Monday, September 19, 2011

Suck it Beaches!

One of the many awesome team names we encountered during Reach the Beach Relay 2011 - "Suck it Beaches". It's always an adventure. The same but a little different each time. This year I ran with Team Viagra. Same team name as last year, but slightly different line up. A few returning vets including myself and mostly first timers. It was a bit of a struggle right from the very start. We lost a few runners in the weeks leading up to the race and got some last minute substitutes and had a team of 12, then on the morning of the race as we were getting ready to head up to Cannon Mountain one more runner bailed so our team was down to 11 runners.

No problem for me, I wanted the extra miles, but logistically a nightmare because there was road damage on the course due to Hurricane Irene and the race had created a "Plan B" course that threw a wrench in the works. So, Van 1 wasn't handing off to Van 2 at the first Van transition as planned. Which meant in Van 1 we decided to divide up the extra miles of our missing runner amongst ourselves instead of shifting the rotation and totally messing up the flow of the whole race. Three of us ran 4 legs instead of the regular 3.

We met up at Cannon Mountain and checked in and got all our bib#s and shirts and stuff. Then we decorated the vans. I had a list of sayings to write and we had a pretty good supply of jokes to go with the team name. Here are a few of the highlights: "We don't stretch, we prefer to run STIFF", "We run hard with our heads up", "Hills? No Problem, We go up and down all night", "It's funner with a runner", "Distance Runners do it longer", "The faster you go the harder it gets". It went on and on. And of course I brought back the one that got us in trouble last year, "If Reach the Beach was easy it would be called 'Your Mom'".

At 12:40 we were off and running. I took the first double and ran leg #2 and leg#4. Both were pretty short 3 milers, but the second one was into a wicked strong head wind. I got to run right past the Mount Washington hotel though and my team snapped some perfect photos of me.

After we finished the first 6 legs we met up with Van 2 and because of "Plan B" they had an assigned started time of 5:40pm. So we continued on the course and went to North Conway for dinner at Flatbreads. After dinner, Jason had the key to a friend's lake house so we could shower and get a little rest. We wouldn't start running again until later in the evening so we took advantage and headed to the house. We got there and settled in with another team taking a break. I took a very quick shower and tried not to wet my hair because my next run was going to be a 9 miler at 2am and it was near freezing outside.

We all sprawled out on the floor for a little rest and someone was kind enough to turn off the lights. THEN, one of our team members decided to search through his bags for something. Apparently his wife had packed his bag and packed every item of clothing in an individual plastic bag. AND on top of that he had 2 mylar blankets in his bag too!!!! So, imagine trying to get a few precious hours of sleep in a 24+ hour relay race and having that one perfect opportunity RUINED by the sound of crinkling plastic bags. OMG!!! I wanted to kill him. Thankfully I wasn't the only person annoyed. We all yelled at him! But by then 20-30 minutes had gone by and we lost precious minutes of sleep that would haunt us later.

Around 10:30pm we got moving and headed to the Van transition to meet Van 2 and start running again. This time Gene had the double leg and he ran #1 and #3. I ran #5, the 9 miler. I started running around 1:30am and felt awesome for the first 5-6 miles then the coffee I had after dinner hit my bladder and the caffeine worked some magic, not in a good way, on my intestines. I struggled through the last 3 miles in pain and as soon as I handed off the baton I kept running right to the port o potty. I've never had to pee so bad in my entire life. I might actually have a kidney infection as a result of holding it for the last 3 miles of the run. I felt wicked sick after too because I didn't want to drink water or electrolytes on the run because I had to pee so bad and then I think the coffee just dehydrated me more. When I got back in the van and layed down I felt like I was on a boat even when we weren't moving!

We made it to Bear Brook State park around 3:30am for the Van transition and had a few more hours to sleep before running again. I woke up at 6am and had to pee again even though I hadn't had anything to drink since about 2am. I wandered to the port o potties and made it there just before the morning rush because when we walked past again 5 minutes later on our way to get breakfast there was a HUGE line. Bear Brook State Park is my favorite transition. Eggs, pancakes, and coffee prepared by the Allenstown Fire Dept. It's awesome.

After breakfast we were off and running again. Jason took the double leg this time and ran #2 and #4. My last leg was a nice 4 miler. I felt really good and finished strong. I tried to catch up to this guy that passed me in the last mile because he was kinda cute, but then just as we crossed the line at the transition I noticed he had a ring on. Damn it! Oh well. I still congratulated him on a strong finish.

We completed our last 6 runs around 2:00 and took showers at the school before heading to the Beach for the finish. Jason left us and joined his family for some soccer games. We dropped Mike off with his family so he could spend the rest of the weekend with them in Maine and then the rest of Team Viagra went to the Beach. Our team finished in a little over 27 hours with an average pace of 8:30. It was about 5:30 when we got our medals and said goodbyes. I was ready to get the heck out of there and go home. We all went our separate ways and I went home and went to bed. I slept for 12 hours. I'm still exhausted and a little sore, but lucky for me I'm in taper mode now. 20 days to go until Chicago!

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