By: Carolyn Mangold
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done... and I’m ready to go again next year! From Friday, September 26th through Sunday, September 28th I chased pavement around the entirety of Lake Tahoe. The training seemed to prepare me well because even after all three days, I only felt real pain in my toes, several of which have swelled and appear to be angry.
The first day began at Inspiration Point, aptly named for its overlook onto Emerald Bay. I heard the shotgun and took off. Claire Secker ran with me, which made first day jitters less overwhelming, and Russ Secker and Keithly McNally crewed for me for two of the three days, something I couldn’t have done without. The altitude reached 7,000 feet and sank to lake level, so it was quite the climb; up and down we went. The first half felt great and leaned mostly downhill; it was just like a usual marathon in that, right around mile 20, I wanted it to end. That’s when the hills started. I ran hills from mile 20 until the finish, and the thin air made them even more difficult than usual. Even level ground was trying as we climbed higher up. I reminded myself that hills are never easy, and I tried to stay relaxed and focus on maintaining my pace. At the end of the day I felt good: 1/3 down!
Day Two started less formally than Day 1; someone yelled, “go,” and we took our cues. Definitely the most difficult of the three days, I let my guard down and began to feel defeated. It’s true what they (and I) always say: mental attitude has everything to do with how you perform. I realize now how important good nutrition is because, after the run on Day One, I hadn’t reloaded fully. My body was depleted and that made this day hard. The course tilted downward at the beginning, for the first 8 miles, and flattened out at Incline Village. Once again, the biggest hills came just in time for the last parts of the race, and from miles 13 to 16 I was wondering what I was thinking getting myself into this. After that, I shook it off, realized that I could do this; I was prepared, and I felt the weight of the day easing. After all, I was more than half way done with the entire triple. At the end of day two, a fellow Rogue runner, Debbie, said she overheard someone say, “If you wanna see a lake, buy a postcard.” Still, I felt grateful for not having injuries, and Day Three looked promising.
On the last day, I faced “The Hill From Hell”. Boy, was it ever! In fact, they had made these cute little signs along the way to remind us just how difficult it was. At the time, it was torture, but accomplishing it felt doubly rewarding. I would compare the Hill from Hell to Mt. Bonnell, straight up for two miles. After the worst came the best: the final 6 miles. I thought, coming into this, that those miles would wreck me more than any others, but I felt relieved instead of ravaged. I was exhausted, and the thought of not having to wake up the next morning and run yet another marathon kept me going strong.
Three days and a total of 78.6 miles is no easy feat, and that’s one reason why it has such value for me. Russ Secker put it well when he said, “Tahoe is beautiful but not for the fainthearted.... No one leaves disappointed or unfulfilled.”