This past weekend I ran the Rainier to Pacific relay. It was a great experience -- teamwork, athletic challenge, time with friends, out-of-the-ordinary situations, but mostly for the chance to accomplish a goal that I had been working towards for so long. I've posted about getting in running shape again and how I've been worried about not being ready for this relay, but I did alright and it felt great to make it through better than I thought I would.
Drama! I forgot my running shoes! The only thing that I really needed to pack. Lucky for me, Eric was planning on bringing the kids to see me run my first leg (he rented a motor home for the weekend -- more on that in the next post). So 10 minutes before my run he came driving up with my shoes and saved the day. I said a quick hello to everyone, grabbed my shoes and got out to run just in time. That's me in the yellow, almost ready to go.
My first leg was along a gorgeous stretch of highway next to Alder lake. It was beautiful -- and I passed two people, that always makes running more fun. This relay is quite small, especially compared to the Hood to Coast that most of my fellow teammates ran last year, only 30 12-member teams. I can see how running with a huge number of people could be more and less fun. I'm really satisfied with how this one went and have no complaints. I hope the relay gets some positive publicity, just because it wasn't Hood to Coast or a Ragnar doesn't mean it was bad, just low-key.
Laine had a "gift" of flowers for me at the end of my 1st run. It was really special to see the kids and Eric waiting for me at the end. It probably made the guy that I passed feel worse when he finished and saw that I have 4 kids. He he he. I went with Eric and the kids in the motor home to the next hand-off then said goodbye until the next day.
My second run was around midnight. It was another stretch of highway but I couldn't see any of it except for what was lit by my flashlight. After our second runs we stopped at a high school and ate a pancake breakfast. We thought we were going to get some sleep but the guys ran too fast for that. So we packed up and went out to run again. Our first runner, Sarah, did an awesome job. She had the worst run of the event with the hills she had to climb. Part of her instructions for this last run were to wear a bandanna around her face because of the dust. Luckily is wasn't as dusty as it could have been since this leg was around 3am and the relay wasn't very crowded. We drove by her for much of the way since it looked like the woods were full of cougars and vampires. It was so black. When I was running my second leg a guy passed me and said "it's black as tar out here." Just strange experiences that every day life doesn't bring.
I felt so ill before my third run, maybe it was the pancakes and eggs, or the Goo I ate before my second run. But it went well. I ran it around 6am, a normal running time for me. When I passed my halfway mark I almost lost it emotionally. I kept breathing out sobs as I got closer to the finish. I felt like I was going so slow but I was actually keeping a pretty good pace and when I did finish with a high five to my next teammate to run, I just had to cry, not too much but it was so emotional I had to sob something out. I've been thinking about completing this type of a run since I was pregnant with Sommer and to actually finish was such a great and overwhelming feeling, especially when factoring in sleep deprivation.
And even though the Hood to Coast intimidates me (I understand that I'll have to run farther than the 13.5 miles that I ran) I'd run it. And now I want to run a bunch of relays with different groups of people -- family, my friends and their husbands, cross country reunion -- because it really was a great experience. Thanks Lauren for including me in the group this year! Your shenanigans made us all laugh and that giant bag of peanut M&Ms was the best post run food ever! (I'm sure Lauren will have a great story and team pictures to share soon so check her blog.) I won't say that it was fun like Disneyland fun, but it was great and I want everyone to experience the greatness with me. And during my runs I did wonder why in the world runners to this? But I'm glad that they do. Ready, steady, Let's GO!