I was very excited for Tahoe Rim Trail 100. This is the first year I’m running two 100 mile races and this one is very early for me. Although I spent much of the spring backcountry skiing (due to our Europe trip) I felt very ready for this race. I was also excited for this race since it is the first time that I would have family at one of my races. Ultras have been a big part of my life for many years and I was excited for my parents and my sister to share this with me. My parents traveled from ND, my 6-year old nephew from CO, and my sister traveled from northern Alberta (also leaving her two kids at home with her husband for the weekend).
I started getting a cold on the Monday before the race and could hardly get out of bed. I really focused on getting extra sleep, taking it easy, cold medicine, etc. all week. By Friday I was feeling a lot better.
The TRT 100 started at Spooner Lake at 5 AM. I completed the first 30 miles in 6h 45m, 40 minutes faster than my planned split for that section of the race.
Leaving Diamond Peak Aid Station
During miles 30-50 I felt my energy decreasing a little and completed 50 miles in 12h 23m and 20 minutes slower than I had hoped. I picked up Chad at mile 50 and we cruised through the next 20 miles making good time.
Running towards sunset around mile 60
The beautiful Tahoe Rim Trail
At approximately mile 70 I had a downward spiral where I started coughing up chunks profusely. I got into the 80 mile AS at 2:47 AM (just 25 minutes past my planned split and almost 23 hours into the race) and really didn’t think I could go on. I sat with the Dr. for over 3 hours. He said I probably had bronchitis and my pulse ox reading was 73 (below 85 is bad). He put me on oxygen for 30 minutes to get my pulse ox up and allow me to sleep. Chad and I talked and he reminded me of what Ken would say – It is better to hurt for a few hours than to hurt for 365 days (to have to come back and redeem myself from a DNF). There were lots of reasons to continue and lots of reasons to stop. I decided that I needed to go the last 20 miles to the finish. At this point I was not only worried about my lungs and coughing but also about my nutrition. I hardly consumed anything from miles 70-80 and only had a few bites in the 3+hours I was at the aid station. I tried to force down some eggs and hot chocolate but couldn’t do it so I decided just to head out.
Not where you want to be at mile 80 (Diamond Peak Aid Station)
A little before 6AM Christopher and I headed up the first 2000 foot hill (1.7m) to determine if I could make it through the rest of the 20 miles. I was feeling OK so we continued on.
Climbing out of Diamond Peak AS determined to suffer on to the end
One of the last snow fields at around mile 93
It was a very difficult 20 miles since I could not breathe, my lungs felt like they were going to burst, and I was coughing horribly. Although I wasn’t able to push very hard, I was definitely in the pain cave. Molly ran with me the last 2 miles and it was wonderful to have her company. I’m not happy about my finishing time (32:05) but I’m definitely glad that I was able to finish.
Molly pacing me in the last 2 miles
The Tahoe race is very beautiful with views of Lake Tahoe and other lakes, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. The course was in good condition. Many people thought the 10 miles of snow were tough but that part was not difficult for me since I have trained in the snow all spring.
Everyone’s support through this was phenomenal. We knew that lung issues would not be permanently damaging but I was really hurting. It was wonderful having my Mom, Dad, and Molly there to cheer me on and get me through the tough times and Chad and Christopher keeping me company on the trail. As always I had my number one pacer, crew, and best friend that knows me better than anybody to help me throughout the race and to help make the decision to go on which I am extremely grateful for (thank you Chad!).
With perseverance I finished and got my buckle
Two days after the race I was still quite sick – continuously coughing and unable to sleep. I went to the Dr. and he gave me 5 prescriptions and I’m finally feeling a bit better. I have only 5 weeks to be ready for Wasatch 100 which is really my “A” race for the year.