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2008 Tahoe Rim Trail 50k 50m 100m Endurance Runs Report

July 21, 2008

Hahaha, I’m writing a race report for a race I didn’t do! But, Chet ran the 100 miler again this year, one of 3 three-peeters, and I worked the Tunnel Creek aid station at the Tahoe Rim Trail 50k, 50m, and 100m Endurance Runs.

So, here’s the report:

Friday afternoon, I met Carol and some of our other volunteers at Spooner Summit start/finish to get the last of the supplies for the aid station. The National Guard was kind enough to take up a 400 gal. water buffalo, and those generous hard working men and women were kind enough to load up most of the remaining supplies into their GIANT truck along with the water buffalo and take the stuff up to Tunnel Creek for us. After loading up a few last minute items, we’re off to meet Stan Ostrom and other volunteers through the Silver State Striders at the old Ponderosa Ranch in Incline Village (yah, the place they filmed the tv show Bonanza) to headed up the Tunnel Creek road to the junction where the Tahoe Rim Trail course goes to Marlette/Spooner, Red House or to Mt. Rose where our aid station is set up as a group.

We get a few more volunteers and their gear loaded and I start heading up the road only to meet our friend George Ruiz driving down in old red (his awesome old Toyota pickup). George greets me with bad news – the National Guard truck ended up slashing a tire on the water buffalo about a mile from the gate (to the road) and was stuck in the road and there was no way to get around. They couldn’t get the tire off to change it, so we were literally between a rock and a hard place. Fortunately, less than an hour later they had drug the buffalo up the road to make enough room for us to pass by, and voila, on our way we were.

Friday night, we did some of the preliminary organizing, ate some dinner, did some job assigning and ended up heading to bed for an early start Saturday morning getting the aid station up together.

5:00 a.m. Saturday morning, it’s time to get up and at ’em. The team jumps into high gear getting drop bags sorted and in numerical order. We get the “mess tent” up and running with food prepared and out. The water station is set up with Gaitoraid, Heed and plain old fashion water. The medical tent is organized and we’re ready when the first runners come through.

The morning tends to get rather hectic. We see the 50k runners 2 times, the 50 miles runners come through 3 times, and the 100 mile runners 6 times. When you add up the number of visitor counts we get, it ends up being well in excess of 1000 visits to the aid station, or even more depending on the number of drops there are in every event and where they drop. So, in the morning we’ll see the early (read fast) 100 milers early, then the middle of the packer 100 milers and early 50k and 50 mile runners will come in together (the 50k & mile runners start an hour later than the 100 m race). During our “busy” period, we can get clumps of runners in packs of 5-10 all together, which makes giving each runner personalized attention a little difficult. In addition, toward the end of the busy period, we can have runners coming in from virtually every direction, some from Spooner, some from Red House, and the front runners from Mt. Rose, which makes it even more challenging. But, it’s all tons of fun.

This year was no exception. It was absolutely fabulous. I met some old friends out there like John, our Canadian friend from Club Fat Ass. Eric Troska was out there too. It’s always nice to see George, who is on his way back from a broken ankle with a big smile and taking pictures. Other people I know, like Lisa was out there runner her first 50 miler. Our good friend Al also ran his first 50 miler. Other friends, like Scott came out to do the 50 miler again, and had a great showing. I got to say hi to other people we know, like Catra, who was running a great race and just always looks like she’s having such a good time. We also ran into (and I feel like such a heel, but I’m truly horrible with names) a couple of runners who we camped next to at Coyote Two Moon 100 miler back in March. It was also great seeing our local super star Jenny Capel, who had a tough day but was one tough cookie and pushed through continuous stomach issues.

Even better was the opportunity to meet some new friends, like Turi who was running his first 50k, and had an absolutely AWESOME showing, particularly given the fact that the TRT course isn’t the easiest out there and it was an unusually HOT day for the event. It was super cool of Turi to take a moment to say HI as I was frantically trying to put together a quick table of weights for the 100 mile weigh ins.

I also got to meet Gretchen, who if I had to vote for the best first 100 mile attitude out there, she gets the award HANDS DOWN. She was a complete rock star out there. Every time I saw her, she was flashing a beautiful smile and had such a great attitude. The one time I saw her coming in feeling a little weary (heck, who can blame her, she’s been running over 80 miles at that point), I tossed a little jab her way saying “hey, if you don’t come in here with your good attitude, I’m going to send out out to do the Red House loop again!” At that I got the best smile out of her. She was just totally awesome. I look forward to seeing her again at other events.

So, throughout the day, I wore nitrile gloves while weighing in the 100 mile runners. On an interesting side note – the MEN of all people were more self conscious about their weight than the women. *snicker* I had about a dozen guys try to convince me that they had weighed in way too heavy the day before. The ladies out there, never heard a hesitation about confessing their starting weight to me. Go ladies!

This lasted into the night, when around 10:20, after Chet had come into Tunnel Creek for the 4th time and headed off down the Red House loop, I was destined for sleep. I decided that I’d pull the pregnancy card and sleep until Chet was set to come back into Tunnel Creek for the last time – he predicted about 6:00 a.m. So I got up at 5:07 a.m. and guess who showed up at 5:42 a.m.!!! He looked absolutely awesome. So, after eating a ton of food and picking up Scott, who was going to pace him back into the finish (Scott ran the 50 mile the day before and worked the Aid Station most the night) he was off on his way to his 3rd consecutive TRT 100 finish!

I started loading up my gear, got the camper popped down and a ton of the Silver State Striders gear loaded up, helped out a bit more with the runners, and by 8:20, I was off on my way back down Tunnel Creek road and on my way to Spooner Summit. I was anticipating that Chet would finish somewhere between 10-11 a.m., and had a feeling that he would be closer to 10. I got to Spooner around 9:30 and guess who came rolling in at 9:59 a.m.!!!!

Chet’s official finish time was 28:59:47!! It was about a half hour slower than last year, but this was a “training” run for Chet’s next 100, the Wasatch Front 100. So, he was taking it easy. This is where 99% of us do a dramatic eye roll. Who in their right mind does a 100 mile “training” run? My husband. Yes, my husband.

Kind of funny, when he was running with Scott, he heard Scott’s watch *beep* at the top of the hour and they figured Chet had missed beating 29 hours, so they eased up a bit. Much to Chet’s surprise, when the rounded the bend to the finish, the clock read 28:59:xx, so Chet kicked it into high gear to beat 29 hours!

Overall, Chet had a good day. The heat started to get to him, but he’s really gotten the 100 mile event dialed in for him. He knows what works for him and has been able to consistently pull these events off, and for that I’m extraordinarily proud of him.

Looking back at the weekend, it was overall absolutely awesome. There was also one low point. Unfortunately, a runner, who will remain unidentified, came into our aid station and was extraordinarily rude, cussing at the volunteers and just over the top. I understand people have bad days and low moments, and honestly, I don’t care if a runner comes in and is curt and not friendly, even a bit on the “needy” side, but being an outright jerk and yelling at the volunteers out there is shameful, and I don’t think there is any excuse for that. The hard part is, it was so shocking and disappointing, it’s stuck with me.

But, what really is the crux of the memories and the experience were all the truly wonderful people I dealt with out there, like Gretchen, the women’s winner, Nikki Kimball (and new course record holder by 3 hours), Mr. Patel, good friends like George, John, Al, Jenny, Eric, and all the other great personalities I encountered, but I didn’t have the opportunity to really get to know, that is what makes me keep volunteering and enjoying the experience.

For all the runners, thank you for saying thanks and letting us volunteers know that you appreciate our efforts. What we don’t get the opportunity to say is THANKS back! Without you all paying the money and showing up for the event, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to volunteer. And, honestly, it’s very rewarding for me personally to be involved.

Congratulations to everyone who finished their events, and even to those who didn’t cross the finish line victoriously, but went farther than they had ever run before. You’re all studs in my opinion!

***Update***  I notice I’ve gotten quite a few hits on this post looking for the race results.  For those of you who haven’t heard, David’s in San Fran for a few days and wont get the results posted until late this week. – Micheline

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sam Bon permalink
    July 22, 2008 1:44 PM

    I had the pleasure of running the 50k this weekend, and passing thru Tunnel Creek twice. While I’m rather new to running ultras (this was my 2nd) I have crewed and/or paced my wife at more than I can remember, and I am here to tell you all of the aid stations at TRT were incredible, and depsite the fact that I was only running the 50k, I was treated like an elite runner each time I arrived – someone ran out to get my bottles, asked if there was anything else I needed, and offered some encouragement.

    Thanks to all of you for the tremendous support!

    I’m so glad you got personal attention from us. Sometimes it feels like we don’t pay as much attention to the 50k runners, so yah! Glad you had a good day! – Micheline

  2. Iso permalink
    July 22, 2008 3:39 PM

    Micheline,

    Thanks for such a wonderful job as a volunteer at the Tunnel Creek aid station. I don’t really know which one of the ladys you are, bud I do know that all of you did a Brilliant assistance to us.
    Excellent report.

    Iso (100 Miler)

    My pleasure! I was the lady weighing you in every time you came through Tunnel Creek (well, except at night when John took over while I was sleeping). Hope to see you next year! – Micheline

  3. July 22, 2008 3:39 PM

    Great job both of you! Thanks for sharing the race report – it was a fun read.

    So, when are you coming out to do it? Hint Hint! -Micheline

  4. Roaxanne Woodhouse permalink
    July 24, 2008 1:50 PM

    I ran my first 50 mile run ever and I must say it was an awesome run to do a 50 miler on. I was very impressed by the aid station workers. They were very attentive to all the runners needs. Thanks to them I was able to complete my run in great condition. Thanks to everyone who helped put this race on and I plan to see you next year. Maybe to do the 100 mile race!!!

  5. July 28, 2008 10:01 PM

    Micheline–Thanks so much for your kind words both here and on my blog, I am flattered!! It must have been a mutual positive energy, because you guys were amazing out there! I finally posted a real report, and it’s funny because I mention the same part you do about Red House. Thanks so much for being such a positive force out there!
    It was fun when I realized you were Chet’s wife too, I met him at Silver State last year. I love it when worlds collide. Big congrats to him (and good luck at Wasatch!) and thanks again for keeping me going out there.

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