Sunday, July 4, 2010

Training on the TRT

Last Friday I wanted to get in a 20 mile long run on the trails used for the Tahoe Rim Trail 50K race I'm doing in about 2 weeks. We've had an incredibly long and snowy winter with the high trails snowed in much later than usual years and I wanted to see what was open.

By 7am I was on Tunnel Creek Rd working my way up towards the Flume Trail and then a little further to the spot used for the Tunnel Creek aid station. Climbing strong and feeling good, so far so good. Next up I tackled the Red House Loop. After a long descent I made my way up to the source of the loop's name and continued straight up to the flume which I followed until the final climb back to TC aid station. I was pleasantly surprised when the climb ended sooner than I expected. 10 miles down, 10 to go.

Red House

Now I faced a dilemma. If I followed the TRT south to Hobart aid station and ultimately Marlette Lake and follow the Flume trail back to Tunnel Creek rd, I knew I'd be over my 20 mile goal but I wasn't positive by how much. So far in my build up my longest run was about 9 days ago and it was only 16 miles. I certainly didn't want to hurt myself just 2 weeks before my goal race but I also needed to build my confidence by going long. So I headed south.
This is a section of the trail that is always harder then I want it to be. Not incredibly steep, just long and lots of switchbacks. By now I started to feel a little tired. None too soon I finally found myself overlooking Marlette and Tahoe in a spectacular view. I had also come across only a few small patches of snow that didn't impede progress a bit.

Overlooking Marlette and Lake Tahoe

As I worked my way along the east side of the hill on my way to Marlette Peak I finally found a couple of large snow fields that obscured the trail. However, I knew the general direction the trail followed and it wasn't difficult to get back on track. The 50K racers won't have any problem with route finding on race day but since I didn't go north from Tunnel Creek, I can't speak for what the 50/100 milers might find.

Trail disappears

I made my way down to beautiful Marlette lake after sucking down more gels and a bar to flag my waning energy stores and I realized I was going to run out of water. I was 4 hours and 18 miles into my run and still had 8 more miles to go. I figured the outlet from Marlette would be flowing fast so decided to chance it and refill there.

Working my way to Marlette dam

Water source

It was along the Flume trail that my energy really started to fade. This was turning into a trail marathon, literally. I have to laugh at being an ultrarunner. Runners spend months training to run a marathon and yet we run marathons to train for our 50's and 100's. But the truth is, I was running 10 miles further than I've run all year and I really didn't want to get hurt. So I walked when I had to and ran when I could. And enjoyed the views on this absolutely gorgeous day.

1 comment:

Gretchen said...

Ah, my FAVORITE of Tahoe's awesome offerings. I was there Tuesday myself, and can say that even over Snow Valley Peak,the snow will probably not be a factor by race day.

Nice job, Catherine! Look forward to seeing you in a couple weeks!