Monday, July 23, 2007

Tahoe Rim Trail 100M

Fifty long miles and then again,
Struggling with sleep and intense pain.
This is the story of a run:
A Taste of Hell, Glimpse of Heaven!
Many months for it we did train.

Labored breathing, lungs under strain,
The distance preying on the brain.
From Sun to Night and again Sun:
Fifty long miles.

We are tough, we cannot complain
If this goal we are to attain!
Determined, incessant action,
Living from station to station.
Doing them twice, that was the game.
Fifty long miles.




Date: Jul 21-22, 2007
Race: Tahoe Rim Trail 100M
Location: Spooner Lake State Park, Carson City, NV
Time: 34:11:30
Photos of this race: http://public.fotki.com/rajeevtherunner/2007trt100m/

What a tough, tough race this one was. The lowest point in this course was 6800' and the highest was 9214'. Anil and I took almost all of the allotted time of 35 hours.

Thursday, July 19
Anil, Rashmi and I left the South Bay around 2 p.m. Rashmi drove and we had a great time listening to music or just talking. We stopped for some food in Placerville. Pizza and beer!!

We reached the race hotel (Plaza Hotel) after 7 p.m. The 2 adjacent suites were great. Each suite had a living room with a pullout bed and a bedroom with a King bed.

Anil and I went to a few places to pick up fruits and other last minute things. We then decided to finish the drop bags since we had to turn them in before 2 p.m. the next day. Anil even helped bandage up my big toes in order to prevent blisters from forming on the underside. The skin there had become kind of sensitive the past few weeks.

We hit the sack early though I spent the next hour or so watching TV.

Friday, July 20
We woke up after 8 a.m. and first went to eat breakfast in the hotel. We met up with Alan Geraldi who, like Anil, was attempting his first 100-miler. We went over to his room to help him with his drop bags.

After I showered, Anil and I made a quick trip to Lowe's for a few lithium batteries and strips of Velcro to attach our gaiters with.

Rashmi, Anil and I ate in a Subway before heading to the grounds of the Capitol where the weighing in and the 2:15 p.m. race briefing were to be held.

The first thing we did was to get weighed and get our bib numbers. We deposited the drop bags and then waited for the briefing to start.


(Race central)

(Alan Geraldi weighing in)



(Clowning around during my weighing in)

The race briefing by RDs David Cotter and Kevin Bigley was preceded by short speeches by people from various groups affiliated to Carson City, RRCA etc.



(Attentive audience)



(Pete Lubbers & Scott Dunlap)

David and Kevin briefed us so thoroughly that there were no questions at the end. At least not in public!

Pete, Anil, Alan and I had signed up for the pasta dinner. We went back to the hotel to rest for a bit before heading out to the dinner around 5 p.m.


(The pasta dinner)

Finally it was time to go back and contemplate on the nature of the Universe before the 5 a.m. start! I contemplated until 11 p.m. before closing my eyes for a few hours of shuteye.

Saturday, July 21
The alarm went off at 2:15 a.m. I could not bear to get up right away so stole another 15 minutes of much needed sleep. I finally swung my legs off the bed for the start of a long day, a long night and an even longer day after the night!

After a quick shower and a breakfast of a bottle of Ensure and a large bagel, Anil and I were ready to have Rashmi drop us to the Start. Alan rode with us. It was not very cold. That was good news. Maybe the night would not be cold either.

We found Chihping and Pete in the start area. Anil and I got our bibs and pinned them on. I also had a cup of much needed coffee while waiting for the race to start. I was carrying 2 hand bottles filled with Heed+Perpetuem+Salt Stick. Around my waist was a bag containing my phone, my camera, a few gels, some salt tablets and a cutoff chart.

(From L: Anil, Chihping, Pete, Geraldi and I)

All that stuff caused a backache that persisted for almost the entire race. I will have to find another way to carry the camera during next month's Lean Horse 100M in South Dakota.

5 a.m. and we were off! The first few miles were a climb and Anil and I were determined to walk all the way to the top. The both of us stopped almost every 15-20 minutes to pee. The climb soon turned into a descent all the down to lake level - small Lake Marlette with its giant cousin just over the mountains on its west shore.

(On the climb up from the Start)

(A happy Anil. He was happy throughout)

(Marlette Lake)


(Hobart AS at 6:50 a.m.)

The trail started a gradual rolling climb all the way to the Hobart Aid Station. In the Aid Station, I quickly downed a bottle of Ensure and topped up my hand bottles. Anil and I were soon on our way. The trail wound its way up to Marlette Peak.

The views were starting to get more and more stunning. Marlette Peak tops out at 8780'. What a way to start a race and the day!

(Marlette Lake with Lake Tahoe behind it)

We quickly found ourselves in the Tunnel Creek AS. This was the most important AS in the race. We would pass through it 6 times, 3 times per loop. Anil and I had our bottle of Ensure and refilled our bottles before heading down the Red House loop. People seem to dread this loop. I personally believe that it is overrated. Similar to the climb up to Hurricane Point in the Big Sur marathon.

We saw a lot of some of the middle of the pack runners come up the slope while we were starting out.

(Pete Lubbers at the end of the Red House loop)


(The ever smiling Scott Dunlap)

We ran the downhill and then power walked our way up the slope all the way back to the Tunnel Creek AS. We had a bottle of Ensure again and did not linger long here. It was on to the long 9 mile trudge to Mt. Rose. Anil had asked for Subway sandwiches for the both of us. It would be nice to see Rashmi, Arul and Gayathri there.

We met Eric Blumenau, a friend of Nicole Whiting, just after Diamond Peak. He looked in good shape.


(Eric Blumenau on his way back to Tunnel Creek from Mt. Rose)

We made it to Mt. Rose around 12:40 p.m. i.e. 7:40 into the race. We were happy with the time. Nicole Whiting was there. She, along with Arul, Gayathri and Rashmi, helped us with whetever we needed. Thank you Nicole.

I quickly wolfed down part of the sandwich, had another bottle of Ensure and headed back out on the trail for the return trip to the Start.

We reached Tunnel Creek after the pit stop in Diamond Peak.

Norm and Helen were part of the Tunnel Creek band of volunteers and it was wonderful to see their smiling faces. Helen was amazingly helpful.

(Norm & Helen Klein in the Tunnel Creek AS)

We met so many of the 50M/100M front runners along the course. Garrett Graubins and Tim Twietmeyer to name a few in the 50M. Jasper Halekas, the eventual 100M winner, passed us, going the other way, just after the Tunnel Creek AS. He finished in 18:16. Our second 50-mile loop took us 18:11!!!

We were on our way up the climb from Tunnel Creek to Hobart when the eventual 2nd place runner, Mark Gilligan, blew by accompanied by his pacer Michael Hayden. These lads are fast!!

We stopped Wendell Doman, part of Jasper Halekas' crew, and talked with him for about 3-4 minutes.


(Wendell Doman)

Keith Blom passed us too. He was following up his sub-24 finish in Western States with another 100.


(Keith Blom)

We grabbed some water in the Diamond Creek AS and then ran at a steady clip down the descent from there. Once the trail leveled out, Anil and I ran a bit and mostly walked back to Tunnel Creek. It was more Ensure again for us.

The climb out of Tunnel Creek was long and we eventually made it into Hobart. Anil and I picked up our thin running jackets in case it was windy up by the Snow Valley AS. We started the 2.6 mile trek up to that AS. That climb went by quite fast and uneventfully. My weight, like Anil's had not fluctuated by more than 0.6 lbs. during those 40+ miles. AS was no exception. Since we did not have drop bags there, we were out quickly.

The last 7 miles down to the Start/Finish felt really long last year during our 50M. The same this year too!

We rolled into the 50M point at 8:30 p.m. (15:30 for the 50M). The entire crew was there to greet and help us - Anu, Bharti, Deepu, Aruna, Rashmi, Arul & Gayathri. Vinod Vishwanath was waiting to pace us.

Anil and I spent 30 minues eating pizza and changing into warmer clothes fro the night section.

We left at 9:00 p.m., 16:00 on the race clock.

The 3 of us soon settled into a good rhythm. The initial climb seemed interminably long the second time around. Anil took his first NoDoz tablet on this climb. I followed soon after. Vinod was running a 50M (the last 50M of our race) a week after running an unsupported 50M in Montana!

We reached the Hobart AS soon enough and were grateful for the bottles of Ensure waiting for us there. My new Fenix seemed to relish the batteries I was feeding it - it went through them like a hot knife through butter!! I then resorted to using only the headlamp and turining on the Fenix only when the headlamp fell a bit short.

Tunnel Creek came along soon too. I chugged down a bottle of Ensure and it tasted a bit weird. I felt like throwing up almost as soon as I left the AS and had to quell the urge. I did not know it then but that would be the last bit of nutrition (except for the mix in my hand bottles) that I would have for the next 24 miles!

Anil had struggled with sleep almost all night long. He had napped for 5 minutes in the wee hours of the night before taking a full blown 10-minute nap around 5:15 a.m. Nancy Warren, on her way back to Tunnel Creek, looked at him and remarked "He looks so cute sleeping there!".

We met Chuck Wilson soon after (5:45 a.m.) and he impressed upon us the need to pick it up and make it to the Mt. Rose AS as soon as we could. That lit a fire under our butts and we covered the next 3 miles or so in real good time. We reached the AS at 6:30 a.m.! We were out, after coffee and a quick change of clothes, at 6:48 a.m. We had built up a buffer of 1 hour.

The last 24 miles went by slowly. Anil slept for another 10 minutes in Tunnel Creek. I used that break to hit the toilet. We left Tunnel Creek at 9:55 a.m. determined to not stop anymore. The climb out of Tunnel Creek seemed much longer this time around. Hobart finally swam into view and we were out of there in less than a minute - we just refilled our bottles with the Coke we had switched to in Tunnel Creek.

The 2.6 miles up to Snow Valley Creek were long, hot, sweaty and full of large flies that seemed to have a predilection for my face and neck. My weight at that AS was down to 131 lbs. (from a starting weight of 135 lbs.) but the volunteer remarked that I would be OK once I finished and started hydrating and eating.

Those last 7 miles were some of the longest 7 miles that Anil and I have ever run. The last aid station, 1.7 miles from the Finish, never seemed to come. We reached it finally at 2:43 p.m. I promptly called Anu and told her that we would be rolling into the Finish around 3:15 p.m.

Anil, Vinod and I ran the last 100 yards and crossed the Finish line 34:11 into the race.

We were quickly whisked off to the hotel for a shower and then to the award ceremony that commenced promptly at 5:30 p.m.

Bharti, driving Anu's van, was tireless. She drove all the way back. She not only made a detour to drop off Chihping in Fremont but drove Michael Hayden all the way to his sister's place in Santa Cruz. I finally fell asleep, after eating delicious food that Raj (Anu's husband) had made for us, at 2:00 a.m.

My heartfelt thanks to our fantastic crew: Deepak, Aruna, Arul, Gayathri, Rashmi, Bharti and Anu. Anu juggled a bunch of things, including a 50 mile bike ride on Saturday, just so she and Bharti could make it to the race.

The race volunteers were absolutely fantastic! This race was made all the better because of their ever helping nature and cheerful attitudes.

Congratulations to all of you who finished. Scott, Pete, Alan, Eric, Chihping, Anil, Chuck, Tom Kaisersatt (50M), Christine (50M), Karen (50m), Marissa (50M), Norbert, Fred, Keith & Kay Blom ... The list goes on.

20 comments:

Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...

Congrats on such a tough challenge!

Loved your poem and words. I enjoyed reading them to bring back my memories.

Thanks Bharti and Anu (Sorry to make a mistake in other emails) for driving us back home.

Recover well and See you at Cool!

Chihping

Rajeev said...

Chihping,

Thank you very much. have a great run in Burning River. See you in Cool.

Rajeev

Alan said...

Awesome race report - awesome race - and a memory for my lifetime. Thank you for all your support - you and Anil made my first 100 miler a success! Congrats also on your finish - I was so happy to be there to witness it!

Alan Geraldi

Rajeev said...

Alan,

It was my pleasure.

You are an amazing athlete. Your first ultra in Nov 2006 and now a 100M 9 months later!

Rajeev

Mark Tanaka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Tanaka said...

Congratulations you and Anil! Not only for finishing, but for beating my time from last year. It was great seeing you twice on the course, obviously enjoying yourselves and being very encouraging. And, another great poem!

Rajeev said...

Mark,

We beat you??? Hot damn!!!!! You must have slept for hours and hours and the alarm must have failed to wake you up. :))

Seriously though, you looked like you were having fun too. Congratulations on your superb win in Kettle Moraine.

Rajeev

Addy said...

Congrats to you and Anil on completing such a tough 100! Your pictures and poem were both wonderful, and it was really fun to read about the course (in it's much much longer fashion :) ). I'll be looking forward to reading about your next adventure!

Rajeev said...

Addy,

Thank you very much.

Congratulations to you too for finishing your first ultra in style!

Rajeev

Nicole said...

Rajeev: Congratulations! I'm always so happy to see you at races, and you continue to be an incredible inspiration. Maybe at one of these races I'll feel as helpful to you as you have been to me. It was neat to see your supportive and happy crew at Mt Rose.

The TRT certainly was beautiful. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to see you guys finish, but that photo of you guys is a good record of the event!

Rajeev Char said...

Lovely report - 100 miler # 2 - AMAZING! Congrats to all of you crazy guys & gals.

Rajeev said...

Nicole,

Thank you for your help in Mt. Rose. It was a pleasure seeing you.

Good luck with your next race. Wishing the same to John.

Rajeev

Rajeev said...

Rajeev,

Thank you very much. You are no slouch either. Your Ironman comes up next month! You are in superb shape and should kick butt there!!

Rajeev

anil said...

Congrats Rajeev! Way to go man! What a race it was, I am glad chose this as 1st 100M.. something to cherish.

have a good recovery.
anil

Rajeev said...

Anil,

I agree. What a race! I hope your recovery is coming along well too.

Rajeev

Tiny Seal said...

Congratulations on the finish! Enjoyed the report. Good luck at the upcoming hundred next month. You are turning into Chihping :-)

madhuri.

Rajeev said...

Madhuri,

Thank you. :)) Your comment is funny!!

Peter Lubbers said...

Hi Rajeev,
Congrats on finishing TRT100. It was a lot of fun to spend some time together before the race. Thanks for the gloves, too. They did come in handy at mile 76.
See you soon,
Pete

Gretchen said...

Congrats Rajeev, sounds like it was a wonderful adventure! Such a beautiful course, isn't it? I'm considering it as my first 100 next year as well.

Rajeev said...

Gretchen,

It's one of the most beautiful course I've ever run. You will have fun when you do it next year.
Maybe I'll do it again.

Rajeev