday:

Alarm set for 4:30. Actually got out of bed at 4:20, breakfast and coffee, final arrangements.

Left shortly after 5:00 to drive up to South Lake Tahoe and the Horizon Hotel/Casino;

Where I caught a 6:40 shuttle bus around the east side of the lake to Tahoe City and the start line.

Milled around trying to stay warm (by about 15 minutes before the start, I was comfortable in shorts and a sleeveless shirt) and headed out at 8:30.

I was able to keep my pace on track for a PR or a 4:00 finish through just over half the race, but when the hills started at mile 15, my body was done. Walked up all of the Hill from Hell, and walked up the steeper hill coming out of Emerald Bay, as well. I knew I was hurting a bit when I felt like walking even on some of the downhills. The last five miles crept by, and I walked and ran when I could.

Finished in 4:24:32, almost 30 minutes off my PR here last year.

(Jeez, look at that elevation profile...)

Felt kind of woozy at the finish line, and ended up unintentionally playing a kind of That's Good/That's Bad:

Had a bootle of water to rehydrate - that made me feel better.

Drank a Borba water, which they were giving away tons of - that made me feel worse.

Soaked in the lake for a few minutes, dunking my head and splashing my face - that made me feel better.

Had a hot dog in the food line - that made me feel worse.

Saw a booth selling smoothies, which sounded refreshing, and had a mango one - that made me feel better.

Drank it too fast and got a brain freeze - that made me feel worse.

Kind of a roller coaster, there. I limped back to the bus, shuttled back to my car, and made the drive back to Reno somehow more awake than I expected to be.

A "destination" marathon like Tahoe draws quite a crowd - a few notable people I met/saw:

An ex-coworker from the golf course in Sunriver Oregon, who retired a few years ago and now travels around in his RV doing marathons.

An Austrian named Franz (?) who was going about my pace and passed me back and forth throughout the race, but must have had problems near the end, because he was finishing as I was walking toward the buses.

A woman who did the Tahoe Triple (three marathons in three days) with her tiny, 6 pound dog, Cheerio. Wow.

And of course, I got to say hi to Peter Lubbers, the winner of the Super Triple (Friday and Saturday marathons, 72 mile ultra on Sunday) I think I heard his finish announced, but couldn't seem to find him in the big mess of post-race craziness.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lake Tahoe Marathon. Early report.

Well, I made goal 3 - to finish. Hills and distance did me in. Finished in 4:24. More later, when I can think again...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Race Goals

I've heard people who are experienced runners talking about their goals for a race, and they seem to often have more than one. That is, and "all out" goal, a medium goal, and a fall back goal. I don't know all the psychology behind this, but it seems to make sense to me. My first race of this year, the Reno Rock 'n' River Half Marathon, I just had one major goal. When I realized in the second half that I wasn't going to make it, I didn't know how to feel. So, despite the fact that the Tahoe Marathon this Sunday isn't a race that I've specifically trained for, I think I can come up with a series of goals.

1. PR. That would be anything under 3:54:14, from last year's Tahoe Marathon. Now, this isn't as crazy a goal as it seems - Tahoe last year was only my second marathon, my first being way back in 1999. And my training for last year's mostly consisted of trail running on the TRT, not focused marathon training. The specific training I did for the half marathon this spring definitely made me a much faster runner than I was last year, and I seem to have kept much of that despite sickness and orthopedic issues this year.

2. 4:00:00. Well, it's nice to have a round number to try to beat. If I'm close to the PR but just aren't quite going to make it, I can at least shoot for the big 4.

3. Finishing. If I'm not under 4 hours, I just want to finish on my feet. Honestly, I don't know what's going to happen out there in the second half - I haven't run over 13 miles since the TRT 50K back in July. It's mostly going to hinge on how I feel for the hills - the Tahoe course has a big one from mile 15 to 17, and a sneaky one from mile 19 to 20. Best I can do is set an easy, steady pace up to the hills, grind them out as best I can, and hold on for the downhill and flat finish.

Cheers to the Tahoe Triple and Super Triple runners like Peter, who will be starting out this morning. "Jumping from an airplane nuts" indeed...

Oh, just a little trot around the neighborhood this morning to keep loose. Might do the same tomorrow, maybe not.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Same old...

Did my standard little five-mile loop this morning - I won't bother posting a map of it; It's the same route I did a few days ago. Even came in within 30 seconds of my time on my last trip around that loop. Honestly, I think this is part of my motivation problem right now - I'm tired of running the same places over and over. Gonna have to find some new routes in town to run...

At least I felt good this morning - one of those "I could keep going forever" runs. Hope I feel that way on Sunday.

Monday, September 22, 2008

This should be interesting...

Earlier this summer, I was thinking about what I wanted to do race-wise this fall. I had designs on doing 3 marathons in 3 weeks - Tahoe, Portland and Reno. Maybe trying to PR each one, getting a little faster on each. The Portland trip ended looking too expensive, so I thought I'd just do the two local ones, with a weekend in between for recovery. Then hip issues took about a month of good training time, and a pretty serious cold knocked me out for a couple more weeks. Now it's a week away from Tahoe, the longest run I've done in the last two months has been 9 miles, and I'm wondering how this weekend is going to go. I'm pretty confident that I'll have enough endurance to make it through the 26, but I've got NO idea how fast I'll be.

Kind of weird now, being in a tapering situation with nothing to taper from...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Journal Jog

Today was one of the Reno running scene's major fun events of the year, the Reno Gazette-Journal "Journal Jog." I used to kind of boycott this, thinking it was just going to be a big messy zoo, but got talked into it last year and really enjoyed myself. It's an 8K course, pretty flat and near the Truckee River, and the Start/Finish area is only about a mile from my house, so I can ride my bike to it.

Met my friend Amber near the start and hung out in the press of people before the start. I ran it with her last year, but her back has been hurting this year, so she thought she would be slow. She was hoping to break 50 minutes; I was hoping for sub-40 minutes. We had kind of a messy start, and spread out a little. The course was run counter-clockwise this year, the opposite of last year. Through Idlewild park, along the river to Chrissie Caughlin Park, then up to Mayberry, back down Sherwood to California, then down Hunter lake back to the start. After I finished (38 minutes, but I didn't click my watch for another 30 seconds), I turned around and backtracked through the crowds to see if I could find Amber behind me. I'd barely got back past the finishing chutes, and there she was! She finished in 42 something; beating her last year's time, even! Serious kudos to her.

Fun race, perfect weather. Can't ask for much more.

OK, official time was 38:05. 232nd overall, 190th male, 26th in my age group, with an average 7:39 pace. Good enough.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I ran! I ran!

Yeah, big news, I know. This IS a running blog, after all. But, it's been a while since health and motivation combined to let me get out and run. (11 days, apparently. Jeez.) With an 8k race coming up this weekend, though, and a marathon the next weekend (more on that later), I thought I'd better get out for a few miles.

Basic little 5 mile loop. Felt pretty good. Hip solid, still snorting up some yummy phlegm, but seems to be subsiding. I'm pretty glad that my body seems to want to run again...

(Dunno what happened to my heart rate strap near the end there. No reason for my heart to spike to 200 bpm on the last easy downhill...)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Not back?

Apparently, news of my returning to serious training have been greatly exaggerated. Had that nice run on Saturday morning, and came down with some kind of serious cold right after. My son and I seem to have caught what his little sister had last week. He seems to be improving, but I'm getting worse. Today's going to be spent not at work, not out running, but on the couch trying to find the energy to just do some reading...

Saturday, September 6, 2008


50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days -- and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance! 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days -- and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance! by Dean Karnazes

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Kind of surprised myself; I ran right through this book in one marathon session. (Sorry - couldn't help myself.) Anyway... I enjoyed this more than I expected to. Never been a big Karnazes fan, for no particular reason, but picked this, his latest, up for a quick read. The description of his 50 marathons in 50 days is fascinating, both from a logistical and endurance standpoint. He intersperses the travelogue (runalogue?) with lots of tips for runners, from beginners to endurance runners. (These might be helpful for beginners, but otherwise they're pretty much common sense or personal preference.) I was both impressed and a little turned off by Karnazes' humility. On the one hand, he unfailingly brings other people in to share his triumphs. His "I'm just an average guy" schtick, though - gets a little old - there's something decidedly UN-average about ultrarunners; even more so about people who win ultras, and he's even in a zone of his own beyond that. So: good, inspiring running book.

View all my reviews.

Balloon run (but not really)

I was in the mood for a longer run this morning, and wanted to recreate a run I did last year - where I ended up the run winding through the crowd of people trying to find parking for the Balloon Races and got a good view of the Dawn patrol. Well, I succeeded on one front...

I headed down to the river, ran west to McCarran, and up the big hill and down to the top of Keystone. Took my little shortcut, and expected to crest the rise and see hot air balloons, lit up in a pre-dawn "glow-show." Guess I just missed that part. I was too early for the mass ascension, too - so I really didn't see any balloons at all, at least until I got back home and looked out my window. What I DID find was a huge 5:00 AM traffic jam, all people looking for parking spots, content to wait in traffic for 20 minutes instead of walking 4 blocks. It was pretty fun to run through the middle of that, apparently oblivious...

Kept it slow this morning on purpose - still trying to figure out if I'm doing a fall marathon, so I'm keeping my options open...

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Made myself get out for an early run this morning. Thanks to my "followers" (just the one so far?) for motivating me to get back on the road. Did my standard 5-something mile loop, and felt pretty good. My times weren't great, but I HAVE just taken a whole week off, and it was supposed to be an easy run, anyway. Wish I could find a way to get out about an hour later - it's still dark when I get home now, and I really do like running as the sun comes up.

Had a nice realization about running this morning. Despite feeling kinda lame, worrying about my hip (which was feeling pretty good) and being down about my training; I started feeling like I wanted to start being serious about running again. I even thought to make a goal for next year of a few age group places in different distances. Kind of like back when I had just started running, got that first runners high, and thought "It feels like I could do this all day! Maybe I should run a marathon..." Running makes me feel like I can do anything. And then when I actually try, I find I usually can.