2013 Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance 100
The Tahoe Rim Trail 100 did go as planned …….up to the 50mile mark. The first 40 miles were uneventful as I held a good pace, had fun conversations and gorgeous views. But challenges were already present even before the race started; running at altitude, dusty trails, blazing sun and high temperatures. I was excited to take on the challenges but blind to what lied ahead.
I was running strong and felt good for most of the race but in the last few miles on the first 50 mile loop, going back down into Spooner Lake State Park, I began to feel a bit “off” and sluggish. I expect some rough patches in a race and know there is always an upswing. Upon arriving at the Start/Finish in just under 11 hours I decided to try to make the next 50 miles feel like a brand new race. I changed my socks, sports bra and shirt. I ate, drank, washed my face and resupplied. I got some energy from seeing my crew (Scott, Shep, Dahlia and cousin Tim and Sara), but that unfortunately would not last long. I left their smiling faces, made a pit stop at the port-o-potties and turned up the trail. After walking and trying to jog as much as I could I figured I should try to switch to gels and ate a Chia Surge.
About an hour later I ate a VFuel but that didn’t help either. Getting to the next aid station (Hobart) took me almost an hour longer than the first time. I tried to eat and drink a bit more there but nothing seemed appetizing. A few miles later the trail began to wind downhill again and I was able to summon enough energy to run. But with the running my stomach was getting jostled and then really started to hurt and nausea set in. I dug out a ginger chew and tried to suck on that but it was not helping so I threw it out. The Tunnel Creek Aid station could not come soon enough. I sat down for a minute and when I looked up Scott was there. He had run up the road again to start his pacing duty with me, earlier than we had originally planned. I was happy to see him. Scott got me a Ginger Ale and I tried to eat a bit of boiled potato. The volunteers asked if I wanted chicken broth but I needed veggie broth. They told me they would have it upon my return. I got up to continue on to the Red House loop. I ran gingerly on the down hills as it really hurt my gut to do it. I continued a run, hike, run, hike pattern as best I could grabbing a full can of Ginger Ale at the Red House Aid station. Little sips were the best I could do as well as a slow progress forward on my feet. It got dark on our climb back up and my thoughts grew dark as well. “How could I continue with this gut pain and fatigue? Deep breathes. Coming in before the sun comes up will be impossible. I can’t even walk a straight line.” A couple miles later Scott encouraged me to try to take a Salt tablet. It hit the back of my throat and the contents of my stomach promptly came up. There was nothing in there but water and Ginger Ale. I felt horrible and throwing up did not make me feel any relief. That was discouraging since in Pinhoti when I had stomach issues I always felt better after throwing up and then was able to carry on. We finally made it back to Tunnel Creek completing the Red House loop.
I sat down again feeling defeated. Scott worked hard with the volunteers to get me veggie broth, crackers, sweet potatoes. Nothing tasted very good but everything stayed down. My energy level, stomach pain and nausea did not improve and I began to get chilled. After 90 minutes I decided things were not turning around and I wanted to be done. I laid down on a cot with a blanket over me and tried to sleep. We had to wait for a ride out of there and a couple hours later we were heading down the mountain in a 4WD truck going over some crazy big boulders. My gut was still aching. We eventually made it back to our car and then to bed.
There is a whole other nail biting half to this story that Scott already wrote about so I will link you here to his blog to read about it.
After the fact you begin to beat yourself up. What went wrong? What could I have done differently? Did I give in too early? The thoughts haunt me but I know that in every race there is a lesson. I am just not totally sure what this lesson was …….yet.