Monday, June 25, 2007

Don't let my lack of articulation fool you, this thing was incredible

The relay was, in short, awesome. As a runner, the chance to participate in a true team effort does not come around often. If there were any words describe how truly remarkable it is to live in a van for over twenty-four hours with five other people and come out of it saying you'd turn around tomorrow and do it all over again I don't know them. It is impossible to capture all the moments of hilarity, support and spirit.

I was really lucky to be in a van with five positive, selfless people. I believe that must be the key to a good relay experience. If you have people that aren't willing to put their own pain or exhaustion aside for the moment, you'd have a very difficult time.

My team, and so many others I encountered along the way, were fantastic. The first legs of this race were unbelievably hot. The desert-like heat was somewhat uncharacteristic for the Utah mountains. When I ran my first leg on Friday morning, it was already ninety degrees (F). Temperatures would later rise above 100 degrees (F) into the afternoon. It was incredibly draining and I thought if this is how I'm starting out, barely unsure if I'd be able to complete 6 miles in that heat, how are the rest of the legs going to go? If a block of ice in my hand didn't even feel cold, what were the teammates following me going to do? At one point, a kid standing at the end of a driveway with a hose sprayed me right in the face and it felt so good I just stopped and stood there, letting him spray me. I was soaked but dry in less than four minutes. Hot, people. Very, very hot.

Surprisingly, once the temps cooled down, I was a new woman. The pace picked up and I felt that I could actually run again. I was certain that second leg would be my best of the relay. My third leg was run at sunrise the next morning. I'm not going to lie, it was tough. I was spent after that third leg. But it, too, minus the heat, was fantastic. As hard as I worked, as tough as it all was, this relay made me feel like a runner again. I wasn't worried about injury or time, I just went out there and ran. It felt good to push myself and even though I thought there was no way I'd complete the third leg without walking, I not only ran the entire thing but kept my pace about a minute below what was projected. I could not be happier.

Largely, though, the running in this relay was almost secondary. It was the team that pulled me through, I have no doubt. The support, the encouragement, the inside jokes in the van, those all got me through. A moment didn't pass where we weren't laughing about something and with sleep deprivation looming larger with each passing hour, everything became even more hilarious.

I'm lacking both sleep and sufficient words right now to communicate how special this event was. Simply put, I'm so thankful to have been a part of it, I can't wait to do it all over again and, in my opinion, any runner not willing to try one of these some day is missing out.

15 comments:

Sempre Libera said...

Sounds fantastic - glad you had such a good time!

e.b. said...

Seems to have been worth it - I am glad you enjoyed it as much as you did.

I mentioned before my sister did one in Oregon and she, not really a runner per se, had an excellent time for the same reason you described.

Bre said...

That sounds like it was just what you needed! Good for you! :)

Cravey said...

Thanks for this, I've been debating about one of these events for almost a year now, and you've just convinced me.

JC

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Well done! How did the van smell by the end of the weekend?

justacoolcat said...

Whooo Hoo! Congratulations.

runliarun said...

If you would do the living-in-a-van thing again without blinking, it was indeed the greatest team it could be.

Those temperatures though would have killed me. I cannot run in the heat.

Danielle said...

Sounds like a great time. I really do need to get something lined up and do one of these one day. Need to find at least 5 (if not 11) more people to do it too!

afuntanilla said...

wow!! that is soooo awesome. I am so psyched for you!! I have only been a part of a marathon relay and that was a blast..but short.

good for you for tackling this...sounds like the anxiety prior was put to rest.

want to run Hood to Coast in Oregon???

I might consider!

brandy said...

Congrats!! That's fantastic, and the best part is reading that you would do it again. (Isn't that such a great feeling?!)

GirlGoyle said...

Seeeeeeeee? You made the right choice...once again! Good for you.

Joe said...

100°F? OMG! I don't think I could BREATHE in that kind of heat, let alone RUN in it!

Josh said...

ha ha ha! This is great. Your comment about getting soaked with the hose but then being dry 4 minutes later... OMG! ROTFL!!!!!

brookem said...

wow, i know the feeling with the heat lately! congrats to you for completing such a great event! the relay idea sounds like a blast.

The Exception said...

I am thrilled that you had such a great time - and it was so rewarding!

hard to imagine Utah being that hot this time of year - and yet, you ran and ...

WOW!!

YAY YOU!