The Relay 2009

12 runners, 2 vans, 6 drivers, 2 volunteers, the rain and 200 miles. The Relay. Results: 28:36:26, 62 of 225 and a weekend I will never forget. (more pictures coming soon).

A few months back, a runner in our group brought up the idea of putting together a 12 person team to participate in a 199 mile Relay. It was set to be a week after Big Sur, but seemed to be an opportunity none of us wanted to miss. Our team would be formed by 11 men and 1 woman under the name: Lori's Lusty Lads.

I tried to write this out as a story and it got way too long with too many details for even me to enjoy. So here is a timeline that will give you a general overview of our 30 hour adventure. I am leaving so much out that I will hopefully cover in future posts. Enjoy. (Time of day log is a rough estimate give or take 15 mins. and I can only cover what we experienced in Van 2)

11:00 a.m. (Sat.)
First runner starts and Van 1 is off.

1:00 p.m. (Sat.)
I arrive at our meeting point, have trouble parallel parking and am the target for ensuing jokery. :)

3:00 p.m. (Sat.)
Van 1 exchanges to Van 2 in Napa. Van 1 completes their legs 25 mins ahead of pace.

5:10 p.m. (Sat.) 
I start my first leg and finish 5.4 miles in 50 minutes. It's relatively flat and is my first run since Big Sur. My legs feel strong and am pleased with the results.

6:00 p.m. or so (Sat.) 
We receive a 4-letter text from Drew, our runner #10, who is running a 9 mile leg that includes a 1000 ft. incline over 3 miles (in the mud and fog). And the text was not duck.

7:00 p.m. or so (Sat.) 
We receive a voicemail from Drew that he lost our bracelet. (The Relay's version of a baton that each runner will carry.)

7:20 or so (Sat.)
We receive another voicemail from Drew (was he actually running, or on the phone?) that the bracelet has been found. We start laughing and coming up with ways he may have stolen a bracelet from a cow or a fellow runner.

7:30 p.m. (Sat.)
Diego and Thor make their first appearance. (inside joke)

7:30 p.m. (Sat.)
Van 2 realizes the coolers in our van have sandwiches. The coolers were packed by a fellow runner and we are so excited by the event, we have failed to look inside them. From here in out we can't stay out of the coolers for snacks and drinks (and brownies).

I notice that our van has been "tagged." Another Van wrote "TAXI :)" on our van window. It was their team name and they had been writing it on several other vans in good fun. Marc and I consider strategic maneuvers to retaliate, but they never come to fruition. Next year, TAXI is going down.

9:58 p.m. (Sat.)
Van 2 exchanges to Van 1 in Marin and the last runner in our van has a short, quiet conversation with their first runner. The Bracelet was officially lost and Richard, our runner #12, is ridiculed the remaining of the trip in good fun.

After each Van has ran their first legs, Lori's Lusty Lads are an hour ahead of schedule.

Van 2 heads for San Francisco for a short rest. Several shower and close their eyes for a quick nap and Tom packs (it was his home).

1:15 a.m. (Sun.)
Van 2 heads for the next van exchange at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Van 1 continues their speed through the night, rain and fog finishing their second stretch. 

Van 2 discovers that there is a PINK CD in the car and is immediately played (more than once). Enjoyment ensues.

4:00 a.m. (Sun)
I start my second leg and am thrilled to have the opportunity to run at night. I take some great advice from Tom, a fellow runner in our van, and keep the light of the headlamp several feet in front of me. I can't see anything except drizzling rain and what is in my general vicinity, so I point it ahead of me and follow the white bike line for 6.4 miles. I finish in 54 mins. well ahead of my projected time.

Drew (the phone guy) is off after my exchange. He has a short leg of 4.2 miles. As we leave to follow him, we see that he has taken off at an extraordinary speed and there is serious consideration that he may beat the van to the exchange point.

Chris, the next runner seems to have taken our reverence for Drew's quick start personally (joking) and logs the fastest min. per mile time covering 3.7 miles with 26 mins. He finished so fast, Richard, the next runner, is still in his warm jacket at the exchange and is startled when his name is screamed.

6:47 a.m. (Sun.)
Van 2 exchanges with Van 1 near Redwood City. We are an hour and half ahead of schedule, but enjoy a rest at a friends house. We all shower, some close their eyes for rest, but we all enjoy a wonderfully prepared breakfast.

Van 2 awaits for Van 1 in the rain there is no cell reception in the mountains, so it gets a little interesting as we await the exchange with a significant number of other vans.

10:36 a.m. (Sun.)
Van 2 exchanges with Van 1 after the final runner in Van 1 (our famed Lori) conquers a over 1000 ft incline over 3 miles. An incredible feet at a fast pace all things considered.

Van 2 is off with Tom blazing down a 6.2 mile stretch with 7 min. miles for his final run. Way to go Tom.

12:15 p.m. (Sun).
I begin my third and final run over 6.3 miles in the pouring rain. I finish in 50 mins. with my fastest min per mile pace of the event. Afterwards, I am soaking wet and steam is emanating off me like football players in the cold. Not just from my head, but my entire upper body. The locals and fellow runners stare and comment as they walk by. (including one guy who was holding a hamburger.)

1:10 p.m. (Sun.)
A tree has fallen and is blocking the course. Drew is re-routed adding a half mile to his already 6.2 mile uphill course.

1:30 p.m. (Sun.)
I see Dean Karnazes in the back of a van, changing his shoes. Dean is well known for running the 200 mile relay alone. Yes, alone.

Chris, finishes his final leg (uphill) and is relieved to be done. He developed a significant blister during his first run and had been limping in between runs and protecting it with mole skin. Considering he had difficult legs to begin with and to top it off with a blister — Chris was showing his heart and strength. He then emails us a picture of his blister several days later and I can't believe he was able to pull through it. 

3:35 p.m. (Sun)
Richard rounded off the final leg for Lori's Lusty Lads and in true fashion of The Relay, our team met him at the end and we ran the final 50 yards together and crossed the finish line as a team. Overall, we finished an hour and half ahead of schedule with the majority of the legs being run at faster than our projected pace.

It was quite an adventure and a weekend I will never forget. It is hard to top a weekend where you post a Marathon PR, but The Relay 2009 with Van 2 and fellow Lusty Lads was unforgettable.

There are so many inside jokes that filled the entire weekend that I was unable to share due to the length of the post, but let's put it this way. 6-7 runners in a van for 30 hours and under 2 hours sleep for each of us during the entire period. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. Our Van had so much energy and supported one another and other runners the entire time. I couldn't have been happier with the enthusiasm of our crew. Thanks guys.

Look for (in future posts): a more detailed recap of my legs, more inside jokes, a heart-felt thank you to our volunteers, the importance of being organized and more.

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