Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blue Ridge Relay 2011

This is what my weekend looked like at the Blue Ridge Relay: 208 miles, 28 hours of running, 9 runners. This is my 3rd year doing this race and as long as I'm able, I will do it. Every year I say it's the hardest physical thing I do all year. Marathons are really hard, but more on the mental side. This race is purely physical.

The typical relay team has 12 runners, but we've been doing it with 9 because it gives us all an extra run and we end up not sitting in the van in between runs as long as a 12-person team would. And believe it or not, it helps the stiffness a lot. Here is a breakdown of my four runs...

Leg 1 - 7.5 miles
- 10:00am Friday

Starting a weekend of running with a 7.5 mile downhill bomb, losing over 1200 ft. of elevation, is pretty bad for the quads. Of course, they threw a really nice super uphill section in the middle of the downhill (which, for some reason, barely registers on the chart) to break it up. It felt like Mt. Everest after cruising downhill at a mostly out of control pace.

Leg 2 - 6.3 miles - 5:30pm Friday

Even though this wasn't supposed to be a very tough run, it was a struggle for me. It felt like once I started to climb, the road would make a turn and keep on climbing. There was a particularly tough long climb that I refused to walk up, but I should have because I'm quite sure I looked like a turtle. I tested out the Chi Running side shuffle up the hill and it saved me!

Leg 3 - 7.5 miles - 2:00am Saturday

Middle of the night running is heaven to me. It's so peaceful out, especially in this area. Before I took off, the volunteer woman, who was a local, told me "I hope you brought mace because there's some crazy people and some crazy dogs out there"...um, no, I don't have mace...eeek! But, all went well. I only saw two other runners the whole time. I passed one guy a couple miles in and then got passed by one of the crazy ultra runners. I was a tad delirious on this run, so every mailbox I saw was a potential bear, every tree stump a rabid dog and every leaf a frog. This was probably the hilliest of all of my runs, but once again, my only goal was to not walk and I made it!

Leg 4 - 7.5 miles - 7:30am Saturday

This leg wouldn't have been bad if my legs didn't feel like tree stumps starting out. Every step I took hurt. I ended up charging as hard as I could and went a 7:51 pace. It hurt to go slowly and it hurt to go fast, so I opted for getting done as quickly as I could!

My total mileage: 28.8 miles
Total sleep: 1 hour

Here are some pics of our team and the beautiful scenery...

This is part of the uphill I was talking about on my first leg. No bueno.

On my way into transition after leg 2. I got all dramatic after I finished this one and threw myself to the ground gasping for breath.

Doug, not so slug-ish, charging to the finish

Our fearless captain, Mama CKH

Girl power

Goonies in the Boonies

My buddy Kelsey from NYC. Swooped in and filled a spot on our team at the last minute!

Doug and Meg-O

RunningJustAsFastAsWeCan Teams 1 & 2

Our team ended up 47th out of 120 teams with an average 8:26 min/mile, which we thought was great considering the mountains we had to climb!