4 runners, 1 van driver, 100 miles with 21 legs in the books!
What an awesome event! It was hot, it was hilly, it was humid, we were tired, we were delirious, at times I was stuttering and could barely form a complete sentence. Ask me if I would do it all over again and my answer would be "absolutely"!! Not only did we have a kick ass team, but we had a kick ass crew chief too! Such an amazing first time relay and first time running through-out the night!
Bare with me, as this will be very long. I plan to write about the event in one post and do another post with pictures.
Let's start from the beginning.
Saturday I was up at 6am. I wanted to be sure I did not forget anything and I needed to be to Jason's house by 8am. We had a 4.5 hour drive to Dan's and then another 1.5 hours to IU-Bloomington Campus. With a slight delay, we were on the road for IN by 8:30am. We arrived to Dan's house and Jaclyn (another teammate) and Larry (her husband/our driver/best crew chief ever) were already there. We had rented a mini van as our SAG wagon for the event. We loaded all of our stuff in, stopped for a quick bite to eat and hit the road. By the time we made it to IU, it was already going on 97 degrees, 104+ with the heat index. and the humidity was ridiculous!! We made our way down to the track, checked in, got our swag bag and went back to the van to stay cool in the A/C. We had about an hour and a half before we needed to be back on to the track for our team meeting at 5:15pm.
I was running our first leg at 5:30pm, the time we chose to start the event. It was 97 degrees and humid! I had to run one lap of the track, out on to the side walk and on to the roads. The leg was short, 2.22 miles total, but it wasn't all that easy considering the weather. I came in at about an 8 minute pace and made the exchange with Jason. We piled in the van and drove to the next exchange point. Bad move. Jason had to run a hot, hilly, humid 6 miles. When he came in, he was spent! This was the only time we made the mistake of not checking on our runner. Jaclyn had to run 6 miles and she doesn't do well in the heat. We made sure to stop every 2 miles to either give her ice or change our her water bottle. If we could get her through this leg, the rest would be much easier on her. Of course, she made it just fine and even passed a runner! She made the exchange with Dan and he was off to run 4.5 miles of straight up hill. We stopped about half way to see if he needed anything and then made our way to the exchange point. This is where we would hand off for my 2nd leg, 3.85 miles of down hill. I was feeling really good, but the team made sure to stop off by the "meth house" just to make sure I was ok. Nothing like running down a dirt road in the woods listening to gun shots. At the next exchange point, it was time for Jay to suit up. We were required to wear safety vests, head lamps and a rear blinking light. Jay's leg consisted of 7 miles on a gravel road with a giant killer hill. We made sure to stop along the way to see if he needed anything. (In fact, we made sure to stop for every leg we ran. It was way too hot to not check on our runner regardless of the distance!) He made the exchange with Jaclyn and she headed out for her 4 mile leg in the darkness. If I remember correctly, this was a relatively easy leg for her. mostly downhill. She made the exchange with Dan who was running close to 8 miles. Dan, again, had to run mostly up hill. We made the exchange for my 3rd leg/first leg in the dark and also my longest leg of the event; 6.50 miles.
Wow. I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack on the side of the road. There wasn't a soul around, no street lights on any of the roads, my light wasn't bright enough, I second guessed myself on the turn (saw the arrows but then thought "what if it was left, not right"), to say I was scared would be an understatement. Then head lights come from behind and it's my team. I got another head lamp from them and all was good. Until I hit the puke zone. From the details provided, it said my leg was down hill all the way. I should have looked at the elevation map because that was far from the truth. I know exactly what they mean by 'puke zone' because I almost did! I had to walk up that hill. My exchange at this point is at the same location where I made the exchange after my first leg. Jay's 3rd leg will take him back to IU, running 2.22 miles-the opposite direction of my 2.22 miles out from IU. He will run on to the track where he exchanges with Jaclyn. She will proceed to do the same 2.22 miles as leg #1.
We are 50 miles in/half way done! It's now 1am.
This is where things started to get rough for me. I was tired, but couldn't sleep. I could barely form a complete sentence. I was felling "off". And running in the dark was tough. My first leg in the dark I thought for sure I was going to have an anxiety attack on the side of the road. I was second guessing the way I turned, there wasn't a soul in site, no street lights, to say I was scared would be an understatement. I was so relieved when my team finally pulled up. I got another head lamp and it help tremendously!! And then there was the leg with the fire. Yes, a fire. I was running down the road and up a head in the distance I saw what appeared to be smoke and fire truck flashers. As I approached there were a few fire trucks, they had the road partially blocked and were putting a fire out. Come to find out, that spot was supposed to be an exchange point. A few days prior to the event, we were notified of a change due to "an incident with a trailer". This was said trailer and someone decided that night was a good time to torch it. At least it made for an interesting portion of that leg. This was also my last leg in the darkness. My next leg would be 2.22 miles in day light! I have never been so happy to see day light before. I felt like a new person. It got warm but I didn't care. I could see without using a head lamp. I had out last leg of the morning; 2.22 miles back to IU track. My teammates met me at the gate going into the track and we ran that last stretch to the finish line together!
Our time was 14 hours, 47 minutes and some odd seconds. Not bad at all considering most teams (49 out of 62 to be exact) had 5-7 people on each team. In fact, I think we kicked that courses ass! From what I could tell, I would say majority of the non-ultra teams had 7 people. To finish in 27th place out of 62 teams with 6 ultra teams finishing before us certainly impresses me! I can't wait to be red eyed next year!
And let me tell you a little bit about Larry, our "crew chief". I really didn't expect anything but for him to drive our van. Boy, did I underestimate what he would do. Not only did he drive us around for close to 15 hours but he made sure to hand off cold water bottles, refilled the ones he retrieved from us running, handed us cold cups of water to dump over our heads, etc... He made sure we were well taken care of! He went above and beyond the call of duty. I just hope he marked his calendar for 2012. ha-ha!!