Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run - 2011 OMFG!

Lake Tahoe and the High Sierra is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I am so lucky only to live 4 hours away. I am so lucky to be able to finish this great event: Tahoe Rim Trail 100.  I am ultra lucky to have had Clare Abram pace me (or in TRT's case, "safety runner me") this past weekend.
With my camera in hand during race... some pics had to be taken. Clare at 5:15am climbing up Herlan Peak (mile 86) .

Notice orange face and Clare's shadow from light rays. They really  lit up the area.

We could not believe what we encountered - such amazing orange-red bars of light during sunrise.

I headed up to Lake Tahoe with Quicksilver Running Club and Ultra Racing Teammates Dan Decker and Pierre Couteau on Thursday. We hoped to be up there in order to cram-climate at Zephyr Cove before the 5am race start  a few miles up the Lake on Saturday. Dan (who just sub-24'd Western States 100 a few weeks ago) was Pacing Jim Magill, while Pierre and I were competing in the 100 mile event. Fellow QRC and QURT teammates, Clare Abram, Scott Laberge, Sean Lang (Paced by Toshi Hosaka), Dr. Mark Tanaka, John Burton, Dr. Harris Goodman, and Bree Lambert were also entered in this magnificent production of "Tahoe Rim Trail 100M/50M/50K at the lake". Congrats to Bree for her 2nd TRT 100 win and 3rd 100 mile victory.

I am gonna pause to reflect a bit about TRT 2009. Ok, I reflected. Two years ago, I ran the TRT 50K. I said to myself then, the next time I returned to this event it would be with my camera while running the 100 miler. I have a feeling that the camera made my time better in the beginning because I stopped to take over 100 photos in the first 67 miles. What if I didn't take those photos? Would I have ran myself into altitude (never below 6,800 ft) doom? Did those photo/video-stops allow for a gradual ascent and accidental acclimatization? I think the camera was part of the solution. The other part was a surprise visitor 13 miles later at Diamond Peak Ski Resort and Lodge Aid Station. It's Clare!!!!!! Woop Woop!

In this world of "LOOK AT ME" (I am guilty too) through media avenues such as blogging and Facebook, there is one person that will NOT one-up, upstage, or try to outshine you - Clare Abram.  As those of you close to me read this, you all ready know this. But, for the new readers, she is a very accomplished ultrarunner and a better person. Earlier,  around 5pm, she had finished the 50 mile race  as fifth woman just behind Jamie Frink (who she paced at WS100 a few weeks ago), Jenny Capel, Molly Zurn, and winner Elizabeth Davis. This was about 10 minutes before I finished my first 50 miles. With food on her plate, she asked while I was lamping-up if I still needed a pacer. I told her "yes, but I'm fine... you go enjoy yourself at the Diamond Peak Lodge."
Clare Passing me over Marlette Peak (mile 41)

Jenny Capel Passing me over Diamond Peak (mile 24).

Jamie Frink Passing me over Herlan Peak (mile 39).

When I arrived at Mile 80.5, Clare popped out of the Lodge, and asked "Do you still need a pacer?" Oh did I ever. What a surprise! I knew she was gonna save me. It was my fault that I didn't have one in the first place. I waited until a few weeks before the event to attempt to secure a pacer. I tried everything from emailing club members and teammates,  to posting on Facebook, and Craiglist: "SWM in need of pacer. Looking for short term relationship at Tahoe Rim Trail 100M... preferably a 50 mile one night stand." No I didn't actually do that.

In previous blog postings, I mentioned my club, my teammates, overcoming personal issues, and relationships that I have fostered through ultrarunning, but this takes the ice cream and the cake. Who has cake without ice cream anyway? I hope this experience inspires someone else to make such a sacrifice. I love our "ultra community" and "ultra spirit" that is shared through experiences like this.

Below are a few videos. The first is her passing me during the first 50 miles. The second was the same spot with the incredible orange rays of light from the morning sunrise at mile 85 to 88.

Clare literally saved my run. She runs 50 hard miles at an average of 8,350 feet of altitude, then she sacrifices her relaxing night to make sure I get to the finish. We left Diamond Peak Lodge about 2:30 am and finished around 9:45am.
40-45 degree incline coming up Diamond Peak Ski Resort. Lake Tahoe and California Mtns in Background.
At Diamond Peak A/S, Clare's immediately check my mental and physical inventory. In 5 minutes we were off, but not without warning. Clare said, "I will let you get yourself up Diamond Peak (ball breaker), but after that I am gonna crack the whip, is that ok?" "Uhhhhh, yahhhhh?", I breathed.

The first thing she did on our 2 mile, 1-hour 16-minute (just noticed that Jim Magill got up this beast in 1:10) hike up to Bull Run was start with a joke... something about two dogs "shagging". For those of you haven't spoke with Clare, she is British. That was a good way to get us off and running... I mean walking, hiking, side stepping, duck walking, crossover-step-zig-zagging, and Everest step-pause-climbing.

Since I don't make a habit of my up, down, ate, drank, salted, and suffered, I am also going to limit the personal detail of the pacing. Trust me, she made me run, made me eat, made me drink, and made me run. Even, when we were gonna hit the sub-30 goal, she set a new goal of sub 29. Then when we knew we were gonna hit that she wanted a better 28 time. I begged for mercy, and with 1.7 miles from the finish I said, "We got sub-29, Clare, let's take it easy." She replied, "Now I want the lowest 28 hour time, lets move it!!!!!!!" We did. Thanks Clare! And, thanks to friend Scott Laberge for being there to greet us at the finish. It's one of those things we all cherish... a friend or family member with a big smile and hug after a long long run. Congrats on your 50M too, Scott.

Congrats to Quicksilver Running Club Ultra Racing Team for there finishes:

108 Starters - 65 Finishers

Sean Lang            5th       21:54 (paced by Toshi Hosaka)
Pierre Couteau    7th       22:53
Bree Lambert      1st/9th   23:07 (paced by Prudence and Rob Evans)
Mark Tanaka       22nd    27:22
Greg Lanctot        26th    28: 45 (paced by Clare Abram)
Harris Goodman   37th     31:38
Jim Magill             DFL    34:48 (paced by Dan Decker)

50 Milers - 122 Starters - 97 Finishers

Clare Abram  5th/27th    10:45
Scott Laberge    50th       11:53

So, getting back to my point about community and ultra spirit. Don't we all need "a Clare" in our life? My family and friends are grateful for Clare and her sacrifice. It is people like her and others that I have met through running ultras that keep me coming back for more. If you need a pacer or safety runner, Clare is the one you need. Better yet, if you need a friend, she is the one you need.

We push and push, and will selfishly rely on ourselves to accomplish our crazy individual endurance goals. To all the great people I have met in our wonderful community, I thank you for helping get me to another finish. To Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Rim Trail volunteers and RD's David Cotter and George Ruiz... I will see you soon.

In good trail health,
Greg Lanctot

Below, are a few other photos from this great event. More to be posted on Facebook.
Noe and Jim

Thanks Salomon Buddy for the Salomon Gear - H20 Bottle, IV Labs Calf and Arm Sleeves.

Marlette Lake on top... Lake Tahoe below.

Boy Scouts Aid Station, Snow Valley Peak.

Clare and another moon shot.

Yes, the same visor I wear all all races (from TNFEC SF 2007 and 2008)

She scared the "QEWRGASGARGEWRQG" out of me, but she then posed for photo.

Our Clubmates, Jim Magill (Jim's wife Margaret), Sean Lang, and Dan Decker (Safety Runner.

Eric and Family at Red house loop. Whoah, you see that shot back there? It was Heaven this year!