An InvitationBack in late August of 2014, my friend Sabrina invited me to do a trail race up at Tahoe with her. I consider myself a runner, although I hadn't been running much through the summer, so I thought, "Sure, sounds fun!"
A little history...For those of you who don't know me, I've been a runner since sometime in middle school, when I started running with my mom and her friend Cindi a couple times a week, and with my mom's running group most Saturdays. The runs with Cindi were usually slow and pretty short. I can remember lots of times when we would run to a specific tree and then walk a lot of the rest of our 3.5 mile loop. But I liked running, and I liked chatting with my mom and Cindi while we were out.
The Saturday morning runs with the running group were a bit longer, usually around 6 miles, and also pretty slow, but I really enjoyed running with the group, even if it meant I had to get up early on the weekend. Afterwards we would always head to my favorite coffee shop, Tyler Street Coffee House (sadly, out of business now) to chat with the running group ladies. Sometimes my mom would have to drag me out of bed to get up for the runs, but the temptation of Tyler Street was a pretty good motivator. I would usually order a bear claw and a hot chocolate, making sure to get my sugar fix for the day!
In high school, I played one year of JV Soccer, then switched to the Cross Country team, which was where I really found a home. I loved the running and the people, and I still feel a rush of excitement every time I see someone in a racing singlet kicking into the finish of a 5K. I was never fast (I was usually the one of the slowest on the team, and my fastest 5K time was somewhere around 27 minutes), but I have so many good memories of the runs we did.
I continued running semi-regularly through college and grad school, usually getting in 2 or 3 short runs per week. I did a couple of 5Ks and 10Ks, but didn't race much otherwise. When I moved to Carson City, I kept running, but the elevation difference from sea level was a total shock to my system, and I didn't run more than a about 5 miles for about a year. Carson City is only at about 4,500 ft, so I was amazed at how much it affected me. But getting enough oxygen was definitely a challenge. The trails are also really different here--often consisting of sharp, jagged rocks, or sandy, loose soil. Not at all like the soft, wooded trails in the Pacific Northwest! But I joined a local running group and found some trails and road routes to run.
Then came summer...Summer in Nevada is hot and dry. Usually I liked it, but running in the heat at elevation was even more of a challenge. So for most of last summer I barely ran at all. I would run a couple miles on pretty flat courses, or try to get out for the occasional 6 miler, but mostly I just focused on CrossFit, which is inside a gym most of the time. Although the gym doesn't have air conditioning, it is shaded and has plenty of fans to keep a breeze going.
Emerald Bay Trail RunAnyways, back to the run at Tahoe. The race was the Emerald Bay Trail Run in mid-September. I signed up and did a few training runs with the Carson Area Runners running group, but I figured I was in good enough shape from CrossFit to get through the run with only a few weeks of training. I'm also not very competitive, so I just wanted to do it for fun anyways. Sabrina and I met up with another friend the morning of the run, and headed up to the lake.
The day was perfect--pure blue sky, warm but not hot, and I was excited to run! The race started at the bottom of a pretty big hill, then joined up with the Rubicon Trail for a 7.5 mile course. The trail is at about 6500 ft elevation, and I definitely felt it! Luckily it is mostly pretty flat, with some rolling ups and downs and a few steeper climbs. The scenery along the course was breathtaking. Definitely one of the most scenic runs I have ever done. The race finished on the beach at D.L. Bliss State Park, and from the finish archway, you can run straight into Lake Tahoe. What an awesome way to end a run! Overall, it was a great run, with cheerful, helpful volunteers and staff, good support, and a fantastic course. It is definitely on my list for next year!