What a weekend! I have done one relay race before, but this one was totally different in so many ways! And excellent in the end to boot! My team was AWESOME!!!
My trip started very early Thursday morning at LAX with a flight out to Phoenix to meet up with Jenn and Karla! Two of the best girls to spend a weekend with if I might add! We immediately headed off to a restaurant Jenn wanted to try out near her place called Pita Jungle. I was famished so I ordered the first dish I saw that would fill me up, The Macro plate.
It was delicious and just what I needed, including brown rice, some beans, grilled tofu, and vegetables. I finished as much as I could but there was still some left when I was full and of course, forgot to take the leftovers with me. Typical.
We hung out for a bit, getting ready for the race when the rest of our team started to show up at Jenn’s for a pizza dinner and our last meeting before the race! Team shirts were handed out and Team Dessert was ready to race!
Oh, we also decorated our vans to the max! I was in the ice cream van (our other van was the cupcake van) and it came out great! Our soccer mom van no longer looked like it your typical mom van anymore! Packed and decorated to the nines!!!
Friday morning started faster than you could say “GO!” as we got up bright and early (and crazy) at 2:30 to make the hour plus drive to the start line. Our start time was at 5:30 but we had to be there an hour beforehand for a safety briefing and such, along with picking up bibs and lots of goodies!
5:30 came faster than any of us thought and before we could blink, Nicole, our fearless leader and coordinator for our team, took off!
For each runner, our van decided to leap frog them where we could while they were running, providing them with support and water/food along the way. It was a great way to keep everyone in good spirits as the race wore on…because believe me, by the end, we were a little crazy. Heh.
Jaime was our second runner, followed by Jenna and then myself. I was all nerves before this leg, since this is my first race in almost a year and a half! Can you believe that?! My hip has been bothering me that long! Tragedy in my book; an absolute tragedy! I love running!
Anyhow, my first leg was pretty simple and easy, as it was a flat route along the side of a two lane highway, all on the shoulder. I ran on the asphalt of the road most of the time, moving onto the rocky shoulder whenever a car came in my direction (we always ran against traffic). My leg was 6.4 miles and I took off like a bat out of hell. I was so excited to get going I couldn’t hold my excitement any longer!
Everything was going great until about half way through, with my stomach decided to take a turn for the worst. Let me remind you all: DO NOT take medicine like Advil on an empty stomach! It acts like battery acid! GAH! Anyhow, it slowed me down a bit and left me miserable for hours afterwards…but who cares about how sick I felt. I had my fellow teammates to cheer on!
Our last two runners for our van finished their runs and the other van started their legs, while we took some time to chill out. Our next exchange was located at a high school, where the football field had been opened up for us to hang out and sleep on. I got my blanket, pillow and konked out for a good two hours before we had to get ready for van two to finish and our van to start again!
Nicole took off around seven for her second leg and again, we played leap frog with everyone while they ran. I was super excited and scared all at the same time about my second leg at 6.9 miles, as it was on road, neighborhoods and then, a TRAIL. Yep, trail run in the pitch black of night. Awesome right?! The first two parts went off without a hitch and as I turned onto the trail the first thing I was greeted with totally caught me off guard: crazy high hill. WHAT?! I ran it with all my might and got the awesome cheer from the volunteer at the top, “Great job! This is the worst of them!” THEM!?!?!?! Yeah, there were more! It was difficult enough running with just a headlamp for light, loose rocks and even some washes so why not add in a few more hills!?
Oh, and did I mention that coyotes I saw and heard? I was totally excited for those, but as the girls told me, they were glad I ran this leg because they were too scared to run in an environment like that at night. Just my kind of thing…being out in the wild. Rawr.
We finished our second legs around almost 2 in the morning and only had a few hours to rest up before our third leg would start. This my friends, is when everything got crazy hard and well, just crazy. Our minds that is. Haha! We were pretty delirious!
My third leg started exactly 24 hours after my first one and I was feeling great! I took off for the 4.2 miles run with the gradual downhill in the beginning and I was nice and speedy! I stopped around mile two because my hip was starting to bother me (did I mention it was starting to bother me during the second leg. Yeah, made me very nervous for my third leg) but I had what felt like a running angel who told me how he didn’t catch up to me for me to stop running so soon! This runner helped me take the focus away from the discomfort of my hip, adjust my gait and finish the run with a bang! I passed him up at the last second with a sprint, getting my last “kill” and felt amazing!
Our van finished and seriously, it was an amazing feat to undertake. The last time I ran a relay, the Wild West Relay in 2009, it was nothing like this. My legs were different, sleeping and eating were different and it was just overall a very different experience. But amazing none the less!!! Our official finish time for 202 miles was 34:23:57 and boy, was it an adventure!!!
Out team did AMAZING at supporting each other throughout the race and I seriously wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Oh, and grumpy cat of course. He would be nothing more than an awesome cheerleader. hahaha
After all was said and done, I went along with Jenn, her husband Bobby, her Mom and brother and Karla to get some serious eats into my belly at Indulge Burger! It was all about whatever I wanted that night, so out came the burger and fries!!!
I realized really fast how much your stomach shrinks over 36 hours because it was hard to eat this meal! I sustained myself during this race by eating a lot of salty tortilla chips, bread and pb and banana sandwiches. Let me tell you, as of right now, I don’t want to be anywhere near any peanut butter for a very long time. Gag.
I am still very sleep deprived…so pardon things in this post that don’t make sense. I should have taken a day off after the race to recuperate but well…work is work. At least I’m walking more normal than I was yesterday…the combination of running hills, faster than I normally run, and being cramped in a car and not walking around much my legs were so freaking stiff by the time my third leg was over! I have not been that sore in a very long time!
If you have any questions about the race please feel free to ask! I didn’t give all the details here, but would love to talk about other things some more!