50 Miles for my 33rd Birthday (Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Miler)

JonRoig.com | Posted: 2008-07-21 13:56:20 | 5576 hits | View in Hi-Fi Mode

So... I'm chugging along at mile 40 or so on the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 Miler, climbing some big ass hill, and I'm like, "You know... I've really done a bunch of these races in a relatively short period of time."

Kind of a strange way to spend my 33rd birthday, running my third 50 miler since last October... but what can you say, really? I really had a blast.

Tahoe... that place is amazing. Sure, the altitude was pretty crazy, but the scenery more than made the extra effort worth it. The view, looking out over Tahoe and the whole Sierra Nevada range, was stunning.

"A Glimpse of Heaven... a Taste of Hell." That's how the race bills itself. The DVD, which is actually remarkably well produced, does a pretty good job of breaking down the race. There's even a race theme song.

I managed to bring it in at 11:18... for me, that's pretty good, especially on a challenging course like that. It's not Zane Grey or anything, but with almost 10,000 ft of total elevation change, it delivers big time in terms of brutality.

The whole thing just went super smoothly. Remarkably so.

First... the hotel where I stayed, the Carson City Station, was awesome for the price. Not amazing, certainly, but pretty much exactly what I wanted. There's a typical hotel-casino restaurant in there, so... again... nothing spectacular... but very convenient and totally reasonable, cost-wise. I'd stay there again without hesitation.

I don't really gamble, but that's a nice area of Carson City. There's a nice little coffee shop right there with a cat, but a good bar with outside seating and a good view of the street.

Everything to do with the race seemed really well organized. Race packet pickup, drop bag dropoff... all super smooth. I put considerable effort into planning out my drop bag strategy only to... well...

Pretty much completely ditch it. Here's what happened: I ran into Jamil and Nick Coury before the race.

Now... for a coupla kids (23 and 20 respectively) , those guys are awesome ultra runners. Nick finished 5th at Hardrock last weekend with Jamil pacing for the last 43 miles, so I totally had the chance to pick their brains about trail running and whatnot.

They convinced me to ditch all the crap. Forget the Camelbak... there's no need for it, with only 6 miles between aid stations. A hand bottle... that'd be just fine. Just eat what's at the aid stations... and go from there.

And they were right, of course. I tried for awhile to do my whole Perpetuem / cliff block thing, but that just got gross after awhile. I pretty much settled on aid station Gatorade and whatever else there was to eat.... plus a pretty hefty amount of gu. Mmmmmm... gu. Those Hammer gels aren't bad, either.

Given that I'm unfamiliar with the course, took it nice 'n' slow. The weather was perfect -- clear blue skies, 45 degrees at start, maybe hitting a high of 85. Did the whole hat thing for the firs time in a race... it was good, I think. The white shirt, of course... but with my number pinned to my shorts so I could ditch it if I had to. (I didn't.)

Keep it simple and light... there's something to be said for that. Those boys are on to something.

Obviously... I love running, but it's the people who keep me coming back to these events. I had the pleasure of tagging along with some really great folks... so thanks to everyone who helped me pass the time out there. Lots of shit-talking about the IronMan triathletes... you know I enjoy that. Lots of good advice, general philosophy about stuff.

I dunno about these hundred milers. I'm not sure I coulda made myself do the second loop... but more power to 'em! At some point, I'm sure I'll join 'em... for me anyway, I'm glad this wasn't the race.

Right... so... maybe not the normal way to celebrate a birthday, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thanks!

I'll probably post way more pics shortly from other sources shortly... I don't even really know my finishing place yet.


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