Monday, August 6, 2012

Wild West Relay 2012 Race Report

If you’ve never done a 31-hour relay running race, let me sum it up for you in one picture:


….And three words: bad hair night. This earned me the nickname Sammy Hagar, but I’m personally not seeing the resemblance. Okay, maybe a little. I’m getting to old for this crap.










Our 200-mile adventure started off  swell enough on Friday morning. I wore my cheetah skirt because it fit with the whole “Here Kitty, Kitty” (our team name) theme. And, yes, I did do the whole race in my flip flops. I hear they are the up and coming minimalist shoe. I think my favorite relay team names included “Whisky Dicks”and “Crotch Biscuits” – people are so inventive!


Everyone was chipper as could be because we hadn’t yet started smelling yet. We even spotted a Greek God running the course. He scored the nickname “Adonis,” but I just called him “tits.” I think I was just bitter that his were more developed than mine.


My first leg was a mere 7.4 miles. Here’s Kate giving the hand off:


I’m going to be honest and say the three H’s kicked my ass:

  • Heat (95 degrees)
  • Headwind
  • Hills

I seriously cannot remember a run where I felt so mentally defeated. The first part was steady climbing, but when I turned a corner at about mile five and saw a 2 mile ridiculous climb, I actually yelled out loud (to myself, no one else around) some major obscenities.

After that run my stomach started cramping like no one’s business and I gave my team mates (some who did not know me well) an authentic introduction to SUAR. I did this by apologizing as I let the hugest fart fly in the van. There was an immediate freak out complete with gagging sounds and heads hanging out the window. One of my team mates, who was very pleasant and polite, patted me on the shoulder and said, “Well, I certainly hope that made you feel better.” It did not. In fact, it would take two more visits to the porta potty before I got some relief. I’m glad I set the tone from the start: I WILL be farting and it might be often.

On a side note, those of us who do races know the drill. You get in and out of the porta potty as quickly as possible, breathing through our mouths the whole time (which causes the stench to cling to your teeth, btw).  But, don’t you hate it when you actually have to sit in there for a bit to get it all going? I think the Japanese used to use that as a torture tactic during World War II.

We started heading up into the hills. There was some serious climbing going on at this point. Between Ken and Steve, there were 14 miles run and 2,500 feet of climbing. If those numbers mean nothing to you, that’s like running 28 Heart Break Hills in terms of elevation gain.


Ken’s run took him up to the top of Dead Man’s Hill at 10,269 feet.


It really was a dead man’s climb. While running, Ken actually saw a runner cramp up so badly he fell into a ditch and couldn’t get out or move. His team had to come rescue him. Running is dangerous and you should never do it. Or, so your grandma said.

Deadman’s Hill was so gorgeous. The sun was setting and we saw a bunch of moose up there, including a mama, papa and baby. This was a highlight for me. Not the best picture, but you get the idea.









Here’s where it gets interesting. The sun set and we were all running through the wilderness in the dark. I’ve run in the dark before, but I wasn’t prepared for just how desolate my night run would be and how much it would freak me out. Here’s what it looked like.

I started running around midnight on a back dirt road through northern Colorado and into Wyoming. This is a relatively small race, and due to our late start time, many teams were ahead of us. There was not one other runner on the road for 7.2 miles. No cars, no houses, no nothing. I was literally out there on my own with the coyotes howling. Some may think this sounds cool, but it scared the crap out of me. I swear, if even a chipmunk would have jumped out on the road I would have crapped my pants.

The long night of six people trying to sleep in a van began. Some of us (most of us) were having major stomach issues and felt crampy and queasy. All of us had ungodly B.O. (except me because my sweat smells like Loves Baby Soft). Some of us snore and make orgasmic noises in our sleep. Temperatures dropped well in the 30s. We were cold, cranky and crass.

I “woke” up (can you do that when you were never asleep) and just felt sick from lack of sleep and too may Clif bars. But this was nothing that couldn’t be fixed by some gas station hot water and a Starbucks Via. I literally became a new woman even if I don’t look like one.


This is my second relay and the third leg is the hardest for me (that’s what she said), but I knocked it out and drank beer and life was good. The end.

Our van finished by 11:00 a.m., and our second van still had to run their legs. We drove into Steamboat Springs and waited at the finish for them. Total time: 30.5 hours.


This entire race, it was so hard to know where we were in the scheme of things. At one point we even thought we might be in the bottom ten. But turns out we were 47/115 teams to finish, so we’ll take it. Next year we’ll be in the master’s division and we will make that our bitch. No doubt.

Ken and I still like each other and are not getting a divorce after sharing a van for 36 hours. My key to a happy marriage is finding stuff you love to do together and CAN do together until you get really old. It makes for great bonding.

If you want a new challenge and to move WAY out of your comfort zone, consider a relay. These days you can find one about anywhere from Cape Cod to the Florida Keys especially if you do one in the Ragnar series. It’s not just about the physical part. It’s more a test of your social skills, your ability to function with little to no sleep and your willingness to let go of modesty and unnecessary things. You also have to really be able to laugh at yourself because you will be made fun of several times over the course of the race. But, the camaraderie and the depth of friendships you develop makes every stinky ass moment worth it. Plus you learn a lot about people you thought you knew.

  • Ken enjoys a good bidet and wishes we would have brought one in the van.
  • Jen likes Barry Manilow’s, Copacabana and can’t function without her morning coffee.
  • Steve enjoys turning off all the lights and hiding on the side of the road while I’m running in the dark.  For the record, he is not a pussy.
  • Joie can fart worse than me and that she sleeps with a Rudolph pillow. 
  • Eve really likes to run down hill and skip while she’s doing it.
  • Brian, team captain,  is a bad ass who seems to have no ability to become tired or to be in a bad mood (how does he do that?).
  • Julie is almost willing to flash her body parts for a cup of hot coffee and makes a mean road trip playlist.
  • Carolyn, all quiet and sweet, has sudden moments of busting out white girl moves to Rihanna.
  • Rafe is an eavesdropper with sound advice.
  • Tom should be a professor in the art of Twittering (twatting?). 
  • Kate is a sound sleeper who can snooze through WWIII.
  • Keith doesn’t mind when dogs sniff him at night.

Thanks team mates, you guys were amazing friends on this adventure!

What’s something people would or have learned about you during a relay? I think they learned what you see is what you get and that I’m afraid of the dark.

Do you and your significant other train and/or race together? Does your lover even like to run?



  1. My dearest swwet hubby will get up at any ungodly time of the nigt and drive for hours just to see me run. He will not, however, even think about it for himself. He syas one person in misery at a time is enough. Never says who's in misery. He will also let me warm my frozen feet along with all the other iceberg parts on his warm body when I come in for a run in the winter and he's still asleep. Funny how he becomes an early riser in the winter.

  2. My dearest swwet hubby will get up at any ungodly time of the nigt and drive for hours just to see me run. He will not, however, even think about it for himself. He syas one person in misery at a time is enough. Never says who's in misery. He will also let me warm my frozen feet along with all the other iceberg parts on his warm body when I come in for a run in the winter and he's still asleep. Funny how he becomes an early riser in the winter.

  3. Really enjoyed reading that - and my lover does like to run and I think I will show him this and let him know its now on our bucket list.

  4. Loving the Sammy look :). Yeah, that really kicks some serious was miserably hot and so dusty last year, too. Did you see my son's track team? Took them 25 hours but they started at 10:30 so maybe you finished around the same timeish. Anyway, I'm glad you had fun and got to know your team mates well...nothing like being in a van for 30 hours to get to know someone REALLY well! You'd have loved one of the girls in our van last year...she was about 35? and had never in her life farted. Never. She instantly became the one we picked on for the entire trip and far jokes were abundant for 28 hours!

    1. I did think I might have seen his team, were they Smokey Hill? If so, we were around them quite a bit. There were lots of xcountry teams out there.

      I cannot believe someone could reach 35 and never have farted. I think you would explode.

  5. Great write up! Love the pic of night running! :-). My husband and I just did a relay this weekend. In a mere 35+ hours (ha ha, but we weren't last!). We've done a couple together before, but this one was the most fun since it was a smaller relay and much more scenic. We're already planning next year's relay!

  6. I'm doing my first relay at the end of September and I am SO EXCITED... and also very, very terrified of running in the dark on a night leg.

    Loved your post!

  7. I am going back to read this but:


  8. This sounds amazing. My husband has no interest in running or coming to my races. He'll occasionally ride bikes with me (and by occasionally I mean "not yet this year"), but the complaining starts at about mile .5. It's hard to have him so completely uninterested in something that means so much to me, but I rarely need to worry about childcare for a workout, so there's that.

    I did a couple bike races this summer that had me out alone in the dark. Very daunting, to be sure.

    1. Wait...are we married to the same man?

  9. Just gorgeous. The views that is, not necessarily your hair.

    You know I just hate having to breathe that this through my mouth....because you truly are swallowing it but the other option is to smell it.....rock and harder place there for sure.

  10. This makes me so incredibly excited for Hood to Coast! :)

  11. The night was my favorite run! I must have been in a similar rotation when I did this race, because I was close to the Colorado/Wyoming border (I can't really remember, it all kind of blurs together). I liked it because I was scared! And because I felt like I was going to fall off the earth into the stars.

    I also forgot a sleeping bag, and had a WONDERFUL four hours shivering in the van. It was real neat.

    What my teammates learned about me: Thinks peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crackers and cheese, and apples are race food. What?

  12. Ahh, you're making me want to do another relay!

    My hubby prefers to run on the treadmill and in 1 to 2 mile increments. However, when I did a Ragnar relay last year he volunteered to drive our van. Now that's love.

  13. I love relays! I'm doing my 4th Ragnar this September. Cheers to the captain, it's a tough job. I'm leading my 3rd team and still have 2 spots open..because we all know, "talk is cheap". I love the all night exhaustion that has always led to a sort of hallucinating that causes uncontrollable giggles - for the girls at least!

  14. I'm impressed with the midnight running. Coyotes - all set with that one...

  15. My gg(great guy) and I are doing our first adventure race together in two weeks to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary and sending our firstborn off to college. It's a "Run from the Zombies " challenge -I'm sure that not only will we be the oldest farts there, but I'll probably get the shart scared right out of me and lose all my flags while doing so...Angie

  16. I run and my husband enjoys every sport BUT running. This combo will prove to be an excellent one in Jan. I'm running my 1st relay (Ragnar Ultra Miami-Key West) and he'll be our van's driver.
    Your recap of running at night reminds me how much I'm dreading that. I just keep telling myself tht no Relay Runner has actually died, out the dark. (Please don't correct me if that's not true)

  17. You crack me up! My husband won't run outside (He's a treadmill kinda guy. I don't get it either) but I'm working on getting him to at least TRY (not to be confused with "tri").

    I shudder to think what people would learn about me after 30+ hours without (much) sleep.

  18. You captured the relay race experience perfectly! I've done three and they always pretty much go like that. LOVE doing them, although I never remember that at 3am when I'm driving the van and everyone else is trying to sleep. Glad ya'll had fun!

  19. When you said "Just kidding" to folks minding when you and Ken have sex in the van - did you mean they didn't mind? Or you didn't have sex?

    Just clarifying. :-)

    1. Hah!!!!!!! I meant we did NOT would NOT do it.

    2. Did not, would not, WHY not? Endorphins, relaxing, change of pace, all good stuff. Under a blanket so there is no show. I'm sure they'd rather that than the farting.

  20. I think I'll live the whole relay thing vicariously! It does sound like all my running adventures thus far - agony during but great fun in retrospect :)

  21. Sounds AMAZING!!! I so want to do a relay in the near future!!

  22. Having run the Cape Cod Relay twice, I can vouch for how much fun a relay can well as how physically taxing. While our relay doesn't have the climbing/elevation issues, it's still 200 miles overnight, and those 2nd and 3rd legs can get pretty challenging. My overnight legs were always "interesting"....from nearly getting creamed by vehicles coming too close, to seeing reflections of small eyes in the bushes when I'd shine my headlamp in that direction...always waiting for a coyote to come after me. All in all, it was fun, but I skipped the opportunity for a third this year as it came 2 weeks after Boston, and I just couldn't deal......maybe next year?

  23. You totally made me LOL at this post! Also, you have fabulous Sammy Hagar hair, for realz, yo.

  24. There are women that pay big bucks to get hair volume like that. Looking good! Great one pic summary.

  25. Loved this post. Tits. Bahahahaha!!! My aunt just did a relay like this in Alberta and some of the hills on the race description made me weep.

    I think you need to share the playlist! I suck at playlists.

  26. Ok, haven't done a relay, but your post reminded me of a story a friend shared during a GNO. Yes drinks we're consumed. The question was, where was the strangest place you've ever had sex? The winning answer: the port a potty. At Taste of Chicago. Not a race, but surely as nasty as any I've encountered per race...

    1. You have got to be kidding me! Sex in PP? That is sinking to a new low, even in my book. Hilarious!

  27. Well done, and gee I wish my hair would do that!
    Sounds like a lot of fun, except maybe the night run part, but I suppose it would make me run faster just to get out of there!

  28. Love You Beth rocked it and you are a dear friend.


  29. Beth,
    Sounds like you all are living the glory days of college -runner style. Next time maybe you can all rent a camper? That way you don't have to wash your pits in a starbucks bathroom. ;0

    1. Hahha! Yes, if they only allowed campers, that would be the way to go for sure!

  30. Love the hair--I am sure I must have looked like that when I did Ragnar Northwest Passage last month, but I managed to avoid the camera. What they learned about me? I get testy if I don't eat real food periodically (this woman cannot live on Clif bars and snacks alone) and get SOME sleep. I was most worried about the nighttime run (across Deception Pass no less), but it turned out to be my favorite leg. Now I am signed up to do Ragnar Las Vegas in November . . . currently on a ultra(!) team, but we're hoping to recruit more runners.

  31. Sounds like so much fun!

    My fiance only runs when chased, can drink Bloody Marys while running or for one annual Warrior Dash.

    We hike, bike and snowshoe together, though.

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