Friday, June 11, 2010

Lake Tahoe Relay 2010

The Lake Tahoe Relay is a 7 person, 72 mile relay around Lake Tahoe. This year 150 teams signed up, many of them running clubs from around Northern California. Each team drives around the lake during the event, cheering on their runner and making sure that the next runner is waiting for the hand-off at each transition area. My team was organized by employees of the National Children's Study, and I was kindly offered a spot on their team.

One of the memorable teams was "Man Beef," noted for their blue sleeveless shirts that had their team name written on the back. Another was "Hells Bells," which handed off a tutu and a long pink boa to the next runner. I couldn't help loving Hells Bells. They all had cute outfits with little devil horns and long striped socks. Man Beef though was a different story.

From the look of Man Beef, I honestly couldn't tell if they were referring to their special appendage, or if it was a reference to their extra preparation for the long, cold winter. Regardless, I smelt weakness. And I was determined to take them down. And by "take them down" I mean that they would get last place, and we would get second to last place...

After 12 hours of cheering on each runner in our team, hunger and exhaustion must have diverted us from the any sort of competitive nature. For the last hour I was pretty much dreaming of pizza. And dreaming of all the good pizzas I've ever eaten. I guess that dried apricots and peanut clusters don't tide you over for another 6 hours after you run twelve miles. Lesson learned. Anyhow, as we were celebrating our last runner coming in (and celebrating the realization that we would soon be saved from our peanut clusters), in comes Man Beef. Ohhhh snap!! Man Beef just got schooled by the National Children's Study!

I must say that our team did well, regardless of the place we got. We averaged under an 11-minute mile over the entire course, with almost each leg of the course containing climbs of 300-800 feet. For myself, I ran the 4th leg and tracked my run on my GPS device that also auto-tweets my pace and time every mile. I felt fortunate to run a leg where I recognized many of the sites. My girlfriend's aunt/uncle used to own a cabin in this area. So it was a run down memory lane. I passed the yogurt shop, the hidden entrance to the beach, an awesome restaurant called Garwoods where I spent my first $50+ dinner with my girlfriend (soon after college), and finally past the street that takes you to the cabin. Here are my mile splits:
  • Mile 1 - 7:02
  • Mile 2 - 7:23
  • Mile 3 - 7:14
  • Mile 4 - 7:14
  • Mile 5 - 8:39
  • Mile 6 - 7:22
  • Mile 7 - 7:13
  • Mile 8 - 7:54
  • Mile 9 - 7:42
  • Mile 10 - 8:07
  • Mile 11 - 8:17
  • Mile 12 - 7:54
For those that followed my run on twitter, you may notice that these times may be +/- a few seconds off the posted tweets. This is because the tweets showed my current pace (averaged over the previous 400 yards) at the time the tweet was sent, while the posted times here are my pace as averaged over the previous mile. Each would show the same result of an average pace of 7:40 over the course of the run.

Ok, now for the fun stuff.

Our friend Renee had one of the two toughest legs. She had a continuous 800 foot climb for the last 3 miles of her run. As she was ascending, some guy pulled up next to her, started chatting with her about how he recently had surgery on a collapsed lung, and then proceeded to pull up his shirt and show her a scar going from his abdomen to his back. Right after explaining this to her, he put it into high gear and ditched her up the hill. She pretty much wanted to wring his neck. "Yeah, I'm dying up this hill and some guy with a collapsed lung passes me at like 50 miles per hour," she would later explain. I'm just many people did this guy show his scar to?

I think next year I'm going to put on some of those plastic chicken feet that you can buy for Halloween. And when I pass people I'll say, "Damn, I just had my feet removed to get these new chicken feet." And then I'll ditch their ass. Weird? Yes. As weird as the collapsed lung guy? Hell yeah.

Other highlights...well, Amy got passed by a 70-year old, who I must say was on a team with a bunch of very old, and very awesome runners. But it never feels good to get passed by grandpa. Man Beef, however, got passed by yours truly (that's me). And for the finale, we saw a bear while picking up pizza.

While this bear is half the size of the dumpster, he is only an adolescent. The dumpsters in Tahoe are all bear proof, so the fact that this bear is actually trying to get inside shows that he's a rookie. He was so cute I just wanted to go over and scratch behind his ears. Something tells me he's not as friendly as my old Teddy Ruxpin though.

I'll end with a couple beautiful pictures from our weekend.

View from the back yard of the cabin we rented.

Emerald Bay. View from leg 7.


  1. So Brett and I just read this and had a good belly laugh!! Thank you for summing up the weekend so hilariously! And a million times thanks for helping us beat the Beef!!! Next year maybe we will take third to last instead...I know I will definitely run faster knowing there are bears!

  2. wowww that looks amazing! And I can't imagine how hungry you must have been by the end! And Man-Beef? Ewwww

  3. Hope you got some pizza! Reading this post makes Lake Tahoe sound even more amazinggg. I've only been to Yosemite.

  4. Relays are so much fun - and I know what you mean about dreaming of pizza. I had that this weekend for about 12 hours.

  5. I am really trying to concentrate on this post, but the Man Beef reference has me sidetracked. But I do love that cabin scenery. :P

  6. Wow. I REALLY hope you do the chicken feet thing.

    Thanks for the encouragement on my blog... I appreciate it a lot ;)


  7. That sounds like so much fun! And the pictures look beautiful (or should I say it look so cool, as in cold, as in it's freaking hot here).

    I'm not gonna lie, I find it encouraging that fast, experienced runners like you still eat pizza. haha I know that's ridiculous but, I don't want to give up delicious fattening food!

  8. The place is great...i think racing there is much fun than other place...:D

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