I am super exhausted but here goes … the weekend, in bullet form:
1. Background: Reach the Beach is a 203-mile relay race put on around the country. This one started at Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire and went all the way to Hampton Beach.
I was in a team of 12, and the course is split into 36 segments, so we each ran 3 segments, in a fixed order.
2. I hadn’t planned on doing this race before a few weeks ago, when my friend Michelle asked if I wanted to fill in for another teammate who had to drop out for an injury.
3. Our team name is the Midcoast Mooners. Our team mascot: These shorts.
It thought we were a kooky team. Then I got there and saw that we fit right in.
4. Some great team names:
- 50 shades of pain
- Pretty in Stink
- 2 dudes and 20 boobs
- Against Medical Advice (they decorated their 15-passenger white van to look like an ambulance)
- 1 and a half night stand
- 2 pimps and the Hot Flashes
3. I EFFIN ROCKED my legs. ROCKED SO HARD. We all did. We finished about a half-hour ahead of our estimated time. My half-marathon PR was 8:52/mile and I ran every leg under that. My last leg was just over a 5K and I ran it at a faster pace than my 5K personal record, by a hair — 7:56/mile, one second faster per mile.
4. Because I joined this team late and did not really think or train for this race until the last possible moments, I did not realize that -DUH- a 24-hour race would involve running in the middle of the night.
They had us wear a reflective vest with at least two stripes, head lamps, and no less than one flashing light on our front and back.
I am sold on the importance of safety gear after this race. Driving those vans, even knowing that I was expecting to see a lot of runners on the road, it was obvious that some brands of reflective vests made runners MUCH EASIER to see than others.
This one by Amphipod was by far the best I saw:
5. It never got really cold at night. It was actually just about perfect weather the whole day. It rained on me briefly during my second run at 6 a.m., and I saw a rainbow with the sunrise. My teammates joked I was the only one in our van that got a shower.
6. Time and time again in my life, but ability to fall into deep sleep in uncomfortable places with loud noise and bright lights all around me has come in handy.
7. We had a little competition going with the other Midcoast Tri team, the MTC Ultras Chasing the Moon (get the name? Get it? :). They started 80 minutes after us and only had 6 people on their team, so they had to run twice as many miles, but their team was full of 3-hour marathoners and we knew they would catch up to us eventually.
It happened on my first run at 8:30 p.m.
I saw one of their teammates as I was waiting for the start and I knew that they were going to pass me on this run. But it was a short run and I had a head start, so I did my best. I saw the MTC Ultras van pulling up ahead of another an after about a mile and a half into the run.
So I sped up, knowing that Kathy from the ultras team must be closing in behind me. And I was passing another woman, and as I passed her, I said “Good job.”
She responded, “You’re going to pass me in front of my fucking team?” (Their van was in front of the Ultras.)
“Sorry!” I shouted behind me. I couldn’t tell it was her team! It was dark! Apparently, though I didn’t hear this, the woman shouted after me “I’m will fucking fight you” in earshot of the ultras van, which was all they heard of my exchange with her, and this was very amusing to them for the rest of the race.
8. I’m getting tired. OK, I’ll wrap this up soon.
9. This was a hard event. In some ways, a lot harder than a conventional race because it is so much more than just the racing part of it. There is the nutrition and energy conservation strategy that spans several days, not just while you’re running. But in other ways, it’s easier. Pressure to not disappoint my teammates is a powerful motivator. I could not have run that last leg as fast as I did as tired as I was without it. And the rest between legs is easier than pacing through the one event.
10. I ate too much junk food this weekend in the vans between legs. I refuse to beat myself up for it, though, because I know that the only thing I can do now is match calories in calories out while I’m tapering for the marathons.
10. I would do Reach the Beach again in a heartbeat. Maybe even on a smaller team.
11. I had an amazing time and I made great friendships with everyone on my team and in my van. I am so glad to have done this. A little ice and rest and I’m ready for my next race!