Last year I ran this race as the kick off to our week long vacation in Tahoe. I was also pregnant when I ran the race but did not know it at the time. It was such a beautiful run and it finished directly on the beach which was a hit for Vans and the Peanut.
I was determined to run the race again since it was so much fun and I felt I needed to redeem myself.
I also want to note that this recap will be an honest recap. What I mean by that is I will explain what a mother of an infant (and a 3 year old) actually has to do before a race for those who do not have kids and want to know how they can still race while having a child under the age of one and a 3 year old at home. So here goes ...
First and foremost, you have to have a supportive partner. Vans is very supportive and he is also very competitive so he understands my need for doing certain races over and over again. It also helps that he loves Tahoe as much as I do.
Also, Squeaker is an amazing baby. I won't lie.
She's pretty easy going.
Okay. ONCE in a while she'll cry...
But generally, she's easy as
So last night she woke up to eat at 3:45 am. I am nursing so that means I get up at 3:45 as well. As she often does, she poops. All babies do and usually when you are half asleep. However, by 4:00 am I was back in bed (told you she was easy). 5:45 am my alarm goes off (ugh). I change into my running clothes and take a few sips of coffee (I need that warm wake up first thing). A little after 6 am I make sure Vans is up (usually he isn't) and I go into the Peanut's room. I change her from her jammies into shorts and a t-shirt with long pants and a sweat shirt over it ... ALL while she is still asleep. She is used to this. She slowly opens her eyes and says "are we in Tahoe yet?" What can I say, this kid also loves Tahoe. I finish getting her ready and plop her on the couch where she starts talking nonstop about what she plans to do in Tahoe.
Next, I go into Squeaker's room who is still sound asleep. I pick her up and I nurse her while she's asleep and then I change her from her jammies into WARMER jammies. I remembered this year just how chilly it was at the start (go me). While I am doing this, Vans is loading the car with all the snacks, drinks, sand toys and other odds and ends we laid out last night.
6:40 am we're on the road and I am worried we're not going to make it. The glare from the sun was horrible on the drive up causing us to drive well below the speed limit.
We finally get to Eagle Point Campground (the race start) and I jump out of the car to head to registration to get my race packet. Vans luckily scored the last parking spot.
When I got to the car, Vans was changing Squeaker's diaper and then did the handoff to me. Sadly, Squeaker is refusing to take bottles making my life terribly stressful and hard right now. SO ... a mother has to do what a mother has to do ... I nursed her in the front seat of the car. After that, I placed her on the driver's side while Vans got all of our baby-gear ready. As a nursing mother AND a runner ... you have to then pump before running. If you are child-less or from another generation and do not know what "pumping" means, google "pumping milk" to find out. 10 minutes later I am finally getting myself dressed to race ... with only 8 minutes to spare before race start.
I blow kisses to the family and I run. The race start is a half mile down this very long hill to the very bottom of Eagle Point Campground ... with the start racing back up the same hill you've just run down.
Here is the course map:
Here is the course profile:
What the course profile doesn't show you are the STAIRS you have to climb in and around Vikingsholm. More on that later.
So the race starts (literally, "3, 2, 1 GO" by the race director). Everyone races up the hill only to be hit by the altitude and steepness of this paved hill. I saw Mo Bartley fly by me with absolutely no problems (no surprise). However, I have to say that this year the hill seemed a lot easier. That doesn't mean I ran it any faster, but it was easier to climb because all of a sudden I saw the Peanut!
With Gu! Again!
Squeaker was there too...
The hand off...
The Peanut was standing right where the race turns into a real trail race. A conga line trail race ...
Can you find me?
The Peanut, Vans and Squeaker hung our for a bit taking photos.
The race was on and I was feeling pretty good. I passed four women right off the bat on the down hill. As I was yelling "on your left" I heard an echo "on your left" coming from behind me. Once we were farther away from those other women, I hollered back "Anytime you want to pass just let me know!" "I am not going anywhere girlfriend!" a voice yelled back at me ... I just laughed and then in my head thought "wait a minute" when the person yelled, "Do you know who this is!?" and for a second my mind went blank. I definitely recognized the voice "Kind of," I said, "Who is it?" "It's BIG D girl!" Oh.my.word! "NO WAY!" I yelled! I instantly teared up.
Big D was my pacer at AR50 and my long time running buddy. I have not run with her in over TWO YEARS and to all of a sudden have her behind me was like a dream! She told me she wasn't leaving my side but Big D is fast. Super fast and I could tell that she was running solid. She ran with me for a bit and then she remembered that her coach (Mo Bartley) was here and that she was really supposed to be running hard. I didn't mind as I was starting to lose steam and did not want to hold Big D back at all. I watched with a huge smile on my face as I saw Big D pass runner after runner after runner and was out of sight.
Instead, I locked in on my race rabbit for this race. I instantly labeled her Lululemon because she was decked out in Lululemon capris, tanks (yes two) and socks. She was solid and running strong. I passed two men to catch up to her. I stayed behind her and noticed that when we hit the stairs going up, she was flying. Hmmm, I assumed she was from the Bay Area with the way she was climbing stairs and I later learned I was right.
Miles 4 through 6 were hard for me. I walked way more than I had imagined. Not including the stairs. I was flying on the downs, solid on the ups but the FLATS had me struggling at times. What gives!? I remained behind Lululemon though. I was hot on her heels. She said she wasn't bothered by my heavy breathing.
At one point near the finish, Lululemon started slowing! What?! No way! She was my rabbit! I yelled "Hey! Hey Lululemon don't slow down now! C'mon! You can do it!"
"Did I really just call her Lululemon out loud?" I thought to myself. Yes. Yes I did but she appreciated it and she turned on the jets. I followed her to the finish. I could have passed her at two different spots in the race but I don't doubt she would have caught up to me. Instead, I was happy I could motivate her to keep going because she had kept me going the entire race.
I knew once I hit the finish area that no matter what, the Peanut was going to run through the finish with me. She had asked me, no, BEGGED ME this morning to let her run the entire race with me. She was devastated when I said she couldn't but she was more than happy to take me into the finish shoot.
The finish (I love that the race ends on the beach facing the water)
A few runners actually run straight through the finish and dive into the water. The race director loves this!
Sadly, my time was about the same as last year. Who am I kidding, that isn't that bad I suppose. Last year I was pregnant and this year I am 3 months post baby ... next year, NEXT YEAR will be the year I PR ... right Vans?
Of course I immediately had to find Big D.
She was baby lovin!
And the baby was lovin Big D!
Then I had to find Lululemon. She actually found me and we talked for a bit. She was from the Bay Area (those stairs!) and thanked me immensely for getting her bum into gear near the finish. I told her that one of my dear friends is a huge Lululemon fan and that she kept me honest all race.
I love this race. Absolutely love it. You cannot deny the awesome beach finish is the best way to end a race ... which also makes a great ice-bath later as well.
(psst - Captain Kirk - this is for you from Vans)
The kids also love this race because they get to play on the beach. Next year there will be no rest for the racer ... as I'll be chasing two!!
But that is okay because I love...