This was my first relay! An incredible experience if I do say!
Thoughts before I begin my recap -
I learned that I really need to take on a more minimalist lifestyle. In fact, I should just be called Lost Girl. Not because I got lost on my legs (I only did once), but because I kept thinking I lost everything. The whole trip consisted of me searching through my bag o’ crap! I always found what I was looking for...eventually, but I did manage to lose Miriam’s blinky clip that fell in the porta potty toilet..Perhaps still blinking away even! (Sorry Miriam, I still feel awful)!
I also learned that being trapped in a van with five others is not as bad as I thought it would be.
And lastly, I have OCD with time. If I am not perfectly punctual, I start to get stressed out and anxious. During the relay, I am certain my blood pressure was up the whole time. I hate that I am so clock oriented. On the other hand, I will never be late for an event or function so there is that!
And onto the weekend -
UMM and I arrived in SoCal in the early afternoon. At the airport we met up with Paulette, Erin, & Westley, who all arrived around the same time just different flights. Our fearless Captain Chris picked us up and after picking up the other van we grabbed something to eat and headed back to the hotel where we met up with keith. After settling in, we all changed into our running clothes and headed out for a run to Downtown Disney! It was so much fun to run with the group and I loved that we did this!
|Organizing all of our awesome swag!|
|All smiles as we head to Dwntwn Disney|
|Dinner w/ half of the team!|
|We each had our very own pizza's the size of our head! Not really, but fun to so anyway!|
|Beast made out of legos! So awesome!!!|
Our start time was not until 12:45 and since I was in van 2, we did not actually begin our legs until 6:00pm. Needless to say, we had a long wait. We parted ways with Van 1 and basically hung out. I had a phone issue that I needed to take care, and then we decorated the van. Waiting around was pretty uneventful, but it was fun to hang out and chat the hours away.
|Van 2 Decor|
Finally it was time for our van to head out! UMM was the first on our team to kick off our legs. I was the last!
Leg 12 - As I mentioned before, I was nervous about running in the dark. Meg was gracious enough to pace me which meant that she took on extra miles (Many thank you’s and hugs Meg)! My leg did not start until 11pm or so. It was dark. I could barely see. With the lack of sight combined with the excitement of beginning my first leg, I grabbed the wrong team bracelet and started running. In all fairness, the guy did give it to me, so why not! My team stopped me dead in my tracks. Okay, so it wasn’t Bruce, but the dude was just as tall as Bruce and had a similar stride. It was a simple mistake.
|Meg and I beaming before my 1st leg.|
Bruce arrived shortly after and Meg and I were off! I had a hilly route. The climbs always get me, but I absolutely love the ride down! Some of the course was on a dark and scary bike path that I am certain is quite lovely during the day. It reminded me how happy I was to have a run buddy along side of me. Getting closer to Dana Point, Meg stopped to tie her shoe and as I kept running, a lurker came from out of the bushes, smoking a cig, and wearing black. My imagination started to go wild as I picked up my pace while also making sure Meg was in tow. We are still alive to tell the tale, but in that exact moment, I was pretty sure the guy was going to rob us of our garmins and running shoes. We hardly saw anyone on the course except for four speedsters who passed. There was no way I could catch up to them.
I crossed the finish line and felt ill. I had been dealing with stomach/digestion issues that evening and headed straight for the restroom! My issues never really ended for the rest of my legs though they did subside around my last leg (thank goodness).
Leg 12 - 6.7 miles. 1:00:14/8:59 mi.
The girls slept in the van while the guys got out and slept on the beach. Too cold for my blood. I think we were able to get in two hours of tossing and turning sleep. I’ll take it!
|One of the few times we got to hang with Van 1!|
Leg 24 - It was close to sunset and thinking I had more time, I was actually late in meeting Bruce at the exchange. Our team was there, we just, Bruce was faster than expected I suppose. I sprinted up the stairs, grabbed the slap bracelet, apologized to Bruce, and away I went. I was running solo this time around. The course was another roller coaster of climbs holding steeper hills. Because of being late to the exchange, I was charged by adrenaline. I ran my heart out and also honestly, I walked a partial of a steep hill.
The last two miles were hell as I felt sick sick sick! Ending the leg and coming into the exchange was absolute paradise as it was downhill where I sprinted. UMM ran me in and after I slapped the bracelet onto Keith, I stepped aside and thought I was going to hurl. I don’t know if it was the exhaustion, feeling sick, or me being just plain emotional, but it was right there that I began to cry. It was a short lived cry and I have UMM to thank for that. When I told him I was going to be sick, he told me to just stick my finger down my throat and everything would be fine. This made me laugh. And everything was fine...Though please note, I did not actually stick my finger down my throat. My teammates after giving me a moment, joined me. I was very proud of my second leg. I think this was my favorite one reflecting back!
|My expression is priceless!!|
While I never did get my Garmin to turn on during this leg due to not be properly prepared, I did run 4.9 miles. 40 minutes/8.9 mi
Leg 36 - While the course was pretty easy and beautiful with views running along the ocean, this was my toughest leg. Perhaps it was the exhaustion of it all, maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the massive crowd of people that I had weave in and out of around the tourist areas. My guess is that is was all of the above! The signage was not great and I did get a bit off course. I made it however, and it was so wonderful to see my team there ready to escort me to the finish!
Apparently, UMM and Meg were not there to cross the finish line with me as they got stuck in traffic. I was a bit bummed that the team was not altogether, but we still got our finish line team photo in the end!
Leg 36 - 5.3 miles. 48:37 minutes/9:14 mi
|Taking advantage of a little down time!|
We crossed the finish line in 26 hours and 40 minutes. Our team ended up finishing 8th in the Regular Mixed Open Division out of 530 teams and 24th Overall out of 720 teams! Not too shabby! Especially since all paces were represented!
Of course, all this wouldn’t have been possible without our fabulous sponsors!
|Paulette and Miriam in our team SFM Shirts|
|With Meg, matching Skechers that I really enjoyed running in!|
|Van 2 stylin' w/ Zensah!|
And a special shout- out goes to Tricia who sent both vans a lovely care package filled with all kinds of sweets and treats!
A few memorable highlights (but certainly not all) -
- Singing out at the top of our lungs to the Bohemian Rhapsody song with Meg. Head banging included.
- Paulette being the cheerleader of the group with her amazing positive energy.
- Paulette chasing after Bruce’s sleeping bag that rolled on down the hill after escaping the van.
- Keith taking 99 kills on his 3rd leg!!!
- UMM running in with me at the end of my 2nd leg.
- Being apart of this amazing team!
- Beer at the Finish line! Duh.
So many more fantastic moments it is hard to even describe! It was awesome to be on a team with fellow SFM ambassadors. I became closer to the ones I already knew and enjoyed meeting and getting to know the newbies! It was a great bonding experience and I already miss all my afterNuun Run family!