It’s something I had not ever considered–running around Lake Tahoe. But, as soon as I heard about it, eight segments in eight days, each averaging about 23 miles, the seed was planted and the dream began. This was early in my running start, so it stayed just that–a dream.
As I put more miles under my feet and had more and more success with greater distances, my dream turned into a goal. Could I really go nearly 180 miles in a week? Could I keep up with other, much more experienced runners? Admittedly, it was a lofty goal. I thought about it often and began preparing by putting on more trail miles, getting the proper equipment (hydration/storage packs and good trail shoes).
Rather than elaborate on all eight days, plus prep days, I summarized each day, along with my feelings, followed by that day’s video. Enjoy!
Day 0 – This actually covers the day I drove up and the prep day. The anticipation of the coming week built over the 8 hours drive. Upon arrival, the three of us explored the area, grocery shopped, and picked up race packets for their 50 mile race on Day 1. Excited and intimidated!
Day 1 – Gary and Candy took off for their race. I started at the other end of the trail and met them around their mile 35 or so. While waiting, I met my new friend Holly and she’s great fun–hopefully a friend for life. After waiting about 2.5 hours, it was great to finally see them and finish the race with them. Naive joy!
Day 2 – First real long day and highest day. Trail changed a lot from forests to meadows to mountain top. Awesome views of the lake. Tiring and rewarding.
Day 3 – Started off in rain, stayed mostly in the forest, ended in an overhead thunderstorm and got soaked. Went directly to pizza to eat and get warm. Shivering and irritated but happy to have finished.
Day 4 – Blue skies, short trail, almost all downhill. Holly joined us on this segment and it was a kick having all four of us there. Jumped in the river afterwards. Confident and spunky.
Day 5 – Longest segment with the most elevation gain. Was pretty much up, up, up for the first 16 miles. But the vistas were gorgeous. Lakes, huge trees, granite, snow. Wasn’t sure how I was going to make the whole (nearly) 32 miles around the 16 mile mark but my energy came back and I pushed on. Tired and low on confidence but proud to have completed my first (unofficial) 50K.
Day 6 – Nice distance in and out of forests and meadows with wildflowers galore. Just a really pleasant single track trail that ended at the lake with a delicious milkshake celebration. At ease, peaceful and calm.
Day 7 – This was a longer segment and a little more challenging. Started at Heavenly Valley Stagecoach ski area and then ran up and down ridges behind the ski area for several miles. Sometimes it seemed we’d never get to the end. The trail kept going and going. Long, tiring, mentally challenging.
Day 8 – Last day and shortest segment. Probably the easiest too. Because I had to start my journey home the same day, the number one job was to get it done. I was pleased to keep up the whole time, including the sections we ran. But sad and nervous for this wonderful adventure to come to an end. I knew what I was going home to. Introspective and sad.