Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Return to the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile-- My Weekend of Truth

As I blogged earlier, I've upgraded from the 50 to the 100 mile Tahoe Rim Trail race.  The last time I ran the 100 miler was the first year they offered it, 2006.  Around mile 60, my body started to shut down.  During the night any uphills resulted in being completely out of breath, and I could barely run even the flats.  Back of the pack runners kept passing me, volunteers would start taking the aid station down while I was there, and in the end, I was the last to finish.

I stuck it out.  Of all my runs, I might be most proud of that one.

Plus, if I hadn't finished that race, I wouldn't have won the 2006 Race Series and that sweet king-sized mattress I won would have been Jon Olsen's.

after winning the 2009 Lake Sonoma 50 mile

My wife loves that mattress so much, I think it's the only reason I get to keep running this these ridiculously long races.  Although I haven't brought home any useful, large-scale race prize booty in a while...

Here are my splits from 2006 recorded with my watch.  Probably 99% of you don't want to go through every split.  The skinny is that it took me 12:12 to run the first 50 mile loop, including 25 minutes of detour from turning right instead of left when I hit Spooner Lake, but it took almost 22 hours to run the second 50 mile loop.

01:18:30 (6.0 miles)
01:18:30 @ 6.0 Hobart
00:59:43 (5.0)
02:18 @ 11.0 Tunnel Creek
00:36:33 (1st part of 6.3)
02:55 @ Red House
00:40:31 (2nd part of 6.3)
03:35 @ 17.3 Tunnel Creek
00:48:05 (1st part of 9.0)
04:20 @ Diamond Peak
01:11 (2nd part of 9.0)
05:31 @ 26.3 Mount Rose
01:13  (1st part of 9.0)
06:44 @ Diamond Peak
00:48:04 (2nd part of 9.0)
07:32 @ 35.3 Tunnel Creek
01:42 (5.0)
09:15 @ 40.3 Hobart
01:06 (2.8)
10:21 @ 43.1 Snow Valley Peak
01:13 (5.4)
11:33 @ 48.5 Highway 50 Spooner Trailhead
11:47 @ point realized going in the wrong direction
11:58:30 @ turnoff I'd missed
12:11:54 @ 50.2 start/finish/halfway point
00:19:40 at aid station
12:31:34 @ departure for 2nd loop
02:23 (6.0)  (saw bear near end)
14:54 @  56.2 Hobart
01:43 (5.0)
16:37 @ 61.2 Tunnel Creek
01:22 (part of 6.3)
18:00 @ Red House
01:26 (part of 6.3)
19:26 @ 67.5 Tunnel Creek
01:48 at aid station
21:14 @ departure from Tunnel Creek
03:37 (9.0) (turned on & used iPod until ran out)
24:51 @ 76.5 Mount Rose
03:09 (9.0)
28:00 @ 85.5 Tunnel Creek
02:23 (5.0)
30:24 @ 90.5 Hobart
01:33 (2.9)
31:57 @ 93.3 Snow Valley
02:03 (5.4)
34:00 @ 98.7 Highway 50 Spooner trailhead
00:24:54 (1.7)
34:24:54 @ 100.4 FINISH

The next two years I opted for the 50 mile race.  Partly because I brought my family up and didn't think it would be cool to be gone two whole days while they were up there.  I think my wife was 7 months pregnant the first of those.  Both runs I felt I ran as well as I could, but I concluded that altitude slows me down proportionally more than it does most people who live at sea level.

2007: 10:46:02, 25th place overall out of 106 total finisher-- felt I ran as well as I could, but this is much lower than I normally finish, especially then (2007 was a good year for me).  I actually wrote a report on this race, but I thought it was so boring, I never published it.
2008: 11:19:10, 36th place overall-- decided to relax slightly and took over 200 photos (link to my 2008 race report, posted a year later)

So I guess it's taken four years to get the nerve to run this again.  The question is-- did I fall apart so much because (1) that's what altitude does to me (and it only gets really bad after I've been exercising in it for more than 12 or so hours)?  Or (2) did I just get sick, my immune system compromised by lack of sleep and the stress of exercising at altitude?

Well, this weekend I finally get to see.  My goals for this race are modest:

1.  Finish before the cut off, 35 hours
2.  PR, which means only finishing 35 minutes and 7 seconds before the cut off.
3.  30-hour buckle -- this will work if it was reason #2 I was so slow four years ago.
4.  24-hour buckle, ONLY if I'm feeling really good.  Will not try to pace myself the first half with 24 hours as a goal.  I'm really skeptical this is even possible.

In any case, I might be coughing up scant amounts of blood for a few days afterwards.  Fun!


Gretchen said...

I read through every single split, Mark. Because I'm a nerd, because I love this race, and because it is comforting to see someone who crashed and burned worse than I did in '08. ;)
I hear what you're saying about needing some time to get the courage up to return to this beast. And now with the new course, it's even harder. Great.
You should definitely be proud of that race. And proud of yourself for returning to it. Have fun out there, and I'll look for you on Friday!

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Thanks, Gretchen, good luck to you, and hopefully you won't see me early Sunday lying down on a trail as you return (I had to do that several times in 2006).

olga said...

Crap, server crashed and deleted my comment! Anyhow, I, too, read through every split, because I have a flight to catch on Sunday, and because I have altitude problems, and because I never saw real splits from TRT, and scary part is, some of my "predicted" splits are same as yours in 1st half, and they shouldn't be, as you are a faster runner...OK, we see each other this year lots, tomorrow is 3rd time in 3 months!

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

You stalking me, Olga? I'll try to keep up with you this race!