Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Last Saturday, the RD for the TRT race updated the website to proclaim that the race would not be cancelled due to the air quality. Whew! Given that the two days prior to this (Thursday and Friday) had what appeared to be some of the worst smoke I have seen yet in Tahoe this month, this was a relief. After the cancellation of Western States, the Tevis Cup, and the Donner Lake Triathlon, I think many besides me were worried.
Air quality here in Truckee has not been great over the last 3 weeks, but I am happy to report that yesterday showed a marked improvement, and today was even better! I would have no qualms at all about running if these conditions hold. Also, I keep reminding myself that conditions over at the lake are actually much better than here in Truckee. Here are some pictures from Truckee for comparison:

View of Donner Lake from the dog walk. This was taken last summer.

Same view. This one was taken a few weeks ago, right around when Western States should have been.

This one I took yesterday. It's really hard to tell that the air quality is really a lot better. I think the late day sun created a lot of glare on this one. Unfortunately I don't have a picture from today, which had very little smoke, but I'll try to post more in the upcoming days.
In the mean time, I am super excited for the TRT 100, and I must confess, a little nervous and stressed. Just packing my drop bags is making me nervous, not to mention my husband worrying. He needs some ultra runners to hang out with and influence him. So if you see him at the race, will you please tell him that this is a perfectly normal way to spend a weekend, and that people don't typically die from running a hundred miles? Thanks.
I feel ready, and at this point the waiting is killing me. I am super lucky that my friend Sarah is going to pace me for the last 24 miles. Friday we are having a "team meeting" here and I am cooking dinner for my crew. Then...it's show time! I'll set the alarm for 2:30 am in order to have the morning ritual and make the 45 miniute drive in plenty of time for the 5:00 am start.
I have thought a lot about goals for this race. It's so hard to know what might be a realistic time for 100 miles when you have only ever run 50. After a few moments of stress this week that brought tears, I am reminding myself that this is supposed to be fun. Therefore, I realized what my number one goal should be: Have fun! That is the truth too, not just some scmaltz contrived for my blog. Those who know me know I can't help but get competitive in a race. That's part of the fun. Yes, I will push myself, but not at the expense of having fun. Not if it's going to make me stressed out, or forget to enjoy myself. This is my first 100, and I want to revel in every moment of it-the good and the bad.
With that "spirit of the adventure" in mind, I've posted some photos from two of my best training runs this summer, done in Yosemite National Park. Both were such great adventures. I truly enjoyed being alone on the trails, pushing myself, and climbing to find epic views. [holds up right hand] "I promise to remember to take enjoyment in those things on Saturday!"
RUN #1: Yosemite Lodge to Upper Yosemite Falls, 8 miles

View from Columbia Rock

Sunrise from Columbia Rock

Upper Yosemite Falls

This trail is even scarier than it looks. I held on to the handrail with two hands!

The descent

RUN #2 Yosemite Lodge to Tenaya Lake via Clouds Rest, 20 miles

The Mist Trail

Nevada Falls

Looking back at Half Dome

View of the Valley from Clouds Rest

View of the high country from Clouds Rest. The lake is Tenaya Lake, my destination.

Tenaya Lake!


  1. wow those are gorgeous pictures - except for the smoky Tahoe one :(

    I'm hoping the smoke is even more gone by the time the weekend rolls around. You will do awesome! See you out there!

  2. Good luck on the TRT! I am so in awe, you crazy woman! I can't wait to hear how you do.

  3. Yeowza! Beautiful pictures and long falls!

    I wish you the best at your first 100! Constant forward motion! (CFM) You can do it! Remember to take care of yourself. If you have a pacer for the final miles do what they say! Get lots of sleep between now and race day!


  4. i haven't been to yosemite in ages. thanks for posting those pics.

    see you at trt!!!! good luck!

  5. Gretchen,

    I'm totally going with the "don't worry have fun" plan too, especially because your altitude over there really messes me up, even compared to other sea-level denizens.

    It's your first 100 miler, so really just finish and have fun, be competitive next time. Hey we're lucky just to get to do our run, right? Hope to see you out there. Good luck! I believe in you!

    Great pics!

  6. First I scrolled through and looked at the pictures and thought, "Wanna trade lives? And legs?" Then I read that your big race is this weekend and I thought, "Wanna trade lives? And legs? After this weekend?" I'm glad that your event wasn't canceled and you'll be able to toe the line unlike so many other unlucky ultrarunners this year. Most of all, good luck! I'll be thinking of you all weekend and sending you "fun" vibes. "Fun" vibes also come with a mild anti-inflammatory effect.

    PS Thanks for the sweet comment. You always make me feel so special!

  7. Thanks for all the sweet comments everyone. I am super excited, and the air this morning is 100% clear! I assume the smoke will move in a little in the evening, as has been typical, but things look great for race day. For those in the race, I'll be looking for you out there and good luck!

  8. Go Gretchen! I hope it's no too smoky for you guys up there. Have a great race - I can't wait to hear about it.

  9. Have fun and Haul Ass!
    Good luck on the TRT I can't wait for the race report.

  10. Excellent post! I feel like a wimp for running marathons ! :)