We begin friday morning bright and early at 5:30. The overall pace of the teams was pre-determined and Ragnar tries to have the teams finish at the same time. We had a safety meeting and then race was off. We saw our runner #1 off and went out to meet her at exchange #1. Little did we know there would lots and lots of exchanges. Each exchange was met with excitement. Little finish lines all over the place. Some teams were super excited some didn't say a word. The start was in Logan.UT. Logan is about 2 hours from Salt Lake City. It is a small community and eventually we went from asphalt to dirt and back and forth. I was runner #5 and I didn't run until 11:30ish on the first day. I received my bracelet on the bottom of avon pass and I gained about 1200 ft. Rated "VERY HARD." Gained and gained elevation. This is the leg I have been training for. Unfortunately, there is no 7 mile straight up road around. It was gorgeous. The road paralleled a river. There were a lot of birds, cows, squirrels, and the wind whisked through the trees. There was also tons of rocks. I wondered if I would need my trail runners. I would love to have used them. My feet were very sore from the side-to-side hopping and running on heavy rocks and dirt. Some climbs I had to walk. Overall, 7.3 miles 12:01 pace in 1:28:25. Max HR of 177 bpm and ave 165 bpm. I wore my Marathon bar gear and had some comments from runners passing by. I wish I had some to eat for me and to give away. The gear ended up working very nice.
Runner #6 gives Van #2 its first go. The first major exchange was buzzing with life. Lots and lots of teams we haven't seen yet were there. A little food, some live music, and lots of runners. It was hot. We have the next few hours of to travel to the next major exchange. We stopped at Snow Basin and waited for Van #2 to finish. We had a light lunch and some naps. I love a nap when the breeze keeps you cool in the shade. It was nice. When we get the bracelet back the sun is coming down. By the time my leg starts it is getting pretty dark. Running vest, blinkie, and head lamp required. It was fun to NEED that gear. My second leg was rated "easy." It was. Awfully flat but dark. My R knee hurt some and my pace suffered but it was nice. Prefect weather for a run. Cool enough for non-runners to be cold but while running nice and comfy. Gorgeous. This leg began at 9:15ish at night. It was 4.24 miles in 43:53. My knee affected my pace. I think I was trying to get away from the blisters on my feet and my knee got aggravated. After my leg our anchor pounded out a very hard leg to get us to half way. About midnight we made our way to find some food and shut eye. The race had arranged pancakes and eggs at a local high school for us. Free reign any place we could find to sleep and use the locker room for showers. I was able to get about 4 hours of sleep. There were thousands of runners in various stages of sleep. Waking up and leaving, getting to bed, or sound asleep. There is not another community around that would have been so courteous. Quiet, respectful, and courteous. It was like a disaster area. I walked out of there shaking my head and what a fun thing this was. Here I am exhausted, hungry, and smiling. What's wrong with me I thought? My answer is runners do funny things. Oh and we paid for this, lol.
Van #1 begins our next leg around 4:45 or so. I started my last leg at around 10:00 am. Another "easy" route. However, the hill in the second mile was not easy. They listed it as 3 miles but my watch said 3.3. Total time 32:09. 9:42 pace, but my last mile of the whole thing was 8:40. Overall I hoped to be faster over all my routes but a funny thing happens with no sleep, no nutrition, sitting in a van, and stress of navigating a completely new area. The finish line was one big party and a blast. I got to ride the lift to the top of a ski resort. Very cool.
This race was a great experience. Lots of fun times in the van, lots of beautiful runs, and lots of very fun interesting people. I am looking forward to las Vegas. I had another glimpse of the "saints and sinners" medal and boy is it cool.
In other news, I had a little down time and I was able to read a couple of articles. They will be the subject of future posts. Here is the other days this week:
Monday-Short fast swim. 800 m in 17 min. 4X200 m in about 4:00-15 each.
Tuesday-Pushed my hill repeats to watch the Lakers force game seven, then win another championship. Yeah baby.
Wednesday-Long swim. 1500m swim. I wanted to stay slow and long this swim. Under 6:45. It is so hard to do. 250 m splits are: 5:55, 6:27, 6:29, 6:35, 6:30, and 6:35, ave 6:25 for a total of 38:34. HOLDING BACK. Quote:
"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable."
-Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile