Tahoe Triple (Final)

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At the start of the line: Tahoe Triple Day 1

The adventure of a lifetime. Although we did quite poorly in the Tahoe Triple it was quite an adventure. I have to admit that I have never been so out of my league in my entire life…
I almost died!

The Tahoe Triple runners were incredible. The course was amazing – it was a killer course though; the views were out of this world. If you have a chance to run, walk or bike Tahoe – don’t hesitate, just do it. The camaraderie of the other runners was quite incredible. These are runners who don’t think much of running a marathon every weekend. Runners I met came from all over the US. Some of them were Marathon Maniacs – folks who run marathons and more every weekend? Is that even possible?
Between Paul, Mr T and I we completed a Tahoe Triple: ie we each managed to finish the first marathon of the Tahoe Triple!
We will return next year to finish what we started this year.

Our story: Leila, Paul and Mr. T register to run the Tahoe Triple. Mr T and Paul train for a few months before the race. Mr T is very consistent in his training. He is the only one in the team who is actually serious about training. Up at the crack of dawn running every day before going to work. Sometimes he manages to drag Paul with him. Leila on the other hand does not train. She binge trains: ie does not run the entire week and then tries to cram 30-40 km in a weekend. Makes for interesting weekends!

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We started on day one of the Tahoe Triple at Emerald Bay. An absolutely gorgeous bay. Great starting point. We had to get up at 4 AM, grab a coffee, banana some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the road and get ready to leave by 5 AM to make it to the starting point by 7 AM.

We started near Inspiration Point over looking Emerald Bay. Now the course organizers described the course as a flattish course. Since we are going around a lake you would think that hills would practically not be there. Oh wrong, so so wrong. First of we started this first day marathon at over 6,000 feet and for some of us getting used to the altitude was still happening. And the hills… I don’t know what to say except that they were hellish! Hellish hills!

All the marathons in the Tahoe Triple are road marathons. What this means is that you are running on the road along side traffic (California truck traffic, morning rush hour traffic). You are running without any protection from the traffic (I am used to this as I run on roads in Toronto) and you need to pay attention.

We finished at Spooner lake. We all did good times in the first part of the marathon. I will have to get Paul’s and Mr. T’s time but I know they were doing very well up to mile 20. Same here. Paul and Mr. T are much faster than I am. I arrived at mile 20 by 11:53 AM. I am slow but that was pretty good for  me and I was thinking about a 6.5 hour finish for this first day. I puked my guts out at 5k – basically getting rid of any food I had eaten in the morning. I can’t eat and run and I have now tried everything! I was not drinking much water either. Getting to mile 20 was ok, the views were magnificent, people who passed me were fun and although I was starting to get dehydrated it was still all right. At mile 20, all hell broke loose.

At mile 20:
– The hills appeared. You could not see the end of the climb.
– I was dehydrated.
– Missed the aid station at mile 17 and run out of water (well, what difference does it make since I was not drinking!)
– I met Angel who was manning the course who mentioned that I still had 6 miles to go to the finish lines and that it would be slightly hilly! Ah, ha ha ha. I laugh now about his comment. Devilish Angel! What a joke!

Every single meter I walked to get to the finish line was hell. I puked my guts every kilometer, I thought about giving up every meter but I remembered that I can’t give up 6 miles away from the finish line. It was hot, hot, hot. I had no water. Luckily Paul and Mr. T spotted me 3 miles from the finish line as they were getting a ride back to the starting line. They stopped the car and I got a coke with lime and water and one single bit of advice: "one foot in front the other until the finish line".

This was the hardest run I ever completed. It took me 4.5 hours to do 6 miles in blistering heat and traffic. I kept thinking that being 6 miles away from the finish line even if I crawled on my hands and knees I would be able to cross it. I was so dehydrated I could not look at the road: I was seeing stars, my kidneys were hurting. I was afraid of passing out and falling unto the incoming traffic.

I finished and set a new record for the first day marathon: over 9 hours (9 hours and 20 minutes)!
Mr. T finished in 4:42:38
Paul finished in 6:07:08

What did I learn:

  • I am stubborn and one of these days it will kill me.
  • I can’t give up easily. I should have simply stopped at mile 20 and called it a day.
  • I need more training. A lot more training.
  • Cursing does not help.
  • Cursing helps.
  • Drinking is not an option; it is a requirement. Hydration is essential and it needs to happen before you start the race.
  • You learn to walk and run through the pain because pain is your friend?
  • I am an idiot?

Next time I will be more prepared. I am looking forward to next year’s Tahoe Triple. The team is already committed: one needs to finish what one starts.

The photo album for the Tahoe Triple is now on flickr. You can view it here.

Some great Tahoe photos:

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Next marathon: The Toronto Marathon on Sunday October 15.

PS1: I alsmost died. Honest!
PS2: What does not kill you makes you stronger.
PS3: Never give up!

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