If you really want to get to know someone, don’t go out for drinks or read their diary or watch them on a secret surveillance camera. Just do a running relay. After 32 hours in a van, you learn a lot about what pisses people off, how they cope when they are tired, how often they fart and what makes them cry (probably how often I fart).
The relay got off to a good start when we arrived in Logan, Utah (the start) and found this tasty treat at the 7-11. I don’t think they make male-specific honey buns in Colorado. Utahans are LUCKY! And for only a buck seventy nine!
After sleeping in a Days Inn and trying not to get bed bugs or to touch the dried fluids on the remote control (not ours), we headed to the start line.
If you don’t know how a relay works, I’ll tell you. There are usually 12 runners, 6 in each van (Van #1 and Van #2 < the best). Relay style, after a runner runs, he/she hands off to the next runner. This happens for 36 legs (each runner goes 3x) and usually takes 24-36 hours. This means you will run at all times of the day and night. Even though the race started for us at 7:00 a.m., I was the 12th and last runner, so I did not run for the first time until about 4:00 p.m.
In the meantime, Coors Light + turkey sandwich = pre-race lunch of champions.
Here’s Ken coming in after his first leg:
This was Kathy’s first relay. She was nervous and she did great on some really steep roads and in the heat.
Whenever someone made me mad I’d just give them the toe finger.
Things started to get interesting and scary as I prepared for my first leg. As I was waiting for my runner to come in, a van pulled up and said that he had collapsed a couple of miles back. This was as horrifying as it sounds. We all jumped in the van and found him lying in the road, unconscious. As we gathered around him, he came to, but did not know who any of us were. We suspected dehydration and heat stroke because it was very hot, he was running hills and he had been out there for 7 or so miles.
Once I knew he was in good hands, I took off. My run was supposed to be 6.5 miles, but ended up being 8.5. A huge storm moved in and I got pounded with cross winds and hail. My van was checking on me, but they had to take care of our patient, who was now throwing up and not doing well.
We tried to give our runner small sips of fluids, etc, but it just kept coming back up. He rested, and finally was able to hold down some Pepto Bismol and started to make a slow recovery. He is fine now, and actually ran his last leg of 3 miles the next day. This was a good reminder to all of us to respect the heat and the distance.
As the storm clouds started to roll in, we fired up the camp stove for some Cup o’ Noodles, the best relay food ever invented. I did a fine job of helping Brian to cook.
Suddenly the skies looked life threatening, so we headed into the van where we yelled for Auntie Em and finished our noodles. Van #1 pulled three of their runners due to hail and lightening.
It got nipply:
If you’ve done a relay, you know that the night-time feels endless and this is when runners have the high probability of saying things like, “Why the hell are we doing this?” “I hate you all” and the very obvious, “I’m f$@king tired.”
My second run was at 4:00 a.m.- 7 miles down a very dark abyss (canyon) somewhere in Idaho. Pre-run I had to pee, but did not want to get out of the van due to the hurricane. I held onto my friend Julie and stuck my rear out of the open van door (it was dark, but little did I know there were people in the van next door – I like to call that the Super Moon). I swear this is #1, not #2. I am just concentrating.
Finally morning arrived and everyone was suddenly kind again. Hands down, the best cup of coffee you will ever have in your life is after a night of doing a relay.
It is imperative to bring your slippers:
Our last runs were gorgeous and our spirits were high:
As we arrived in Jackson Hole after 200 miles, I was pumped to run the last 5 mile leg and hit the finish line.
Can you believe we were 14th/80 teams?
Ken and I were in different vans, so it was good to be together again – GET A ROOM! (I am not kissing him on the lips due to my attractive and raging cold sore – something my team termed “Beth’s lip fungus” ).
At the condo it was time for some Fireball celebrating.
I loved every minute of this relay. Even the times that were scary, upsetting, sad and smelly. I also hated to leave the wild west where they tell it like it is:
My total miles: 20.1. Team total miles: 205
I’m not going to lie. I was nervous going into this, not at all sure how it would feel to run this distance only five days after Ironman Boulder. I know it was not the smartest thing. Ironman is no small feat and you should respect your body, something I probably didn’t do. However, I felt really good the whole time and feel good now. It is officially REST TIME.
I’ve got to say – this is the best relay co-ed relay group I could hope for. No matter what mixture of people we have in each van, it just works. Where should we go next year?
Ever had heat stroke/exhaustion? No. It looked incredibly miserable.