I signed up a year ago to run this crazy relay race with my sisters, not having any idea what it actually was. I mean, I knew that you ran from Mt. Hood to the beach with a group of 12 runners in 2 separate vans. I knew that you ran through the night, and that you slept whenever you could, where ever you could. But this knowledge in no way prepared me for the crazy 2 days I would have.
Of course the day started with adrenaline. We woke up at 7am on Friday morning (after a very restless night) and piled in a team members Suburban. I was full of questions on what to expect, and kept looking over the sheets that showed the 3 legs that I would be running. I was nervous. It was fun though. Tami was our first runner and we were whoopin’ and hollering when she started, then halfway through, and then again at the end.
You see, you start your runner off, then you drive to where you can meet them halfway and give them water, and then you race to the “exchange” where the runners switch. This is an ideal scenario, that doesn’t always happen.
Heather was our second runner in the van. She was pumped and ready to go. Here she is as we passed her in the van. This was just one of her many poses she made for us as she ran. I was stressed out that she was wasting precious energy. He face is hilarious in this picture.
Next up was Heidi….and I was after her. This is when the butterflies started to kick in. It was getting hot, I had to change into my running clothes, and I didn’t know whether or not I should eat or drink before my run. We made it to my exchange in time for me to eat some huge, gorgeous blackberries and take a few awesome photos.
Then I started to run. On a straight, shadeless. HOT trail. My team members were going to meet me where the path crossed the road for water and encouragement, and it’s the only thought that kept me going after a mile and a half of awful, sweaty running. At one point, after I’d been running for what felt like a long time, a guy passed me who was wearing something that said how far he’d run. Just as he passed I heard it say that we had gone a total of .6 miles. What the what?!?! But I just kept going. I had trained and I wasn’t about to let a little bit of heat stop me now. I kept looking ahead to see if my sisters were waiting with water bottles in hand, but no such luck. I didn’t have a watch, I had no idea how long I’d been running, but I knew they would meet me halfway, so I just had to keep going. Imagine my surprise when, up ahead, I saw the exchange. I was more than a little relieved to be done with my run, not just halfway. After waiting for me for awhile at the crossroad, they realized that I had probably passed it already. They made it to the exchange just in time.
There were 2 more legs after mine, and then we were 1/3 of the way done!! We stopped at Steve’s house where his wife had prepared an amazing spread of food, and after eating we all took quick cat naps, or tried to at least, before we had to head out again to do it all over again.
We started running this time in the evening. It had cooled off, and the sun was just about to set. This is when I love to run the most, so I was excited. Tami did amazing on her leg, and then Heather had a 4 mile, or was it 6?, that was pretty much all up hill on a dusty trail. Heidi had the same dusty trail, in the dark no less. I, on the other hand, got to run on a paved road, with a million starts above my head, and after the first mile and a half uphill, it was downhill the other 5. It was glorious. I felt alive and strong. I got the encouragement for my team that I had missed out on before. With each runner I passed or that passed me, there was pleasant conversation and mutual admiration for our surroundings. There was a stream that I could hear, but not see to my left and so many, many stars above. I made it to the exchange no problem and could have gone on longer. It was SO fun.
The next few hours however, were not. Back in the van, I got tired, really tired. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t quite make it happen. I think I ran around midnight, and from 1-4am I was stuck in the back of that blasted SUV with my legs falling asleep every 5 minutes because there just wasn’t room for them. Finally we got to the area where we would be meeting the other van for the last time and it was there would could sleep for a few hours. There were people sleeping all over this large field, while van after van nearly ran over their head. It felt a little like a war scene, with bodies everywhere. Plus, I was exhausted, so everything seemed a little crazy. And it was 4 in the morning.
We were awaken around 7:00am by a member of the other van telling Tami that she had to start running right that minute! Their last runner was finished and waiting. Tami woke up, popped some pain killers and took off for her final run. There is no way I would have been able to do that. We ate a little breakfast, used the port-a-potties, and took off to the exchange. It was as this point that I was questioning my sanity. I told Heidi at one point….”this isn’t really THAT much fun” My legs were tight and sore, my back hurt, I was exhausted, and I still wasn’t sure when or what to eat. But the highlight of this day was that it was Heidi and Ricks anniversary so Heidi wore her veil on her final run. (it was my idea) People loved it, and it got her through that last difficult leg. Plus she looked awesome!
My last leg was a little over 3 miles, and it’s a good thing too. Anymore than that and I might have killed over. My legs wanted to give out on me as I started to run. It was as if my brain was telling me that my body was done running, and what the crap did I think I was doing? But I powered through. I could feel the ocean breeze, and although I couldn’t see the beach yet, I knew we were close. I was SO happy when I saw the exchange and couldn’t believe that I had actually done it! My part of the race was over and now I could just enjoy the rest.
after that, we drove to the beach and waited for Rick to finish us off. There was a huge finish line that the whole team got to cross together, and loud music playing, and a beautiful beach to lay on. I am so glad I was able to run this crazy relay with my amazing sisters, and will for sure be doing it again. Even if I couldn't walk for 3 days afterwards. It was worth it!