|The glorious map from Gonzalez, TX to the San Jacinto Monument.|
Not knowing what to expect, I think we were blessed with the relay Gods. First, the weather was optimal. Okay, how chilly it got at night wasn't fun while you're standing around trying to support your runner, but while you're on that leg running... it felt great. Second, I was placed in a van where no one knew each other, but the chemistry/personality worked with everyone. In about 36 hours, we forged new friendship.
In this relay, I had 4 legs and ran a total of 20 miles in 2 days. I slept for 2 hours and was up on pure adrenaline (okay, I had a cappuccino before the start of the race and a cup of coffee at 3 or 4AM after my 3rd leg). Our team finished 88 out of 149 and finished at 30.5 hours (we averaged 9:09 min/mile). I have to say it wasn't bad for our first relay and it was a nice bar to set. We had a slow runner in our group, but on the other van; however, she did great for her first (I'm assuming) relay as well.
About the course: This relay is based on Texas history (hint - Texas Independence) and the route was from Gonzalez, Texas to Pasadena, Texas. It was very well organized for the 200 mile stretch and while the runner's directions could have been better, it was still good enough to where we didn't really get lost. (Well, one of our runners went the wrong way for a bit, but figured out she didn't make a turn she needed to).
Funny story, our van actually got pulled over by the Gonzalez cop at the beginning of our first leg. Yup, you read that correctly! Our driver took a detour to look for some celebratory booze (our van thought about chugging a beer right after the leg) and after we made a turn, the cop pulled us over for allegedly running a red light. Everyone who paid attention saw the light was a stale yellow. The cop, who was power tripping, basically let us go on a warning. It was an interesting situation because we were right next to the start of the race and yet he acted like we were complete foreigners, not knowing why our van was not "really registered" after he ran the plates (we rented, by chance, a new van so the plates were not ready). Anyway, our driver wasn't too thrilled, but we were fortunate enough to get away with a warning.
During my first leg (I ran leg#3), I was approached by the Mullets. The Mullets team was truly an awesome team to have around. They were basically the "party team" and at every exchange, they had music blasting and they were super supportive to not only their runners, but runners all around them. My first encounter with them was again, at Leg #3. I had just finished crossing this huge hill and was trying to catch up with this other runner when they approached me in their van. The Mullets slowed down and asked if I wanted a ride (I don't think I looked like I was dying - promise!). I was taken off-guard by them but realized they were being silly. The guy even opened the door and told me to jump in - haha. Later on during the race, our van approached one of their runners and yelled "hey little girl, need a ride??"
|The Mullets at their finish.|
|We got 39 kills on our first time!|
What's cute about the Mullets... after the race was over, their family met up with them at the San Jacinto Monument. Their kids were wearing the same shirts as they were! Talk about cute and matching!
After completing this run, I now understand why my coach was telling me that I need to run twice a day to train for TIR. You literally run for 3-5 miles (depending on the stretch of your leg) and rest for a few hours before getting up for another run. The lack of sleep and real nutrition really takes a toll on your body. I was up for 39 hours because I was up at 4AM to meet up with my team for our drive to Gonzalez, Texas. Our start time was 9:12AM. My hardest leg was my 3rd one at Leg #26. Even though it was flat and straight, it was in the middle of the night (about 3AM) and I literally had just got up from my 1 hour nap. It was my slowest leg and for some reason it was just hard. It was painful on my calves running up and down the sidewalk end/curb.
This was also the first time I've ever worn a headlamp and reflective vest during a night run. First, it was mandatory for runners to wear it after 7PM. Second, I was glad it was mandated because running on Highway 71 with no lights, but random on-coming cars is SCARY! OMG! Regardless, I still had a good experience and would love to do again.