Ray's Blog

Sunday, February 26, 2006

2005 May 15: Tilden Tough Ten

This was a 10-mile running race that my uncle Steve told me that he was going to run. Unfortunately, when race day arrived, Steve was under the weather, so he wisely decided to forgo the race, although he showed up near the end to see my spectacular finish.

The ten miles is an out-and-back course that's mostly on a paved trail, although the last mile or so of the "out" leg (and the first mile or so of the "back" leg) is unpaved (and steep, steep, steep!). As you might guess from the name, this race is billed as being tough. In fact, it's so difficult that instead of just having "Tilden Tough Ten" T-shirts, the organizers have three sets of tiered award T-shirts: for people who finish under 80 minutes, for people who finish under 70 minutes, and for people who finish under 60 minutes.

Alex and I got up early and drove up to the race site. It was a bit chilly, and Alex was tired, so after the race started, she hopped back over to the car for a snooze. Before hitting the sack, she snapped a few nice pictures. I, unfortunately, had to stay awake for the duration, of course.

Things started out pretty well. I made good time, although I found myself getting winded more easily than I'd been expecting (in December, I moved up to a house at Tahoe located at an altitude of 7400', and so I was sort of planning on having Super-duperman lungs for all sea-level ventures going forward). I kept up a good pace down the big hill (it's rough enough terrain that you have to pay close attention lest you turn an ankle, too!) to the turn-around point, although I started encountering people on their way back a little earlier than I would've liked.

The nice thing about an out-and-back course is that you get to see what you're in for. In this case, you do the easy part of the race, and you have plenty of time to think about what you're going to have to deal with once you turn around. Things slowed down significantly for me (and for everyone else, too, I reckon!) as soon as I hit the turn-around. But I pumped my arms up the hill gamely enough, and in less time than I had feared, I had made it back to the paved trail and to more moderate climbs.

From here on, I was distinctly short of breath. Since I knew the worst was behind me, though, I tried to maintain my speed. I had visions of a big finish kick ("I'll really push hard for the last mile!"). While I didn't totally crash and burn at the end, I certainly didn't wow anyone with a ginormous speed burst, either. I finished in 68th place with a time of 75:41, and I promise you that I worked for that 75:41! I was a little bit bummed that my five months of living up at altitude apparently hadn't turned me into a human rocket, but I was pretty pleased with how hard I made myself work.


  • Hi, I signed up for the TTT 2006. I have only run the 8 out and back so far and it was already killing me. How bad is the last dirt mile?

    By hansolo, at 2:00 AM  

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