Tahoe Rim Trial 100 - 7/20/13
Originally this was supposed to be a focus race for 2013 but my hip had other ideas. When May rolled around I still wasn't able to start training. I've wanted to go to Tahoe for quite some time now so I was doing all I could to make this race happen. At the end of May I told myself that I was going to start training and I would either train and go run the race or my hip would still hurt and I would cancel it. My hip held up pretty good so I never looked back. I didn't have time to ramp up and get in any high milage training or a whole lot of super long runs either. I got in about 5 weeks of good training which was "good enough" if you're a "good enough" type person. My confidence wasn't very high except for a couple shorter trail runs during my taper that were very fast paced which helped me mentally.
Race weekend rolled around and I knew I better get my gameface on because a 100 is no joke. I've been so busy with the house remodeling and work that I haven't prepared very much for this race. The alarm sounded at 3 a.m. and it was the usual business. I felt good and we got ready and made the 30 minute drive out of the desert like valley into the mountains. the start of race was very mild temps which was nice since I was dreading the cold start. It was time to line up before I knew it and we were off in no time.
the first half mile is down a dirt road to the trail head. It was easy paced and felt ok. Then you get to the single track and it climbs about 1,500 ft toward the first aid station. the climb wasn't steep at all but I was having a tough time and it scared me. Everybody around me was chatting and running up it but I was pretty out of breath. Was it the altitude? Was it my body just needing to settle into a rhythm? I was hoping it was that. I power hiked quite a bit with burst of running to keep my spot in the line. it was now only 6 in the morning but I was already sweating. For a race that's known for cool starts and frigid nights, this was not a good sign. As we approached the first aid station I still had all my gu's and a full bottle of water so a stop wasn't necessary. I ran around the tent and kept going. about 50 yards past it I realized I probably should of at least checked in or asked if you're supposed to check in. Only six miles into the race I broke a major rule of trail running.
as we left the aid station you summit Marlette peak which was our first incredible view of the day. sometimes I question why I run these races but its times like this that I understand completely. the rest of the section into tunnel creek mile 11 was pretty much the same. not feeling too good, feeling heavy and not running very fast. as we left tunnel creek we headed toward the valley to do the red house loop. its a 6 1/2 mile loop that hits the low spot of the race at 6,800 ft. its hot, not very many views and one super quad busting descent down into it. its a steep and painful descent that isn't too bad at mile 12 but at mile 62 its a bitch. you have a pretty steep climb coming out of it but its not too bad. from here (mile 17) to mile 30 it was pretty much the same. a lot of slow running and not feeling very good. I had a headache, my stomach was bloated, and I didn't have a ton of power in my stride. I was really hoping I would snap out of it because if not, it was going to be a long day (and night) out there.
the anticipation of the diamond peak climb was killing me. everybody kept talking it up and saying how hard it is. before the race I didn't take them serious but since I didn't feel too good I was starting to dread it. I left mile 30 still feeling so so but ready to tackle it. at first its not too steep, but then you turn a corner and the true climb is revealed. when I turned the corner, all I saw was about 10 runners scattered up it all standing still. literally everybody was just standing there trying to catch their breath. a couple steps then once again they would catch their breath. It went pretty good for me and but it was tough. what made it tough was the kitty litter type sand. it was steep but if you had rocks or roots to step on at least they don't move. this was truly an ass whip.
leaving mile 40 I was starting to feel better. 40-43 is a climb up to snow valley peak which is the highest point of the race (9,2XX) about half was up I started to feel good. really good. so good that I started to run the climb and started passing people like crazy. on the way down I chatted with some people and stayed with them but at about mile 45 I felt too good and took off. I didn't plan on seeing any of them again. I ran it hard into the mile 50 aid station which was also the end of the first loop and you knew what you had ahead of you for the rest of the race. it took me 10:50 to do the first 50. That's over 2 hours longer then Cactus Rose and an hour and twenty minutes longer then what I wanted it to take. I felt so good that my goal was to make up all the time that was lost. miles 50-61 I felt pretty good. not great but good. I ran it pretty solid but then at tunnel creek I loaded up on nutrition and left feeling awesome. I flew down the quad busting descent which was painful and into red house aid station. when I left this was probably my highest point of the race. I felt so fresh and solid that I didn't want to walk anything. not the climbs or the flats. at this point in the race I didn't care about pacing myself. I ran cause I felt like running and I would only stop if my body told me to. I ran it all solid until the steep part coming out of the loop. I power hiked it hard and saw all the people that I was with at mile 45 but they were on their way down so I had a 5-6 mile lead on them now. I loaded up once again at tunnel creek and left feeling great again. I ran it all solid and at this point the sun was starting to go down. The section into bull wheel (mile 71) isn't too hard, just a flat section then some switchback that are runnable then over the west side of mountain for the final mile. I made it into the aid station in the dark but without having to use my headlamp. i left, flipped it on, and immediately had to change the batteries in my headlamp because that's what i get for not testing them and for using the same ones for multiple races in a row. i was on the 9 mile stretch down into diamond peak aid station. the first 4 miles are rolling then the last 5 are all downhill that will destroy your quads if they aren't already destroyed. it all felt great and by this point i had pretty much gotten myself back onto my goal pace. miles 0-50 i got myself an hour and twenty behind schedule and from 50-80 i had made up all but 10 of those minutes. my original goal was 22 hours. it only took me 10 extra minutes to do 50-80 then it did 0-30. i planned on slowing down much more so at this point i was very optimistic.
i came into mile 80 feeling great and they said they only had 8 runners on the list that had come through. i felt great while i was there but some reason when i left i let out a big yawn. it wasn't the type that felt good. I've been in this situation before and i kenw it wasn't good. i was hoping to get up the climb and get back to tunnel creek in one piece so i could get my nutrition. at this point this was one of the hardest walls I've ever hit. only two other times come to mind. one was my first 100 at the 2010 cactus rose when at mile 98 i fell apart. but i was only two miles out so i stuck it through. and also at the 2012 hurt 100. coming into mile 80 i just wanted to sleep. luckily i had a pacer and crew that did my thinking for me and got some good shit in me and got my ass back out there. this time i was alone. no pacer. no crew. just me. was i too cocky thinking i didn't need any "help" running this? at hurt this year in January I was able to get in a zone and run better when I was by myself so i wanted to do this solo. i had nobody to tell me to stop being an idiot and do something about it. take some salt, eat some calories, drink some fluid, take some caffine. i just kept slowly putting one foot in front of the other. as the climb got steep i got weak. i would take a few steps then stop and yawn. when i would yawn i would close my eyes. when i would close my eyes, i would get dizzy so i had to reach forward and touch the ground. after a couple seconds i would wake up and do it all over again. 10 steps then sleep and repeat. it took me over an hour to go less then two miles up this mountain. i was really hoping to recover once i got up it but nope. how could i expect to recover when i still wasn't taking in any nutrition? i stood at bull wheel for five minutes just completely out of it and not sure what to do. i decided i better get moving and i started slowly making my way to tunnel creek three miles away. i got passed by a guy and i over heard his pacer tell him "see you're moving great you just made up 21 minutes on that guy". that put my head even lower. my race was over. i knew it was because i told myself it was. at that point it shouldn't have been over but i chose for it to be. i stumbled three more miles into tunnel creek ready to throw in the towel.
i got there and asked how long til the next shuttle. i said give me some time i need to do some thinking. i told them that i wanted to quit but i wasn't sure. i sat down and just wanted to go to sleep. i didn't care about eating or taking care of myself, i just wanted to sit in a car and ride down the mountain. about five minutes after being there the aid station captain came up to me ready to light a fire in my ass but i wanted no part of it. he said whats wrong? i didn't feel like talking so i just looked at him with a blank look then finally mumbled "im just tired". wrong answer. he thought i was at mile 61 and ten minutes ahead of the cutoff. he told me i still had plenty of time. another guy whispered into his ear and i knew what they told him. at this point he was practically yelling. he said " you've gotta be f'ing kidding me! you're at mile 85, 9 hours ahead of cutoff and on the verge of top 10 and you're thinking about quitting cause you're tired??" i wanted to laugh cause it was a funny way of putting it but that would show him that i had energy. at this point i did have alittle more energy and i knew i would get back out there. i told him to give me 5 more minutes and i would eat and drink and get out back out there. he saw straight through my bullshit and that's what i needed. was i seriously going to quit cause i was tired? i left the aid station and knew my running was probably over. i knew if i just kept moving forward i would make it eventually. my stomach was still too torn up to crave anything. instead of forcing stuff down and feeling better i just accepted the fact that i was going to walk and i ate and drank nothing.
of course that's not the smartest game plan so coming into mile 90 i hit another low point. once again i plopped down and threw myself a pitty party. i was just tired and tired of being out there. they said they no longer had shuttles which was good cause i had no choice but to go on. they had plenty of beer and the guys there were drinking plenty. i was not in mood for some drunk guy to tell me get up. looking back it was hilarious. he kept telling me i need to get up because just around that corner was my mother fuckin buckle. but as he said it, about a gallon of spit came out of his mouth and every work ran together. it was true though. i just had to stumble 10 more miles and i got my buckle. i need to wrap this up so basically i just walked the final 10 miles and felt like shit. running wasn't an option. i tried to run many times but my right shin was so tight and it just wasn't worth it. the final 20 miles took me almost 9 hours and it was hands down my worst finish ever. i went from being at mile 75 thinking wow im going to fnish between 22-23 hours and feel great. I thought i was going to run it in, but little did i know what lie ahead. it was tough mentally to watch one by one pass me to put me in 22nd place instead of that top 10 that i thought was in the bag 20 miles earlier.
i crossed the fnish line at 26:12 and it wasn't very cool. nobody was there and i was just so bummed. my drop bag was up the hill and my phone was in it. i was worrying the last 20 miles about my family. they all probably thought that i quit. when the updates stopped coming, they could only assume the worst. i sat down and called my brother, sister and girlfriend. they all were supportive and didn't have anything negative to say. i expected them to answer and be like what the hell happened? are you ok? but they just said good job.
i hitched a ride by to my hotel and ate some breakfast and took a nap. i got up at one o'clock to go across the street and meet up with some friends for a beer then to go to the award ceremony. it was cool to get my buckle and i was glad i stuck it through. another 100 and another sufferfest. its amazing how the brain's selective memory works! til next time...