3:00am Saturday morning, I wake up shivering. I was bundled up in my Mountain Hardwear speed light sleeping bag, which is only good for temps greater than 32 degrees and even that is a stretch. It was 28 degrees and I was laying in the back of my Ford Escape, seats folded down on a thin yoga mat, wondering what I was going to do for another 3 hours before leaving for my run from Donner Pass to Tahoe City. Thank god for Music.
At 5:00am I started prepping my backpack and ate a breakfast which comprised of a muffin, some beef jerky, and cold coffee I purchased the night before. ah, this is the life. I started off around 6:00am in search for the PCT in the dark. Living in the city, you get used to the constant noise and light. Its funny how it always seems so foreign to be in dark silence at first, but I always quickly adapt back into such a peaceful place. People scare me way more than animals or anything else lurking in the forest. The PCT was close by, but required some very minor bushwhacking to find it. It took me about 15 minutes and then I was on the well-defined PCT highway. Once I got into a rhythm on the trail I immediately recognized that I was feeling off, both in my energy and legs. On top of that the chilly 30 degree wind kept things very cold and made it very hard to get comfortable. This was especially true coming from the great weather we have been having in the Bay Area. I know, the CA weather has turned me into a huge wimp. Over the first 14 miles I climbed 4 peaks (Mt. Judah, Mt. Lincoln, Anderson Peak, Tinker Knob) and followed an un-named ridge line to an un-named peak for a total of 5,200ft of vert. I sat down here for a quick bite to eat still feeling unusually fatigued. What do I do? I had it in my mind at this point that I would stop at Granite Chief and head down into Squaw Valley to call it a day (only 5 more miles). But when I started up again, my fatigue hit me even harder and at that point realized that running the following day would be a bad idea given my upcoming race the following weekend. The logistics to get from Squaw Valley back to my car seemed too daunting so I opted to run the 14 miles back. I was definitely moving at a death march by the end, managing to get lost for 10 mins in the last ¼ mile between the PCT and my car. I had been out of water for the last hour, so the Coke I had waiting in my car tasted so incredible!
All in all I had a fun time and saw some amazing scenery. I will definitely need to complete this run next summer.
Next weekend is a race unlike anything I have ever attempted and a race format I typically would not be drawn to. Not much vert, loops… yuck! But, the stakes are high for the person who wins. I am going there to win. Here is the race description from the RD himself, Lazerus Lake
What: This is a different sort of Ultramarathon, where neither the time, nor the distance is predetermined. The race will take place on a 4-mile trail loop. Beginning at 7:00 AM on October 19, 2013, a single loop race will take place at every hour, on the hour. Runners failing to complete a 4-miler within an hour will be timed out. Runners failing to make the start in any hour will be eliminated. The winner will be the last man (or woman) able to complete a loop within the time limit.
Last year went 27 hours, or 117 miles. I have never ran longer than 19 hours straight, so will be in new territory as fatigue sets in. And, this race format keeps the pace uncomfortably modest, so am expecting it to be a mental test. 1 winner, 49 losers, last man standing, high stakes!
Pics From This Past Weekend