200 Miles in 24 Hours (...more like 34 Hours)
Reach the Beach Relay. 200 miles across New Hampshire to end up on Hampton Beach. Who would sign up for such a thing? Crazy people. I am crazy. It was painful and amazing and felt so good. It's amazing what the human body is capable of. I ended up only having to run 16 miles. I say "only" but that is a lot! The funny part is if I had to run more, I could have. As much pain as my quads were in, as gross as I felt, I could have done another 5 miles at least. Our team did awesome (or at least our van did; Van 1 rocks!) and kept our pace under 10 minute miles the whole time. Joni unfortunately couldn't run her last leg because she was throwing up all morning so when Alex (our #1 runner) came in we just drove to the #3 runner start and dropped Sonja off. Joni felt bad about it, but she had already run at least 17 miles and her next one was 7.7 or something like that. Van 2 did pretty well, too, but they had two "runners" who were not in shape for it at all and ended up having to walk much of their portions. Melanie actually gave her last leg to Jeff instead.
As for me, my first leg was 4.8 miles, mostly downhill. It felt amazing. The weather was beautiful and the mountains all around me gave me amazing sights to look at. I thought I was running about 9:00 per mile but come to find out my pace was 7:07 per mile. FOR NEARLY 5 MILES! That is ridiculous. Granted, it was downhill, but still! At one point I was thinking to myself that I probably had 2 miles left when I passed a group of people who said "Half a mile to go!" so that was awesome. I was on a total runner's high after that run. My second run was at about midnight Friday night. I was decked out in a hat with a built in light, another light attached to the front of my shorts, a big red bike light on the back of my shorts, a neon vest, and a flashing wristband. Despite all my lights, it was PITCH DARK. No streetlights the entire time. I thought for sure I was going to trip on something or get hit by a car, especially because about half of it was gravel. That leg was 6.4 miles and it started raining shortly into it. The van drove by a few times and cheered me on. It didn't feel bad but it felt long. Seeing the flashing lights at the Transition Area was like a godsend. I don't think I've ever been happier to see Carly in my life. She had 7.4 in the rain and dark, which is completely amazing that she did it (and under 10 min/mile!). I ran my second leg at about 9:23/mile. My last leg I was nervous about. It was only 4.8 again but I was sore from the 11.2 miles I had already done. My hamstrings, quads, and butt were killing my (they still are, actually) but I set off and got it done. I ran it about 8:35/mile, which was amazing considering how much pain I was in. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that there was a woman from one of the other teams a ways ahead of me that I felt I could pass. It took me probably 2.5 miles but I passed her and kept ahead of her for the rest of my leg. I sprinted it in at the end and the feeling of being DONE was just the most amazing thing of my life. How I did all this on 4 hours of sleep (in a van! the rest of the team slept in the two tents we had) I don't know. But now I can't wait for next year's RTB. Maybe I'll be one of the runners who has to do about 20 miles next year.