Sunday, September 28, 2008

2008 Tahoe Super Triple Recaplet

Yes! I won the Super Triple for the third time in a row with a new course record (from 23:06 to 20:31). It was a battle with San Francisco's Jon Burg until the very end. I ran the first two marathons 59 minutes faster than Jon, so I had a good cushion, but he took off fast in the 72-miler.

I stuck to my strategy to run and walk the first 20 miles slowly and it paid off. I caught up to Jon at mile 54 and we went back and forth for the remainder of the race. Jon won today's stage (the 72-mile run around the lake), but I came in 20 minutes later, securing the overall win.

I'll post a more detailed report soon.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Tahoe Super Triple 2008--Day 3

Day 3...Is On Now!
  • Rested most of the afternoon
  • Prerace dinner: whipped potatoes and buffalo hamburgers--yum!
  • Marathon 1--3:23
  • Marathon 2--3:29
  • Day 3--Guess?
  • Course Record (Super Triple)--23:06:52
  • I start in about 1 1/2 hours (at midnight) on the bike path across from Pope Beach
  • My plan is to make it to the regular marathon start at mile 46 before 8:30 a.m so I can run with Turi , the other Triple runners, and the other marathoners for the last 26.2 miles.
Check out Gretchen's blog for a very entertaining interview with marathon runner Lynryd Skynrod, who is going to attempt to set a new course record for the marathon.

I'll post the final results after the race.
Keep sending those positive vibes!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Tahoe Super Triple 2008--Day 2

Ran a nice second marathon, cruising in at 3:29:19. Third overall, increasing my lead in the Super Triple to at least 40 minutes, if not more. Feeling good and ready for tonight. Going to bed now to get some sleep.

Chuck and Blue on the Descent to Incline Village

Chuck Engle won this stage and he is back in the race after a rough first day (Maybe it was all the good food we made him eat at Sprouts yesterday). Day 1 winner, Blue, follows close behind him. Chuck goes into tomorrow's run with a 6-minute lead. That should be interesting!

After the race we all went back to Sprouts to have lunch. It was fun to hang out a bit. Sean Meissner also showed up, ready to go fast in tonight's 72-miler.


I want to dedicate today's run to friend Edward Lohman, who recently passed away. Edward was a wonderful, spiritual person, who truly kept everything in perspective with his down-to-earth view of the world. Edward: Now that you're amongst the stars, we'll make sure your words live on.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Tahoe Super Triple 2008--Day 1

At the Finish with Blue (Day 1 Winner)

Today, I had the pleasure of joining about 100 runners for the 8th annual Tahoe Triple and 3rd annual Super Triple. I ran a great first marathon, finishing in 3:23. First in the Super Triple and third overall in the Regular Triple. Last year, I ran my fastest time on this course (3:45), so I surprised myself by shaving more than 20 minutes off of my Day 1 PR without going out of my comfort zone! Of course, it helped that I did not run a 53-miler a week before, like last year. By the way, good luck to all the RDL/SNER runners (Michael, Jean, Mark) this weekend!

Chuck "Marathon Junkie" Engle was on pace for the new record, but had some stomach issues around mile 13 and had to slow down, finishing in second place in 3:12. Hopefully he will recover so he can finish the Triple. After we iced the legs in the lake, we all went to Sprouts for a great lunch (Nachos and a juice called "The Whole Damn Garden").

Warming Up at Inspiration Point
The Annual Group Picture
The Four Triple Runners Who Have Run All 8 Triples
Ryan Flynn, Back for Another Triple

Vista Points Everywhere
Race HQ: Angel's Truck

With Chris at the Start

Blue (right) and Chuck Engle (left)--first and second respectively--warm up

Les Wright, Ready for the Shotgun Start

Runners Take Off

On the Bike Path, Chasing Ryan Flynn

Chuck Engle Fly-By

Runners Head Down the Highway
Chris Provides the Water

Blue Flies Down the Hill

South Lake Tahoe

Turns Through Town Were Marked Really Well This Year

The Crew Takes a Break

Cave Rock (Mile 20) Marks the Start of the 1000' Climb up the "Hill from Heaven"

The Tunnel

The Last 3 Miles Feature a Relentless Climb

Finshed in a New PR: 3:23

Mandatory Leg-Icing with Chuck Engle, Blue, and Ryan Flynn

Next Up: Eat, Sleep, and Line Up for Day 2 Tomorrow at 7:45 in the morning.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Tahoe Super Triple--Here We Go Again!

With Dick Beardsley after the Race Briefing

Well, we're in South Lake Tahoe and ready to go tomorrow. The pre-race briefing and dinner buffet was a lot of fun, the best one out of the five I have attended. Speaker (and marathon legend) Dick Beardsley was extremely entertaining, with stories about his most memorable run. After his speech I had the honor to meet him in person--he's the nicest guy. He signed my race singlet and asked me lots of questions about the super triple. Hang on...shouldn't I be the one asking the questions?

My Super Triple Singlet, Signed by the Legend! (Boston 2:08:53)

Dick Beardsley Entertains the Crowd

Austin Urges us to Be Careful on the Roads (No Microphone Needed)

Race Director Les Wright Fields Questions

Lucia Lake (Super Triple Coordinator) and Dick Beardsley

RD Les Wright told me that the super triple keeps growing, with 12 people signed up this year. It was great to see Keenan Follis again, who has also finished two Super Triples at the briefing.

It looks like there are quite a few "regular" triple runners this year and one of them, Chuck Engle, is going after Johan Oosthuizen's 2006 Triple Marathon World Record (8:11:08 for the three marathons). That should be exciting.

Off to bed now to get some sleep so I'll be ready for what my brother David calls "the two warmup marathons." More tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Test Driving the Nike Air Zoom Vomero+ 3 at the Draft Horse Classic 10K

My new shoes, ready for another lap around Lake Tahoe

Every year, around this time, it becomes harder and harder to buy my favorite version of the Nike Air Zoom Vomero. Last year, just days before SNER, I finally gave up and switched from version 1 to version 2, not sure what to expect. Apart from the fact that I needed to get a half size smaller (version 2 was quite a bit bigger), I instantly fell in love with the new version!

Earlier this year, when version 3 came out, I was, once again, worried that my favorite shoe would soon be impossible to find. I stocked up and bought several pairs of the version 2s, but eventually decided to try version 3 and guess what? They are fantastic!

Nike hit it out of the park with this new edition. This super-comfortable lightweight shoe is even more smoother (and lighter!) than the previous versions. To quote my colleague Ric who also bought a pair, "its like running on a rubberized surface." I took the Air Zoom Vomeros to the Draft Horse Classic 10K race to see how they would perform in some fast miles and they did not disappoint!

My plan was to go out easy and save enough for a final kick on the mostly downhill and flat last mile to the finish. The real competition was in the 5K today (Chris Badolato won, followed by Austin Violette and Larry Defeyter), so I knew I had a shot at winning this race, if I could stay ahead of Neel (V. Neelakantan) and Robert Warner, who practically lives on this course.

The course wound its way up and down through Grass Valley, partially on roads and partially on trails. A lot of runners were worried about proper course marking, but course designer Ron Gross had done a fantastic job of marking the course with chalk and signs. On top of that there were volunteers at all the major turns.

I stuck with my plan and just cruised for the first two miles. At that point the 10K course split off from the 5K and only Neel was close, about 40 yards behind me. Between mile 2 and 4, I just kept running a steady pace, but I could not shake Neel, even though this was his first race back after an injury--a great comeback!

There was a major climb between mile 4 and 5 and this is where Neel came closest, but I knew that I could put it in high gear on the downhill, and so, with lots of looking over my shoulder, I ran to the finish line. I came in first overall in 41 minutes and change (forgot to stop my watch) and Neel took second. I won a nice $25 Mountain Recreation gift card and picked up medals for overall and age group. Most importantly, I am back in the game now to get a top-three age group place in the Gold Country Grand Prix!

Troy, who was not feeling well himself, had given me a ride to the race and he brought some of my favorite, iced hibiscus tea that his wife had prepared. That made a great post-race refreshment drink (lots of vitamin C)--wow!

Summary of the Nike Air Zoom Vomero+ 3 Experience
  • Fit: Excellent. The shoe fits like the version 2 model and feels super smooth from the start. It also has great breathability.
  • Toughness: Good. The shoe is not super-protective, but the cushioning protects the bottom of your feet really well.
  • Flexibility: Excellent. The almost pillow-like cushioning is also very flexible.
  • Side-to-side Stability: Excellent. The shoe is very light but still provides the excellent side-to-side stability you can expect in a road shoe.
  • Grip: Good. The shoes handled great on the roads. I have yet to try them on some gnarly trails, but I am trying to keep the two pairs I own clean for the Super Triple next week.
  • Switchback Handling: OK. They handled fine on the small trail sections on today's course, but I have not taken this out on the trail yet. If they are half as good as the v2 on which I ran the entire 168-mile Tahoe Rim Trail in one go, it should be fine.
  • Weight: Excellent. This is the lightest shoe in my arsenal and lighter than version 2.
  • Price: OK. Normally $125, but I was able to pick up two pairs in my size (12.5) for $89 each at the Nike Outlet Store in Vacaville.
  • Overall: This is a fantastic shoe and a great update to previous versions.
Next up:
The Tahoe Super Triple--(26.2+26.2+72.2=124.6) miles in 3 days next week. This is my favorite race. After I ran my first triple in 2004, I was hooked. The big question this year is whether I will be able to pull off a hat-trick or not. My training has been good; no lingering pain from TRT and some solid road work with lots of
8% grade paved climbs in the last four weeks.
Wish me luck!
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