REFLECTIONS ON MY FIRST LONG DISTANCE RELAY AND H2C ADVENTURE
How do I love thee, team relay? Let me count the ways…
ONE: Camaraderie. Team relays teach the meaning of having someone’s back. It’s not about the running. It’s about the teamwork. Special mad props to the Van 1 runners for taking on the descent from Mt. Hood to Sandy. Shit is no joke. A serious quad grinding extravaganza.
TWO: Misery loves company but lunacy does too. Wouldn’t be half as fun to do something completely wacky and somewhat masochistic alone.
THREE: Running in the dark is the bomb. Truly one the greatest thrills in life. It’s like cheating death making your way through the blackness, feeling your feet hit the road and yet not being able to visualize the point of contact.
FOUR: Oregon crowd love. Everyone everywhere came out to support us crazy runners. They cheered, they protected (cops and paramedics), they made us hot food and drinks.
FIVE: The Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood. A sweet, cozy little slice of the European Alps in the good ol’ US of A.
SIX: The Oregon countryside with its bucolic rolling green hills. Ah, summer…!
SEVEN: Sleep is overrated. It’s amazing how refreshed you can feel after 1.5 hrs of sleep. The power of adrenaline is not to be underestimated.
EIGHT: Meals are overrated. Relaying teaches you how little food you actually need in a given day, even while burning calories running. There is a temptation to eat and drink more than necessary in between legs because of all the wait time and nervous energy. But you don’t actually need more than one square meal. In fact, real food is not exactly your friend in an all-day relay, unless you have a stomach of steel.
NINE: Running 16 miles over 29 hours is easier to do and recover from than running 13.1 straight. My coach friend was right: it’s not really like a half marathon. In some ways it’s easier (you get periods of rest). In some ways it’s harder (you gotta dial in a 5 or 10K pace each time you run).
TEN: Organized people make the world go ’round. Our team put its trust in a Team Captain Extraordinaire and Mama Bear named Shelley. She rocks. Thank you, Shelley.
Leg 11 @ 4:30PM — 4.82 miles in 40:02. Easy-peasy flat paved trail through Portland.
Leg 23 @ 3AM — 4.18 miles in 33:15. I hauled ass because it was freezing and pitch dark. Didn’t even stop to tie my left shoe laces so they flopped around the entire time. This leg was the most epic!
Leg 35 @ 12:30PM — 7.2 miles in 64:47. Uphill, part gravel in the heat of day. Damn. But I did it.