When you put 8-12 people together for at least 24 hours or running, there's sweat, stink, laughter, fear, fatigue, farts and joy, There are endless war stories of miles runs, poops taken, food eaten and sleep not gotten. And, in the midst of all of the chaos, there is bonding and the feeling of having accomplished something hard won.
|From the Wild West Relay we did a few years back.|
Because it makes me feel alive and is WAY out of my comfort zone. And I love to run even though sometimes it is a stupid idiot and I hate it.
|I think I was peeing out of the van door at this point.|
This spot was in a rec center field surrounded by the hills/mountains of Snowmass, Colorado and located at 8,500 feet.
|Always a good idea to drink a Fat Tire beer before you run 21 miles. Carbs, baby!|
|Our fearless captain|
The deal was, we each had three runs to do and we would each do the same three, but in a different order. We were one of just a few masters teams (meaning we are all 40+ years old).
Because one of our team mates couldn't go at the last minute, I picked up an extra leg of running, bringing my total running miles to 21.2 miles with 3,800 feet of climbing. This sounded like a good idea last week while drinking a beer on the back porch. Not such a good idea in reality.
Ken started us out at about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Collectively, we would run 22 hours and 116 miles. I was the sixth of eight runners, so my first run was at 8:30 p.m. just as the sun was setting. It was a gut busting, lung burning climb of 1,250 feet up to the top of this ridge.
|The climb was worth every minute of bitching I did in my head|
I cannot express the glory of the scenery. The scramble descent was a blast. 3 miles of cruising down the mountain. I turned on my head lamp at the end, but had mostly daylight. I finished the 6.7 miles in 1 hour, 9 minutes. Ken told me that before I started out someone had seen a bear on the trail where I was. Knowing I'd be going back up there at 2 a.m. I wondered why he hadn't held off on that bit of info.
|If you want this shirt, you can get it at Walmart for $8.94. Just sayin'|
After finishing, I waited about 40 minutes, then went out again at 4 a.m. for a tough 3.8 mile stretch with 700 feet of climbing. In the dark again. I was again freezing and mentally deflated. I kept telling myself, just get it done, then you can sleep for a bit before your last run. I rolled my ankle and almost cried.
Get it done, I told myself. And, I did. As for sleep, nada. Then the sun made an appearance on my face and I had 3 cups of Via coffee and the world was a different place. My last run in the sun at 11am:
|Yes, Ed, this bib does make my butt look big|
We all did our final runs, grabbed some beer, and joined our team mate, Ed, as he made his way across the finish at 2:30 p.m. Then there was beer, burgers and a long drive home.
Happy runners from left to right: Brain (Capitano), Carolyn (Always Smilin'), Keith (the Comeback Kid), Ed (Fast Boy), Ken (LOML), Eve (Downhill Queen), Me, Henry (13 Year Old Stud), Kristen (Ironman to Be and Henry's Mom).
The moral of the story is: Stay home and sleep. Just kidding. The REAL moral is:
Life's better when it's not boring. And, when it includes friends, running and sweat.
Ever done a relay or do you want to?