Above the heights of Lake Tahoe, during the Emerald Bay half-marathon, I proved to myself, once again, that once I put my fire into a project, it flies…I say – go after your dreams! You’ve nothing to lose but regret!
Despite my fears, my mind, body and spirit were up for the challenge! Last Friday morning, above Lake Tahoe, at well over 6000 feet altitude, I completed the Emerald Bay half-marathon in 3 hours and 34 minutes…mostly walking…some running…lots of breathing…As promised, I did it in my Hoops, topped off with a fake furry hat! It was so cold, in the 30’s, frost on the ground, sun not up properly, when we started…
Anyway – to go backwards a little…last Wednesday afternoon, arrived in Lake Tahoe very smoothly….unfortunately, my suitcase didn’t! That would be the suitcase with my running shoes, toiletries and make-up! At that point, I wasn’t worried, I stayed calm, went for a walk, witnessed a lovely sunset – see below, then found my favorite new restaurant, The Naked Fish, dined there 4 out of 5 nights – best sushi, great staff – Patrick, the artist sushi chef, Kyle, my delightful waiter, and the radiant Stephanie. After 8pm, Southwest called to say my bag had been found and would be delivered in a few hours. It showed up at 1 43 AM…I was beyond tired – imagine a fretful, teary 5 year old leaving at Disneyland – that was me!
The next morning, I had a tour with Greg, from http://tahoephotographictours.com What a special day! I made three new friends – Greg, Christine and Vanessa – hiked a few miles, yes, the day before the race. We started at the shoreline at Kiva Beach, Lake Tahoe.
Then Greg drove up and up and up and up and up to Emerald Bay – yes, this would be the same road that I ran/walked down less than 24 hours later! Visited many beautiful spots around the lake; sunny, but pretty chilly, as you can tell from my sunglasses and zipped-up winter coat!
The next morning, I stumbled up before dawn – always hate getting up when it’s freezing and black outside. I almost dislocated my shoulder and broke a nail donning compression socks, and my hands were shaking when I pinned on the bib. I bolted out the door and half-ran up the hill to the shuttle pick-up spot; I was on time for the last one. The other runners were just lovely, very supportive and friendly. No mocking at all! The view from near the start at 6 22 am. A couple of hundred of us got behind a white chalk line on the desolate road above Emerald Bay – Highway 89. I sipped water, put on my ipod, pulled up my socks, then jigged about like I knew what I was doing.
At 7am – there was a GO, a gun went off; we – me included – ran off like hunters were after us. It was all very dramatic and fun. After a minute or so, I realized that running helter-skelter down a great big hill, when I had over 13 miles to do altogether, was daft; I slowed to a fast walk. Stopped to take this photo on the way down as the sun was coming up over the horizon! Glorious!Kara and Christine, from Sacramento, their first race, too, were fabulous and I kept their pace – 15 minute mile – until I needed the loo! ( I’ve read many book on running and I thought I knew what to expect – but there were no portaloos, except at the start, only 2 water stops – an oreo cookie never tasted so good – and no cheering crowds, just random tourists high-fiving us as they blocked the pavement! The road was not closed off! The Friday events were the prequels to the main weekend events; some mad people were doing stuff on all 3 days.)
After we left the main road, we followed white chalk arrows – very magical mystery tour-ish – onto bike paths, through woods, the Valhalla historical village, and residential neighborhoods! There I found a construction portaloo – with toilet paper! By the time we arrived at the main road again – Highway 50/Lake Tahoe Blvd, it became an absolute joke.
It was Friday morning rush hour – traffic flying along the road – we had to juggle between being almost killed on the road, versus a bike path under construction, (it was an obstacle course of barricades/yellow tape and piles of dirt) grass verges, active driveways of all the restaurants/fast food joints, and, sporadically, normal sidewalk – not to mention having to stop for red lights and wait for the wee green man to appear. (Knowing California – it wouldn’t have surprised me to see people get jay-walking tickets!) I took that time to stretch..but still…my race time would have been faster if not for all the mucking about the last 5 miles. But once, I heard someone say, 5 miles to go – I knew I’d finish! To relieve my walking muscles, I periodically skipped, did side-to-side drill and high knees up’s!
Finally, the finish line was in sight, I broke into a run for the last 50 yards or so! A cheer broke out from the few people milling about! Talk about anti-climactic! It turned out that there was no medals or food or toilets! I retreated onto the beach, ate the stuff I brought – seaweed, a cliff bar, drank muscle milk, soaked my feet in cold sand, called my mum, and watched the crazy folks, mostly in wet suits, who were finishing up the 2.5 mile swim race in that frigid 50 degree water. When I went in, up to my knees, I was cursing and swearing and hopping about until my legs were numb; I lasted no more than 10 minutes. Some runners were soaking up to their waists – that seemed more torture than helpful – see photo.The next morning, I was so spent, operating on fumes as I hobbled about; my leg muscles were so stiff; I groaned when I stood up, avoided stairs, and moved with the grace of a 90 year old with broken pelvis! After collecting my medal/visiting the expo, I went to Bio Spirit Spa – http://www.massagetahoe.com – where I was rejuvenated on all levels – I enjoyed a eucalyptus wet steam, body wrap, massage, with hot tea and almonds in the relaxation room afterwards. Jennifer is a gifted aesthetician, and Teresa, the owner, is the wonderful big sister that I never had. By the time I left, I’d a bounce in my step, a sparkle in my eye, and renewed with a sense of triumph that I did it.
My trip to Lake Tahoe has validated my belief that a stranger is indeed a conversation away from becoming a friend! Hello, new friends!
Thank you, so much, to all my old friends – your love and support means more to me than you’ll ever know – I was so moved and honored to receive your well-wishes – the ones from before the race, that said I could do it and good luck – and then after – the messages to say congratulations, fantastic, knew you could do it! You believed in me when I was starting to doubt myself! I LOVE YOU! I feel so blessed to have such radiant lights around me!
Question: What have you always wanted to do but pulled back because of fear? As Goethe said, Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it now…what step can you take today to start making your dreams come true?