Friday, July 07, 2006

Relay Planning

We got our relay info yesterday, so we can start organizing ourselves. I've got two 12 passenger vans reserved - amazingly out of 11 people, none of us have a huge SUV or van to use. There are five runners in van #1 and six in van #2. Bear in mind, we are spending about 24 hours together in these vehicles, so a six passenger car, or a minivan just isn't going to cut it. Of course, in addition to the passengers, we have all the gear, drinks and water. Also, we are not allowed to have anything larger (like a motorhome) on the course - parking is too much of a problem. Last year, at the last minute, the Y loaned us a mini-bus. They let us use it, but we decided not to push our luck this year.

Packing for a relay is always a challenge - especially one that includes a night run and in our state, iffy weather. I keep checking the forecast till the last day, then try to pack accordingly, with extras - just in case. I usually separate my clothing/gear into gallon ziplock bags - I pack one for each leg, and include a "rain" bag. I take two pairs of shoes, and warm clothes for between legs. We've also got to have a flashlight or headlamp and reflective vest - each van must show two, but each person usually brings their own. Plus we need post-race clothes, and a sleeping bag and shower gear. There is an opportunity to shower at a high school during the night shift, and they also open the wrestling room and let you sleep on the mats. I lost Eric and Rob there for quite a while last year and was beginning to panic (the last runner was on the course from the other van, we needed to travel about 30 miles to the transition) when I finally found them. Another challenge presents itself for those of us who wear contacts - do you take them out for a couple of hours during the night? There really isn't enough time to clean them, but at least you can give your eyes a break. Messing around with contacts in the van is no fun, so again, I wait for the high school.

In addition to all the stuff I've already mentioned, we need food and drink for each runner for 24 hours. That is usually left up to each person to take care of, though we sometimes share water. Those of us in van #1 can actually plan on eating dinner at a restaurant before moving on to the next major transition. That's nice, because after that, the next available "meal" is breakfast at the high school in the middle of the night. I think we got to the high school about 1:30 am last year, and I didn't feel like a meal at that point.

This year, we are lucky to have a couple of runners acting as our drivers and night-run-companions for those who want them (I do!). Rob, of course is one of them, he'll be driving van #1, and probably running 3 to 4 legs that night (in a row). I'm still not positive about van #2, if their extra guy doesn't come along, then they'll take turns driving, and can double up on the night runs if they want to. Last year we didn't have drivers - in addition to the bus, we had an Avalanche that five of us squeezed into. Rob ran with me and one other runner - so he ran his own three legs, plus two extra.

Our average pace is 9:30 and we've got to cover 153 miles. That gives us an estimated finish time of about 24:15. We've had some team substitutions since I figured out the average pace but I think it will all even out. The race is exactly two weeks from today, it's time to start getting excited!

13 comments:

susie said...

Now that sounds like a complicated, but really fun, adventure!! You keep them all organized, Michelle :)

D said...

This relay race sounds like a blast...and I think we're cool because we do a little 50 mile relay.....

Thanks for your nice comments...no birds though? Some are actually quite cool! Although my Amazon parrot (not in the photo) would probably confirm your dislike for birds...he's downright mean (except w/me!) He just waits and looks forward to any kids (or adults) to come near his cage so he can try and bite them!

robtherunner said...

You mean I am going to have to run? I was just going to lay in the back seat and drink beer the entire time.

Thomas said...

Organising such a trip must be a nightmare. A team of 11 people? Eek! And you're all stuck together for over 24 hours, won't be able to sleep and eat properly, and the cars will be incredibly smelly after all those runners congregate into them .... you'll have a blast!

Jack said...

The relay sounds like it's going to be a blast, but what an organization nightmare, whew - but it will work out.

Running by.... said...

Wow! This is one heck of a relay (and logistical nightmare)--sounds fun too. Can't wait to hear all about it.

olga said...

Just read about your 4 miler - wow, this is some PR!! Congrats, and have fun planning - you're good at it:)

Robb said...

I agree...she's the scheming type, er, I mean a great organizer. Honestly, I'd want M on my team...the other dudes don't stand a chance.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

whew! sounds complicated and FUN!!!

TryAthlete said...

I loved reading about the pre-race preparations. Sounds complicated, but I'm sure you have it all sorted!

Nicole said...

Sounds like a good time. Best of luck.

Jennifer said...

I've never thought of how much goes into the long distance relay races- man, it's a ton of work!
Have fun!

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

Good luck with your relay!