Tahoe 200 Mile Endurance Run

The Tahoe 200 Endurance Run was one that I had on my, “Bucket List”.   With 40,000 feet of assent and 40,000 feet of descent. It was in the Sierra Mountains and ranging from 4200 feet of altitude to 9800 feet of altitude. A total of over 70,000 feet of altitude change. I joined an incredibly-exclusive club: of the 107 billion people who have ever lived on the planet, well less than 1000 have ever run 200 nonstop miles! (By contrast, about 8000 people have climbed Mt. Everest…) race was for sure the most challenging event I have ever encountered. It is a single 205.5 mile loop mountain race in the USA. You travel threw the Tahoe Rim Trail, and detouring off the TRT to the aspen meadows, rock garden, small lakes and forests. There is a 100 hour cutoff to complete this race. What I did not realize was how difficult this race was. For one, the climb was immediate with the change of 4000.00 feet initially. {Coming from sea level this was extreme for me.}. I encountered terrible altitude sickness with symptoms of altitude sickness can show up immediately or gradually. Symptoms of altitude sickness include:

fatigue
insomnia
headache
nausea
vomiting
rapid heart rate
shortness of breath (with or without exertion)
skin discoloration (a change to blue, gray, or pale)
confusion
coughing
coughing up bloody mucus
chest tightness
decreased consciousness
inability to walk in a straight line
shortness of breath at rest

I had all of these and knew I was combating this issue.

This scared me very much. I was wheezing and short of breath from the first 7 miles of the climb. I live below sea level and have trouble with altitude anyway.  I knew I was going to be at a disadvantage.
The second challenge I had was with the drop bag. I could not see anyone for the first 50 miles and by then I needed a head lamp, warm clothes , and more fuel. Not a secure feeling to not have these things available. It had rained in the evening for about 4 hours. I was not only wet, I was cold {hypothermia}, and my fuel source was extremely limited.
Then came the first 100 miles. It all seemed to come together but I was already with out sleep {One hour in the 100 mile time limit.}
Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.
Memory and Cognitive Impairment: Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability — your ability to think and process information. I also was, “hallucinating” {seeing things that were not there}. Rained on, chased by a bear, lack of sleep for three nights was truly not a fun race for me!
Onward to finish the race. I felt extremely like an Asthmatic patient wheezing to catch my breath. The day running was fine but the night time running was so dangerous for me. I feel it should be extremely necessary to have a familiar pacer to get you threw the summits but more importantly to get you out of the mountains. The ribbons that mark the mountains are not that well marked. You definitely need someone to take you threw them at night. I also feel a, ” Garmin”, hand held to show the map of the mountain and the altitude change is a must.
Then came night number 2 with pouring rain and visibility not good!
I’m not only going threw Altitude challenges but hypothermia challenges as well.
When the balance between the body’s heat production and heat loss tips toward heat loss for a prolonged period, hypothermia can occur. Accidental hypothermia usually happens after cold temperature exposure without enough warm, dry clothing for protection. Mountain climbers on Mount Everest avoid hypothermia by wearing specialized, high-tech gear designed for that windy, icy environment.  I did not have specialized gear.

However, much milder environments can also lead to hypothermia, depending on a person’s age, body mass, body fat, overall health, and length of time exposed to cold temperatures. A frail, older adult in a 60-degree house after a power outage can develop mild hypothermia overnight. Infants and babies sleeping in cold bedrooms are also at risk.
Being that I am 61 years old and from the heat of Southern Texas…..I FROZE.
Then came the, charging of the mama bear. Yes, it happened. There was a bear in the woods with two cubs and I was running the trail. All of a sudden she came roaring after me and backed me down the trail. I was shocked, scared, and thought my life was over! I jumped in the woods and hid for about an hour. I am sure it was not the smarted thing I have done but it was instinctive. I then got enough nerve to come out of the woods and continue on. I was miserable!
I slept a total of 3 hours the entire race. I felt more sick than I ever have. I finished the race in 98 hours. {Two hours short of the cut off}. Done and Done.
Recommend the race? Maybe with several pacers, valuable GPS equipment, clothes, and a knowledge of the TMT.  But for me I feel the race did not have, “Enough running”.  It should have been called, “Ultra hiking and mountain climbing with polls!
I have completed the race. I am blessed and well watched over by angels!
One and DONE!!!!!

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