Monday, August 06, 2007

Running Uphill at Tahoe

Hello from Lake Tahoe! We've been here since Thursday, and we head back to the Bay area this afternoon. As always, we've had a great time - lots of running, swimming in the lake, and hiking.

Thin air: Here I am last Saturday at High Camp at the Squaw Valley Ski Resort. It sure was windy. E. and I (and our Lab-mix, Nelson), drove 20 minutes from the lake's west shore to see the 27th annual Squaw Valley Mountain Run.

This race is tough - it's 3.6 miles of misery, starting at 6,200 ft. in elevation and ending at 8,200 ft. It's a good thing I ran 8 miles the previous day (wheezing at high altitude) and had a 16-miler scheduled the next day. Otherwise, I'd be sorely tempted to run the race.

Taking the tram: The second photo is of the start of the race. You can see the racers, all 517 of them, snaking up the first incline. E., Nelson (Squaw Valley is dog-friendly) and I took the easy way up - a tram that rises to High Camp, where the race ends.

From the tram, you can squint and see the runners wend their way up the mountain. (Look to the left in the third photo.) They looked like ants.

All the way up: The fourth photo is of the 3rd-place finisher (I think) coming in, at 3043. The overall winner crossed the finishing line in 29:33. The first woman finished at 35:37.

The pain of going uphill: One runner, who came in the top 20, ran so hard up the mountain that he fell to his knees, gasping, and crawled across the finish line. Then he couldn't get up, and two women had to haul him to his feet and drag him to the water table. He was fine after ingesting water, sports drinks, and a bagel. I did not see any medics there (!!)

Eagle Lake hike: Here's a photo of my sister-in-law, En. She hiked up into Desolation Wilderness with us to Eagle Lake, our favorite short (but steep) hike . I took our Tahoe relay race team up here the day before the race back in June. Everyone loved it except for one.

Long run: Yesterday, I ran about 16 miles. But I had to break it up into two runs, because we had to clean up and leave our cottage by mid-morning, and head to En.'s house (where we stayed last night). I know, not ideal, but better than skipping it.

So at 7:15 am, I headed out in shorts and a t-shirt in the cool, sunny, 55-degree weather and ran 8.6 miles in 1:24. The route was fairly hilly in some places, and the high altitude kept my pace at a conservative 9:45/mile. Then, at 6 pm, I ran another 7+ miles with E. and Nelson. Both were beat by the end of the run. I felt like I could go another mile, but thought it would be nice if we all stayed together.

Stay tuned: I may have some good news to share with you in a couple of days. Right now, we're still weighing it up. Oh ... and in other news, we're heading to Vegas (for a conference) on Tuesday!


  1. That run looks hellish but fun if you've got the lungs (I don't).

    That lake looks beautiful but I'll bet that water was cold! You SIL is a brave woman.

    Can't wait for big news.

  2. The altitude will kill us flat-landers. My club runs a race in Flagstaff AZ (8000') called "Gasp'n in the Aspens. Well named.

    Good workout in a beautiful area of the country. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

  3. Ahh, the memories of our Tahoe Relay run just two short months ago. You and E kicked asphalt back then! T'weren't me that didn't like the Eagle Lake hike. Perhaps it was Nelson or Fox. Your readers should know how incredibly generous and supportive you were to the team of friends you assembled for that race during the three or four days of the event. Our money was no good there then. What hosts, a credit to your state!

    That Squaw Valley run looks like a future challenge for you.

    Thx for your support of my Chicago effort.

  4. That is some serious altitude training. Tahoe is so beautiful, but I can't imagine racing there. Kudos to you for doing it!

  5. That looks and sounds like a killer race! Of course, so does 8 and 16-milers.

  6. what it looks like is ... paradise! nice work on the long runs. fingers crossed on news.

  7. Wow - sounds tough and looks beautiful! Enjoy Vegas! I was there a few months ago and really enjoyed my runs.

  8. Wow, beautiful pictures. And can't wait to hear the big news!