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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!

TransAlpine-Run 2013

Gore-Tex® TransAlpine-Run 2013

Happy New Year to you! I’m a couple of weeks late with my wish, but I truly do hope this is your best year yet. As with the beginning of every new year, it is a time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new year. I always look back to recognize and celebrate everything that was accomplished, acknowledge what was learned, and recognize what needs to change moving forward and what new goals to set. Then, with all of that in mind, I can start to look forward in planning my best year ever. In coming posts I’ll break down for you all the areas I consider when planning my year, but a big category for me is planning my athletic endeavors. Taking care of my health and challenging myself physically are a huge part of who I am!

We sat down with our coach, Ian Torrence, recently to plan out our race year. The title of this blog post gives it away a bit, but we’ve got a number of events planned for the year, with the TransAlpine-Run being a focal point. We ran the TransRockies Run last summer, so why not compete in the sister event in the Alps? And, what better way to see the Alps??

What is the Gore-Tex® TransAlpine-Run?

I am so glad you asked! Each year is slightly different, but this year it is an 8-day pairs stage race through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. The distance is about 250km and there is about 50,000 ft. of climbing. While the elevation range is lower than we are used to here in Colorado, the terrain and elevation gain will be tremendous and insanely challenging.

As we did last year with the TransRockies Run, we are creating a video log of our journey with our training and sharing it at therunningmartins.com. Please subscribe and share it everywhere – we need all the support we can get this year! In addition to this, we will also be doing our first ever 50-mile race as well as several other 50km and shorter races.

One of the best things to come from getting involved in ultrarunning has by far been the connections we’ve gotten with other people. It is really interesting because ultrarunning is very much a solitary sport – the race fields are typically very small, the distances so long that you might not see another soul for a few hours, and the training usually includes countless hours with just yourself. YET, when we do meet others, the connections run deep and friendships are forever.

TransAlpine-Run Folks ROCK!

Check out what the kind people at TransAlpine-Run posted about us? This made my week to find!

 

Needless to say, we are SUPER excited to not only participate in, but to take the journey in training for the TransAlpine-Run this year! Looking back at what we accomplished last year showed us that we are ready to up our game and take on bigger challenges. My hope is that we will be able to say the same thing at the end of 2013!

Please follow our TransAlpine-Run journey and subscribe to therunningmartins.com. Also, stay tuned for more posts from me on setting goals!

Training Day 1.

Please visit the TransAlpine-Run website here.


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