This photo pretty much sums up the way I feel about running in Tahoe. It’s just… that. much. fun. This weekend I ran a combined 36 miles on the trails and came away sunburned, mosquito bitten, and exhausted. It doesn’t get much better. I was a little nervous about doing such big mileage in Tahoe because of my less than stellar experience at altitude in Flagstaff. But luckily I had no issues at all. That 1,000 feet of elevation makes all the difference. Or my body was just extremely embarrassed of it’s poor showing last weekend and manned up to create some new red blood cells.
Saturday’s run was part of the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Miler training weekend, 23 miles with only about 4,400 feet of elevation gain. The kicker was that over 1/3 of that elevation came within the first two miles. We started the run by heading straight up the Diamond Peak ski mountain, ducking in and out of the shadows of the ski lift. It was a great time to practice my power hiking. The hands-on-thighs technique worked pretty well for me, and I actually felt really strong going up and up. I think all my lunges and step ups and squats are finally paying off. It’s exciting to feel progress! The other 21 miles ran along the Tahoe Rim Trail, circled around the Red House Loop, and weaved back down the mountain on this mountain biking trail that was SO FUN. It had wide, banked turns on the switchbacks so naturally I was trying to catch some air. I had my wings spread and kept yelling “weeee!” on the way down. I probably looked like a maniac, but when you are having that much fun, who cares? This was an awesome route which I’ll definitely run again. If you wanted to cut out ~6 miles you could leave out the Red House Loop. That’ll save you a bunch of vert too. Check out the map on Strava. On Sunday the TRT100 training run was planned to be a 55K along more of the course. Considering I’m only training for a 50K, I thought that might be a bit much. So boyfriend and I instead ran my favorite trail in the world, the 13 mile point-to-point Flume Trail. The easiest way to run this trail is to park at the Tunnel Creek Cafe and buy a $15 ticket for the shuttle bus that drops you off at Spooner Lake. We didn’t have any problems getting a seat on the 9:30 bus, but in the summer it can get real crowded so reservations might be a good idea. This run starts with a deceptively hard climb to Marlette Lake, rising about 1,100 feet over the first four miles. But then you are treated to some of the finest views in the world. The Flume Trail cuts along the side of the mountain, having you duck around large outcroppings of boulders and in and out of pine trees. There are a few sections of narrow singletrack with a pretty steep drop-off into the lake. It’s hard to peel your eyes off those snow capped beauties, but don’t forget to look down at the trail every once in a while. This is also a very popular route with mountain bikers so keep an eye/ear out for them too. After a few miles of beautifully flat trail, you end with a sweet 3 mile descent back down to the Tunnel Creek Cafe. This is a killer spot to refuel. Nothing tastes better than an ice cold Arnold Palmer after a hot and sweaty run. They also have smoothies and awesome sandwiches (with GF bread!!). If you wanted to do a long run you could do an out-and-back on the Flume, but there’s not really any way to cut it shorter than 13 miles. But don’t worry, it’s worth it for the views. Check out Strava map here.
Note: neither of these routes have water available, so bring plenty with you!