Monday, September 28, 2009

2009 Lake Tahoe Marathon

Late September - time for the Tahoe Marathon. My training seems to hit a yearly slump just before this race, so I didn't feel completely prepared for it, but I dragged myself up there anyway. There was no race day packet pickup, so I had to drive the three+ hour round trip on Saturday, then leave home at 5 AM on Sunday to make the 6:30 shuttle from South Lake. Little tired at the start, but the energy of the crowd soon perked me up, as did seeing Gretchen and Peter at the start. Gretchen said she was running this as road conditioning for an upcoming ultra, the Helen Klein (which I can never remember the name of.) Peter's bid for his 4th straight Super Triple was snuffed by a permit snafu, so he was just going to enjoy the regular marathon as part of the Triple.

(photo courtesy of Peter Lubbers)

Here's a shot of the lineup behind me at the start:

First few miles are pretty flat and simple, and I was trying to keep my pace in the 8:30-8:40 range:

As hard as I tried, though, my overall pace slipped down to about 8:20-8:25. Kept an eye on the Garmin; it was usually less blurry than this:

Came on to our first lake views:

And heading into the middle miles,the sun started hitting pretty hard:

My plan for the "Hill From Hell" was to slow down, run as long as I could, then take 20-breath walk breaks. Worked pretty well - watched my pace slip back to 8:45 or so as I ticked off the elevation with the help of the signposts:

Swept around Emerald Bay, used the same tactic on the second big hill (pace up to 8:55,) then ran the downhill super-scenic section:

This last section has been my downfall every year - the two big hills take it out of me so much that I have to walk a little in the last 5 flat miles. Disappointing - had I run it in, I'm sure I could have had a PR. But I did enjoy the themed aid stations - here is the "North Pole," complete with Christmas tree:

And "Hogwarts," crewed by witches and wizards:

I was hoping to get a better picture up the finish chute, but here's the final few feet:

Here's the graph of my elevation and pace - all the pace spikes in the last flat part are where I lost my PR. I did finish under 4:00, though, at 3:56 and a second or two. Pretty happy with that despite the pain.

Caught a wave from Gretchen coming into the finish - the women's winner! Amazing. Chatted for a bit with Peter, then moseyed my way back to the shuttle buses and napped on my way back to the casino and my car. Stuck in a traffic jam (motorcycle accident) for about 40 minutes on my way home, too - lot of time in the car.


SnowLeopard said...

Wow! You inspire me- sticking through all of it despite the pain and the sun. I wish I could have run the half- I got stuck in the same traffic and road construction, and kept thinking, I could be running faster than I am driving right now! I love your rest tactic of 20-breath walk breaks~ I'll have to try that! :) Thanks for the great photos!

RunningLaur said...

What a gorgeous setting, and congrats on another marathon! That hill looks like no joke.

Peter Lubbers said...

Great to see you out there again, Turi! It was another beautiful day for a run.