Sunday, July 15, 2007

R2P 2007

Relay day began with the gathering of runners. Rob and Steve arrived at our house, we loaded our box on top of Steve's Expedition and our gear inside and went to get Jenny. Rick was with Van 1 up on the mountain - he was getting them signed in and running George C's first leg, then George ran Rick's first leg later. We made our way to the first major exchange where we finally got to meet Annette. Annette found our blogs last year after the R2P - we discovered we had both run it a few weeks before, so it was fitting that we got to meet at this year's race.








We spent our wait time chatting with Annette and her teammate Kristina, putting on sunscreen and decorating our van - which was really the infamous Yeti that has faithfully carried us to many races this year. Van 1 pulled in, handed Rick over to us, and shortly after Emily came cruising in, and Rob took off. It was pretty hot out, so we divided each leg into thirds, and waited with water. Sometimes the water was used to drink, sometimes to pour over our heads. Our race was going well, and we were holding third spot in the nine o'clock start group. Our leg order was Rob, Jenny, Eric, Steve, me, Rick.

We came into the best exchange point of all - the one where Wendy and Sonya were performing our volunteer duties. We had fun chatting with them, then we were off again. Steve was out running when we drove into heavy traffic in Yelm. Rob was driving and could see Steve in the rear view mirror, getting closer and closer. He'd say "There's Steve", I'd say "Oh, Sh*t!" I had told Rob the only thing I needed was to get to the exchange with time to use the porta-potty before the hand-off. The next thing we knew, Steve was even with us and it was obvious he was going to beat us to the exchange. Eric and I hopped out at a stoplight, in the middle of traffic, and darted to the sidewalk. Steve and I slapped hands and I took off. Unfortunately, I took off to the South and I needed to go West another block. They called me back and Eric and I ran down to the real exchange - we'd been a block early. Eric got me to the trail (no potty stop!) By this time, the van had made it to the right spot and Rob and Rick were on the trail with my water bottle and cool-down scarf. I had a great run - a long, deserted paved trail with nice shady stretches. The van met me twice with water - I'd drink a little and pour the rest over my head. The second stop included Van 1. I handed over my bottle and scarf here - I was soaked through and needed to lighten my load a little. I finished my 5.49 mile leg with an 11:43 average pace. I was very happy with that, and even happier that I did it without a single heart/heat problem (unlike last year, where they had to pull me from the course). I handed off to George so he could make up Rick's leg.

We took this opportunity to get some dinner. We ate in kind of a greasy spoon in a small town - where Rob managed to put away "the Mound" - a burger of gigantic proportions. This became the source of much hilarity for the rest of the weekend. After that we drove to Elma. We tried to rest a little here. I'm not going to say much about the organization of the race, except to say that there wasn't much of it. Our team took the one-hour layover we'd been assigned, something many other teams did not do. This meant driving back along the course for the next van exchange, letting Rob run his leg (which involved primal screams between the males in the car) and then stopping in Elma for an hour. I will admit, I tried to get Steve to let Jenny go three minutes early. For just a few minutes, I let my integrity get pushed aside in the desire to get moving. Steve held on though and didn't release her until the final minute had passed. Steve is a man of values.

Rob ran with Jenny for the second, dark leg. By this time it was sometime around 12:30 am. Jenny handed off to Eric, Eric handed off to Steve. As usual, we stopped midway to wait. After a while Eric came running over to tell us that Steve must have made a wrong turn because too many people had come through. We jumped in the car and backtracked to the turn. No Steve. We were sure he wouldn't have made the wrong turn - we had talked about it ahead of time. Rob said we needed to go to the exchange - as we pulled up we could see Steve waiting. Once again, I jumped out of the car and began running, with Eric following. I didn't get my Garmin going in time, so have no official stats for this leg - but my time was right around 37:33 by my watch, and it was 3.5 miles, giving me a 10:43 pace. Eric ran with me. The only part I didn't like was a short section where the road had been torn out and it was all lumpy, bumpy and big round gravel. Fortunately, that piece was short and I got back on pavement. As we were approaching the pavement, the van pulled up alongside and Jenny sang "On the road again" to me. I had a successful hand off to Rick, and after his leg was over we were done for the night. Turns out Steve ran by Eric and even said something to him, but Eric was star-gazing or something, and missed him.

We went to the next major exchange, where Eric, Rob and Steve rolled sleeping bags out on the grass and Jenny, Rick and I slept in the van. We got two hours in before we had to be up and ready to go again. The highlight of this run was probably the donut incident during Eric's run - Rob ran along side him offering up a box of powdered sugar-raspberry filled donuts. Eric grabbed one and tried to jam the whole thing in his mouth which caused a donut explosion. See Jenny's blog for pictures of the aftermath. And don't forget - that was mid-leg. We had to drive by and hand him water and a towel after that. Jenny ran the next leg - she and Steve switched. They said it was because Jenny is trying to heal her injured knee and ankle and Steve had the easier leg. I suspect it was really done so I could have one calm and normal hand-off. Jenny and I actually had a successful wave-off from across the street.






During Jenny's run Eric, Rob and Steve gave me a, well, I'll call it a pep-talk. We were running about 15 minutes behind our projected pace and as the second-to-last runner, I was told it was up to me to make up the time. Eric told me to "red-line" my heart rate monitor. I knew they were joking and trash-talking, but I decided to take them up on it. I didn't quite make up the time, but I did turn in a world-record time for me: a 9:50 average pace! 3.32 miles, mile one was a 10:05, mile two a 9:45, mile three a 9:50, and a 9:22 for the final .32 miles - and these paces included my one-minute walk breaks. This was my personal highlight of the weekend. I can also tell you, that I couldn't have held that pace one moment longer - I gave it everything I had, my heart rate monitor was beeping at me the entire way (don't worry though it was holding right around 161 and my imposed limit is 160).

We drove to the finish where Eric, Jenny, Steve and I went out to the beach to meet Rick and run the last few blocks in with him. Apparently, as the last runner, he got the "pep-talk" too - only Rob told him he had to get it done in 45 minutes - a slight untruth. Rick turned in a great time too. When we saw him coming down the beach, Eric ran out to meet him, then the rest of us joined him at the turn. I have to tell you, I couldn't keep up. I was really glad when Steve and Jenny slowed to a walk and I caught up and walked in with them. I had nothing left from my own leg.




I can't remember our final finish time - 23 hours and something. I am thrilled with the times I pulled in, and especially that they kept improving through the relay - on only two hours of sleep (and on 4.5 hours the night before!)

We had a little snafu at the end and Van 1 missed the finish. We met up at breakfast, got to catch up for a few minutes, then of the 12 of us, seven headed for Rob's family beach house, while the rest headed for home. We had a relaxing time at the house, including a three mile run on the beach this morning, and made it home at about 4:00 this afternoon. It was a great weekend - check with Emily, Rob, Jenny and Eric for their stories, and check the comments for Steve's remarks. Hey, maybe Rick will even throw one in!




I've given you the highlights of the weekend, not the whole story - remember, what happens in the van stays in the van! And to finish, a picture of Jenny and Steve whining on the beach...

27 comments:

olga said...

AS USUAL, A GREAT TIME HAD BY ALL!! Now that I "tested" a short race, may be one day I get a "go" to the relay thing.
Congrats on that amazing pace, Michelle, you were faster than I was today!

JustRun said...

Yay! How fun! When I started reading I thought "no way she can pack everything into a report" and then I read the end. I had to giggle at "what happens in the van, stays in the van." I KNOW what you mean. I think relays are addicting in their own right.

Nice report and nice running! :)

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Michelle- Youare SOOOOO fast (at getting your new post posted!) Just kidding! You are a world record holder, I know. I think it may take until tomorrow afternoon for me to post. I have to reflect a bit, and sleep some more. Maybe it will be sooner. It was a fun trip! Not so long, but yes strange (at times :)
Jenny

Rick said...

Michelle,

I can not beleive you have a post done all ready, Don't you ever sleep. This was just a great relay and as usaul a great post by you. There were some tense moments in the organzation of this relay but all and all we did have a great time.

scott keeps running said...

Wow! What a story. Crazy crazy crazy. Very impressive legs you ran also. Those exchanges sound surreal. Great job to everyone!

Annette said...

I'm impressed that you've posted already. I'm still semi-delirious from lack of sleep. I think I'll post tomorrow. :) It was such fun to meet you. Too bad we couldn't keep up with you speedsters. Nice runs! You kicked some booty.

Sarah said...

Sounds like a fun time with lost of crazy camaraderie! Great job on that last leg! Now go get some sleep. : )

robtherunner said...

You beat me to it. It was a great weekend once again. I'm almost done with my write up, but I need the picture of the burger to make it complete.

Randy said...

Michelle, keep that up and you will have to drop the "Back of the Pack" designation. You were awesome and it sounds like a great time for the relay team. You make it all sound so exciting. I know it has to be extremely tiring, but reading your notes could make one that is a bit over the hill begin to think....maybe I could do something like that...next year. I don't know if our local runner will want to do another after they finish their relay next month but it will be interesting to get her perspective after they are back.

Chad said...

Great race - great story!

It's always fun to leave it on the road/track/whatever! Good job with your last leg.

Maybe they'll get the race more organized next year.

Journey to a Centum said...

You captured the entire event in a nice consise manner. I should have followed Jenny and Annette's lead and held off posting until I had some time to rest and reflect. Instead I've posted a rambling jumble of mush. Oh well... the pictures are OK.

Thanks for taking it to the redline for the team! Sorry I slowed you down by getting in your way you speedster! Next time just shove me aside.

wendy said...

speedy, speedy!

Look at you go, girlfriend! You're like a fine wine! You just get better and better! I take it the calf is feeling good?

You shared somed great parts - loved the detail about the burger, too funny, and of the crazy exchanges. I don't remember reading about anyone doing a little dance??? Did you miss out? Or is that a van-only story? ;-)

It sounds like a great time, and with great company. Good job on the overall time, and great job on your legs!

Try@thlete said...

Lovely race report!

Running with a great bunch of people is fun.

Good pace on your final leg - you'll have to be "middleofpack" from now on.

Wes said...

What a great relay! You were pushing it there, weren't you? I'm jealous you got to meet Annette! Looks like you had a beautiful day to wrap things up too! Fun times!!

psbowe said...

You always have the most interesting and fastinating race reports, a great read! You did amazing too, running in my backyard and I wasn't even in town. I'll have to plan for next time.

E-Speed said...

sounds like a wild and crazy time!

Your paces were awesome! Glad you were able to push yourself and come away from it safely!

Ironayla said...

I loved your recount of R2P as well as the photos!!!! One of these years I will have to join you!

So glad to hear you had a better experience than last year, plus the speedy times!!

Joe said...

What fun, Michelle, thanks for the pix and great report!!

Steve said...

I guess I will have to fill in some key highlights you left out. Rick got to experience the 5-bun salute by the church girl’s team. Rob (“The Rattler”) struck his way through many road kills flying up some killer hills and once again amazing us with his speed and determination.

Eric (“Stargazer”) is only partly to blame for the passing in the night, as I was tuned into my music and only managed a feeble grunt and wave in passing, and the rest of you sitting on your laurels in the Yeti, while Eric bravely manned his post in the dark. All of you know better than to rely alone on the Putz and Moron with such grave responsibilities as this.

Once again we did our part to educate the girl from the farm by sharing our life’s adventures and enlightening you with such classics as The Who and the Best of the Grateful Dead CD. Jenny was our beacon of true grace moderating the abundance testosterone and sophomoric humor.

The running and traveling is a hard effort and everyone gave their best. The journey was a wonderful time of laughter and fun leaving work, school, and other responsibilities behind for a brief time. I thank you all for that.

And some year, when you least expect it, Eric and I will sing and dance for you, again.

Darrell said...

Wow, I think this sounds like fun. I will have to read it a couple more times to figure out who's in what van, who ran who's leg and who handed off to who. Whew! Glad you made it to the finish line.

Thomas said...

Nice run. Having fun is more important than getting annoyed about the lack of organisation, isn't it?

Kristina said...

It was just great to finally meet you all!!! It was a great race!!!!

shawn said...

Great story Michelle. Although there was so much happening I could hardly keep track of all your crazy characters! :) I'm dissapointed we still don't get to hear a peep about what happens in the van!

Juls said...

You missed the finish!? Oops. Did they run too fast?

I love the group picture.

Makita said...

What a great story! I love the 'What happens in the van, stays in the van!'

And you were so speedy! Way to go! I thing a change in screen name is warranted! :)

Congrats to you and your team for an excellent relay! :)

Sarah Elaine said...

Fabulous story there. Congrats on yet another successful event.

Dori said...

Awesome race and race report, Michelle. You really pushed it on your final leg. Congratulatinos on running a great race!