So, after my Tahoe Rim Trail adventure this summer, I was in pretty good running shape - had strong legs, and good lungs for altitude. I thought I'd make use of those by doing the Lake Tahoe Marathon. Now, I have done one marathon before - back in 1999, I trained for and ran the Silver State Marathon, which doesn't really exist anymore. I hadn't run anything nearly that long, though, and hit the wall at about mile 21. Walked and jogged in for a time of 4:35. I figured I could do better than that at Tahoe, even with the 6000 ft altitude.
Our weather had been pretty good the last couple weeks - a little welcome rain last weekend, and temperatures edging towards autumn. But the night before the race, it was really windy, and parts of Reno got up to an inch of snow! Wasn't at all sure how the race was going to go, or what to wear, or anything. Brought all sorts of changes of clothing along to the start line, but ended up wearing shorts, a long sleeve t-shirt and thin gloves. Yep, it was a little chilly at the start, but perfect for most of the race. Had to be pretty careful for the first 10 miles; there were some very slippery spots in the shade.
I tried to go out pretty slow; save my energy for a couple of big hills between 14 and 20 miles, and then let myself go as fast as I felt like for the last 6 (mostly downhill.) And it worked very well. The second of the big hills, at Emerald Bay (mile 19-20) kind of beat me - had to walk a couple of short sections. But at the top of that hill (20 mile mark) I looked at my watch, and I was right at 3 hours. I realized that I had a whole hour to go 6 miles, of which 3 were very much downhill. I knew I could make it at that point, and got a little choked up. Those were some pretty tough miles, but I made it in. 3:54 was my time, a personal best.
Resting and recuperating now - some pretty sore legs, and a black and blue toe. Don't think I need to do that very often, I'm much more suited to the half-marathon distance.
*UPDATE: Results have been posted - my 3:54:14 got me 8th place in the Mens 35-39 age bracket, only 11 minutes behind the winner for that age. That's 34th place for the overall men's division, and 42nd including the women. Hey, only 8 girls beat me! Speaking of girls, kudos also to my friend Amber, who ran her first half marathon, made her goal of 2:30 by over 15 minutes, and was nice enough to give me a ride home afterwards. Thanks and congrats!