The Amazing (Relay) Race

It's been three weeks since I ran the Wasatch Back with my work peeps, so I think it's high time that I give you a "run" down of how it went.

When I look back through the photos, my first thought is: "Holy crap... I really did this!" I ran three times in a 24-hour period totaling 13.1 miles; there were six of us in our van, and we just started with Runner #1 in Logan and each took our turn (I was Runner #4); after we finished our legs, we would then pass the baton (a wristband, actually) to the other half of our team, six more people who were in another vehicle. They would run their legs, and then we'd take our turn again... and so it went for 28 hours, which is how long it took our team to cross the finish line in Park City.

Participating in this event was one of the hardest, and coolest, goals I have set and accomplished in a long time. It was exhausting and inspiring... and I can't wait to do it again next year! Here's the photo gallery, along with a bit of commentary:

Here's me with my teammates before the race began in Logan; see how fresh and clean and happy we all still look? From left: Mike, Jim, Bryce, Me, Jon (very mature, Jon... how old are you, nine?) and Brian. I work with everyone but Brian, who is related to Mike.

My first leg started around 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon, in a little town called Paradise. Here I am awaiting the hand-off and my official beginning of what would prove to be quite an adventure!

I'm off... and I'm thinking, "Crap, here we go... can I really do this???"

My first leg was my longest, 5.4 miles. In training for the race I had run 5-6 miles many times, just to make sure I could get through this leg... but it rained the entire month of June in Utah (and I mean, the ENTIRE MONTH) so, unfortunately, I didn't have much of an opportunity to run in the heat. This was probably the first bona-fide sunny day we'd had in about three weeks, and it was in the mid-70's... which didn't seem hot at all, until you were running in it. Therefore, this leg proved to be more difficult than I anticipated.
During this water break I'm handing Mike my "woobie" -- a wristband that I was accustomed to having every time I ran, kind of like a security blanket. Mike could tell you for sure, but I think in this photo I was saying something like "Oh my holy hell it is freakin' hot out here I can't breathe dude this SUCKS!" Which is why I'm handing him my woobie... because the last thing I need is to be clutching something hot and furry.

Check out the action shot Dave got at the end of my first leg; I almost look like an athlete here...

...but then the truth is revealed as I finish my five-plus blistering miles and gratefully hand off to Mike! I had to include this photo because, while I was panting like a dog then, it's pretty funny to look at now. In the last mile of this leg an old guy with white hair who was at least 70 years old blew past me and basically Kicked. My. Trash. Even now, that's still not very funny...

Now that I've caught my breath, I pose for a pic with Dave; he was my own personal pit crew, and followed us every step of the race in our car. I could never have pulled it off without his support -- thanks babe, love ya!
When you weren't running, there was some beautiful scenery along the way to hold your attention. This entire race route, which is basically all backroads from Logan to Park City, was really breathtaking. When we were done in our van and handed off the wristband to the other half of our team in a little town called Liberty, we found a park and took a little siesta out there on the grass. The we went to a restaurant called Eats of Eden (even country folk can be clever!), had a carb fest, and then drove ahead to the next exchange, where we started warming up for our second legs... which began around 8:30 p.m.

My second leg began around 11:15; it was 4.1 miles through quiet neighborhoods and ended in Morgan. My night run was, by far, my favorite run of them all. It was cool, it was quiet, there were a million stars... did I mention it was blissfully cool??

Great story about this photo finish... the last half mile of this leg, guess who snuck up on me again? You guessed it -- the elderly gentlemen who humiliated me earlier that day! Now, I know we're supposed to repsect our elders but, with all due respect, there was no way in hell he was going to beat me again. So I drafted him for a bit and then, with about 200 yards to go, I caught up to him, passed him and beat him to the hand-off. Suck on that, Grandpa Speed Racer! Actually, I walked over to him afterwards and thanked him for motivating me; he smiled and said he didn't mind being outrun by a young cute girl. Awwww.... :)

So... after our second exhange with the other team we headed to Coalville to catch some Z's... this is where having Dave and the comfort of my own vehicle was worth its weight in GOLD. I slept like the dead for FOUR HOURS... which may not sound like a lot but it really is, when the average shut-eye is about an hour or so. Around 7 a.m. on Saturday we began our third legs... and here I am almost missing my hand-off at Jordanelle Resovoir! Jon kicked butt up his hill and, frankly, I didn't expect him to come up as quick as he did.

This is is only other photo of me on my third leg, which is just fine with me... because it was a bit of an ugly finish. My last leg was 3.8 miles, and 2.8 of it was straight downhill, all the way down into Heber Valley, where I would then run another mile and be done. Well, the hill was fine, no problems at all... but when I hit the flat road, my quads seized up. And when I mean seized, I mean it felt like someone had ripped open the back of my thighs and poured quick-drying cement into my muscles, along with a few handfuls of glass for good measure. I had never, EVER felt any pain like that before... the cramping was just non-stop. I keep stopping to rub my legs out a bit, then would try to run and the pain would be so bad that I would have to walk and rub my legs some more. Needless to say, it was the longest mile ever. The last 100 yards I ignored the pain the ran to the exhange point, and by then I was crying pretty hard because I was in pain, and because I was angry that I had finished that way... but at least I finished.

After we were done we showered, rested and then headed to the plaza where the official finish line was... when your last runner is in the home stretch, it's customary for the entire team to join them and finish the race together. Cool, huh? So, here I am bringing up the rear with our entire team as we finish the race.

Look at those medals -- we are the champions! My peeps were the best!

Here's our entire 12-member team, the Screamin' Turtles. WAY TO GO TURTLE CREW!

We got home from Park City around 6 p.m. Saturday... where I took a warm shower and sat on the couch, icing my quads, for the rest of the evening. But of course, I had to pose for one last shot: Me, with my medal on the fridge (it's still on the fridge, as a matter of fact), and sporting my "I RANGAR UTAH" souvenir shirt.

Of course, there's no better souvenir than the experience itself. Sign me up for next year!


Tennille said...

Wow!! That's all I can think of to say, really. Also, you look HOT in your running gear! (Seriously, you do). Way to go!

SUZ said...

Who's the HOTTIE with the NAUGHTY body?!?!?! You go girl! And OMS!!! YOU ARE COMING TO MY SHOWER?!?!? I am sooooooooooooooooo excited. I can't even stand it. Can't wait to see you my Rox! Love you, love you, love you! You have officially made my day.