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Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Miler

Most people stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve to ring in the new year. Apparently we’re not most people because David and I stayed up to register for the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 miler, registration opening at the stroke of midnight and sure to sell out by daybreak. Word is it was sold out in just a few hours, so our efforts were sound. This was to be our first 50 miler so we didn’t want to mess around.


TRT 50 is a beautiful course, on and near the Tahoe Rim Trail on the NE side of Lake Tahoe. Top to bottom, it is incredibly well put together. For me, it was a fantastic choice for a first 50 miler.

Unlike most races I’ve run, I didn’t get to preview the course beforehand. In fact, I had never even been to Lake Tahoe before. Normally, I would have considered this a disadvantage, but I think on this day it served me well. It was a very hot day, up to 95 degrees, so keeping mental focus and staying away from negative thoughts was critical. Not being able to anticipate what was coming ahead, other than a general sense of “the next part is up, followed by some down”, kept me on point with a zen-like flow to my day. I had studied the map and elevation profile and listened to verbal walk-throughs, but otherwise the actual course only revealed itself to me as I went. As a result, the day just seemed to fly right by. Looking back, I have no idea what I actually thought about all day long, I just know that I was fully present, enjoying the beautiful, doesn’t-happen-every-day state of flow.

Marlette Peak, around mile 9

Marlette Peak, around mile 9. Photo credit: Keith Facchino

My plan for the day was simple. Chunk it down, keep it easy until after the climb at miles 30-32ish, and then go for it with whatever I have. David and I also agreed to try and run together all day, but that we would also be ok with separating at any point. We ran together through about mile 18-19ish and then I just never saw him again until his incredible finish. Please read his blog to fully appreciate the day he had. He is my hero all over again!

After we separated, I ran from aid station to aid station, taking time to cool off with icy sponge baths and fill my sports bra with cups of ice. A fabulous volunteer at the Diamond Peak aid station taught me that trick and now I am forever grateful! I sounded like a human ice chest running through the woods the rest of the day, kachunk kachunk kachunking along, but I was so much cooler and comfortable. I also used my Ice Cold Towel, wearing it like a little magic super hero cape. Surely I looked and sounded silly, but I really don’t care because I was running well and passing others that were melting in the heat. I also have a new best friend in the volunteer at Diamond Peak that was hosing everyone off. PERFECT! My legs felt fantastic all the way to the end, giving me a finishing time of 11:18:32, earning me 9th female and 29th overall.

TRT 50 Course Profile

TRT 50 Course Profile

Mile 50+. Total mileage was 50.32 according to my watch.

Mile 50+. Total mileage was 50.32 according to my watch. Photo credit: Joe Azze

After a shower and a pathetic attempt at eating a burrito, I sat in the bleachers to wait for David. Nobody knew if/where he was on the course, so all I could do was sit and wait. In the meantime, I met some fantastic people and cheered in other runners. Incredibly, he finished nearly two hours after me, with a very respectable time of 13:06:43, especially considering the adversity he faced. Seeing him finish was the highlight of my entire day.



After some food, showers, and fitful sleep, we went back the next morning to watch our coach, Ian Torrence, finish the 100-miler. The drop out rate for his race was nearly 50% so to finish at all is worth a standing ovation. We learned a lot by running with the 100-milers and watching the day unfold for friends. Read his race report here.

That evening, 7 of us gathered for dinner. It was remarkable to sit and reflect on the wildly different days we each had, yet know that we were all on the same course on the same hot day. We had everything from my zen-flow day to lightning fast running, quad cramps and a drop at mile 80, bee stings, crashes with mountain bikers resulting in broken bones (the biker, not the runner), bee stings and epi pens, police and EMS, dry heaves, fantastic pacers, naps in sleeping bags, purple superhero capes, and a collective 80% finish rate. It really illustrates that so many other variables come into play and you can never plan for everything. Above all, this sport is incredibly humbling and just begs you to come back for more.

GIGANTIC thank yous go to: David for always being supportive and running with me, Ian Torrence for coaching us, Melanie Haskell for helping with the family, Dr. Jason Steinle and Health and Harmony Chiropractic, Jessica Wilson and Cindy Stone of Evergreen Center for Therapeutic Massage, TRT for the incredible event, and all our friends for the constant support.

Next up, David and I will run the Gore-Tex Trans-Alpine Run – 8 days through the Alps, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. Stay tuned for the adventure!

Gore-Tex TransRockies Run 2012

Gore-Tex TransRockies Run 2012

TransRockies Run – 120 miles, over 20,000 ft of elevation gain, through the Colorado Rockies, running with your partner at all times.

How do I put into words what this experience was? It has taken me over three weeks to absorb it and come to terms with my lack of eloquence. It was so incredible, I didn’t want to leave it, and perhaps writing about it would mark the true ending of one of the greatest experiences of my life.

I’ll start from the beginning, a year ago.

I was doing my fitness “thing” and David was getting revenge on the Malibu Triathlon. (He had trained for it two years prior, but a tumor in his chest and resultant surgery removing it and his right ninth rib took him out for over a year.) We talked a lot about finding something fun to train for and do together. I started doing research – adventure races? (I don’t love biking much anymore), marathons? (Please don’t make me run on the roads!), what? I had always loved trail running, despite setting it aside for 8 years, but it was completely new to David. We went for a few short runs and he really loved it! A little more research on my part and I found the TransRockies Run. I knew it would be PERFECT!! I showed it to David and he immediately thought I was nuts, that there was no way we could do it (his longest distance was a singular road marathon, me – 8 years off), and immediately handed me his credit card to sign us up! We were going to DO THIS!

We seek to live our lives to the absolute fullest, always pushing ourselves to set high goals in every aspect of our lives. We believe in leading the way with our kids, setting our very best examples. When kids see parents setting high goals, working towards them, and going out there and DOING something, they will follow suit! It’s amazing how that works!

A couple with big goals? Yes. Big goals with a stupid plan? No way. We hired coach Ian Torrence right away and got to work. We decided to chronicle our journey with each workout on YouTube, sharing it with the world. We were almost starting from scratch! But, this was an important piece of accountability.

We saw the most incredible places! We ran all over SoCal, up the CA coast, Arizona, Utah – Zion and Arches, remote areas of southern Mexico, the Bahamas, and extensively in Colorado.

We even moved to Colorado.

Our training was excellent and we were ready! And thus began one of the most incredible experiences of my life – right up there with childbirth and LASIK. I expected a grueling week, and something uniquely profound, but I was met with something of a greater magnitude than I could have imagined. We knew most of the courses from our preview runs, but being on the mountains for six straight days changes a person. You have a lot of time with your partner, but even more time with yourself. You can run and run, but you will always be with yourself, deep in your thoughts, finding clarity, learning what you’re made of (or not), gaining new perspectives on almost everything. Adding to the experience, if you’re lucky, is to do all of this with your life partner. To come to the end with an immediate embrace, tears, and kisses tells a lot about a couple!

We seemed to get better each day – physically pooped but our confidence started to soar. David’s doubt as to whether or not we could even do this turned into “how many minutes are we in/out of the next place?” We came home mentally/emotionally exhausted but feeling physically fantastic, ready to keep on running. I do know that I am forever changed and continue to just “be” with it.

I always talk about setting your goals high and going for them. Maybe I had never set my goals high enough before, but what I really believe is that at least once in life we all should set a goal so insanely high it seems far beyond ourselves, and then create a support team and plan to become the person you need to be to achieve that goal. You will find out who you really are and it will change your life!

As always, our adventures are best told in video. We didn’t get as much footage as usual during the 6 days – we were busy racing or resting – but the story is there.

Photo credits in video include – Hunter Imagery, Klaus Fengler, Kelvin Trautman

As far as what is next? In the immediate future, we have a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim run planned, but plans for after that are “in development”.

My sincerest gratitude to Ian Torrence, Melanie Haskell, Maksim Seredov, my boys, my entire team, the incredible runners I met at TransRockies, the Gore-Tex/TransRockies staff, and most of all, my love David Martin.


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