So, I have to admit. I had a bad attitude. I know it doesn't seem possible-me: miss inspiration/positive girl, but it is true. I had a ton of stuff on my mind. A million deadlines. A lot of work projects to get done. I was tired. I was grumpy. I had a bad attitude. I didn't want to run the relay. I didn't want to be up for 36 hours. Friday, September 25, 2009, 6am. Dragged myself out of bed. Quickly got some projects done. Frantically packed. Got a shower (last one for a while). Left the house, THREE times. Not sure why I was so forgetful. On the way over to the meet up point, rain was already in full force. It matched my mood.

Arrived at Reinaldo's at 9:30am, loaded my gear into the van. Said hi to the rest of my Van 1 teammates (Melanie, Bernard, Jeremy, T & Reinaldo). 10am we were off to Cumberland, MD.

Right away I was receiving jokes that my head was buried in my BlackBerry. That it was going to "run away" with help from them. So, I put it down and joined in the conversation. And changed my mind that I would enjoy the race/run/relay.

We arrived at the relay just before 12 noon to see some of the teams leave.

Side note: teams started leaving at 8am that morning.

We checked in, got our swag. Rain had stopped. Getting ready to run!

We knew my leg was all uphill and Jeremy who was the runner after me got to run down hill. So every time we saw a hill, we had the jokes down pat. You had to be there. It was pretty funny:)

1pm! Gun off. Reinaldo had leg #1. We left to go to our first exchange point. Right away, the directions were off, so it took a trial  & errors (and other vans) before we got to the right place.  Reinaldo ran his leg 6 minutes ahead of schedule. Sweet!

Bernard was up next. Then T, Melanie and me. I had "THE LEG" from hell. No question about it, it was tough. Remember I had just run 100 miles 5 weeks ago, so this was my first race. I wasn't entirely sure how I would feel. Especially since my leg was ALL up hill. Not one to complain, but when I say ALL uphill. I mean it. Went from 500 feet to 1600 feet.

To make matters worse, I somehow missed a turn and ran an EXTRA 2 miles. Needless to say, I was welcoming my legs in Sarah fashion-hardcore.

A sign placed by another team says it all: "[name] we owe you one". I was feeling the same thing. After all, I just got asked to be on the team 10 days ago, I really didn't sign for this, let alone have the toughest leg!

But I kept my smile and my legs brought me to the exchange point. I was a very happy girl. I ran the 10 miles in 1:33. Not bad for ALL up hill AND what I did a few weeks ago.

Jeremy was up next. And to our first major exchange point. Van #2 was up next. By this time it was around 7pm. We were off the clock and on the hunt for some food. We drove to our friend Hector's home where yummy pasta awaited us as well as showers for those who wanted it. I found a bed and closed my eyes for about an hour. Then it was time to leave and head to major exchange point 2 and run some more.

Saturday, September 26, 2009!

By this time we gained back the ground we lost (thanks to me) so that was a happy moment in the midst of the midnight darkness. Reinaldo started his leg.

I must say that by this time my bad attitude was WAY gone. I think I left that on the hills from my 1st leg:)

My leg came around 1am. Running in the dark brought back memories thats for sure. This leg wasn't as bad, thank god! Still a few hills though. I was about half a mile from the exchange point when a girl crept up right behind me. There was no in hell I was going to let her beat me. So I kicked my legs into high gear and sprinted to Jeremy. Ran 3.8 miles in 33-ish minutes. I'll take it. Legs still getting used to the sudden hilly speed work. Poor things.

Jeremy ran his last leg fast. BUT Van 2 was lost and we had to wait 10 (LONG) minutes to get Lisa (runner 7) on the course. I guess we are even now!

It was 2:30am. Melanie arranged for a motel in Frederick. Its not every night that you crash for 2 hours in a motel. And yes, it was a motel. Jeremy quickly reminded us not to let our feet touch the floor. I quickly reminded everyone to not touch the bed spread. Then we somehow got on the topic of hotels, bugs and investigative stories. If you have ever watched (or heard) what goes on in the hotel cleaning department lets just say you think twice about what you touch. Needless to say no matter how tired we were we didn't seem to mind laying down the bed bugs.

Th2 2 hour nap was awesome. Apparently T didn't sleep, but I think the rest of us did. I freaked out in the morning though when I realized on the way to the bathroom that I didn't have my flip flops on. That was kind of funny:) NOT!

5:30am and we were on the road again to meet Van 2. Big Al almost beat us to the exchange. Poor Reinaldo basically got pushed to the the exchange point with sleep in his eyes. We have been up for 24 hours (aside from the sweat induced cat naps).

This was our third and final leg for us (Van 1). Reinaldo had a pretty long & hilly leg as did Bernard. Pretty soon it was my turn. It was 9:30 ( I think) at this point. Our team was kicking butt and I REALLY wanted to pass some more on my LAST leg. Trouble was not many were in my eye sight. Then finally I saw a women in the distance. I told my legs to kick it into high gear and we were off to the races. I held a sub 7 minute pace, then slowly eased into 7:30's. I caught up to the women, passed her, then chased down the hill in front of me. Then I saw the exchange point & I quickly booked it to Jeremy. Ran 3.75 miles in 30 minutes. 8:05 pace. Not to shabby. But still not fast like everyone else on the team!

We made our way to the last major checkpoint, where we cheered on the runners as they came through.

I must say the scene at the school exchange parking area looked like a homeless shelter. Runners were sleeping in camping bags. Most looked like (stinky) cocoons. It was rather funny.

Jeremy arrived, Lisa & Van 2 were now on the VERY last & final leg of the relay. We headed back to Reinaldo's & our cars. I couldn't get home fast enough to enjoy a REAL shower. Baby wipes are great, but running water is awesome! So is human food!

Then the rain started. Rain isn't the right word. Torrential down pour would be more like it. Poor Van 2! I was en route to the finish line, but good old route 495 was a parking lot which prevented me from ever reaching it. Sigh. I should just stick to running!

BUT I am happy to report that our team finished 199.3 miles in 26 hours, 13 minutes. An average pace of 7:51! We are still waiting for the official results, but we think we did pretty well:) I will keep you posted!

Photo by Philo Nordlund

1 Comment