Monday, September 20, 2010
Bay to Bliss Tahoe Trail Run
It was an early morning for me as Abbey and I headed up to Tahoe for a race- one that we'd been drooling over since we read Gretchen's blog post of this event last year. Seriously, check out her pictures (I decided not to run with my camera, and she's a WAY better photographer than I am anyway). I ran just over 7 miles in my new Vibrams at the Bay to Bliss Emerald Bay Trail Run- I am determined to keep running and be healthy, and so far these shoes have proven their worth! Yes I developed some gnarly blisters, but my knee and back were in great shape after the race- and that's exactly what I was hoping for with this new "barefoot" technique. I'll take blisters any day over a pain-filled knee! It was a beautiful cool morning for a run (temp. in the 50s), with a steep downhill jog to the start line. Which we soon discovered was the first hill of the race. As the race director was giving us the countdown, the wind whipped up in a flurry of pine needles exactly one minute until go time. It settled back down again with 15 seconds to start, and then the rain picked up instead. A light, but cold drizzle that kept us cool on that climb. Looking out to our right a dazzling sight met our eyes- we could see a double rainbow through the trees, with its end touching the lake. Only 2 minutes in and already I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera! But ultimately I think it was best to leave it behind as I had to watch the trail extra carefully for rocks and roots since there wasn't much between my feet and the dirt. Even though I held back on the speed, I felt super agile with my extra grippy and flexible soles and found myself leaping up onto rocks and bouncing over fallen tree trunks. The first half hour passed in a blink of greenery and sparkling water below me, and then the trail became hilly again with steep stone steps to navigate. But by the hour mark, the pads of my forefoot (feet) were feeling very sensitive and every every pebble was making itself known to me. This might not have been the best idea to double the distance I've run in these shoes all in one go, especially only 2 weeks after I got them, but I knew how much my knee would be hurting if I wore my regular running shoes. I took a deep breath and ignored my feet and enjoyed the twists and turns of the trail, the rocky outcroppings and the ever present turquoise bay to my right. I finished in 1:23, (8th in my age group) and didn't stop at the finish line on the beach but stripped off my shoes (saw the blisters! no wonder I was feeling every pebble!) and headed into the blissfully cool lake. Abbey finished in 1:09 and placed 3rd in her age group and scored a sweet medal- her first for an age group win! We lazed in the sand waiting for awards and the shuttle back to her Jeep, and I felt for the life of me that I was on a tropical island beach soaking up the sun. This is definitely a race I want to add to my list of yearly runs. And hopefully by next year I'll have gotten used to running "barefoot"!
Thank you Abbey for driving, and for the miles and miles of comforting, funny and stress-relieving conversation- I needed that as much as I needed this gorgeous run after an extra long work week!