Keeping the streak alive. Really, the only reason I did this race. And to prove to myself that I'm really bloody-minded enough to actually finish it.
So. Despite my less-than-stellar year of training, when I learned I would have a crack at the Lake Tahoe Marathon for a sixth straight year, it set me to thinking. Yes, it would hurt. Yes, it would continue to hurt for days. But: the streak would be kept alive.
Now: The only other real streak I have going is the Reno Rock 'n' River half marathon, which I've been doing every year since it was the Marathon de Mayo. (Honestly, if I moved away from Reno, I think I might come back every May just to continue that one...) So, despite my lack of training, I kind of made up my mind to gut out the Lake Tahoe Marathon, and see just how much my lack of training hurt me.
Turns out, a lot.
But first, a few pictures.
I couldn't muster the energy to take many pics on course, but the start line was pretty photogenic. Maybe because we started an hour earlier than in previous years? At any rate, I got up at 3 AM, left from Reno at 3:30, and caught a shuttle bus at Stateline at around 5:00. It was still pretty dark at Commons Beach when we got there, and my initial pictures didn't come out. After a little while, though, it looked like this:
Note the sprinklers in the foreground. They had stopped by the time the race started, but it was pretty squishy running through that area...
The sun continued to rise, and I got this beautiful silhouette shot - of the porta-potty line. Beautiful, no?
A bit more standing around and shivering, then the other Tahoe Marathon tradition I love - the bagpiper. I don't know why, but I love seeing this guy out there every year. He also shows up at the top of the big climb right before Emerald Bay, and I take my hat off to him every year. Cheers, mate.
So once we started, I didn't really concentrate on pictures. I ran for 45 minutes, walked 5, ran for 30 minutes, walked 5, ran for 20 minutes, walked 5, and then the hills started. From there on out it was just survival. I did manage to take a picture of my watch at the time that I finished last year - 3:41:12. I was just over mile 17 on my watch, but not yet to mile 17 by the course markers. In between the entrance to D.L. Bliss park and the view of Emerald Bay:
From there on out I knew I could make it. Sparing everyone the gory details, I slogged it it for a finish time of 6:05::50. Here's where I get a bit emotional and have to rely on the numbers.
My finish times from this race, 2007-2012
2007 - 3:54:15
2008 - 4:24:32
2009 - 3:56:02
2010 - 4:44:22
2011 - 3:42:12
2-12 - 6:05:50
Ridiculous, right? Good, bad, good, bad. Over 2:20 difference from last year. Despite any personal challenges I might be facing, that's crazy. Of course 60-70+ pounds will do that to you. Yikes.
This was going to hurt, I knew that. Did what I could to mitigate it, though - compression socks on the way home, ibuprofen and an ice bath one I made it back to Reno. (Pro tip: if your post-race beer isn't cold when you get home, chill it in your ice bath with. you. Mythbusters-approved.)
Monday morning at work, I could walk up and down stairs with no problem. Didn't even get any sympathy from coworkers.