Friday/Marathon 1 - Emerald Bay to Spooner Lake:
Kevin, Derrick, Dennis and I were standing around waiting for the start. We wished one another luck and in the middle of a sentence the gun goes off startling all of us! "Oh I guess we're on!" The first few miles is all descent and I'm just focused on keeping my feet underneath me and keeping her easy. Run your own race was the advice of the German speaker the previous night at pasta dinner and record holder of the triple. "Don't run too fast, don't run too slow. Run how you trained and run your own race". This stuck with me those 3 days and I always had in mind to just keep it comfortable - the goal was always to finish in 1 piece (and to share Derrick's goal: no pooping of the pants).
Derrick found me within the first half mile and to my surprise we actually ran the entire first day together - well minus the last mile or so when he had more gusto in him to kill that final hill and bring it in. Derrick is a much stronger runner than I am so I fully expected him to take off that first day. Day 1 was a nice ease into this stage race. I had someone to chat with when needed and laugh and joke about what the hell we were doing out there. As soon as I caught a glimpse of the lake I knew exactly what I was doing out there.
My mom was the best support anyone could ask for on day 1. She had the Gracie and June Bug (JB) with her and leap frogged us the whole time. We were self sufficient as far as GU and water but it was so nice to see her face every few miles camera in hand.
The final 3 miles of this first marathon are up hill about 1,000 feet or so. The last mile was probably the hardest mile I've ever done. I never stopped running, I just kicked it into a very low gear and said to myself "chug and lug - chug a lug". I find keeping my eyes down helps. The final turn into the parking lot at the top of the hill my mom was there with the dogs. I ran it in with JB:
And actually received 1st place in open women's division with 4:21:53 :D
Saturday/Marathon 2 - Spooner Lake to Tahoe City:
Brooke came up the night before to help with support on Saturday since my mom was riding her bike around the lake. She dropped us off and today was a 7:45 start time. The first 6 miles or so are mostly downhill. I was worried about my IT bands since they've given me issues in the past and things were sore today. Again, nice and easy I told myself. Around mile 5 or so the view opened up and I saw the entire lake. It was so beautiful. I also saw in the FAR distance the casinos at the North Shore stateline that I knew we had to run beyond. It looked eons away.
After the halfway mark when all the half marathoners cleared the course I thought to myself this is where my race begins. And with that thought was an arduous climb up a very busy street. The cyclist were all passing by now from their trip around the lake. This was awesome. They were all encouraging and I was happy giving them all a thumbs up as they sped past. I also hit a euphoric 2nd wind here (which cannot happen without its polar opposite, I'll get to that). At this point I was waving at cars and having a great time chatting with the spectators as I'd run past. And then I spotted my mom coming around the bend on her bicycle. This was another great boost! She cheered for me and a couple others around me and said she loved me before pushing beyond.
I was then blasted with fatigue and soreness around mile 16. But I pushed on. I never walked on this course, I just put it into a very low gear. This day was the hardest of the 3 days for me but it was also the fastest (a faster course, mostly downhill).
On the first day I developed a little 10K and 5K left dance, just some minor wiggling and finger shaking. When I had 10K left on this course I mustered up the dance with all my might. When the 5K left mark came, I was shattered. I pointed my fingers out for about .5 seconds and then pushed on. I was mad and sad and hurting. I figured I'd cross the line and start crying immediately.
Then there was another hill. And all that was left was my will to live. I was talking to myself in short sentences mantra like. I knew I would finish but it was taking it out of me. I finally heard Derrick's voice scream at my sighting and new I was done for the day.
Big smiles, no tears:
Sunday/Marathon 3 - Tahoe City to Pope Beach (about 6 miles beyond Emerald Bay)
5:00am Sunday morning I awoke with nausea. I got up for the normal routine of coffee with half and half and oatmeal and found that my stomach immediately said no way, not today. I had my coffee black and a Mojo bar instead. I rolled a bit and yawned about 40 times on the 45 minute drive up to Tahoe City for the final race. I couldn't be bothered to stand in line at a porta potty so went pee in a parking lot in front of a car with a little stick tree right beside me. I gave no shits this day. We saw a pale and distressed looking Dennis at the start and took a few photos. The gun went off and we hobbled on. Dennis was right behind Derrick and I for a couple miles and he dropped off. "He said he ate yogurt and a banana for dinner, Derrick" I said worriedly. Dennis is the fastest marathoner of all of us I think had the biggest breakthrough this weekend in testing his limits.
Derrick and I ran together for the first half or so seeing Brooke and my mom along the way. Its great to have support in races, especially stage races or ultra-endurance events. And its a pain the ass for them so I really appreciate it.
The first 8 or 9 miles was flat. I was grateful and we were easily doing 9:40s or so. Also, as soon as I started the race my nausea and fear of what lie ahead was instantly gone. I thought it funny how the thing that was causing trauma to my body was also the only thing that was making me feel better. Anyhow, as soon as the hills started I slowed a bit. This is where I lost Derrick and just went at an easy peasy no rush pace. I enjoyed the scenery and the energy from the half marathoners when they started at the half point. At Inspiration Point I grabbed some grapes, pretzels and Ultima to choke them down with. I walked and just looked out at the lake and I experienced so many emotions. I was calm and happy eating and I was also sad that in 6 or so miles it was all going to be over. So I enjoyed those 6 miles the best I could. I chatted it up with several people. And around mile 21 or so Dennis caught up with me! I told him to go catch Derrick after he explained he was just numb to the sickness he felt and pressing on. Way to go, Dennis!
After I rounded the final stretch where my mom and Brooke stood I was drawn in by the cheers of onlookers. What a great day! The 4 of us here at the end doing our final post race soak:
These were probably the most amazing 4- 5 days of my life thus far. I've experienced far ends of the emotional spectrum and I feel lucky for all of it. And I especially feel lucky that I can eat this and not feel the least bit guilty about it:
Next day chillin with JB (and the rest of the gang) at Kiva Beach - I wanted to run another marathon but we went to apple hill and ate pie and fritters instead.
Bye Bye for now Lake Tahoe!