Sunday, June 26, 2011

Run to Squaw 2011

Another Big Blue Race this weekend, the Run to Squaw - the second in the Tahoe Trail Running Series. Although this was less of a "trail" run than a "path" run - it was all along the bike path that parallels the Truckee river from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley. But hey, whatever - it was a great place and morning to do a seven point something mile run...

The morning started with a Team Library Dork carpool up to the lake, and a bit of confusion at the packet pickup at Squaw. Apparently safety pins for the bibs were in short supply - we were told they had some at the start, but when we got there, none were forthcoming. Eventually two out of the three of us found some already stashed away in our goodie bags, and I found some in my car for the third of us right before the race officials brought some in. I know - minutiae - but these are the things that one tends to remember about a race, for some reason.

We were ridiculously early, so spent some time trying to find an open coffee shop in Tahoe City (no small task at 6:30 AM), getting dressed and warming up. Which was tough - it was in the low 40s when we got there. By the time we ventured out of the warm car, though, it felt better - I was OK in shorts and a sleeveless shirt. Chris took off for a warm up and scout of the first part of the course, which was good, since the bicycle pacer tried to lead him on a wrong path about a quarter mile from the start.

By the time we gathered on the beach for a pre-race briefing, it was a gorgeous morning.

After this, we got started pretty quick. Off we went, and I fell into a good spot early on. I realized I was in 5th overall, and probably went a little hard to try to stay there , clocking my first two miles in 6:27 and 6:32. Here's what the "trial" looked like at that point - 4th place being up ahead there.

I was overextending myself, though, and pretty soon I heard the footsteps to prove it. A guy nd a girl passed me - at first I assumed they were running together, but they soon drifted apart - She left him in the dust. He was wearing a big warm-up jacket, but soon took it off. I felt I didn't have much chance of passing him back unless he died near the finish, so settled in.

After a while, another runner nipped at my heels - after a bit of chat, I learned that her name was Regina. Her husband was stopping and cheering for her at ridiculously small intervals - about every 3/4 of a mile, it seemed. We ran and breathlessly talked while enjoying views like this:

Eventually I pulled ahead on a small hill and was able to snap an over-the-shoulder picture of her:

she caught up as I tried to drink from an over-filled water cup at one of the two aid stations, and we continued on. We were passed just before the turn into Squaw, and then I lost her after a little uphill section. Are long legs (mine) an advantage on uphills? Seemed like I kept making up ground there...

Here are a couple of "artsy" photos from along the way...

After the turn into Squaw Valley, a very short dirt section, and a small uphill (on which I didn't make up as much time as I had hoped) we were greeted with views like this:

Pulling into the Squaw Valley parking lot, I wasn't sure where the race was going to end. Turned out they routed us through the village - so coming up to the finish line looked like this:

Pretty cool place to finish a race - although the Auburn Track would be a pretty cool place to finish, too...

Here's the elevation profile of the race -

And the Garmin map data:

My time was 52: 17, or thereabouts - putting me in at 8th overall, 7th male, 4th in my age group. Which, if I'm not mistaken, nets me a whole 2 points in the series totals. Chris got edged by another unknown twenty-something and ended up in second. Dave didn't do his second lap ;-) but finished strong and sweaty. Here he comes, getting ready to check his watch -

After this, there was some serious hanging out to be done. Chris modeled the shirt he picked up:

And missed the awards ceremony (which was just a "clap for the winners" kind of thing...)

We got to chat with Fred, who just blazed a half marathon in Seattle the day before and was doing a little 14+ mile training run at altitude the day after:

Back to pick up my car at Commons Beach, and a soak in the cold waters of Lake Tahoe. Kinda felt OK after the Truckee the day before - I swear, the snowmelt must be coming in lower than that. Some drying out on the beach, a couple sips of Moonraker, and back home. Another great day, and a fun time with TLD.


SnowLeopard said...

Great pics Turi! Looks like I missed a good race this morning with TLD~

Anonymous said...

Good Job .. and we are are going to see better things ahead for next year Squaw Valley Trail Run Race.. I have spent my early hours to get everything set up with the crew and I know everyone will have a great time on the trail

Big Blue Staff