11 people. 190 miles. 31 hours. 45 million feet of climbing
Rocky Mountain Epic Relay
I am not as happy as I look in this picture
If you have never done a long distance relay before I want you to stop reading, pull out a piece of paper, write BUCKET LIST at the top and put “RELAY” in the number one spot.
- You will be taken so far out of your comfort zone that you will stop giving a shit
- You will not sleep, and you will feel euphoric and bitchy at the same time
- You will see parts of place you would never otherwise see because relays tend to travel on (for the most part) remote roads
- You will have a cup of coffee that is better than any cup of coffee you have ever had in your life, even if it is from a dumpy ass gas station (because you have been running all night, are freezing and are delirious).
- You will become a connoisseur of porta potties (e.g “That one is mildly odiferous, but overall it is hygienic and rather cozy”)
- You will simultaneously hate and love the other 5 people in your van – “Stop freaking kicking my damn seat you whore” – “You are a rock star! You killed that run. I love you!”
But, I think the biggest reason to do a relay is that it makes you feel ALIVE and young again (if you are still 20 years old, it will make you feel like you are a toddler). It is kind of a mix of camping, running, and being at a frat party (with much better beer than you could afford in college – hello, Fat Tire I love you).
We started at 6:30 a.m. on Friday in Canon City, Colorado (home of a total of 13 prisons and penitentiaries – lots of signs advising to not pick up hitch hikers):
This is the same group we did the Wild West Relay with last year. We are all 40 and 50 something parents who like run, drink, laugh, play corn hole (sounds dirty), and braid each other’s hair:
We all agreed that this was the best relay course we have ever done. It was so incredibly scenic and the bulk of it was on back country roads winding up and down the Rocky Mountains. This picture was taken on Cottonwood Pass, one of the mountains Ken, Tom and Rafe ran up in the middle of the night. Let’s just say there were a fair amount of f-bombs being thrown around as they made their kick ass ascents.
My running legs, totaling about 17 miles, were all somewhat challenging – the second one – 8 miles - was incredibly stunning and mostly involved running down a mountain.
I hauled ass, passed three people and took 4 dumps (Malicious Fecal Distribution x 4). Yes, you read that correctly. I had been munching on beef jerky, Clif Bars and drinking Gatorade all day, so by the time I ran again at 7 p.m. my stomach revolted a bit. Here I am at the end, still smiling and heading for the porta:
I’m going to tell you the night time was a bit rough (that is my nice way of saying it sucked balls). Our van had finished our second legs, and Van #2 was running. We had a short amount of time to eat some cup ‘o noodles and drag our sleeping bags into the yard of church (can’t say I’ve done that before). We slept for one hour before it was time to start running again (this was about 10:30 p.m.). It was brutal.
I will say that my last run – about 7 miles – started in the pitch dark and wound around a beautiful reservoir at about 9,500 feet. It started to get light out and it was foggy and misty and incredibly quiet and peaceful (and colder than a witch’s tit). I loved every minute of it even though I was so tired I could barely put one foot in front of the other.
Here is where I ran (taken the next day, obviously):
I was so pre-hypothermic and done by the end of that leg – I jumped into the van, snuggled under a sleeping bag and Van #2 studs brought me a cup of hot coffee made on the camp stove. Best cup of coffee of my life.
Some other great shots – one of Ken’s legs:
Tom billy-goating down a trail:
Kate, coming up from a MASSIVE climb:
We pulled into Crested Butte, site of the finish line and a small mountain town, at about 8:00 a.m., showered and waited for the rest of our team. I smelled and looked like crap.
About 1:30 p.m., and after 31 hours, we were DONE!
We placed 21 out of 40 teams. Not bad for these balding, pre-menopausal old folks.
I just had to kiss a little ass to mark the celebration:
It’s true that this relay did not at all fit into my Ironman Florida training schedule and it left me kind of fried, but it was worth every minute. So, bring on my highest training week EVER – 16 hours and 45 minutes – ugh, I think I need to go back to bed.
Where’s the most scenic place you’ve ever run?
Would you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert? Could you spend 31 hours around a bunch of people in a mini van?
Ever take the Myers Briggs Personality Test? What were you? I’m an ENFP (Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perception), so a definite extrovert. But, even I like my space.
PS: And for the LAST time. No, that was not me on the news in New Mexico.