Lake Tahoe half marathon 2010

First of all it’s gorgeous!!! Beautiful day and beautiful vistas. Very good organization. Except little misunderstanding with transportation to a race start. Which was solved on the spot by volunteers.  Lots of water stops, nice race T-shirts, gifts, info, etc.

Before leaving to half marathon start I had a chance to see marathoners starting their distance. Lots of people of different age groups, preparation levels, some even bare feet, with costumes, etc…..fun fun fun. And my fun was just about to start.

At start line was crowded. Majority of athletes were warming up. Some were looking for a sunny spot to stand and chat with friends so they won’t need a warm up . Just now I realized that I forgot my watch with heart rate  and pace monitor. Oh well….. At this point I was sure that I could pace myself pretty good as after long hours on the coast I could tell my pace pretty well even without a watch.

Anthem, loud bang from a gun and the race was on. I was in the front row so I could have a free space in front of me and have not to deal with the rest of the crowd. I counted only 5 or so people that had a faster pace at this point. It looked like they new what they were doing, so I didn’t even tried to sit on their tales. After a mile or so the doors (or staircase would be more appropriate name) to hell opened. Short reflection on my training so it will make more sense what i’m talking about later…. Before this race i was training only on the coast, that means 10ft or a bit more above sea level. flat, no hills….. coastal breeze, not too warm. Wheres Lake Tahoe is 6000ft ASL  dry air and it was in 80’s at least…. and so….. I hit this hill that goes up to almost 7000ft…. i didn’t knew that at firs I just recollected that there is this spot on the map. Some minutes later I started slowing down… One guy passed me by… still not too bad…. it was really curious what was my pace at this time…. one young lady was passing me buy and it looked like she was running at right pace for me so I tried to follow her…not too long though….I started to fall behind but then she turned back and waving her hand encouraged me to keep up…well…. could not resist this offer.  And it was a loooooong way to Heaven. After some time I got used to the pace that young lady was keeping and it got easier. We were passing buy some marathoners and other athletes that were walking the distance…. anyways some water stations later we got to the top. Oh boy what a relief….. but that was  just a beginning of the race so no rest here…. the pace got faster and we were running down the hill  and up the hill, down and up again. Some beautiful views of the lake.  Last pretty steep downhill and we are on the planes 6000ft ASL once again. The air got drier and hotter. Water is not helping me anymore. I feel that I can’t keep  up with the pace anymore. I wave and thank lady for amazing job pacing me and slow down to get my breath back. Some people pass me by after some time. Just 2 miles left to the finish. I increase my pace again…..and….. take a wrong turn. I end up running on the wrong track but not that far away from the course…. well some seconds lost…. after a half a mile i’m making wrong turn again…. another 20 s lost…crap….. anyways finish is not that far away. Left turn to the beach and I can here the announcer yelling names of people who makes it to the finish. I see couple of people ahead of me that i can still catch up with and I spurt.  I’m able to pass by one of them just 10 ft or so before the finish line. That’s good.

But surprise is still ahead of me….I can clearly hear now that I finished 19th out of almost 600 hundred . WOW. I was not counting on that… but now i’m getting my medal, the blouse that 25 top finishers get, taking my bag with belongings from volunteers (that gave me a wrong bag and I noticed it just 10 min later) and going to the beach to have a swim in Lake Tahoe. What a treat!!!! Water is cold and feels so good. sun is blasting, weather is perfect. Best place to be after a race – on the beach enjoying blue skies and sun., drinking water and doing nothing…. just being relaxed. I think that is what I like about race the most :)

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