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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bourbon Chase Relay: Race Recap #2

Part 2: There's no crying in relays. Well, actually, apparently there is.

Immediately after my first leg I got a serious case of the hungries. I mean, I hadn't had an actual meal in almost 12 hours. Sure, I'd had a banana, granola bar, candy, and chips in the van. But, I hadn't had anything with any kind of nutritional punch. I was starving. Literally, my stomach was hurting, I was so hungry.

After we left Maker's Mark, it was time to find some food. After a very easy debate in the van (seriously, I had like the most easy to deal with people you've ever met in my van, it was awesome) we collectively decided on pizza. Magically, while we drove to a Pizza Hut that the Garmin had found, we happened upon a Snappy Tomato. Bonus! We pulled up and piled in.

After taking entirely too long for a pizza to bake, we finally got our pizzas. And I immediately dove in. Chowing down on a hot, cheesy, delicious slice of pizza. It was awesome, except... after about 2 bites, I felt like I couldn't eat anymore. Sure, I was still starving, but I just couldn't stomach to eat the pizza. I ended up eating only one slice and left the place still hungry, but unable to eat.

We headed out to the next exchange point which was located in Danville, KY. We parked the van and headed into a coffee shop that was filled with other relay-ers. I opted out of the coffee (I don't normally drink coffee before I run) and sat down at a table while everyone else waited in the massive line. It was at this moment that my hunger faded into exhaustion. Sure, it was only about 9pm, but I couldn't stop yawning. I seriously considered heading back to the van and crawling into the backseat to sleep for an hour or two. I didn't. And I regretted it, later.

After a couple hours in the coffeeshop, it was time to await the arrival of the next van. We stood outside in the freezing rain (honestly, it was probably like 45/50 degrees, but when you're dressed in running clothes and it's raining... that feels miserably cold). Our next runner, Adrienne had to stand in the cold for awhile, Mary, Jonathan and Lori huddled around her and Jonathan broke out into a hiliarously loud rendition of Sir Mix A Lot's "I like big butts." People were looking at us like we were insane. Singing loudly and dancing while standing on a street corner. But, it's what Adrienne needed. She needed to get amped up and ready for her next run. She needed to move around to get the blood flowing and to stay warm.

Once she finally started her leg, we once again all piled into the van and headed out to the exchange point. And just like that, we were the active van again.
It's funny, before the relay began I kept thinking about what we'd do with all the extra time on our hands when we weren't the active van and amazingly, it felt like we barely had any time. By the time you eat, relax, and get to the next exchange, you really don't have a lot of time before you start running again.

Once we got to the next exchange, Vandy-Montana got out of the van again and did some laps around the church parking lot. This was a hard exchange, because it was pitch black outside and you could barely tell who the runner coming up was. Luckily, Jeff and I were standing down at the exchange, because way before schedule, Adrienne came blasting to the exchange. We had to yell at Vandy-Montana who was still warming up and he hurried over to meet Adrienne just in time. Whew. Close one. Apparently Adrienne had seen a rat scurry across the shoulder in front of her and she took off like a bandit for the last few miles of her run.

Once again, we drove off to the next exchange.

Now it was in these night legs that our van started racking up some serious roadkills. What's a roadkill? A roadkill is when you pass another runner along the course. We kept track of all our roadkills on the side of our van. Everyone was picking up roadkills on every leg. It was awesome and a huge motivator.

Waiting for Vandy-Montana we were in the town square of Stanford, Ky. It was around midnight and we were all feeling good. Excited and geared up. Maybe a little too geared up for midnight...

As we stood around before Vandy-Montana came in, we tried to get Mary amped up for her long, night run.
We even joked about her reflective boobs in this photo. Damn reflectors, screwing up all our night pictures.

Once Vandy-Montana blazed through the exchange point, we had him tally up his roadkills on the van and then we were off to the next exchange.
Now it was at this point that the excitement started to wane. It was about 1:30am-ish. Adrienne and VandyMontana were both done with their legs and trying to catch some Zs in the van. Lori, Jeff, Jonathan and I were all outside standing in the cold, trying to keep loose. Jonathan was the next runner and Jeff and I tried our best to talk him up, but dude... it was late and it was cold and dark and we were out in the middle of BFE Kentucky. There was very little to be excited about.

Mary came through the exchange flying and just like that... it was time for me to get ready for my next leg.

Mary did an awesome job on her leg. It was wayyyy hillier than the elevation profile had made it seem, but she said she felt awesome the whole time. She was picking off blinking lights left and right, picking up a ton of road kills along the way.

Now, part of me was excited for my next leg. After hearing Mary talk about how awesome her run was, I starting to get pumped up. It was my longest leg of the relay and generally, I like running in the darkness. And with hearing everyone talking about how motivating it is to pick off the blinky lights, I was getting pumped to rack up some roadkills.

Once Jonathan came through the exchange and handed me the wristband I was off and ready. I started off with what I thought was a good pace. There were no other runners around me, and I ran as hard as I could to try to catch up to some of those blinky lights of other runners on the course.

Now, first of all, let me say... after spending the entire week prior telling all my team to memorize their legs... I never did it myself. I never even looked at my legs except to see the distance. So, I was a little nervous about getting lost on the course in the middle of the night. I carried my directions with me in a ziploc baggy. But, reading seriously slows down your running, fyi. So, I didn't really utilize it.

After I had been running for about 10 minutes and saw no one in front of me, as soon as I saw a runner coming in the opposite direction (running VandyMontanas previous route) I hollered over to her... "Hey!!!! Have you seen other runners going my direction?" She replied "yes" but I was afraid the whole time that she just didn't hear me.

I started running through the small town of Danville and some college kids were out and saw me running (seriously, aliens could probably see us running what with all the reflective gear and blinky lights and headgear on us) and started cheering for me. It was fun, I raised my hand to them, thanking them for their support. Cause lord knows it was a lonely road out there.

Finally, after about 25 minutes I saw a red blinky light WAYYYYYY up ahead of me. I was running through the darkest part of my leg so far, pitch black. No cars, no street lights. Only countryside. But, that blinky light lit a fire under my ass, I plowed up and down the gently rolling hills and as I started making progress I noticed... hmmm... that runner must be seriously slowing down cause I'm gaining a LOT of ground of them.

About 2 minutes later I realize why... It wasn't a runner. It was a freaking course sign. F*CK, F*CK, F*CK. I was heartbroken. Here I had just busted my ass to catch up to a blinky light and turns out... it was a freaking sign. F*CK!!!!!!

I powered on, realizing that I didn't have much left to run. After I hit the one mile to go sign, I finally saw another blinky light. And this time... I stared it down and determined that it was in fact moving. I turned on what little burners I had left and made it my mission to pass him before the exchange. All I could think about was putting that hash mark up on the van after I passed that SOB. I got closer and closer and then... ahead in the distance, I could see the exchange. F*CK! I knew I couldn't catch him. If I had another quarter of a mile, I could have. As I near the exchange, still trying my damnedest to catch that mofo, I started to take off my wristband to prepare to give it to Jeff. As I was doing so, someone flew past me out of nowhere. Startling me so much that I dropped the damn wristband. WHAT. THE. F*CK. Are you kidding me? By the time I handed the wristband to Jeff I felt like a bag o' shit. I walked to the van. Got in, sat down, grabbed a towel and proceeded to cry in the darkness into my towel until we got to the next exchange.

As soon as we got there, I hopped out of the van to walk around. I was embarrassed, humiliated, defeated, disappointed, and exhausted, both mentally and physically. All I wanted was to pass someone, to rack up a roadkill and the one chance I had... I blew it... AND became someone elses roadkill in the process.

Everyone else had roadkills by that point. EVERYONE. In both vans. I felt like such a slow-ass loser.

The walk calmed me down. I realized that this was just for fun, I shouldn't put pressure on myself... that my teammates didn't care that I didn't get any roadkills. I shook it off, went back to the van and a few of us headed out to the exchange to wait for Jeff.

Jeff flew through the exchange and immediately told us that he had picked off 14 roadkills during his leg. Including the team that I couldn't catch up with and the team that passed me at the exchange. We were all psyched, it was the most roadkills anyone in our van had picked up on a single leg!

We loaded up and headed out... time for a little break until our final legs...


Anonymous said...

Oh, you made me sad to read how sad you were! I think it was just luck of the draw -- if you'd had the next leg, you would have gotten tons of roadkills. BTW, loving the relay posts -- I've never done one and so it's particularly fun to hear waht it's like.

KdoubleA said...

This race sounds amazing. I like to drink and I def. like to run. I also live in Knoxville so I just might do this! Bummer about how sad you were but it sounds like a REALLY fun event!

cant-coach-desire said...

I ran the relay and had a blast. However, I was lucky enough to be runner #12 which made for a late night run, an early morning run, and a afternoon which was alot better than the middle of the night running. Check out my blog sometime and my race recap of the Bourbon Chase as well and Like the blog, keep up the good work.

Spike said...

always remember that in a relay, the team passes someone, it's not just a one leg deal.

you did a great job and I'm glad you kept a mostly positive attitude, it's the only way.