I would definitely recommend a trip out to Lake Tahoe for the Tahoe Rim Trail 50 mile run. Not knowing anything about this event before I signed up, I was blown away by the course, and the fun, summer lake scene only added to the weekend. Heading out to Lake Tahoe for a long weekend in the middle of July is kind of a big deal for us, so we were psyched that it ended up being a great trip.
The idea came up because Hardrock 100 and the Silver Rush 50 were on the same weekend this year. Usually they’re a week apart. I had heard good things about a 50 mile trail run around the northeast side of Lake Tahoe that didn’t conflict with Hardrock, so I decided I’d check it out.
I didn’t mind the inconvenience of having to get online to register right after midnight on New Year’s Eve, I was actually excited to sign up for a couple of reasons. Not only was I signing up for a 50 mile race I hadn’t run before, but my friend Morley McBride was somewhere in Brooklyn signing up for the same race so we would be there together. The summer before, Morley and I were running together in Aspen and she expressed interest in running her first 50 mile race. A marathoner, ultimate Frisbee player, and overall overachiever, I knew Morley could do it. She even pursued another friend of ours, Sara Distin, from Brooklyn, to join us there as well.
Since this would be both Morley and Sara’s first 50 miler, they were a little nervous. I have to admit though, they weren’t the only ones, I had a few concerns myself. My most recent race at Lake City had been one of the hardest I had experienced, I had been having stomach issues, and I knew very little about this course.
It turned out to be a complete success. The race cruised along beautiful trails that meandered through big sierra trees, high alpine tundra, fields of lavender, and looked super fun for mountain biking. A few points along the way, the lake views would literally stop you in your tracks to take a view, and you’d have to force yourself to keep moving.
There were three races going on that day, a 50K, a 50 mile, and a 100 mile. The 100 mile looked like pretty tough, consisting of two laps of the 50 mile course. With 9,000 ft of climbing in one lap and having to run through the finish tent before setting out for another 50 mile lap, I was very happy to be just doing the 50 mile race.
Overall, I felt good, my stomach behaved, and I ran fast enough to finish as the 3rd women overall, and with a couple women breathing down my neck. I’m not the most competitive person so I’ve lost a lot of opportunities at the end of the race by being content where I was in the field. This time I tried to run as fast as I could in the last 10 miles and it paid off.
Even though I now hold the household record for highest place for an endurance run, (I beat Ted’s 5th place from last weekend in Hardrock), the real success story wasn’t about me. It was about Morley and Sara, our two friends who took on the challenge of running their first 50 mile run. Coming from sea-level to a hilly course at elevation is no easy feat. I was so impressed with their commitment to the race and training in New York City. They found a 5-mile trail system around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, discovered the trails at Bear Mountain State Park outside the city, and sniffed out new running routes all over the country while traveling for weddings or work this past spring, all to train for this run.
And not only were Morley and Sara running the farthest they had ever run before, but so were their pacers. Sara’s sister Katie, and Morley’s college friend Alden, were both jumping in at mile 30 to help support their runner. It was kind of cool, our little, rented abode in Kings Beach was full of a group of people who were willing to challenge themselves, do something that hadn’t ever done before, and believe in themselves that they could do it. It didn’t hurt to have Ted there, as the wise experienced one, offering advice and encouragement to us all.
But the best part of the weekend was actually the day after the race. We spent the day in the cool, lake water, paddle boarded, and relaxed on the beach, sealing the deal to make it an awesome trip. Great job to everyone there, and two thumbs up for the Tahoe Rim 50!