Crewing: TRT100 Recap

This past weekend, as you already know, Sean & I went up to Lake Tahoe so he could run the TRT100 for the second time.

Photos by Tim Hendricks

This race requires you to check in, get weighed and then give them your drop bags the day before the race and there was a mandatory meeting.  Sean ended up winning a new Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp, which is awesome because we had been talking that I needed a new one too.  The meeting only takes about 30 minutes and then we went for a short run, got dinner and Sean got his stuff ready for the next day.

The race has an early 5am start and it was about 30 minutes from our hotel so we left around 3:45am to head over to Spooner Lake.  We parked, got shuttled over and then walked down to the start line where we were quickly met by Sean’s pacer, Tim.  We got a few photos in and then he headed to the start line, where I was able to get another video of the start, check it out at my Instagram, although I was on the wrong side so Sean is a bit blurrier than I would have liked :).

I didn’t know that Tim was going to crew with me before pacing that evening, but it was nice to have someone to hang out with, because crewing for a 100 mile race is a long day for the crew and it’s a lot of hurry up and wait.

Bottom right…photo credit Tim Hendricks

We went over to the Tunnel Creek Cafe where we got some coffee and I had breakfast, the cafe was awesome and stayed open until midnight so all of the crew/pacers could get food throughout the day.  We met up with some other friends who were crewing/pacing for another runner.

I got my breakfast and then we headed up the trail to the Tunnel Creek Aid Station.  This was a 3.5 mile hike up to the aid station with about 1,600 ft of elevation.  It was a beautiful hike up although it wasn’t easy since it was essentially all uphill although it was a much more gradual uphill than Diamond Peak.

 We finally got up to the top only to find out we had missed Sean on his first time thru at mile 11 but he’d be back at mile 17.5 so I hung out with our friend Kat and a few other people I recognized from the SD100 last month.  This aid station was a busy one because the runners would pass thru here 6 times during the race.  It was freezing at this aid station, I had taken my sweatshirt off before climbing up because I knew that I would be sweating by the time I got to the top, but I didn’t realize it would be freezing up there.

We didn’t have to wait too long before Sean came up – we got a few photos, he filled his bottles and then was off.  So we ran/walked down to our car so we could head over to the next aid station at mile 30, Diamond Peak.

Diamond Peak aid station is awesome because it’s right at the ski lodge, there’s plenty of parking and seats for people to sit while waiting for their runners.  We hung out for a while, by this time it was starting to get hot so I ended up in shorts and a tank top.  Such a difference from the cold at the last aid station.

We waited about an hour or so before Sean came in.  We got him set up, he changed shirts because he was still in his long sleeve and then we soaked his hat & buff with ice.  He got sprayed down and then off he went running up the hill.
Tim & I headed back to Tunnel Creek Cafe to get some lunch before heading to the halfway point. It was 20 miles before he would be there so we knew we had a few hours.  Once we got back to Spooner Lake, it wasn’t too long before the lead runners started coming in.

After one of them couldn’t find their drop bag, I started thinking that it might be down by the start finish.  It was a little confusing at the meeting as to where to drop your bag because there was a start finish section and a 50 mile Spooner Lake section.  I said something and the volunteer asked if I would mind going down.  So down I went, found the runner’s bag and then ran back up to get it to him as quickly as possible.  I saw a bunch more that were down there so I told them and a few other people came down to help me get the bags so that the runners didn’t have to wait when they got there.

I think I went up and down at least 4/5 times but it felt really good to be helping instead of just sitting around waiting.

So a bit later, Sean came in, they were making smoothies so he got some and some other food and picked Tim up and off he went.
It was right around 5pm and still pretty light out so I offered to go up to Tunnel Creek again to give him his night gear.  I headed over, and just as I was starting up, Kat texted me to meet her for dinner, and when I told her that I had to go up to give Sean his night gear she decided to come up with me.  It was nice to have some company on my way up.

We got up to the top and met up with another friend and the super inspiring  Catra Corbett.  She was pacing the at the time 2nd place woman, who asked her to stay back and see where the 3rd place woman was at.  We all chatted for a while before Kat & I headed to the other side of the aid station to wait for her runner and Sean.

And then they were finally there.  I helped him get some warmer clothes on and then he got some food, got to chat with his friend Noe, who ran Hardrock last week.  He asked if we were staying for their next loop but it was getting dark and I was starving so I told him I’d see him at mile 80.

Kat was staying with a few other people from San Diego in a condo near Diamond Peak so she offered me up the couch so I could get a bit of sleep before we would head to the aid station.  Kat was going to be pacing from 80 to 100 and we both could use a little rest.

I got a snack from the cafe and then we headed over.  I was able to charge my phone, brush my teeth and get about 1.5 hours of sleep before we headed out.

The Diamond Peak aid station had some rules at night, they opened up the inside of the lodge so that we could all wait in there, which was warmer as well, but to prevent there being too much noise to disturb the residents.  We got there a bit early, so we hung out with another friend waiting for all of our runners to come in.

They came in and then about 20 minutes later Sean did too.  He was starving and craving pancakes, which unfortunately they didn’t have.  I got him some soup, a half of a chicken & bean burrito and a quesadilla.  He drank an ensure and some water and then got ready to head out for his second round on Diamond Peak.  I know he has a lot more problems with running at night vs running during the day so I told him that by the time he got to the next aid station the sun would be coming up and he would be able to get pancakes at the next aid station (I hoped!).

It was about 3am at this point so I made my way back to the finish area.  I wanted to head back to the hotel but I was too tired to make the 30 min drive back to Carson City, especially in the dark so I decided to just take a nap in the car.  I think I slept off and on for about 2 hours before my alarm went off at 5:40ish.  I snoozed for a few minutes before trying to check Sean’s status and saw that he had just passed 85.5 so I knew I had time to head back to the hotel, pack up our stuff, just in case, and take a shower.

After all that I made the drive back to Spooner Lake to wait for Sean to come into the finish.  I saw the running skirts girls, Christy had come in around 26 hours and we all chatted for a few minutes and watched some more of the runners come in.  Of the races I’ve been to, they all seem to finish by a lake and have a spot where you can see the runners pop out of the woods and then it seems like forever before you see them again.

One of the other runners were were following came in and then probably 25 minutes later I saw Sean’s pink hat with Tim, his pacer about 20 feet ahead of him, I was like what’s going on, why’s Tim ahead of him and this lady next to me was like, the pacer is probably trying to push him.  A few minutes later, I see them coming and Sean is pushing it, practically sprinting.  I looked at the clock and I knew that he was trying for sub-29 hours.

And then after a little over 29 hours, it was done.  But my job wasn’t done. I needed to get him fed and then back to the hotel so he could sleep and then back to pick up his buckle and his drop bags.

We were so fortunate that the hotel we were staying at, the Holiday Inn Express Carson City, let us have a late check-out until 3:00pm so Sean was able to get a few hours of sleep. I helped him stretch and then we headed back to Spooner Lake to get the drop bags.  They had a nice ceremony to give out the buckles and because Sean came in under 30 hours this time, he got a different handmade & etched buckle than he got last year.  As he said, now he just has to run it under 24 hours and he’ll have all 3 styles :).  We’ll see what happens with that. lol.

This was a relatively easy race to crew.  There were 3 sections that the crew could go and because it was a 50 mile loop, we were able to go to those spots twice.  Now, the Tunnel Creek aid station was probably the most challenging to get to, because it did require a 3.5 mile uphill hike, and it was significantly colder at the top, but you could stay there for a few hours (outside the aid station since it was so busy) to see the runners come thru once at 11/61 and again at 17.5/67.5.  They also came thru there at 35.5/85.5 but that was too tight of a turn around for most people to get from Diamond Peak back up.

Diamond Peak was the nicest aid station because it had seats and real bathrooms.  And at night they let (made) us sit inside the lodge so there wasn’t a lot of noise to disturb the nearby residents.

Spooner Lake wasn’t bad either, they had some seating around the 50 mile aid station and then a small set of covered bleachers at the finish line.  The only negative about Spooner Lake, no cell signal for internet.

Lake Tahoe is beautiful and I’ll look forward to going back again in the future. 

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