It's a pretty common assertion that you get out of things about what you put into them. In this case, I put very little effort into training for the Lake Tahoe Marathon, but may have taken away a few lessons. One is that I don't want to go through another sufferfest like that.
It's all my own fault, of course. My training has been off, especially for distances. My longest run in the past two months was the Wild West Trail Half Marathon, and before that the TRT 50K that I dropped out of. So, I really wasn't up for a marathon right now. My thinking was that forcing myself through it would be punishment for having let myself slip so far. I think I took care of the punishment part of it quite well.
But enough about me. This was, and is always a beautiful race. During the race, and in the time since it, I've had all sorts of thoughts about what I wanted to say about it, but they're escaping me now. So, let's start with the pictures and I'll interject as we go.
The start line, at the Commons Beach in Tahoe City. It was warm enough in the sunlight this year that standing around in a t-shirt was just fine. It did get a little warm later in the day, but not terribly.
The Tahoe Bagpiper. I'm not sure what his connection with the race is, but I liked having him wandering around piping. I liked it even more when he used to be at the top of the Hill From Hell, to reward you for the climb.
A blurry shot heading out of Tahoe City. The people you see in the yellow bibs to the left, and the blue bib right in front were all doing the "Tahoe Triple." They were on their third marathon in three days, having run from Emerald Bay to Spooner Summit on Friday, then on to Tahoe City on Saturday. We all gave them "way to go's" throughout the day, as we saw them out there.
A note on the photos: the camera that I usually carry while running died at Hood to Coast. These were all taken with my phone, a Droid Incredible, and uploaded to Picasa on the shuttle ride back to South Lake after the race. I edited them in Picasa Web albums using Piknik today. Seems to have worked pretty well.
Within the first couple miles, I saw a couple people wearing FiveFingers. In a marathon. On pavement. Wow. I wonder what their callouses look like.
Tahoe isn't generally a big costume race, so I'm not sure what "Candy Gram" girl was up to. But the guy next to her sure was interested. Actually, he chatted with me for awhile, too - he was training for CIM, and just doing Tahoe as a training run. Pretty expensive training run, but nice to have long runs so supported...
Another version of the race that was going on was the 72 mile ultra. They started at midnight at the marathon finish line, and run around the whole lake. This was their 50 mile point. Apparently they got donuts.
Just a really nice section by the lake here. Tough to get a shot without the sun glaring this time of the morning.
From time to time, the course moves on to the bike paths - generally when the road has blind curves or there's a good place off the road for an aid station.
Can't quite figure out what Bar & Grill this was. None of the other runners seemed tempted to stop...
A couple more running shots - one by the lake, one near Homewood.
Ah, and we come to the Hill From Hell. I've always wanted to take the time to get pictures of the signs, and this year I did.
500 feet of climbing. This year, I didn't even try to run any of it - just walked it. The bummer in that is that when you get to the top, you have to start running again...
But you do get rewarded by some great views of Emerald Bay...
Ah, there I am. Traded cameras with another runner for scenery shots. And that's my homemade runningroundreno.com race shirt. Free advertising, and a decent conversation starter.
More running scenery. I tried to do a better job of taking photos on course this year, since I wasn't too concerned with my time.
Actually, it was right about at this point that the half marathoners started going past. They had started later, and the fast ones were just blowing past up. Gretchen went past so fast I didn't even have time to take a picture. Glad she liked my shirt, though -
It was just after that (mile 19 or so) that my body kind of lost interest in the run. My legs felt about as bad whether I ran or walked, and I started getting stomach cramps. For the last 4 or 5 miles, I just ran until my stomach tightened, then walked until it went away. Lotsa fun.
Near Camp Richardson, there's a bridge over a river that, this time of year, the Kokanee salmon are heading up. Had to stop and get a picture of them - they're a deep red on their backs, with green bellies. Beautiful. In fact, next weekend is the Kokanee Salmon Festival up there, and an associated trail run...
With a combination of walking and running (shuffling) I made it to the finish. Stumbled across the line, grabbed a cup of water and bareley made it to a chair by the medical tent. A few minutes there gave me enough energy to wander to the bag claim, where I found a rock to sit on in the shade. Here's what I looked like at that point:
Yeah, not super happy. Actually, I was fighting tears at this point, and actually had to muffle a few sobs. That was tough.
Here's the data from the race:
4:44:22, a Personal Worst. Even my first marathon, back in 1999, was faster than that. But it's kind of what I was expecting, and deserved.
And jeez, look at that elevation profile. Brutal.
Here's a link to the results.
So this is a great race. Well organized, and draws a very interesting crown of runners. Not sure I'll do the whole thing again, though. Maybe I'll give the half or 10 a try one of these years...