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Tahoe Rim Trail 2006

Great views, and a deceptive course…
I did TRT 100 last weekend. Not quite as impressive as the HR folks, but quite a challenge in its own right. Here’s a report:

So I drove up to Carson City on Friday morning, and after lots of driving, arrived for the drop bag drop/weigh-in/race briefing. Man it was HOT. 100+. I made sure I’m as light as possible for the weigh-in, met Jasper (I told him he’d win the race, btw! Of course he said “there are 10 runners who could feasibly win this race” … he won by an hour! Drop bags are easy at TRT, most aid stations are visited 4 times, one even 6 times. Still I overpacked, of course …

Sat 5am – start. Easy to get to, it’s a tiny bit chilly, not really as I expected though (it’s at 7000 ft, after all). Anyways, the first 11 miles are interesting, one sees some beautiful views of a bunch of lakes and lake tahoe. The trails are like highways (single track, but soft, sometimes a bit sandy, and not technical at all). And it appears all oh so runnable. No real major climbing. At mile 11 we enter the “Red House Loop”. It’s a short rather steep descent, some straight running (we were fast, so got to the loop before the worst heat), then a long gradual up and a short steep climb. Nothing too serious, really – even the second time around. At that point it got quite warm, and the sun was burning down – the course is mostly exposed. After mile 17, I never would feel quite good again. My stomach was giving me issues, needing to control nausea, and I felt I was starting to drag and slow down. For some weird reason – although the trail was soft and easy, my feet hurt worse than at MMT, and bc it was so sandy stuff got into my shoes despite gaiters. I pushed on and Jasper eventually came towards me (he said something nice like I was flying, which gave me my only lift in the race). The return from mile 25 was followed by more dragging, and I felt slower and slower, my legs started hurting – every ache I ever seemed to have appeared. Everything felt as if I could tear something any minute. Argh. My fingers were swollen like sausages, and so were my feet.

I still reached mile 50 in 11:34 (after a 10 minute detour) – way too fast, as it turned out. At that point I was done, feeling like after 100 miles, spent and exhausted, aching. Going out for the second loop was nothing I looked forward to, but I kept going.

On the second loop I was slooow. I teamed up a little with Chris Perry, who I ran with at the Bear and CCC, and we both were very down and felt slow, dragging and much too tired. We got lost once more – very briefly – both times it was not due to bad course marking but just sheer tiredness. Chris had a heel injury from Bighorn, and I eventually lost him. The night came and was not as cold as anticipated. My legs kept feeling more stiff, until a fun dude I went with who was paced by Kathy D’Onoforio got his second wind and started hammering the downhills (he would take 40 minutes off me on the last 15 or so miles). I decided to keep it up a little and found it actually relaxed my legs a bit. I pushed as much as I could to the finish, mostly alone. Towards the morning I started hallucinating a lot (which I’ve never before), it was kinda fun, seeing a lot of men in suits and other weird things. I finished 27:06, 15th place (huh?) and utterly spent (the next person was nearly an hour after me I think, and I was just 10 minutes behind the winning female). I didn’t even stick around for anyone else to come but went to the hotel and slept.

I didn’t have the usual ups and downs but just a long down, and many others had similar experiences. I think the heat and altitude made quite a difference, along with the deceptively easy course that makes you run way too fast in the beginning. I think 20000ft of climbing is over-estimated, but the course has a lot of rolling up and down where one is very tempted to overdo it. Come to think of it, while I felt a lot of down, I never got AS down as on other runs either – and especially not as frustrated – which is probably due to exhaustion and the lack of highly technical or challenging stretches.

Anyways, a good run overall. The views were breathtaking for sure, and it was a hard challenge! Congratulations to Sarah Dillingham to tough it out – this course is NOT easy.

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