Monday, July 19, 2010

Tahoe Rim Trail 50K

This past weekend I competed in the Tahoe Rim Trail 50K. I was initially entered into the 50 miler event. Recent issues and the difficulty of the course made me change my mind. I figured the 50K would allow me to train up and through the event without taper. That way I could continue to train for my 100K, while still testing my fitness.

I accomplished both plans the week before was definitely not a taper week. I completed a flat 10 miler with some tempo miles, Hazel hill repeats, and a crazy hot run with Kirk and Jenny on Wednesday.

The day before the race I did my usual routine of driving up and car camping in the remote parking lot. I brought along Melisa who was looking forward to her first Ultra since AR50. A nice two part race recap is in the works from her. She had a camera that I forgot so go to her Blog for photos.


Race morning was cool, but you could tell it was going to be a warm one. My race plan was to go sub 6hrs if the body had it in it. 2008 was a painful 6:28hr bonk/cramp fest that took weeks to recover from. My thinking was a 6hr or under on this course without too much damage would help me plan out Wildest Run 100K. Looking at past split’s I thought I had 5:45 in me on a good day.

I saw Tim Twietmyer was racing the 50K so I planned to use his superior pacing to see where it got me. Tim ran 5:40’s last go around, I hoped he was planning a similar time this go around, (he wasn’t).

The gun goes off and I latch on to him and Julie Young another very fit runner. The beginning miles to Hobart are one sustained climb on sweet single-track. By mile 4 I waved goodbye to my pace setters and went my own way. I could tell I wasn’t going to have the legs for whatever they were going to run, (5:26 and 5:33).

The run to Tunnel creek was uneventful I ran a bit with some runners I had not seen in a while and ran my own race. As usual my inability to #2 pre- race necessitated a quick stop. As luck would have it an oasis in the form of a pit bathroom was conveniently located just before Hobart, soooooo nice.

The run to Tunnel Creek aid station is a long downhill. I think of myself as a capable downhill runner. At one point a female runner blazes by and I heard a guy behind me say something about her being a 2:45 marathoner whose gone to the Trials, blah, blah, she’s going to tear it up today, blah.

So of course I immediately think: Well the race isn’t just a couple mile downhill guy and we’re already OTB of the front runners. I hope she run’s fast uphill to she’s going to need it to live up to the hype.  I know not nice thinking, but I was getting into race mode. I would see Mrs. Trials later…….

So into Red House loop I go, left leg quad is twitching so I up the salt, it helped. On the steep ass drop into the Red House loop I see some of the 100 mile people. A few look like they are pushing it too hard for a 100 mile, but what do I know.

Just before the creek crossing at the bottom my body told me I needed to make a pit stop NOW! I have no idea where it came from but after that I felt great, (and a lot lighter). Seems cold bland rice, broccoli and chicken is still too volatile a pre-race meal. I chocked it up to the altitude and moved on. I ran the rest of the loop except for the backside steep and started the climb to Tunnel Creek aid station #2. Waiting for me were Kirk, Jenny and Pam.

I’ve done a lot of racing solo, seeing your friends at a race is a very welcome site, THANKS GUYS!! Pam got some photos, check her Blog.

The climb out of Tunnel Creek was ok. I ran a lot more than 2008 which I had hoped to do. I played it smart and power hiked the steep pitches and ran everything else. Even so I was slower running than I wanted, my hips were tight.

As I was finding my way up whom did I see up ahead of me, Mrs. Trials, oh hello there. Well on the DESCENT to Hobart from Marlette Peak I caught Mrs. Trials. No I wasn’t trying either. Ok so I’m deep into the race and hurting a bit, so I wasn’t thinking so nice again. Here’s what my brain said to her: WOW you’re a fast downhiller just like your boyfriend said, now work on everything else.

I saw her behind me till Snow Valley, which I admit made me hurt more because of the trash talking I did inside my melon. I figured she had a bad patch and would again smoke me on the descent to the finish just like Tunnel Creek.

At Snow Valley I freaked because everyone was calling me by my first name. I was told after a blunt,”How do you know who I am”. I was told they had a race roster. I apologized and gulped some Coke and got moving.

The 5.5 mile decent to the last aid station at 1.7 miles from the finish is brutal. It’s completely run able and trashes quads worse than a WS100 Canyon. I knew I would need energy to get down it fast. My increased salt kept cramps away, but the legs were a bit stiff. Almost to the end I bonked a little. The final aid station came into view I had planned to blow thru but I needed a Coke jolt which saved me from a complete break down.

I was able to finish in 6:07hrs. I was upset on not breaking 6hrs, but I feel I did as well as I could. While sucking down two Cokes in rapid succession at the end Mrs. Trials came in. I was able to chat with her and found her to be a super nice person. I felt like an ass for the trash talking her, but I figured explaining my mental trash talking would have sounded far more bizarre than what I said. I figure we all do it so why apologize we don’t really mean it when it all said and done.

As always the views at the race were spectacular. I feel ready for the 100K with another few weeks of hard training before a taper. Next up, 5 days with the family at our cabin in Echo Lakes. I plan to get some more high altitude running in the greater Lake Tahoe area.

On a side note I raced with my new waist pack I've been trying out, the Nathan X-Trainer.  I realy liked having a free hand and the gel flask.  I used the Pegasus 27 for my shoes.  They continue to live up to my expectaions of them, a great all around shoe.



  1. Awesome job Coach! You looked really good out there compared to a lot of runners I saw. I am getting the TRT itch myself but it is looking like it may be 2012 before I get to try and conquer that beast! :-)

    Looking forward to running with you and Melisa again soon!

  2. Was the fuel belt comfortable?

  3. It rocked Jesse, It didn't cause any issues with me. Having a free hand was a nice change from using dual bottles.