Tag Archives: tahoe

2011 Reno-Tahoe Odyssey

Last weekend was the 7th Annual Reno-Tahoe Odyssey. This is a race I’d done back in 2008 and 2009 (didn’t do it in 2010 because that’s when I trained for a triathlon), so I knew what I was getting myself into… and that’s exactly why I was excited to do this race when I first signed up with my team a few months ago.

When Jason, teammate from the 2008 RTO, reached out to me asking if I wanted to put together a team for this year, I said yes (of course!!), and our team ended up including some classic teammates from before and some new faces – who were also first time RTO runners.

A quick breakdown of how the Odyssey works out:
It’s a 178 mile course, broken down in 36 legs. There are 12 runners per team, which makes each runner run 3 legs. I was runner number 11, which meant I was going to run legs 11, 23 and 35.
Now, there are usually 2 vans per team: on the first van go runners 1 to 6, and on the second van go runners 7 to 12. While one van is out running their legs, the other van is resting (sleeping, eating, going to the bathroom, gambling in a casino). This is repeated until runner 12 runs his last leg (leg 36), and there is much rejoicing afterwards.

The Tater Trots (that’s our team’s name!) started the race at 11:30am on Friday. Since I was on the second van, after cheering at the start line when Jason took off, we had some time to kill. We decided to invest into some quality carbo loading at my favorite pizza place in Reno, Eclipse. We then spent some time decorating the van, and baking some Tater Tots to have as a quick snack on the road. We absolutely needed to have those!

At around 3:45pm, John took off with leg #7, his and our van’s first. John was a last-minute addition to our team, filling in for some last minute drop-outs, but he had just ran a half-marathon, so we knew his legs could stand the challenge. However, his first section of the run wasn’t easy, and when he finished climbing the hill I wondered if he was about to call a cab and tell us all off. I’m happy to report that this did not happen! John instead proceeded to kick ass and very gracefully finish his leg well before his projected time.

Next runner up was Marlaina, who was also a last-minute addition. She is a co-worker, and when I needed to fill in another hole in our roster, I immediately asked her to join us. In fact, when I asked her, she had just run a 50-mile race the previous weekend, and he calves and ankles were all sorts of bruised and sore… after I described the RTO to her, she smiled and said yes! Anyway, she is obviously one tough cookie, and she made a breeze out of her leg. I knew what she was going through, because I was runner #8 when I did the RTO for the first time in 2008. I’ll just say that Marlaina did much better than I did.

After Marlaina, it was Nicolle Morrison’s turn. This was something I was really looking forward to seeing, since Nicolle was a star runner in her youth, and she picked running back up when I invited her and her husband. She even kept a very fun to read blog about it all, here: http://theroguerunner.blogspot.com/
Her first leg started a little abruptly, because we barely made it in time to the exchange point before Marlaina finished her leg, but Nicolle made lemonade out of this. Since she was running along CA-89, it was pretty easy to drive the van to points where we could see her run. It was particularly enjoyable to see her set her sights on a runner ahead, and soon after sailing past the competition. It was only the beginning of the multiple roadkills she was about to rack in.

Mr. Steve James was runner #10, and he went for his run at 5:48pm. Steve is an avid cyclist, and told everyone that he wasn’t going to be a big asset to the team. Whatever, there’s one thing that is certain about Steve: he’s a big sandbagger! See, we had a spreadsheet with everyone’s distances and their estimated pace, and with some very basic math, you can project how long someone is going to take to cover a certain distance. Steve was supposed to run his leg in about 49 minutes. He brought it in after only 41:25!

My turn was next. I was ready and eager. I used my iPhone with the Nike+ GPS App, so you can see some of my run info here: http://nikerunning.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikeplus/en_US/plus/#//runs/detail/408105819/972367474/all/allRuns/. However, the GPS or the watch must have been off by a bit, because my “official” time was 41 minutes, 54 seconds for 5.3 miles, which brought me in at an average of 7:54 minutes/mile, which was a good 20 seconds faster than my target pace. Yay!
My run was pretty awesome. The course was the little bike path that goes from Squaw valley into north Tahoe, which is very scenic and separated from vehicular traffic. Right after the exchange, and no less than a few minutes of me starting my run, I passed two girls. Getting a roadkill is a pretty nice boost, and having two of them is even nicer!
I ended up passing a total of 5 people in my leg, which made me feel pretty damn good about myself. I loved feeling fast yet smooth, and even though I forgot to bring my heart-rate monitor for the race, I was at the top of my comfortable zone, and I maintained that throughout the whole thing without problems. A+ run, would run again.

When I finished my leg came another moment I had been looking forward to a lot. My handoff was to Don Morrison, a good friend of mine of a few years now. Don tells me I’ve influenced him by inspiring him to run, and that it’s because of me that he has discovered something he enjoys.
I’m not sure when, but it was over a year ago, I told him about the Couch-to-5k running plan. He stuck to the plan and has been running since. We’ve done a couple of the Run Amuck mud races together, so I had already gotten to enjoy his company while running, but this RTO was going to be something bigger, something much more difficult and competitive for him, so I had been thinking about this moment for a while… and then, it happened:
I handed off the baton to Don, and he was off! He got to run next to Lake Tahoe, with snow-capped in the distance (which was actually very near, it was cold!). He looked great, specially with his bright running shoes and the fancy reflective safety vest.
As customary with everyone else, we pulled the van over 3 or 4 times along the way of his leg, to cheer him on and hand him water (and take some pictures!). Every time Don swooshed by, I smiled.

After Don’s leg was over, Van 2 took off towards South Lake Tahoe for some food and rest. We almost slept through all the phone calls from Van 1, but we made it to the van exchange point at almost midnight, and we did it all over again!
John climbed all the way to the top of Kingsbury grade, which is one brutal way of waking up from 45 minutes of sleep. Marlaina and Nicolle flew down the other side of Kingsbury grade into the Carson Valley, beating their estimated times by over 10 minutes each. It was amazing. Steve coasted on his leg and into Genoa, where I was waiting for him… inside a Porta-Potty.

I walked out of the dark and cold  (but clean!) portable bathroom at around 2:27am. I figured that since I was about to go on my leg, I’d trot on over to the start line… where all of a sudden I saw all of my teammates waiting for me! I had apparently taken a little too long to go pee  (but that’s because I did more than just pee) and I just switched it from warm-up trot to cruising speed. Once again, here’s the Nike+ info: http://nikerunning.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikeplus/en_US/plus/#//runs/detail/408105819/1039314567/all/allRuns/. This time, the fancy iPhone app clocked everything in right, and I did indeed run for 6.1 miles in the middle of the night, with an average of 8:47/mile.
Running in the dark is pretty fun. My headlamp gives me a strange goggle-effect, where my eyebrows cast a shadow around the bottom of eyes, and it feels like I’ve got blinders on. Regardless of that small annoyance, it’s a fun time: All you can hear is your own breathing and the constant sound of your footsteps. It’s easy to fall into a trance, a zen meditative state, where all you do is put one foot in front of the other as quickly as possible, and rhythmically take air in, push air out.
The only distractions from this”zone” happen when a team van drives by, or when you catch up to an unsuspecting runner. I passed 5 or 6 people in this leg, and I’m pretty sure I startled at least a couple of them because they were in the trance themselves!
Anyway, this leg ended with a long and smooth uphill that I wasn’t mentally prepared for. I felt very slow going up, but I eventually made it, covered in sweat even though it was probably in the low 40s outside.

After Don ran his leg – which happened to be a 5k, and also happened to be his fastest 5k time ever – we were ready to get some rest. Lucky for us, old teammate Nate has a little farmhouse just 5 minutes away from where we finished, so we headed there to crash on his quiet lot.
Well, that was the plan anyway. What really ended up happening was that Nate cooked some awesome waffles and Steve, John and me talked to him for over an hour while Don, Nicolle and Marlaina slept in the van. When we realized that we had about 45 minutes left before we were going to have to get going, we got in our sleeping bags and snoozed a little bit.
Funny story about Nate: He was originally supposed to run in the RTO with us this year, but had to drop out. His was one of the holes that John and Marlaina filled. I didn’t ask him why he didn’t run the RTO, but I can only assume it had to do with him wanting to be with his baby boy… or the fact that Saturday was his birthday! Yes, the same day that he woke up at 4am to make us waffles and let us sleep on his porch! We were all oblivious about this detail until after the fact, but it just went to show what a class-A gentleman Nate is: he welcomed us, treated us to a delicious and nutritious homecooked breakfast, and went back to sleep when we left. Yowza! Thank you, Nate! I hope you had a great birthday!!

At 7am on Saturday, we were in good old Virginia City, ready to get started with the last 1/6th of the course. The weather was particularly unwelcoming then and there. The cold temperatures from the last 24 hours had now been joined by some pretty strong winds, which definitely made more than a few bones shiver as we waited for Joe Dito, who was running his and his van’s last leg. By the way, Joe has ran in every one of the 7 Reno-Tahoe Odysseys! He’s a super cool guy to know.

Poor John had to run some more hills on his last stretch, but at least he did get to squeeze in some flats and downhills in this one! And once again, Marlaina and Nicolle had a feast with their downhills on Geiger Grade. By the time Steve’s turn came, we were at the very south-east end of town, on the valley floor, and bringing in it. Calculations were starting to happen, it was 8:45 when Steve took off, and if we finished before 11:30am, we’d be done in less than 24 hours, which is a pretty awesome little accomplishment. Steve, me and Don had to nail our runs, and we’d clock in at exactly 24 hours… but we each had some pretty long distances to cover, and we were tired. It was going to be difficult.

Sandbag James once again ran it in well below the estimated time, and sporting a smile from start to finish. He handed off the baton to me, where I was to start my final leg of 6.2 miles (a 10K!).
Here’s the Nike info:  http://nikerunning.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikeplus/en_US/plus/#//runs/detail/408105819/1576358416/all/allRuns/

My run started off pretty well. There was a girl in front of me setting a pretty mean pace of about 7:45/mile. I figured I’d hang on and just try to keep up with her, and see if I could push it harder for the last stretch. But my strategy went to hell after about 10 minutes, when my stomach turned into a knot and I felt a combination of a sideache and a few shoryukens. I decided to let the girl go, and slowed down the pace a bit.
My legs were starting to burn too, with a particular focus on my quads. I didn’t want to slow down anymore, so I swallowed up a PowerBar gel…. and while that helped my legs feel better, it didn’t help my stomach situation. When the guys in the van offered me some gatorade, I asked for water instead, because I couldn’t take in anything else with any kind of flavor. The water helped, and it was just a matter of pushing through the grossed-out feeling until it went away, or until I was done running.
The run went on for what felt like forever. If it wasn’t for my iPhone telling me every 5 minutes how I was doing, I would have thought I was dragging ass. It turns out, even with all the discomfort, I was doing alright, just a little bit above my projected pace.
When I turned into Lakeside, I knew I was close to done. I had to run up Windy Hill, and then it was literally downhill from there. So, inspired by the HTFU mantra, I pushed it. I climbed Windy Hill with what I felt was a respectable pace, and as soon as I got to a parallel, I turned on the jets and went as fast as I possibly could. I know I was tired, but it definitely felt like I was going faster than 7 min/miles, and that was good enough for me to finish once and for all, and feel proud of my effort.
I ended up running the think in 53 minutes, which put me in at an average of 8:32/mile for my leg 35, and I was (and still am!) OK with that.

Don took it from there, and he had exactly an hour to do his 5.4 mile leg. And that, he did. In fact, he ran it in less than 50 minutes, which brought us in with an official finish time of 23:48:52, which put our team in 23rd place out of 204 teams.

When Don crossed the finish line, I gave him a big hug, and words failed me at the moment and all I said was “good job”. I have since then corrected this and told him how proud I was of him and his performance, and that it meant a lot to me to have him (and his wife!) on my team.

But instead of having sweet emotional conversations, we did what everyone should do after finishing the RTO: We got our team picture taken, we received our medals, we exchanged high-fives, and eventually all went on our separate ways.
Regardless of goals broken, or how many roadkills we got, or how awesome John’s hair looks in all the pictures, there’s one thing that assures me that this year’s RTO was a success: As soon as we finished, everyone started talking about next year.

 

Reno-Tahoe Odyssey 2009

Last week was the 2009 edition of the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey. This is that crazy 178-mile running race that I did last year, and I enjoyed so much that I signed myself up for to do again – and probably will do again next year. The RGJ has a decent article on it, which even includes a small interview with my team’s captain, Joe Dito.

This year, I was runner number 5 (out of 12). The course is divided in 36 legs, so each runner gets to run 3 legs of about 5 miles, on average. My leg assignments added up to 13.4 miles, and here’s the breakdown of how it all went.

  • Leg 5: 5.8 miles – Moderate rating.
    The weather was great. Overcast skies, and the wind that an hour earlier was making me concerned was now a gentle breeze. I don’t think I’d ever ran such a long distance (even in my training!), but I was ready for it. My goals were to finish it in less than an hour, to never stop to walk and to avoid getting passed by someone running behind me.
    I accomplished all of my goals, and ran this bad boy in 48 minutes, putting me at a pace of a mile in 8 minutes and 16 seconds.
    Since this was such a long haul, and there were a few hills to climb, I brought along some Luna Moons for a little energy boost. They’re designed marketed for women, but I got them in my goodie bag for the race, and I was sure I’d put them to good use… and I did. I’m not sure how much they helped in my actual performance, but they certainly took my mind off of the task at hand when I had to go up a steep grade. The flavor was good, but the best part was that they’re so chewy that they got stuck to my teeth and gums, and I was too busy trying to clean up the mess inside my mouth with my tongue to wallow in the effort I was putting in.
    For the last couple of miles, I had a horrible side ache (aka Side Stitch). I wanted to walk it off, but I also wanted to perform well, so I exercised a little bit of focus, controlled my breath a bit more, and kept on pushing.
    Soon enough, my leg was over, and I was finally able to catch my breath and rest up. I was dead tired, but as soon as I found out that I beat my goal by 12 minutes, a feeling of accomplishment overwhelmed me, and I wasn’t in pain anymore. Or at least, I didn’t feel it.
  • Leg 17: 4.2 miles – Easy rating.
    I thought this was going to be my strongest leg, but I feel like it was my weakest of the three. It was a pretty flat course, without much traffic. My goals were the same as before, and I was shooting for 25 minutes.
    I finished in 30 minutes, but I didn’t get passed, didn’t walk, and I also didn’t get eaten by a bear… which was a concern while running through the woods by South Lake Tahoe, at midnight.
    Maybe I was going fast (after all, I was doing a 7:08 – mile pace), but I felt like I was just cruising along. I blame the beautiful starry night and the silence, the feeling of being so small when you’re running in the darkness with a tiny headlamp lighting up only 20 feet in front of you, the lack of sleep and the fatigue from the earlier undertaking.
    The temperature was around 50 degrees, but I once again finished my leg nice and sweaty. No side ache this time, which added to my feeling that I didn’t push it hard enough to make my goal. Oh well.
  • Leg 29: 3.4 miles – More Challenging rating.
    Saturday. We woke up at 4AM, south of Carson City. Our Odyssey was almost over, but we still had quite a few miles to go.
    I was nauseous, sleepy and starting to feel tightness in my muscles. One by one, the runners in my van did their legs, and my turn was coming up.
    My leg was going to be the toughest one yet, going up from Highway US 50, into Silver City. A whole lot of uphill. And even though it wasn’t even 7am when I started running, my shirt came off less than a mile into it, thanks to the sun and the toughness of the road in front of me.
    I was tired. I was going very slowly, yet I never walked. I just kept on going, hoping to finally pass someone. I hadn’t been passed by anyone, but I hadn’t gotten any “roadkill”, and some of my teammates had gotten to pass more than a handful of people.
    Halfway there, a lady in her late 30s (I guessed at the time) ran right past me. Holy smokes, she had energy, and she was going at least 2 mph faster than me. I try to go a bit faster, and I see her passing someone else, not too far ahead from me. I think to myself that I might not catch the lady that passed me, but I made it my goal to catch up, and pass, the other person that she’d just passed as well. At least to break even with the roadkills: get passed once, pass someone once.
    On the steepest part of my leg, I caught up to this other person. It was another lady, with a tattoo of a maple leaf on the right calf. I was right behind her for a good 5 minutes, slowly but surly closing in, and feeling like if I kept up the effort, I’d pass her.
    Sure enough, I passed her. Damn, I felt good. But I also noticed how tired I was right after I passed her. I wanted to give her a high five, say “good game” and walk the rest of my leg. But to hell with that, I kept on pushing, making sure she wouldn’t catch me. If I maintained my gain, I would finish the race proud of my performance, and that was my motivation to not give up.
    Less than half a mile to go, my teammates are cheering me on. They’re telling me I’m almost there.
    Eric hands me some water and tells me that if I really push it, I’m going to pass a guy right before finishing. And then, he starts running next to me, even though he’s dead tired and he’s all done with his assigned legs.
    I turn up the effort to “balls deep” and I see the guy. Eric tells me that right after a curve about 100 yards away, I’m done. I think I can give it my all, but I’m really hoping that he’s not lying so that I turn up the heat, because I’m really running out of juice.
    Turns out, he wasn’t lying. I’m doing my best impression of a sprint after going 3 miles uphill, and I pass the guy. In less than a hundred strides, I’m also done. Once again, covered in sweat. But also, with a huge smile on my face, feeling like I truly did give it my best shot.
    I ask what my time was, and they tell me that I finished my leg in 32 minutes. Slow, but I didn’t care, because I really didn’t feel like I could have gone any faster. I also don’t care because I’m done, the race is over for me. And I finished with a positive roadkill ratio, 2 to 1!

However, it wasn’t just about me. A big part of the fun of this race is the teamwork, the encouraging of your teammates as they run for miles and miles. I was very lucky to have an awesome crew, which definitely enhances the experience.
I’m not a hardcore runner, I do this kind of stuff for fun. I can’t imagine being in a team where everyone is dead serious the whole time, and I’m very thankful that that wasn’t the case.
Josh, Eric, Karin, Bryan and Amy: Thank you for making the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey about a lot more than just running. You are all wonderful people on top of being speedy runners.

Nevertheless, this was a race. Sure, we had fun. In fact, we had a lot of fun. But we also kicked ass. Our team, Venetian Skunk, ended up placing 7th overall, and there were 110 teams signed up. Oh yeah, we kicked a lot of ass.

Now, I leave you with a picture of me at the finish line, after having taken a shower and a quick 20 minute nap. If you click on it, you can get to the album with the rest of the pictures that I took.
Reno-Tahoe Odyssey Medal

The 2009 Great Ski Race

Yesterday was the Great Ski Race. The third time I’ve done it, too.

Before the race even started, I arrived at the finish line in Truckee at 7 in the morning. I made it just in time to take a shuttle bus to the start line, in Tahoe City. Along with a couple of dozen strangers, we sat in excitement as we traveled forth. I sat alone.

When we got to the start line, I picked up my bib (#850), put on my skis and went for a small warm-up and losening of the pre-race jitters.
img_0212 And then… about an hour to kill. So, I spent it walking around, checking out the people that came in. There are pros, who look serious, strong and fit… there are moms and dads, who tow their infant offspring in a sled trailer, high school kids, wacky old men and people in costumes – like the lady in the striped short dress who received many looks and compliments.
It’s really quite a show, and it puts you in a very jolly mood for the upcoming suffering that you’re about to bring upon yourself.

This year, only about 750 people registered. Last year, there were almost 1100. Recession? Fattening of America? I don’t know. I’m not complaining. It was nice to be able to fight only a few hundred people in the first mile as I tried to find my own pace somewhere in between them.

Anyway, here’s what it looked like at 9am, right before the start:

Start line

See those grey skies? Everyone kept looking up, wondering if it was going to snow or rain. Rumors were spreading that it had just been raining a few miles this way, or that way. The announcer gave out a warning about hypothermia, asking everyone to stay warm and hydrated. It was kind of concerning and frightening.

Well, no one cried wold in vain. It snowed. And then, it rained. Luckily, I had enough gear to stay warm, and only suffered from cold in the treacherous downhill sections.
However, I was wet. At first, from my own sweat as I went up, gaining 1200 feet. After that, from the snow and rain, as I tried to make it to the end.

The weather didn’t only affect the racers, but the race course itself. It was slushy, and therefore slow. My goal was to be faster than last year, but I didn’t even come close to that. I finished in 3 hours and 39 minutes, placing in at the 568th position. But I’m not disappointed with my performance. I did fairly well at overcoming not only the exhausting course, but the weather conditions. Just like last year, my triceps started cramping with about 5k to go, and right after I ran out of water in my camelback.

The finish line was a mess. The hill that leads to the finish line was overly slushy, and after a 30k long odyssey of leg-burning skiing, it’s quite difficult to gracefully glide down the steep hill of shame. But I crossed the line, and at least I didn’t end up like this guy. But I almost did.

Reno-Tahoe Odyssey 2008

Official results are in! We took 5th place in mixed and 13th overall. Not bad!
The team, Venetian Skunk, took off from Reno at 3pm. My turn to run came up for Leg #8 a little bit after 8pm. I was excited, and I was off on the road at dusk.
After about two miles into my section of the course, my legs started cramping. Thoughts of “oh shit” ran through my head, so I slowed down just a bit and tried to relax. I had a long ways to go, and not only on this section, but on the rest of the race!
Soon enough, both my legs felt like wires with ants crawling through them. My left one, particularly, was in pain. From my toes to my knee, it felt like it was all one piece: no joints, no muscle. Just one huge mass of pain.
I ran through Truckee, huffin’ and puffin’. I was almost there! At the roundabout, I almost went the wrong way, but I eventually got to the exchange point and ended my leg. I was in extreme pain, but I had this huge rush: I completed my first 4.8 miles in 42 minutes. A whopping 6.85 mph was my speed, which definitely put me as the slowest runner in my team. However, I never once walked, which was one of my goals (the other goals included not dying, being run over by a lifted truck or swallowed by a bear).
After Jason finished his leg at Homewood, the six runners that were in my van were done for at least 3 hours. It was midnight when we arrived at the exchange point in South Lake Tahoe, and we tried to get some rest. The temperature was 36 degrees, and most of the team slept on the ground of the Raley’s parking lot, in sleeping bags. I curled up inside the van’s passenger seat.
I wasn’t able to sleep much, but I was at least laying down and resting my legs. I didn’t want my legs to cramp up anymore, so I did something I hadn’t done in over ten years: I ate bananas. Two fresh, ripe and smelly bananas. My body was craving the potassium, so I put behind my self-imposed dislike of the fruit, and went to town.
At around 3am, Josh H. started from South Lake Tahoe, up Kingsbury Grade. He had to climb 1000 feet in 4.2 miles. Now, Josh is a hell of a runner, and he was done in about 34 minutes.
I was waiting at the top of the hill, ready to go down Kingsbury Grade. 4.3 miles of downhill, in the middle of the cool, starry night waited for me.
I had a headlamp on, and I’d never even heard or though of the goggle effect that it would have on me. The shadow of my eyebrows that was cast underneath my eyes made me feel like I was wearing some bizarre goggles, and messed with my eyesight for the whole stretch. At times, I would just close my eyes and run down the hill.
My legs weren’t cramping, this was a good feeling. I wasn’t going fast, but I wasn’t going slow either. Every single step I took reverberated through my body, ending up at the jaw. Thunk, thunk. A couple of guys ran past me, and I was wishing I was in better shape to be able to step it up.
I finished in 32 minutes. I was happy. My goal for this leg was to beat Josh’s time… I went just as far, but down the hill instead of up. He climbed 1000 feet, I dropped about 1300.
My body, however, was not happy. My shins ached, my shoulders were suddenly sore, and my stomach was making a number. I didn’t know if I wanted to throw up or go #2. I did the latter, twice in 10 minutes. All that bouncing from running down a hill sure shook up my dinner.
I felt pretty good when Nate, the runner that went after me, ran the second half of Kingsbury Grade at about the same pace as me. Our van’s legs finished south of Carson City, just a bit after sunrise.
We headed up to Virginia City, where we once again tried to get some sleep… and once again I wasn’t able to. I was too excited, and the cool breeze that blew on my face kept me wide awake.
After hydrating, some more Bowel movements, and the improvised application of Neosporin on some chafed parts, we were ready to go on the final stretch.
Leg 32 waited for me, it was sometime around 10 am. The sun was starting to be a factor, but I was ready.
I had a pretty big hill to climb (not as big as other runners’ climbs, but big enough to whine about!), and I was dreading every minute of it as I slowly made my way up it. I got my first and only “roadkill” of the whole race on this section, as I passed a guy that was walking up the hill. Yay! Another goal achieved.
At the top of the hill, I could hear the exchange point. My teammates were making noise, and I knew that after I got to the van, my part of the race was done. I ran as fast as my body was letting me, and finished in a mix of feelings of pain, accomplishment, fatigue and joy. My legs were throbbing, my shins hurting more than ever.
The team finished in less than 22 hours, which was one of the goals. I had a sandwich and a beer, and fell fast asleep on the grass of Idlewild Park.

This certainly was an Odyssey. At a few points during the race, I thought to myself “whoa, we’ve really gone a long way already“.
I was awake from 6am on Friday until 3pm on Saturday. I made new friendships, and by the end of the journey, I felt a strange, different and special connection with the 5 teammates I shared a van with.
I will certainly aim to do this again next year, and I plan on being in better running shape. I think all the bike riding I do helped me be ready cardio-wise, but my body was not ready for the impact of running on the road.
Today, Monday, I still ache, but I still feel what I felt when we finished: awesome!

I’d like to thank Jason, Josh, David, Nate and Bob for being awesomely supportive and fun to be with.

Pictures from the adventure can be found on my Flickr page, here.

Reno-Tahoe Odyssey, a story of the internets and social networking

Last week, browsing through Reno Baby! (a ning site), I found out about the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey. I read a bit about it, sounded like fun, and expressed my interest.
Yesterday, this guy Jason posted there to say that they were looking for a runner. I replied, excited, saying that I was up for it.
But then I was afraid someone would get a hold of him before I did, so I asked my friend and roomate Cory if he knew him. After all, Cory is a pretty networked guy. And it turns out that he does know him!
So, Cory “twittered” him, and a connection was made.
Hours ago, I got an email from “the team”, and I’m in!

And shit. I didn’t know the race started on Friday and doesn’t stop until you get to the finish line, a whole 178 miles later. Enter panic mode!
Just kidding. It’s sort of a relay race, and it’s divided in 36 legs. Each team has 12 members, so I only have to run 3 legs, so I should be able to survive without any internal bleeding.

I’m heading out to REI to arm myself with a headlamp and some sort of reflective vest… and maybe some bear spray. Holy shit.