Monday, June 6, 2011

Reno/Tahoe Odyssey 2011 - The Run

These relays have so much going on with them, I just have to break them into two posts. This one is about my actual running of the event - hence, "the run."

Somehow I fell into being the captain of a team this year, and so I claimed the legs I wanted for myself. Those turned out to be the second hardest rated -  legs 2, 14 and 26. The difficulty rating comes mostly from the distance - at 17.5 miles it's the second longest set of the relay, and the 14th leg includes a high-altitude climb up to Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe. But that's why I wanted to do it - the Tahoe Marathon is my goal race for the fall, and I wanted to see how that climb felt before I started training specifically for it over the summer.

I took the "baton" (slap bracelet) for my first run over at Dorokstar (Dorkster) Park. Leg two led me from there along the river path, out Woodland to 4th Street, under the freeway, along some bike paths, and along highway 40 to the exchange. Now - I was planning on trying to run all three of my legs with a cumulative time of 8:00 miles. Not sure what I was thinking - like that was going to happen. I DID try to start slow, but - less than a mile into my first leg, some punk kid passed me with his shoes untied, then slowed. I had to pass him, then saw no reason to take it that easy after that. Passed another runner, for a cumulative pass total of one. Didn't see any other runners until the handoff along highway 40 out toward Verdi.

After van one finished up, had some dinner at the Bridge Tender in Tahoe City, and made our way to Homewood for the van exchange, I was ready to run again. Our first runner went, and I got ready for my leg. Reflective vest, headlamp, blinky lights - I was good to go. Sooner than I expected, he cranked up the hill and it was my turn. Now, I had two and a half miles of rolling stuff before the real hill started. Warmed up nicely there, averaging in the 7:30 range. From 3-4 miles, though, my mile pace skyrocketed to 9:26. That was the worst mile, though, and I brought it aback after that. Thanks to the downhill into the finish, I was able to keep the overall pace for this leg at 7:48 - well under the 8:00 which was my goal. Most importantly - it felt good.

Van one handed off to Van two in South Lake, the headed back to Carson for as mush sleep as we could steal. This happened at one of our member's houses - and his wife even had fresh, scratch-baked cinnamon rolls ready for us when we woke up. Talk about spoiled - those are now the cinnamon rolls I will strive to replicate when I bake them.

After "carb loading" on pastry, we rolled down to the Carson Wal-Mart to meet Van two. Got our runner on the road, and I was next. It was almost dawn, but I still had to wear night gear. Not a big deal. Started out and passed a couple runners right away. It was a while before I saw anyone else, but  then there was a string of runners lined up to pass. Made a point of knocking off as many as I could , and ended up getting 8 or 9. Nice downhill into Silver Saddle Ranch, where I handed off and was done running.

Not "done" done, of course - there was still plenty of navigating and timing left to do. But it all went smoothly, and we waited around in the park until our last runner came in. Finished right at 24 hours for the whole thing. A great showing or out team; something we all can be proud of.

1 comment:

SnowLeopard said...

Oh wow, this whole experience was absolutely amazing! And even though you said you weren't going to be competitive, you still pulled off negative splits on every leg! :) Our whole team was incredible, and I feel lucky to be a part of this life-enhancing event! And thanks again for captain-ing for us, and those yummy cayenne cookies! I'm looking forward to any of your tries at matching Dave's wife's cinnamon rolls too~