We got the kids up early enough to make it up to Squaw, pick up the race packet, and get down to the start line at Commons Beach in Tahoe City. (The same place that the Tahoe Marathon had started just 6 days before - kind of weird being back there so soon.) There si a nice little playground there, so the kids were happy playing while I did a couple short warm-ups. Felt pretty good, ankle and cal not bothering me too much.
Race briefings, etc. and we were off:
Almost immediately out of the gate, my ankle started hurting. It had behaved pretty well through the Tahoe Marathon, although I think I was favoring it, which in turn make my calf do some pretty awful cramping. Similarly today, once I felt the ankle starting in, I adjusted somehow, and started feeling my calf as well. Nice.
But within half a mile, I had fallen into fourth place, with third way ahead of me. I could hear a couple people behind me for awhile, but they eventually dropped back. On one short little switchback section that got us up onto Hwy. 89, I could see how far back they were - close enough that I was worried about it for the rest of the race. That one switchback, by the way, was the only change in the course from the Run to Squaw, and it was a good one - it eliminated a dangerous crossing of the busy road.
(Race photos available from Lefrak Photography)
Making the turn into Squaw, my mom and the kids were waiting to cheer me on. I was glad to toss them my gloves, as it had warmed up more than I had anticipated. I then watched my mile splits climb as the elevation also climbed slightly. Again; worried about the people creeping up behind me.
As I made the turn into the Squaw parking lot, maybe 600M from the finish, I finally risked a look behind me - and didn't see anyone. That was a relief - I didn't have to push too hard up the final hill into the little mountain village and the finish line.
Stopped my watch at 55:38. Official race time was 55:46 - close enough. Funny, there was about a minute separating each person, first through fifth. Congratulated the race winner, Chris Barber, and then threw some sweatpants on and hung out for awhile.
Apparently my daughter likes taking pictures of dogs.
At the low-key awards ceremony, I picked up a 2nd place pint glass to go with the clutch of 3rd place ones I've collected this year (I had a 2nd Age Group at the Run to the Beach, but had to hurry out of there before the awards.) Then the did the series awards, and I was surprised to hear them call my name. I had figured that Chris Barber had overtaken me on this race with his win. In fact, he had, but since the series prize (a pair of Salomons) was the same as the prize for winning today's race, apparently he was OK with letting the series prize go my way. Thanks, Chris - owe you a beer sometime.
All in all, a fun end to a good series of races. Thanks to the Big Blue crew for all the work they put into the series. You guys earned a few months off. Although I hear you're planning some snowshoe races this winter...