2018 Tahoe Rim Trail 55k

We love Tahoe & go at least twice a year.  TRT has become a part an annual tradition.  I ran the 50 miler there in 2016, my first mountain 50 miler & the 55k last year.  Sean has run the 100 miler 4x so it’s a pretty special race for us.

This year, I didn’t get in immediately, I was like 31 on the waitlist so I had to wait until maybe June to find out if I got in.  I knew that I would run if I got in.

We got our new treadmill at the end of June so I was trying to get in a few climbing sessions here and there.

This year instead of flying into Reno, which is closer to Carson City & the side of the lake where the race is, we found really inexpensive flights into Sacramento so we ended up driving about 3 hours on Friday morning/afternoon.

We got to stop by one of my favorite places, Basik Acai, which has a location in Reno, on our way to our hotel so that was a plus :).  Unfortunately I forgot to book a room earlier in the year so we ended up staying at the Holiday Inn, which is nice, but note to anyone who stays there, they do not like early check-ins and are pretty rude when you try to check in before their official time.

In any case, we had to sit out in the car so Sean could get his drop bags set up until we were able to check-in.  We got that all sorted & raced over to the packet pick-up/100 mile race briefing. How cool are these bibs? This was the first year for these and they are so pretty.

It was starting to get pretty windy when we got there.  We saw Kat & Kristina and a bunch of other friends before the meeting.

During the meeting it got so windy that a few of the trees starting cracking and branches were falling on people.  They ended up finishing the meeting early because it was getting pretty bad out.

After the meeting we had to get in a quick shake-out run so we headed over to the spot where we normally run and did a quick & windy run.

We headed to a pizzeria in town for dinner, they had a yummy vegan pizza.

We got our gear ready & then headed to bed very early, around 8/8:30 because we had a 2:30am alarm.

Since we were in Carson City, we had to drive over to the start area.  They wanted everyone to take a bus over to the start from Carson City, but since I was also going to be crewing Sean, we decided that we would pay for parking and then I would be able to come back after my race to find Sean.  That meant getting there really early so that we could get a spot.

The start is pretty crazy, since they were busing everyone there, it was crowded a lot earlier than normal.

The 100 miler started at 5am so I saw Sean off and then headed back up to the car to take a quick nap before my start. I ran into Kristina & the gang on the way back up.

I also ran into an Instagram friend Janice before the start and said Hi.  I put my drop bag at the finish line, it was cool, but not as cool as last year so I decided not to run with my arm sleeves.

The 50 miler & 55k start at the same time so it can be a pretty crowded start.  I was maybe half-way pack in the pack.  I as usual just run my own race.  I was just taking it easy at the beginning, following a random pack, but the guy in the lead ended up being pretty slow on the downhills so I passed him and just kept moving.

I got to the first aid station, Hobart, which is about 7ish miles in.  I was feeling good so I got a little more water & a few orange slices before taking off.   I hiked out of the aid station & got a photo in front of Morraine Lake before continuing on.

This section we could really smell the smoke from the Yosemite fires.  I was moving pretty decently on the downhill, but realized that my eyes were getting a little black around the edges, it was really odd.  When I got to the Tunnel Creek aid station, mile 12ish, I got checked out by medical & was told I was fine.

So I got a little food & some ginger ale before heading down on the Red House loop.  I felt better so maybe I was just calorie deficient or something.

I got back up to Tunnel Creek, mile 19ish, got ice in my bladder pack, in my hat & buff and took off back over to Hobart.  I was feeling pretty good, just hiking back up the trail.

I made it back to Hobart, had a horrible time getting my bladder pack open.  I really dislike the hydro pak bladders, they are sooo hard to get open & closed.  It took 2 other guys & myself to get it open, ridiculous!

I got a few sips of ginger ale, some more orange slices and more ice for my hat and took off to get to Snow Valley.  It’s only about 3 miles up to the aid station and then 7 miles to the finish!

I passed a bunch of people in this section and was passed by at least one 100 miler.  I made it to the aid station without much trouble, I was hiking really well.  This aid station is really nice, the boy scouts put this station on & they are super nice, greeting you by name, taking your pack, etc., etc.

I got a little more fuel, ice & then took off.  I wanted to finish as quickly as possible so I just started moving.  I passed 2 guys in the first mile or so.  I remember looking at my watch and realizing that if I could keep moving, I could get really close to 9 hours. So I really pushed it going down the mountain.  Running as fast as I could on the downhills and hiking fast on the uphills.

I passed a few more people on my way down.  I was trying to remember where the last water only aid station was.  It was inside 2 miles to the finish.  And it was getting hot by this point & I was running pretty fast (for me at the end of a 55k).  The last 2 miles were so tough, I could see the finish line but it seemed like it was getting further and further away.

But then finally I was at the split for the finish & the 100 mile (50 mile aid station). I was so close, I managed to finish in 9:09, which was an hour and 1 minute faster than last year.

I was super happy & felt pretty good after the race.  They give us a free meal from a taco food truck so I got just beans, veggies & rice.  I chatted with a 65 year old guy who came in about 25 minutes before me.  He was from Bishop & had a lot of fun stories to tell me.

Then I went up to meet up with Kristina while she was waiting on Kat & some other friends from San Diego.  Christy from Running Skirts was running too.  We just chatted for a bit & then I started to get worried about Sean.  I couldn’t find his pacer and he was taking a lot longer than I was expecting.

Christy came in, then Matt, then Kat, who said Sean was like 1/4 of a mile away and that he wasn’t feel well.  It took him a really long time to get into the aid station at least another 20ish minutes, which was making me really nervous.

He finally got there and was really bloated and having a lot of stomach pains, so we got him some ginger ale & some vegan broth to see if he would feel better.  Nothing was really helping him so eventually he decided to drop.

So now, we had to figure out where to stay.  I don’t normally get a room for Saturday night since I sleep in the car waiting for him to come in at Diamond Peak.

There was a huge concert or something in town, which sold out every hotel in the area of Tahoe, Carson City, Reno, Truckee, etc.  We had to drive to Placerville in order to find a room.  It was a crazy drive too on the 50.  I don’t like driving in the dark and this was so much downhill with people driving crazy, scary and frustrating.  The view of the lake at sunset though, was amazing.

We came back the next day to get Sean’s drop bags & did a nice hike/run up Tunnel Creek. On our way up, we ran into Magda which was super exciting.  We got a quick photo before she ran off.

Again, this is a race that I always recommend, if you have the opportunity to run this race, it’s well put on, great aid stations, great swag (Patagonia shirts) and it’s in Tahoe, which is absolutely beautiful.

The Peak Half Marathon Race Recap

A few weeks ago, Sean & I started discussing our summer runs & Sean wanted to get in another decent run in July before TRT so we decided on The Peak in Julian, CA.

We go to Julian quite often but don’t typically run to Cuyamaca Peak & knowing that I was going to be running TRT & then Mt. Hood I didn’t want to push it so I signed up for the half marathon while Sean signed up for the 50k.

Local & shorter distance races are pretty low key for us these days and I don’t typically stress too much about anything in the days before the race.

I do still set out my clothes the night before, just in case & get a change of clothes so I don’t have to search for that in the morning.

I woke up a little before my alarm to go to the bathroom & then right before my alarm actually went off around 3:30am, I got a text from my boss (who was in Paris at the time) that I needed to do something for work so that kind of messed up my game a little.  I got that taken care of, then got my pack fuelled & ready, grabbed a few random things and then we were off.  This was probably the first time ever Sean was ready before me, lol.

We drove out to Cuyamaca & got to the start area around 5:20ish.  They told us to go towards the front to park since we have a small car & ended up being right at the start/finish line.

The start was pretty low-key.  The 50k & marathon runners started at 6am & then the half marathoners started at 7am.  I just kind of hung out at the car & then started to see a few friends.

And then it was time to get the show on the road! We started out on a dirt road then turned & started up!  I ran maybe a half a mile before I started hiking.  My goal for the day was to really work on my hiking & then run the down.

I felt really strong climbing, barely having any issues with breathing, etc. I wasn’t moving crazy fast, but I was moving pretty well.  We got to a nice section of downhill & I ended up passing a few people before getting to the next section of uphill.  This section is very rocky & was a bit more slow.

I passed a few people here & there, chatted with one girl who got lost last year, a guy who was sooo negative, literally every word out of his mouth was a negative comment & then caught back up to the girl & we finished climbing to the Peak together.

So side note on the negative person: I enjoy chatting with other runners when I’m out there & I try to be super positive, because I’m super excited to be out there & especially on the shorter runs, I’m not really going through any major lows lol.  But if I run into a people & they are being negative, I do try to distance myself because if you are having a rough day it can be easy to get sucked into that mindset.  After the race, I ran into that guy again & he told me & another runner that he did not enjoy one minute of the race.

We get to do this, we all paid our money to be out there on the trails & in my opinion, any day I get to be out there in nature, enjoying the trails is a good day!  There’s always something to smile about & for most people, the next high is just around the corner.  It was an absolutely beautiful day & I feel a little sad for him that we wasn’t able to enjoy just being out there.

Now, back to the recap & off my soap box.  I got to the Peak, saw my friend Jeff, got more water in my pack, ice in my Running Skirts neck wrap & they insisted on putting ice in my hat.

I’ve only been to Cuyamaca Peak a few times so I had to get a photo & then I started on my descent.  It’s always fun to be on the second half of an out and back because you are heading towards the finish!

I was able to run for maybe a mile or so before it got pretty rocky.  I chatted with a guy from Iowa for a while before I passed him and kept moving.  I got to the bottom of the rocky section, hit up the next aid station got more ice for my hat & then headed up for the last section of climb (about 2ish miles).

In this section I passed at least 2-3 more people on the climb.  I was dripping wet & not just from sweat, between the ice in the hat & the neck wrap, my shirt & shorts were soaked!!  I kept thinking to myself that the people behind me were probably following my water drops lol.  Except that there weren’t really any people following that closely behind me.

I finally made it to the top of the last big climb! And it was time to start running! So I immediately passed a girl and then I saw a guy, he was running, but then stopped to walk so I passed him.  Then I turned a corner and this woman came out of nowhere, so we ran next to each other for a while and then I passed her too. I just kept moving steadily heading towards the finish.

As I got into the last mile, I saw two more people, a guy & a girl a little bit ahead of him so I set my eyes on them.  I was able to catch the guy and then I eventually passed the girl with less than a mile to go.  I kept heading down to the road section.  There was another guy in front of me, but I wasn’t able to catch him.

I don’t normally play the pick-off runners game, I just do my own thing, but it was a fun way to finish off the race since I had done so much hiking.

We finished got a medal & then I headed up to get a coke & some orange slices.  I took my traditional post race medal selfie & then changed into dry clothes.  I enjoy the after race just chatting with other runners while I wait for Sean to finish his longer race.

It was a fun day!  I really enjoyed it, and I knew it was going to be a challenging race.  Although I think that I must have heard a good portion of the half marathoners comment that it was soooo tough.

Again, like at Black Mountain a number of people commented that they weren’t expecting it to be like this, this tough, this technical, this unrunable (a matter of opinion, Sean said it was crazy challenging but he did run the entire first 6.5 miles, our race).  And I understand as a road runner we don’t always look at the course map or elevation because it’s not that big of deal.  But with trail races, it’s different, first for most people, you aren’t going to run as fast as you do on the road, second, even in a half marathon, there can be a lot of climbing, third, it’s not always runnable terrain for everyone but that’s ok, if you keep up with it and train the next one will be easier and finally, remember to look up & out occasionally, the views at trail races are so much better than most road races!