Although the miles have been few, they have certainly been sweet here on the trails of Tahoe. The change in seasons always leaves me with a sense of nostalgia, especially in fall. Perhaps it's because summer is my favorite season in the mountains and I'm sad to see it go. But it seems to be the combination of that sadness, coupled with the excitement of the coming snow and all the joys of the ski season, that leave me with the odd feelings that I identify with fall. When I lived in southern California, it was the way the Santa Ana winds blew the smog away, leaving a crystal clear view of the distant mountains that gave me this feeling. The difference is that down south, the onset of winter means that the best season for running is just beginning, whereas here I am doing my best to appreciate every last day of clear mountain trails.
Friday's run on my backyard trail
Saturday's run on the TRT
The aspens have begun to turn, and I have spent several days already running through snow dusted trails. It makes for heartbreakingly beautiful running. The crisp air also means I don't carry much water, even on a 20 mile run. Summer may be my favorite season, but I think fall provides the best running conditions.
Paige Meadows on the TRT
The TRT heading west from Tahoe City
Last weekend I payed a visit to my old stomping grounds, the beautiful trails of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. This is where I ran my first marathon to qualify for Boston, and where I trained for Grandma's marathon, which still stands as my PR for the distance nearly a decade later. Needless to say I have a fondness for running in this town. Unfortunately I missed the peak of the fall colors, as the leaves were really just beginning to turn. If you ever have the opportunity to run the Twin Cities Marathon, I highly recommend it. It is flat, fast beautiful, and filled with cheering spectators for the entire distance. When I lived in both St. Paul, and south Minneapolis I trained on portions of the course which follow bike paths along the many rivers, creeks and lakes of the Cities. Last week I ran what felt like a blazing fast 7 miles along Minnehaha Creek, and recalled the joys of sharing urban running trails with all the other runners out there. It's a contrast to the solitude of running on mountain trails, and perhaps that's what gives me such an appreciation for it. I feel like I suddenly have a hundred running partners, even though I likely won't say more than "Hi" to any of them. That always contributes to the feeling of speed, oh, and the fact that I live at 6000 feet and ran on a flat paved trail at sea level!
The Mississippi River viewed fromthe Science Museum in St. Paul MN
While Andrew and I were in Minneapolis, the bears here in Truckee were up to some unusual antics. It's been a tough year for the bears up here, with more than 30 killed by cars in the Tahoe area this season. It's no wonder then that this bear decided it would be preferable to jump off a bridge than tangle with an oncoming vehicle.
The scared bear clings to the side of Rainbow Bridge on old highway 40 (photos courtesy of Tahoe Tribune)
This is the excitement of life in a small town. In truth though, the issue of how to leave peacefully in the natural envorinment is a serious one. Although this is a sensational story, it is only one of many cases where the bears (and other wildlife) are adversely affected by the presence of humans. I'm glad, this time, that the bear got out alive.
This week is the Lake of the Sky trail run in Tahoe City. My training has been sorely inadequate, but I'm trying to think of it as a training week for the upcoming Helen Klein 50 Miler. Thus no tapering for me, although frankly I don't see how I could run any lower mileage than I already am. The weather looks questionable for the race at this point, so I am getting mentally prepared for a cold wet day.
For those of you with big races coming up, good luck! Addy is running her first 50 miler at Dick Collins Fire Trails 50 on the 13th, and Russ his first 100 miler at San Diego 100 on the 20th. I'll be sending good vibes your way!