|Team #161 - The Slackers|
The course was broken up into 36 sections, called "legs" so that each runner will have three legs to cover (my share of the course are legs #6, #17, and #29). Van 1 with the six runners would take the first six legs to where Van 2 with the other six runners would meet and take on the next six legs and so forth, leapfrogging from one van exchange point to the next. While the runners in one van are putting on the miles by foot, the group in the other van have a few hours to eat and rest.
|Reno-Tahoe Odyssey course (click for larger view)|
My first leg was #6, which passed the Boca Reservoir which I had not known has some interesting history dating back to the 1800's. There was once a town which started as a work camp for the transcontinental railroad thrived, a commercial ice cutting trade succeeded in the area, and a brewery that made one of the most popular beers called Boca Beer started.
It was a gorgeously clear but very warm day and other runners appreciated a squirt from the water guns that we had.
|This runner may have been part of a bridal party of a couple in the relay who got married at the Bucket of Blood Saloon.|
Soon after it was my turn! Fresh with adrenaline, I ran the 4.7 miles at a pace that surprised me for my level of experience and fitness; I've only been running for five months. 8:27 min/mile pace for the first mile, 9:31 min/mile pace for the second mile, 9:41 min/mile pace for the third mile, 8:59 min/mile pace for the fourth mile, and then I ran as hard as I could at 8:02 min/mile pace for the remaining miles. I felt strong when I crossed the finish line until I bent over and vomited the bite of pizza I ate shortly before my run.
|Luke cooling off my head and Joan stands ready with water.|
Our team drove to the next van exchange point, stopping along the course to cheer on our teammates in Van 2.
Throughout the day I felt the joy and thrill ricocheting from team to team. Many teams decorated their vans and the runners wore costumes of adding to the fun of the event.
We put on our head lamps and safety vests and ran into the night. Many places along the shores of Lake Tahoe have no street lights so it's pitch dark and super quiet except for the glow of the moon illuminating the surrounding mountains. It was eerie and majestic at the same time. The runners with the beams from their head lamps bouncing off the road and what light illuminated their safety vests reminded me of Tron.
My leg (17) went from the Tahoe Keys are to the Lake Tahoe Community College so it was pretty much on the urban streets. Even with headlamps and street lights, it was tough to see the ground moving underneath me. I really had to be careful of uneven surfaces and potholes. For the most part, I ran alone in silence. As I caught people I had their company for a while, long enough to exchange words of encouragements. "Good job!" "Keep it up!" before I continued on. The average pace of my first leg was 9:03 min/mile and I finished the second leg at 9:08 min/mile. I felt good about my run, despite being nauseous at the end. Normally I run a pace of 10:00 min/mile on the treadmill and slower on the road so it must be the encouragement of my teammates and not wanting to let them down.
I unrolled my sleeping bag and crawled in. Laying there on the ground, I had the most intimate view of a bush and sidewalk overlooking the Wal-Mart parking lot, a perspective I thought I'd never see. With a smile on my face, I closed my eyes...and slept like a rock (no pun intended). One more leg to go in just a few hours!
Here are more photos from the AWESOME day - you don't want to miss these!!