Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tahoe Rim Trail 50K - My First DNF

This race will be associated with one word for me: Sufferfest.

I was kind of expecting that, given the lackluster training I've been doing. And the fact that I hurt my foot a couple weeks ago (although it's felt completely better for over a week.) And the inexplicable shivering fever I went through two days before the race. But enough excuses.

Fact was, I really wasn't there mentally either. The first ten miles of the race, I couldn't even visualize finishing - my thoughts were on which aid station might be better to drop at. It wasn't until somewhere around mile ten, between Hobart and Tunnel Creek, that I started feeling confident that I'd make it.

Then came the Red House Loop. The ridiculous downhill, then the slogging uphill kicked my now nagging foot injury to scary stage. It was on the way up the last stretch of climb that I knew I'd have to quit.

OK, interlude from my histrionics. It was a gorgeous day. Here's some pictures:

Spooner Lake at just before 6AM - mist rising.

RD David Cotter giving the briefing with curlers in his beard.

Moo. Cattle call on the first part of the climb up to Marlette.

Spacing out a little. Just have to find the right pace group before this point...

Rare moment of running on this section. Note guy in the foreground wearing Vibrams Five Fingers for a 50K.

After the Hobart aid station, heading up again.

One of the first good views of the lake.

And pretty soon, looking east toward Washoe Lake.

Took this for the TRT sign. Wish I wouldn't have caught that guy, um - adjusting...

After the first big downhill on the Red House Loop, where the trail comes back in.

Starting up one of the big uphills out of Red House.

It was not long after that last picture that I decided it wouldn't be a good idea to continue. I'd been adjusting my stride and footfall the whole time, trying to find something that worked - a right foot heelstrike while running, and not pushing off with my toe while walking seemed to work best, but even that didn't last. Eventually, it hurt my forefoot to walk, while running made my ankle hurt. Alternating barely got me back to the Tunnel Creek Aid station.

I had a big lump in my throat as I approached the aid station director (Micheline-who's-not-my-wife-Micheline.) She took my tag and told me it would be a while for a ride, as their driver had just left to get more ice. I got some water and was looking for a place to sit down when the driver came back - he had forgotten the ice chest. Lucky me there - dodged a couple hour wait. Bumped down the hill, waited out Sand Harbor boat launch traffic, and made it back to Spooner. Some of the faster 50K runners were already at the finish - recognized Scott Dunlap, but couldn't remember his name, so didn't say hi. Basically just changed shoes, limped back to my car and drove home.

So, a question for the runners out there. This is my first DNF, so I don't know how it works - am I allowed to wear the t-shirt? (It's a nice Patagonia short-sleeve.) Or is it just going to remind me of a failure? Should I even consider this a failure? Or be proud that I was smart enough to quit instead of destroying my foot? There's psychological dimensions to this whole not finishing thing...

Oh, and congratulations to a couple runners I knew out there - Abbey, doing her first ultra, finished the 50K in 7:10 - great showing. And of course Gretchen on the 100M in just over 26 hours. Can't. WAIT. To read her recap. Thanks to all the volunteers as well, especially Micheline at Tunnel Creek, who was very understanding, and the driver dude whose name I can't remember (because I'm terrible with names) but who made that F350 go places I would have been scared to ride a mountain bike.

Moonlight Madness 5K - Summer edition

I've had a weird couple of weeks in running.

After a foot injury up on the Tahoe Rim Trail a couple weeks ago, I took a few days off running to let it recover. Then ran 3-5 miles a few times to test it out, and it felt pretty much 100%. Weekend houseguests and other life-type things didn't let me run much last week, and Thursday evening I went through a bout of 101 degree fever with uncontrollable shivering. Stayed home from work Friday, and by the evening I was ready to do a few easy miles to see how I felt for the Tahoe Rim Trail 50k on Saturday. The Moonlight Madness 5K presented a good opportunity to get out and have a little jog with friends.

This race has been run in December the last couple years. I hope they do the winter version of it again this year as well, because it's a fun race, and about a mile from my house. (Rode my bike down to it this year.) Bur fellow Team Library Dorkers Amber and Dave were going to be running it this year, and Chris was going to show up and see how he felt. (Not solid enough to run, unfortunately. Sorry, man...)

First off went the kids race - a half miler and a one mile, for different ages. Amber's kids ran the mile, and seemed to have a good time. Unfortunately, they ran out of medals in between when they finished, so one twin got one and the other didn't. Kind of a bummer. Here's some photos of them:

We watched the 10K start:

And then lined up for the 5K start. Had to take a picture of pink tights guy:

Most of my pictures during the race ended up pretty blurry. Here's one of Amber and Dave, for example:

After a turn, some of the race stretched out behind us:

As it got a little darker, my autoflash triggered. I don't think Amber was expecting it...

I was figuring about 30 minutes would be a good leisurely pace for this course. Ended up at 29:58, so that was about right. Everything felt good, so I was ready to head up to Spooner Lake in the morning for the Tahoe Rim Trail 50K.

Monday, July 5, 2010

TRT Fave Run - Tahoe Meadows to Spooner

As my half-assed preparation for the TRT 50K this year, I needed a decent sized trail run this weekend. My favorite section of the TRT seemed like the obvious choice, and things worked out well so the rest of my family could meet me at Spooner and shuttle me back to my car. As a last minute addition, I happened to get in touch with Adam Bradley, who was looking for a similar distance to do. I ended up taking a bunch of pics of him in in his new Hammer Nutrition shirt - they're a sponsor of his backpacking and had just sent it. Here's a few of them -

It was a perfect day out - nice cool breeze up at the top, as clear as you could ask for. We met my wife and kids at Spooner Lake and had a little picnic, then shuttled back home.

Unfortunately, I got a little banged up out there. You know the little trick where you kick up a rock or stick with one foot, then trap it between your feet on the next step? Yep, did that with a solid stick somewhere around mile 12 of 24. Didn't think much about it until almost mile 20, which is when it started hurting. I was limping pretty good by the time we got to Spooner. Two days later, and it still feels wrong - icing helps, but compressing it makes it hurt more. May be heading to the doctor this week.