Monday, October 01, 2007

Introduction to Quadzilla weekend

This was it... the weekend I'd been planning for some time. The "Tahoe Triple": three marathons in three consecutive days that take the runner around the perimeter of Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. Oh. And followed by a fourth marathon the next day, which extends the Triple into the elusive "Quadzilla". While not all Marathon Maniacs attempt doubles and triples, much less the Quadzilla, it is certainly one of our key identifiers. If you see a person who has done the Quadzilla, that person is most likely a Maniac.

A few years ago, the Quadzilla wasn't terribly difficult from a logistics perspective. After spending a few days at Lake Tahoe and completing the triple on Saturday, the runner would drive a few hours north to Susanville, CA. That small town hosts the Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon which was on Sunday. And that was Quadzilla.


Last year, the organizers of Bizz decided to move it to the following weekend. Anyone wanting to do a fourth race had to make different arrangements. Luckily, that wasn't so hard because there were two races fairly close. Both Auburn and Sacramento had marathons that Sunday. In fact, both are closer to Tahoe than Susanville.

I know of a dozen or so people who did the original Tahoe/Bizz combination. Last year, I know two people who did it the other way.

This year, these races were moved to other weekends as well. Great. The year I was ready to try four. This would require flying. A couple choices seemed reasonable from Reno: going to Denver for the Boulder Backroads Marathon, or coming back to Seattle and traveling a couple hours south for the Gateway to the Pacific Marathon in Elma, WA. For various reasons, I chose Elma. So did one other person, fellow Maniac Brian. As far as I know, we'd be the only two people attempting Quadzilla this year.

Although flying made the logistics more challenging than the Tahoe Triple and the original Quadzilla (though not nearly as challenging as the triple I did at the beginning of September), at least the fourth race in my series had the potential for being the easiest course. The Tahoe Triple is a hilly series of races up at 6000-7500 feet. Gateway is a flat-to-modestly-rolling race at sea level. The only real unknown about Gateway is the weather. In prior years, Gateway was held in July. I ran it last year on the hottest day of the entire year - 97 degrees at the finish. That was one of the reasons why the organizer moved it to the end of September. Of course, this is a bit of a trade. The weather in July may be hot... but it is almost guaranteed to be sunny. Meanwhile, the weather in September/October is guaranteed to be cool or cold... but there's also a fair chance of rain. And sometimes, RAIN. The cold, soaking kind that comes with wind. The kind of day we affectionately call "brisk".

As I was getting ready to leave for Tahoe, I checked the race forecast:

Triple Day One: 34 degrees and sunny.
Triple Day Two: 38 degrees, overcast, and potential of showers.
Triple Day Three: 28 degrees, 24 degree wind chill, sunny.
Gateway: 48 degrees and rain.

I do not like being cold. Uh oh. How would it turn out? Let's just say that the forecasts got the temperatures reasonably close... but missed the snow/ice on Day Three. And the wind at Gateway.

Forecast? A forecast for fun.

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