Monday, July 22, 2013


This weekend was the Tahoe Rim Trail ultra races (50K, 50 mile, 100 mile). Once again Pigeon was toeing the line, but this year she was doing the 100 mile distance. Her first. Last year she did the 50 mile distance. You can read about that here.

I was super excited to crew her again this year. Last year was such an awesome day and the energy at this race is indescribable. Maybe it is the high altitude, but the runners are just peppy, happy and generally in good spirits throughout the race.

I woke up at 4 am groggy but excited to hit the road. Last year I had Coach Nikon in the car with me but not this time. Driving up solo was kind of a bummer but I enjoyed having radio control in my own car for once.

By the time I hit the Sierras though I was getting tired. The excitement wore off and I wanted coffee. I decided to stop in Truckee at the same spot that Coach Nikon and I stopped the year before knowing full well that the Starbucks would be open. I grabbed my coffee to go and I headed towards Incline.

It was during this stretch that I had a moment of complete panic. Last year Pigeon started at 6 am, because she was doing the 50 mile distance. I totally forgot she was doing the 100 mile distance and that race started at 5 am! I feared I was not going to make because I was behind this slow driver.

We all know my math skills are pretty lame and when I texted Pigeon's better other half, "Missouri," I realized I might not miss her after all based on her projected splits. I parked, got ready and was about to set off up the hill to run/hike to the Tunnel Creek Aid station (miles 11 and 17.5) when I ran into Missouri. She was getting a cup of coffee at the restaurant at the bottom of the hill and I needed to use the facilities but felt bad using them if I wasn't purchasing anything. Since Missouri was buying coffee, I decided that "authorized" me to use the bathroom. We sat and talked for a bit and finally I figured I should really get going. I had forgotten the 4.3 miles to Tunnel Creek was all up hill.

It was a rough climb for me. I was just tired and low on energy (the story of my life lately) however when I made it to the top, I was in for a surprise. The Race Director decided Crew was NOT allowed in the aid-station area to assist runners. They had the area roped off. I hiked around and found a spot hoping to see Pigeon come through. After a while of watching runners come in, I realized that I missed her at the 11 mile mark. Crap. I felt awful. I ran across the race path, through the woods to the other side of the trail hoping that I would catch her as she came back up the hill to the aid-station (mile 17.5).

Sure enough, I saw her bright yellow shirt and her spiky hair hiking up the hill. I ran down to her and told her that I was not allowed to help her in the aid-station and I had to get all my questions and inquiries out of the way right then. Have you peed? What color was it? Have you eaten? What did you eat? Are you drinking? Did you take any Tylenol? She seemed in good spirits. Her bottles were half full and she needed water in her hydration pack. All good signs. She also used the facilities at this aid-station. She said her heel was bugging her but that was it and she was off but not before I could grab a quick photo!

Headed to Diamond Peak!

I decided to turn around and head back down the hill. I remembered the horrible parking at Diamond Peak and I just wanted to get there (and I was starving).

Going down the Tunnel Creek Trail is much more fun. It's all down hill. So I just motored down and took some photos along the way.

Lake Tahoe. My Happy Place.

I made it to my car and inhaled a bar, some water and the rest of my coffee. I called Vans on the way and was talking to him and the girls while on speaker phone and because of that, I missed the turn into Diamond Peak. Oops. Vans had both girls solo all day and is battling a possible torn achilles on top of that so he had his work cut out for him.

He found a new park for them to visit.

Once I figured out my mistake, I turned around and made it to Diamond Peak missing the last parking space by seconds. I parked along the wall thinking that it probably wasn't the best idea. It wasn't. I overheard some race volunteers talking about those people getting towed. I wandered back to my car and chatted it up with one of the volunteers. She confirmed what I heard and was super nice. She stood in a vacant spot in the lot for me so that I could go run and get my car and park there. This race AND its volunteers are pretty awesome.

I found Missouri but I also found Captain Kirk and Wonder Woman!!! Those two are now the proud parents of 3 month old Super T. Seriously, this kid is BEYOND cute. I find that I can't hang around him too much otherwise I start thinking about a possible third child (no thank you!).

Captain Kirk & Super T

We saw a lot of runners come through. Some looked great. Others not so much. It was hot in Tahoe. Very hot. Eventually Pigeon came rolling through looking a little tired but still seemed in good spirits. She told us that her tummy had gone south up the hill a ways and that she may have a blister on her heel. Once she stepped foot into the aid-station area, the crew was on fire helping her out.

She has awesome friends.
I am the lame crew person that just takes photos!
We filled her bottles, tried to get some food or Ensure into her and got her back on her feet ready for the climb up Diamond Peak (which is brutal). Missouri and I felt good. We both thought that Pigeon was doing okay. Heck, she looked 100 times better than she did at this aid-station last year. As Missouri and I were discussing this and carrying all the gear out of the area a man, two feet from me projectile vomits. In my direction. I about jumped into Missouri's already full arms and almost started dry-heaving. I cannot handle throw up. Ugh. That just about killed my excitement.
At this point, we had hours to kill. Hours. Pigeon would not be coming through the 50 mile mark until about 7 or 8 pm (it was currently 2:00). I could have made the climb back up to Tunnel to see her. I wanted to but I figured that since I wasn't allowed to crew her anyway, there was not much I could have done in support. I also needed a nap and food.
I drove down towards Spooner Lake and got refused entry into the park (once again) and instead found a nice shady spot in the overflow lot. There I took a nice nap in my car (this year I brought a pillow and a blanket) and had some food and used the restroom. After a couple of hours, I changed my shirt and hat (to make myself not look like a runner) and tried getting into Spooner Lake again. Not only did that work but they also gave me the local's rate to get in! Sweet!
Missouri was there and saved a spot for me. We made our way to the aid-station and set up camp getting ready for Pigeon to come through. A little after 8 pm she came through and she looked, unsure. She said she had thrown up all along the trail on the way in, her feet hurt and that she could handle nothing but liquid calories. Her weight was right on which was good considering she was throwing up but she was also peeing so she wasn't too dehydrated. Her feet however, was a whole other problem.
Doing some emergency work on her feet.
She had massive blisters, the size of blueberries between her toes and a huge one on the side of her heel. It was nasty. I mean, feet are kind of nasty in general, but this was pretty gnarly. Missouri stepped up to the plate (as well as, Jen, Pigeon's pacer for the evening) and took care of her feet while I, apparently do nothing but take photos. :-)
She stayed here for a while. We got some liquid calories into her and some fruit and taped her toes as best we could. When she finally left the aid-station, it was dark and headlamps were needed. I wished her well and gave her a hug as I had to head back home and call an end to my photographer crewing duties.

It had been a long day and I was in awe that Pigeon was embarking her next 50 miles. She never ceases to amaze me.

Another person that amazes me is this lady:

The legendary Ann Trason!

It was kind of neat to see her. She was pacing someone that evening. I know a lot of people have opinions about her but there is no denying her talent.

On my drive back down the hill I kept sending Pigeon as many vibes and happy thoughts as I could handle.

When I arrived home, Vans was still awake and had some friends over who were in the area (it was 11:00 pm). I stayed up and told them all about my day. Not being runners at all, they were amazed at times and dumb founded at the sights I had seen all day long. They don't get it but I do and I still have the Tahoe Rim Trail 50K itch that needs to be scratched some day. Some day.

Vans shared his day with me. I realized I had not seen my girls since Friday evening before they went to bed and I wouldn't see them until Sunday morning when they woke up. Peanut was actually sleeping at a friend's house so I wouldn't see her until Sunday afternoon! I missed my girls but they had a great time with Vans.

Double Trouble.
Squeaker is trying to grow as fast as the Peanut.
Okay, maybe they were getting
a little tired of the photo session.
As for Pigeon, I will share that she unfortunately did not make the cut-off at Tunnel Creek on her way back. She ran further than she has ever run before. 67.5 miles. I am so proud of her. So proud. I hope she recovers this week and is not down on herself for not finishing because she seriously has more heart and determination and I know that 100 miles is in her future and when the time is right, it will happen. I just hope I am lucky enough to pace her across that finish line or at the very least, stand at the side and take her photo! :-)


  1. Glad you are back!

    What a great experience to crew for a friend!
    67 miles is a HECK of a lot of miles! that's awesome for her!

    I can't believe how big the girl's are getting....they grow up so fast!

  2. Thank you so much for crewing for me and for taking photos. You are a great friend and I am glad you were apart of it. I battled as long as I could and the roller coaster ride I was on was not pretty but it is amazing what the body and the mind can do. I had a smile on my face at mile 67.5. I pushed as hard as I could and Jenn was amazed at how well I was moving during it all. Next year I will be back unless another 100 gets me first.