Wednesday, May 25, 2011

race recap: the time i ran up a mountain, pt 2

I know you're all just dying to hear the rest of my Reach the Beach recap. So where did I leave off? Oh right, I'd just completed leg three on less than three hours of sleep, blinking lights and obnoxious headlamp and all. We were all a little worried about Kate, who hadn't been feeling well and seemed to be feeling progressively worse as the morning wore on. It was decided that despite her protestations of wanting to try to run, that we needed to take her out. At this point we had to decide how we would get the 8 miler run. Julia had just come off of a not-so-fun 8 miler, Kelly and I were doing four legs, and our fearless leader Danielle had been running non-stop since the start of the race. It was decided that we'd each take two miles of the leg, and despite its technical illegality according to the rules, the race director gave us the go-ahead.

I think that the extra two miles actually worked out in my favor. It loosened up my legs and helped to wake me up. I maintained a decent pace and finished feeling less tired than when I'd started. After our van finally finished up we headed to a transition area to rest and relax. It was here where I dedcided to take a nap, face down, in the blazing hot sun. It was also here where I said "naaahh I don't need sunscreen!" before passing out cold on the grass. I paid for that mistake dearly, and I still am:

Soon after regaining consciousness, it was time for my fourth and final leg -- a 7.3 miler that was listed as moderate. Considering the last moderate run involved a mountain that almost killed me, I didn't really know that to think. The ladies on my team just kept telling me to go out and enjoy it, to take in the views and that pace didn't matter. Of course we took the opportunity to take some more pictures because, why the hell not? I mean, I'd been wearing the same tank top for 24 hours at this point and was feeling totally sexy:

I had to give myself a lot of mental pep-talks before going out for the final leg. But by the time Kelly reached me I was pumped and ready to go. I couldn't believe that it was all almost over, that after spending so much time in that van, with these lovely ladies, that we were soon going to reach the beach together. I was so excited that I bounded off like a little bunny:

Soon after getting on the road I realized that it was really sunny. And very warm. And that I was pretty damn exhausted. I was so happy to see the girls and the van at around every mile or so. They were there with words of encouragement, gatorade and sport beans. In fact, I've decided that I wouldn't mind if I'm always followed by people who offer me snacks and beverages. Could definitely come in handy, don't you think? By mile four I was feeling exhausted and decided to do a run/walk to get through it. By running for 3/4 of a mile and then taking a walking break I was able to break up the remaining distance (both mentally and physically). I felt like crying as I approached the transition area and saw Danielle waiting for me. Mostly because I'm weirdly obsessed with her, but that's okay, I think that the feeling is totally mutual. Can't you tell?

We then made our way to the finish line to wait for Danielle to complete her final leg (homegirl ended up doing over a marathon distance. She was one BAD ASS captain). She texted when she was a mile away and we waiting for her near the finish so we could all cross together. It was such a special moment to see her making her way towards us. It felt amazing to cross the finish line. Not because we were incredibly fast, or because we were sometimes more concerned about where the Cheez-it box was located than our pace times, but because we had accomplished something and it felt amazing.

I went into the race knowing one person, and walked out feeling as though I was leaving behind my family. It's amazing how such close quarters breeds intimacy. I actually woke up on Sunday morning wishing that I could be back in the van, talking about bananas up the butt and porta-potties. It was an amazing experience unlike any other race that I've ever done. I'd do it again in a heartbeat -- but only if the girls promise to bring more than one box of Cheez-its this time.  I can't run a race without those:

So.. who's in for The Mass Dash?!

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