Thursday, June 20, 2013

TRT (Tahoe Rim Trails) Training Runs

Day 1: Starts at Diamond Peak Resort. There is lot of parking space available at the resort. The resort is closed during the summer months, so not many people there. The run was supposed to be 20 miles but because of some mountain erosion concerns, the Race Director was not able to get a permit on the trails and had to change it last minute. It ended up to 25 miles. There was only one aid station (Tunnel Creek) but you go through it twice at Mile 5 and Mile 11. The aid station was good but the aid station volunteers there were also not aware of route changes, and mentioned that the run was a 20-miler. So, stock up on your water etc as at TRT, trail routes can change dependent on a various number of things. Because of last minute change, the trail was not marked properly, so be careful to listen to the instructions prior to the race. Restrooms are available at the resort, where the run starts. The run starts with a steep climb: Almost 2 miles of uphill, climbing 1700 ft - a good warm up. A hard climb, especially after the second mile. The views from the top of  the peak (referred to as Bull Wheel) are beautiful. Because of altitude, the air is thin, so there is difficulty breathing if you are not used to hiking at elevation. The training run also covers the Red House Loop. Still not sure why the Red House Loop is known as infamous. It definitely has some steep downhill but there must be some other reason for it to be known as infamous. The trails were not as technical as the Western State trails and had many shaded parts. The organizers of the TRT training runs have post-party food organized at the resort, which includes beer. Definitely the thin air makes you tired way before you can think of!

Day 2: This year it started in a dirt lot at the intersection of Freeway US-50 and CA-28 near Spooner Lake. Lot of parking available. There were a few porta potties available at the start, arranged by the TRT Training Run organizers. This training run is on the 50K course of the TRT. It is not 32 miles, but actually it is 34 miles (They should just call it a 55K race). There are 2 aid stations on the way (that you hit 4 times total). You can cut short the training run by not doing the 6-mile Red House Loop which is also covered on day 1. The trails are already well-marked and the organizers give you a map initially, which is helpful. The aid stations were good and so was the food at the finish. This year only 15 people (out of 200+) did the 34 miles while all the others did the shorter route of 28 miles.

What a weekend for Shavi! ~60 miles of trails with more than 20,000 feet of elevation change. The altitude training was an eye opener for what to expect at TRT 100 in just 5 weeks. The silver lining was that at least the views were 'breathtaking' (pun intended). The picture presented here is of Marlette Lake and Lake Tahoe from Snow Valley peak at around ~9100 feet altitude.
Not bad for $10 fee for each day's training run. Looking forward to TRT 100 miler now (Not)!

Night training runs on the trails

Can night runs on the trails be fun? There could be wild animals like mountain lion, black bear. You might not have sufficient light. You might get lost on the trails in the dark. You could trip and fall. Oh well, if you are an ultra trail runner, chances are that you would be aware of these things and would already take such things into consideration to make the night trail running fun and not scary.

1. Lighting on the trails is very important. So, carry a good headlight and also a flash light.
2. Know the techniques to save yourself from animals. For example, pretend to be big in front of mountain lions to make them afraid of you. Bears generally attack when they fear that you are a threat to his/her kids. So, do not do any such thing to make them feel that. Maybe carry a little pepper spray with you ;-)
3. Know your way, as in, where the trails are going. Pay attention to where you are stepping. The protruding roots of the trees can make you trip.
4. Have sufficient food and water with you, in case you get lost.
5. Carry your cell phone with you. Do not use MP3 players during night, specially, to keep your ears open.
6. Always good to have someone with you while on a night run. Go in a group, if possible. And last but not the least, keep someone back at home informed about when and where you are going for the night runs.

Always good to take precautions than to be sorry later!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A little 5K never hurts!

Kaiser Women's Fitness 5K which goes around Sacramento downtown, starting and finishing at the Capitol, is a tradition among the Sacramento women. It is a great run for women with great post-run activities and food. There are walkers as well as runners. I did this run with a friend of mine. It was a quick 5K on the hot day of June (June 2nd), with temperatures soaring to 90 deg F.

This was my third 5K in the past 4 years of my running. It is fun to see almost 4000 Sacramento women running or walking this race. It benefits WEAVE (Women Escaping A Violent Environment). It is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. Fleet Feet, Sacramento has great pre-race event for packet pick-up. Overall, a quick course and a fun run.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Reno Tahoe Odyssey (RTO) - 178mi relay race

Shavi had the privilege to run the RTO on May 31 - June 1, 2013 as a team of 12 people. The 178 mi run starts from Reno downtown and goes to Tahoe and then back. Each person runs a leg of 15-18 miles in a team of 12. It is a little expensive race for doing a relay with no aid stations at all. But you do not really need aid stations when you have a van of your team members following you most of the time and it is a relay. Each person runs 5-7 miles at one time, running three legs each, making it 15-18 miles for each.
Shavi's relay legs were pretty hard - some steep climbs but he did great. The team killed it in 23:30 hrs finish time despite crazy heat, no/minimal sleep, eating junk food, and group of 6 people living out of a van for the course of the 178 mi race. There were two vans with 6 people each.

I think such races teach team work: sharing food, getting minimal sleep, helping each other. Isn't this nice? Shavi says it was an amazing experience.