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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tahoe Triple Marathons Recap

3 Marathons in 3 Days in 2 States ~ Mission Accomplished!!!!!

This is my 10th, 11th and 12th marathon this year, and 66th, 67th and 68th overall

This year I have been challenged myself to do some races that I have never done before, so I called this year the "Go Big or Go Home" year. And doing the Tahoe Triple was definately the one I was looking forward to it because not that many races you can do them on 3 straight days Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Plus being able to run around the Lake Tahoe was a thrill.

Thursday 9-23-10

I saved myself around $60 by taking the bus to the airport instead of driving there and park at their expensive rate parking lot, since I live close to the John Wayne Airport, taking the bus is way cheaper.

I flew out of John Wayne earlier morning to Salt Lake City, then to Reno, then I picked up my rental car and drove down about 50 miles to Super 8 in South Lake Tahoe, which was where I stayed, although the outside didnt look too fancy, but inside it looked pretty homey, it has microwave, a coffee maker, a small frig, plus a balcony, since I was on the 2nd floor, which you could see the pool. After I settled all my stuff in the room, I headed to the packet pick up at their host hotel, Horizon Hotel, which was only 2 miles down.

There were only a few tables set up in the hallway, I picked up my bib, a long sleeves tech shirt, a blue "Tahoe Triple" singlet, a gym bag and a finisher license plate. What a great swag!! I will be using the same bib for day 1, day 2 and day 3's race.

I met up with my friend Karen, whose mom will be supporting us for Day 1 and Day 2's race, since on these 2 days were total self supported, but they did have a few fixed aid stations along the course like every 7 miles or so. Then we all agreed to meet up at the buffet dinner at the restaurant right next to the expo at 5:30pm. The buffet was REALLY good, lots of great food, pastas, rice, pizza, salad, chickens, deserts, soups, etc... And while we were enjoying our dinner, the race directors were going thru the course with us, plus guest speaker Dick Beardsley was also there to share his stories with us. I have met Dick Beardsley 3 times previously at different races, but I am always looking forward to listen to his speech because he is such a great entertainer with his stories. Then after the dinner I headed back to my room and get everything set up for my Day 1 of 3 marathons adventures.

Friday 9/24/10 - Day 1 Marathon - from Emerald Bay to Spooner Lake

We took the shuttle bus at 6:15am at the Horizon Hotel parking lot to Emerald Bay, the bus was comfortable, it was one of those tour bus with restroom at the back, not the school bus. The race started at 7:15am, I was able to snapped a few pics of the beautiful lake before we started running, plus the race director gathered all of us together for a group pic before we started.

I got to meet Sam Felsenfeld, who is running a marathon or more every weekend to raise money for Austism Charities, you can follow his journey at

I decided to run this 1st day as easy as I could because I heard the 2nd day is a easier one so I wanted to have a negative split between these 2 races. I actually ran with my fellow Maniac "Quiksilver" Ed for most of the race, he was doing the Super Triple, which means a marathon on Fri and Sat, then a 72 miles around the lake on Sat night, so he just wanted to take the first day as his "warm up".

During the first few miles, we were running on the side of the road with no shoulder, so we had to be careful to stay inside the road because the road was open to traffic.

Running on the white line was definately not an option cuz we might slip and fall off the hill.

Once we got to around Mile 7, we saw this little aid station table set up at the street corner, all they had was water since we were encouraged to carry our own water bottle, I took a few cups and we continued to move on. We tried to run on the sidewalk on the bike path as much as possible, or just stay away from the traffic. We ran behind the host hotel Horizon and got to our second aid station at around Mile 13, this time they had water and cookies, I again took a few cup and pour one on my head since the weather started to get warm, but I didnt get any cookies though. Then Ed and I continued our way thru a next few miles until we arrived at the next aid station around Mile 17, this time they had water and 2 huge buckets oranges and few snacks for us, the aid station was unattended when we got there but who cares, as long as they have water and oranges. =-)
At Mile 17 aid station

Then at around Mile 19, we were about to go thru this tunnel on US 50, glad that they had half of the road blocked, or else it will be very dangerous to run on a narrow shoulder with cars coming at us.

We continued to run and walk the next few miles, it was really tough to run on the side of the road with some constant incline. But I was just taking my time and just enjoy myself. Then we got to the final aid station at around Mile 23. My friend Barefoot Todd was there volunteering and helping us with water, oranges, pretzels and everything, I chatted with him for awhile before I moved on, my friend Ed was already on his way cuz I think I was taking too long at the aid station so he couldnt wait.
Barefoot Todd at Mile 23 aid station

The last 3 miles uphill were ROUGH!! It was a slowly climb all the way up for about 3 miles before making a left turn at US 28 to Spooner Lake at the parking lot. I finished at 5:32.42.

Imagine running on this narrow shoulder for 3 miles against traffic!! Fun huh??

Karen and her mom were waiting for me in their car, she finished the race about an hour before me. We then headed back to Horizon Hotel to pick up my car and see each other again for Day 2.

Saturday 9/25/10 - Day 2 Marathon - from Spooner Lake to Tahoe City

Well, how could I ever forget about this marathon, I actually MISSED the shuttle bus to the start on race morning!!

I woke up at 6am and thought that the shuttle bus leaves at 7:15am, since the race starts at 7:45am. So I was taking my time and getting my stuff ready. I stopped by McDonalds on my way to the Horizon Hotel and got myself 2 sauage mcmuffin with egg and a small coffee, then I texted my friend Karen and asked what time does the bus leave, and she said they've already LEFT!!!! I started to panic since I wasnt sure where was the start at, but she told me it was where we finished from the previous day and she gave me the direction how to get there. So I just drove there within 15 mins, I really thought I wasn't gonna make it and not getting my Triple.

I didnt have the tradition pasta the night before, instead I drove 25 miles to get my In N Out burger, Animal Fries and a chocolate shake!! I gotta get my In N Out fix on!!

So I arrived at the start area and saw bunch of runners there so I knew I was at the right spot. I saw Karen, Quiksilver Runner Ed, Yolanda, Jen, and some of the runner from the day before all getting ready for Day 2. I told myself I wont be taking any pictures for this one because I just wanted to concentrate on the run and hopefully get a faster time since I heard this one is a downhill course for the first half. So I just left my iPhone in my car, finished my coffee and get ready for the start, I didnt even have time to eat my sandwiches.

Race started at 7:45am, my legs werent too tight, I was able to run at a comfortable pace, but since I TOTALLY FORGOT my Garmin, I wont know how fast I was going and how far I have gone, but I did have my regular watch though, so I was just going by how I feel and just go from there. It was nice to see the sun start to shine early morning on our right side while we run on the left side against traffic in single file.

The first 11 miles were mostly downhill, with aid stations every 6 or 7 miles or so, I remembered I was just following this guy infront of me as my pacer, when I get a little closer to him, I will back off a little bit either by run a little slower or just take a short walking break, then when he was a little further away, I will start running again and try to keep up with him. I used this strategy for most of the first 13 miles until I had to stop at the aid station and refill my bottle. Because the aid station at Mile 13 is for both the runner AND the cyclists, so I saw a few a lot of cyclists passing by that spot, plus lots of water bottles on the ground since after they finish their water, they will just toss the bottles away.

The first half was done and it was fun with the downhill, the second half wasnt as fun though. At one point I was running on this narrow shoulder on this highway when a few of the cyclists were coming at me, I actually had to stop and let them pass thru before I could move on. I did a lot of running and walking at that point, well mostly walking since my legs were really tired, I had to stop and stretch every now and then.

When I got to the aid station at Mile 20, Barefoot Todd was there again volunteering, he got oranges, watermelon, pretzels and water in his little bins, no table though. I chatted with him a little bit before I moved on, all I knew at that point was I only have 10k to go!!!

The next few miles has a few rolling hills, I remember before I had to go up to this hill, there was this one guy helping out giving out water to us runners, I dont think that was the planned aid station but I was glad he was there helping out. I was either on the bike path or the side of the road, whichever I thought it was safer or faster. Then I saw sign that made me want to start running again, and it was a sign that said "25" on the sidewalk, since there werent any mile markers on the course, that was a nice one to see and a important one. So I continue to run/walk and made my way into Tahoe City, I saw lots of stores and restaurants everywhere and I knew I was close to finish, but I just didnt know where, they didnt have any direction or anything so I just kept running straight ahead, then I ask this lady on the sidewalk where is the finish at, she told me it was just straight ahead, so I just kept running and saw lots of people waiting at the finish area. I finished at 4:47.23, about 45 mins faster than the day before.

At the finish they have free beers, soda and cookies, I didnt take the beers, just root beers. I waited there for awhile for this married couple to take me back to the start to get my car back since Karen and her mom were having a get gather with their friend so they couldnt take me back. I finally got the chance to eat my sandwiches when I went back to my car. =-)

Day 3 Marathon will be up soon, I promise. =-)

Sunday - 9/26/10 - Day 3 Marathon - from Tahoe City to Emerald Bay

I didnt have pasta the night before, I settles for pizza and wings at the nearby pizza joint. Was gonna go do some sightseeing, but was too tired so I just stayed in for night and ready for Day 3.

I made sure I woke up on time this time for the shuttle bus, so I got up early and arrived at the Horizon Hotel by 6:15am, there wasn't much runners were there that time, only a few of us, so we just chatted for awhile before the bus came. After an hour bus ride, we finally arrived at the start area, the Common Beach in Tahoe City, which was where we ended the day before. I was able to stop by the nearby restaurant Rosie's Cafe to get some coffee before the start.