So this year I was determined. I got half off the (outrageous) registration fee since I had to drop out last year for medical reasons.
And do you know what? I actually trained hard for this race.
So let me tell you about it...
See this photo of the race start?
Do you see me?
Oh, that's because I wasn't there. I was mixed up about the starting area and was standing near a water stop at the halfway mark of the marathon course with a bunch of other people. The policemen manning the area told me they thought the half marathon started there. As the minutes ticked by and no one seemed to be organizing a start line, I started getting nervous and did a little more asking around. I was in the wrong place! Turns out the start for the half was almost a quarter mile up the side street behind me! We turned to head up the street, and BANG! Off went the start gun in the distance. I wanted to curse the policemen, but it was my fault for not asking the right people. So I started running up the hill toward the start only to be met by a huge crowd of people running down. So I just stood there until half of them ran by, and then turned around and joined them. Easy enough.
However, running UP a steep hill at 6300' elevation trying to get to the start line is not the best way to start a race. By the time I turned around to come back down with them, I could barely breathe. BUT, I realized later in the race, this was the only time I even noticed the elevation. I guess I got it out of my system in the first 3 minutes of the race.
Mile 1-2: Flat/down hill and gorgeous. Rubicon to the base of the "hill from hell." Christian, Graham, and Liam made the best cheering crew ever.
Mile 2-3.5: Up the "Hill from Hell." This is a 1.5 mile hill that climbs from 6300-6800 feet (up to the entrance of Bliss Park). This was practically the best part of the race. I passed people THE ENTIRE TIME. No joke. I guess training at Rancho San Antonio was a good idea. I think maybe 6 or 7 people passed me, while I passed at least 50 people. I didn't notice the altitude AT ALL. I'm pretty sure I was in shock when I reached the top. I'm not normally the one doing the passing in races. Talk about feeling good! And my cheering crew was at the top waiting for me!
Mile 3.5-5.5: Down to Emerald Bay. Absolutely beautiful.
Mile 5.5-6.5: Up, up, up to the other side of Emerald Bay. I definitely started feeling it here, but I kept chugging along.
Don't I look great here? That's on purpose. The other 8 race photos showed what I really looked like. This one is deceptively flattering, so, of course, I'm going to pretend that's how I looked the whole time. :) ("Borrowed" from the race photography site. Don't judge.)
Now let me tell you something. When you have all the difficult hills in the first half of a race, by the time you reach the halfway point, you feel like you've conquered everything. And then you remember that you still have 6.5 FREAKING MILES TO GO!
Shoot me now.
Mile 6.5 to 8.5 or 9 or something: Down, down, down, down. And did I mention down?
Mile 9-ish to who knows what: More or less flat. Oh my gosh. It was never going to end.
Mile 10.5: Water stop where some girls were telling everyone they only had 2 miles to go. I knew we were far from the 2-mile mark. I wanted to slap them. But slapping little girls is really not nice. Maybe I should have slapped their parents who told the girls that they were 2 miles from the end.
Mile 12: I gave in a took a little walking break. Give me hills over flat any day!
FINISH! Then I got to hang out with my cheering crew on the beach. I love them.
Oh my gosh I hurt by the end. But it was so worth it. I'd love to run it again in the future, but this time I'll remember to train for more than just the hills.
I love Tahoe!