Wednesday, June 29, 2011
1st Annual Run to Squaw
Part two of Big Blue's trail run series, this 7.7, or 7.8, or 7.88 mile course ran (literally) from Commons Beach in Tahoe City into the heart of Olympic Village in Squaw Valley. I don't think you can really beat the start, looking out at the beautiful waters of Lake Tahoe, or the finish, with the buildings of the Village looming on all sides. The course wandered on the bike path running alongside the river and Highway 29, before making a left and eventually paralleling Squaw Valley Rd.
I was feeling a little better than last week, but far from all the way back. I still can't get through a run, or typing a blog apparently, without the cough. Still, without any major climbing, I was expecting this race to go better than last week's.
Since Abby was meeting us at Squaw afterwards, we had the luxury of bypassing the shuttle from the finish, and we drove to the start to have a warm place to sit after picking up our packets at Squaw. It was 38 at that time, though by race time it was pretty nice (save for one shady section in the middle where you could still see your breath). I decided to test the Saucony Hattori's by racing in them, though they'd never gone more than 3-4 miles before. They held up well. My feet? Not so much. My left one got pretty torn up, though I didn't notice until afterwards, but it had more to do with me not wearing socks than the shoes not handling the distance. They proved to be more than adequate...I just have to find a nice pair of low, ultra thin black socks for race days. Any suggestions?
Anywho, we took off just after 7:45 from the beach, and after a little zig-zagging got on the river path. I got in the lead right away, but held back on the first hill of the beach before setting what I thought would be a good, reasonable pace. About, oh, three minutes later though, I knew sub 5:40 wasn't gonna happen. I backed off just a little, though I was a little ticked to be doing so this early. I was struggling though. Whether it was the altitude, the leftover black lung, heavy legs, mental sissyness (yes, it's a word!) or some combination of all of those, I actually considered dropping out between mile two and three. Abby told me that would have been a first since the comeback. I've got lost, wooped, won, and everything in between, but it's been a looooong time since I DNFd. In the end, though, I wanted to keep my Man-Card, and kept on keepin on. I stayed in the lead all the way through the turn towards Squaw, though I was being stalked the whole time. I resisted the urge to look and see who it was that I couldn't seem to shake. Until we turned left...then I peeked. Gaaa!!! It was Shia Lebouf!!
Actually, Noah Brautigam, younger brother of stud Reno runner August Brautigam. Apparently, bad-assedness runs in the family. Seriously though, he looks like Mr. LeBouf, if Mr. LeBouf was more athletic...& cooler (he did just say he had a thing with Megan Fox, so I guess he deserves some slack, though). There was just enough of a hill after that turn to take me further into distress than I wanted to go, and within a half mile (after being cut-off by a car) I was caught. I made a valiant effort to stay with Noah for a whole minute(!)...and...drafted off him for another 30 seconds or so, before hitting the wall with less than 8 minutes to go. I'd say that for a few minutes my pace dropped from what had been a 5:40 something average to well above 6 1/2 pace. I managed to pull my head out of my...er...back-side orifice, and closed the gap from 30-31 seconds to 17 at the end, but the damage was done. Noah ran a 45:02, and me a 45:19, for 1st & 2nd.
I went back on-course for a fairly short cool-down, and saw Turi was doing well. He'd end up 8th. We continued on til we saw Dave and paced him into the line right around 72 minutes. I'd like to run this again healthy, but the Oktoberfest version is on a Saturday. Maybe next summer, though...taking a minute or two off seems possible if I can stay at it for a year.
We spent the rest of the morning at the beach, then Abby surprised me with an overnighter at the Borderhouse in Crystal Bay. The Borderhouse that used to be Lake Tahoe Brewing Company, and Lake Tahoe Brewing Company that ised to be a brothel (he he). Good ol' Groupon came through with a pretty sweet deal on this one. Thanks dear! I even magaed to shuffle up Brockway Summit and hit the TRT for a few miles the next morning. And thanks Fred, for joining me for my warm-up and hanging with us afterwards.
Next up...hopefully ridding myself of the black lung (antibiotics are all gone and the cough syrup has one more dose) and putting together a good mile on the 4th! Til then...