I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Tahoe pretty regularly since I was young and have never found a season in Tahoe that I didn’t like. I love the lake, the mountains, the trails, and the overall vibe of Tahoe – it works for me – it can be both relaxing and peaceful, and chock full of adrenaline and adventure depending on your mood.
Given how much I love Tahoe (and even after living such a short distance from Tahoe for so many years), I realized that until recently, I had never actually run a race in Tahoe. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve run in Tahoe plenty of times but before this year, I never once competed in a race in Tahoe. Crazy, right?
Last month (and just one week after the Bend Dirty Half Marathon), I ran my very first ever race in Lake Tahoe – the Rock Tahoe Half Marathon – with the most amazing group of #SweatPink runners. And it was everything I love about Tahoe and then some.
The night before the race we enjoyed a big pasta feast and then indulged in a beautiful Lake Tahoe sunset down by the water (which also meant sunset photoshoot time!).
We woke up bright and early to the sound of multiple alarms ringing throughout the house and made our way to the start line (thanks to all the race husbands for driving us!) where we found the rest of our group.
There was SO much energy (and great music) at the start line that we all just danced it out while we waited for the starting gun.
As soon as the starting line countdown began, I wished everyone luck and made my way through the throngs of people with Michael by my side until we found a good, clear spot, and a pace that felt sustainable.
We cruised through the first part of the course – it was fun, fast, mostly downhill, and scenic af – and surprisingly enough, the altitude wasn’t bothering me.
Shortly before hitting the halfway mark, I lost Michael which meant it was time to really buckle down and run my own race. When I hit the halfway point, I looked down at my watch and realized that I had a good chance of finishing under 1:45 so I kept up with my breath and my pace.
I was feeling good and strong until we got on the bike path around mile 10 or so. We hit a little vert on the bike path that was followed by a hot, exposed section. The heat was starting to get to me and my mind was trying to tell me to just slow down. But with just under two miles to go, I knew I needed to ignore the thoughts, keep my breath and pace steady, and just keep pushing on. The sun was feeling really hot and my stomach was starting to feel really iffy so I started singing to take my mind off the remaining miles.
And then when I could see the casinos in the distance and could hear the finish line, I opened up my legs and sprinted in – giving it every last little bit I had that day. When I looked up, I was shocked to see my finish time was 1:37:53 (a 7:28 / min mile average pace) – not bad for a trail runner on the roads!
I actually didn’t discover this until a few days later but I actually placed 8th woman overall, and 1st in my age group and really could not be more proud of my time!
Anyway, I quickly found Mark and little Mason cheering on runners and joined them to cheer on the rest of our runners as they made their way to the finish line.
Here are some of my favorite finish line moments from our #SweatPink team:
Michael came flying through the finish line shortly after me (with his arms fully outstretched in the air, of course) – looking super strong (but also a bit like one of those inflatable car lot things that blow in the wind).
Sharon came in ALL SMILES – I think she forgot she just ran a half marathon!
Nic looked like a straight up gazelle…that stride, tho…
Alyssa bringing the determination!
Amanda came in so hot, I nearly missed her!
Noelle was busy finishing a half marathon while also taking EVERYONE else’s photos on the course! 🙂
And Carolyn had by far the cutest finish ever….
All that said, my very favorite finish belongs to Alyse. She sent us her Google Maps location and when she was about a half mile from the finish, I headed to the bottom of the last hill to meet her for the last .3 miles or so. She has supported me at so many races over the years – has had my back and has always been my biggest cheerleader – it felt extra special to get to cheer her in to the finish for a change. I’ll be honest, I got a little emotional as she approached the finish – I am just SO damn proud of her for finishing her first half marathon on a tough course (with altitude!) in under the time she had hoped for! WAY TO GO, Alyse.
Thanks to the Epic Tahoe team for putting on such a fun race and inviting all the #sweatpink runners to join in on the fun. I know we all surprised ourselves out there with a great finish and we all had an absolute blast in Tahoe and on the course.
Aside from running, I also heard that the Hard Rock Hotel pool party was FANTASTIC. I had to rush back to my fam’s house (where Colby and Casey were also staying) for a wedding later that evening but hope to join in on the pool action the next time I run this amazingly fun race! Plus, I probably need to go back and beat my time! 😉
Have you ever raced in Tahoe? And if so, which race did you do? Does reading this make you want to ROCK TAHOE?
Stay sweaty (and run strong!).