Team Library Dork all managed to get together again yesterday, and made it up to Lake Tahoe for the Burton Creek Trail runs - just like we did last year.
Chris, Dave, Amber and I all got met up somehow early Sunday morning for the drive over Mt. Rose and up the east side of the lake. It was nice to get everyone together again - it had been a while - and the drive flew by, catching up and teasing Amber. Before we knew it, we were pulling into an already kinda full parking area.
As we picked up our packets and bibs, the Salomon truck was backing it to the lot. Soon they were dragging out bags and bags of brand new demo shoes - pulling the tags off and sending people out in them. As I ran last year in a brand new pair of demo Merrells (after I broke a lace on the shoes I had brought) I decided not to try them out. Chris did, though - he did his warm-up in a pair of the new FellCross - and thanks to his sense of direction, didn't make it back to the start area in time to change back, so he raced in them.
(Of course, he'll tell you it was Amber's fault - she insisted on getting a couple pre-race pictures, which delayed his warm-up for a couple minutes. They came out pretty good, though -)
Since I had run the course last year, I decided to head off for a little warm-up (and pee in the woods) during the course briefing. This probably turned out to be a mistake, since the course was changed a bit due to snow and wet trail conditions. I did manage to find out about the changes while chatting with people at the start line, waiting to go. Apparently, instead of the big 13 mile loop, they were going to run a 10 mile loop, and add the 5K course on to it at the end. I'm glad I heard about this - there were at least a few people who didn't get the message.
Here's my Garmin data from the actual run - click through to the Garmin Connect website for more detail.
And some pictures from the course.
Early on -
Little lake -
Heading uphill -
A bit of snow -
Awesome meadow -
Bit more snow -
There were a couple of places that the whole trail was like a shallow river, and you had to pick your way pretty carefully through it if you wanted to stay dry. I somehow managed to, until about mile 9 at least. I can't imagine what the portions of the course that we were routed away from looked like...
So, the big challenge on this course is a steep downhill followed by a steep, then grinding uphill. Last year the downhill ended right at mile 10 - this year, it was more like mile 8. Right before the downhill, a runner caught up with and ran with me for a while - I asked if her name was Sarah. She said "How did you know that?" I told her that had heard a few people cheering for "Sarah" as I went past - apparently, it was her husband, who was out trailing her on a mountain bike.
As the downhill started, my legs still felt pretty good. I let them go on the downhill a bit, then hit the uphill and was able to run up the first, main part of it. As it crested, though, I felt what I'd heard people talk about before - apparently I destroyed my quads going too fast down, and lost any power for the rest of the up. Of which there was still plenty. Sarah passed me on the long grinding hill, as well as two other guys that I had passed earlier.
As I came down toward the start/finish area after the first, "10-mile" loop, my watch read about 10.8 miles. That's where I started realizing this was going to be long. There were two gates at the finish line - one for finishers, and the other that bypassed it, for people doing laps. I took the lap gate, and headed back onto the course. That "5K" (3.7 miles , actually) felt a LOT different from the first time around. A couple logs that I sprang over earlier, I really had to work to make it past. But I did, and thanks to the downhill finish, I put some good power through the line. 14.5 miles total - that was a loooong half marathon.
I found Chris and Amber, who had run the 10K - Chris coming in second overall, and Amber pulling an age group third. They had a nice picnic set up, with sandwiches, watermelon, pie, and some nice beers - including what should be this race's official brew, Dogfish Head's Burton Baton.I enjoyed some of that while we waited for Dave to finish the half, and a couple of other friends to come through on their marathon laps.
I happened to be at the finish when Dave pounded in. The first thing he said to me was "Glad the course was short." Apparently he missed the info about the extra loop, and I felt bad telling him about it. He had already handed his tag in, but, to his credit, went back out to complete the race. Not sure if I was in his shoes if I wouldn't have just called it there. But good job getting it done, Dave.
We all hung out and soaked up some sun, food, brews and silliness.
There were some award ceremonies -
And we got to see Abbey and Sarah pass by in the Marathon. Unfortunately, we had to take off before they finished.
Great day out there, anyway. The course being long was an unfortunate surprise, but that's what happens with the crazy spring weather we've been having. Overall, a good start to the Big Blue Trail Series, which continues next week with the Run to Squaw.
Results are up! Looks like I was sixth overall in the half, third in my age group. Congrats to Darren, who won the men's marathon with the only time under 4 hours. (Though there were two fast girls under too.)