my third wasatch back ragnar relay.
my first leg was supposed to be my "easy" leg. it was a measly 3 + something miles, pretty flat. i was pretty excited for it, but i really didn't prepare mentally. i was the second runner in our van. and i was in van 2, which was a new thing for me. it meant that i slept in, went to a meeting, and loaded up my stuff the day of the race. that was great because i like doing those things.
when i got to my start, i felt the same feeling that you get when labor starts. "oh, crap, not this again" because, lets face it. running is hard work. running in the heat, competing against yourself, working up a dirty sweat, going without sleep or showers, or food. all of that is hard.
i started the leg a little bit shaken up. we had lagged a bit behind, so they were shouting for me that the runner was there before i was really ready. i beeped my garmin on and ran. even though i knew i needed to hold back, i couldn't. the adrenalin was rushing through me, and i was flying. i kept my arm up to check my garmin and i was going about 8 minute miles. which was so awesome. until my hip/leg started bugging me. going out fast does that.
so i slowed it up, and then the heat hit me. and the rolling hills. but i felt great. i ran by one of my bff's houses (hey lacey) and that was pretty cool. all in all, it was an okay run. i ended up slowing up enough to work through the pain in my hip. i finished in 33 minutes, which was not great.
i then watched as the rest of my team ran. they were each amazing. collectively we went through ogden valley and climbed to snow basin. they were all fast, and they were all hard runners. it was awesome to be in a van like that.
we tried resting at some high school. we enjoyed flushing toilets and soft grass. i think we were all a little worked up, van 1 had a problem earlier where their van wouldn't start, so we felt a little stress there. but we had eaten well, and we felt great. i tried to sleep, i listened to music and relaxed. as soon as i felt like i was going to drop off, a cast member called my phone. it scared me and i answered it. then we had some rude person banging on the dumpsters so we all got up and got ready to head to the exchange.
my next leg was at 12ish at night. i was looking forward to this leg because i knew it was downhill and it was going to be at night. our van didn't make it to the exchange on time, so i got out and ran the last half mile with lindsay, the runner before me. we climbed the last of the hill, and then i got to run down it. it was cool. both in temperature and in experience.
i had heard that you need to just let your body do it, and not try to slow yourself down. so i went for it. i was mostly going between 7-8 minute miles, until it evened out. so the first 4 miles were pretty easy. i could feel my hip, but it was okay. i was more worried about my knees giving out and me rolling down a mountain. the last mile was pretty even with a little uphill, and i could feel my quads with each step. i also experienced a bit of vertigo when i ran across an overpass and my headlamp lit the ground under.
after my second run, i was tired. really tired. we still had 4 runs left. 4 longer runs. i watched the rest of the girls in the van get ready and face the cold night.
we tried to rest at a jr. high, in the parking lot. we crashed on the grass and as soon as i felt like i was drifting off, my phone buzzed. i had a cast member back in the real world who was going to be late to rehearsal. it totally took me back to reality and i never really slept after that. i tried to relax myself using the alexander technique, deep breathing, visualization, but nothing worked. i eventually gave up when the crowds were bugging me and the sun was too hot. we moved our sleeping bags to the shade, but it really didn't help. by that time, my quads were shot and hurting, my hip was really bugging me, and i hadn't slept for 30 hours. i was beat. but still having fun, at least until i had to go stand in line for the porta-potties.
i wasn't having so much fun when i made it to my next exchange for my last run. it was a 6 mile moderate run. i started out feeling weak on my legs, but still in charge. about mile 2, i realized i was going to have to push through. by mile 3, i not only was hurting, but i was really discouraged. seeing my van only made me feel worse, as i knew they were waiting for me. i pushed myself harder, but it only made me feel weaker and slower. i ended stopping a couple of times and just walking slowly. my body just did not want to run. i decided to run 10 minutes, and walk 2 minutes. i watched the clock like crazy, but it was so hard to keep myself moving. when i had about 1.5 miles left, there were some crazy uphills, and i just knew i was going so slow. the sun was hot, and there was a terrible headwind. and i just felt crappy. i had my allergies flare up, my nose was running and my eyes were burning. but i pushed though.
when i handed off i felt like a total looser. here i was, running a 6 mile cakewalk, and i bombed it. i was so completely exhausted. my legs were gone, and my body was mad. everything from my feet to my hand joints were aching, and my hip was screaming at me. but i was done. i immediately felt like i was going to barf, and i did cry. real tears streamed out of my itchy allergied eyes.
officially it was the best wasatch back race i had ever participated in. we finished in 30 hours, at a 9.3 minute mile average. we came in 29th for overall women. for me though, it was my worst race ever. even though i had a blast with my van mates, i felt discouraged about my performance.
the thing about the wasatch back is realizing that it isn't all about you, or about your one team or any of that. even when i was passed, or on the rare occasion i did pass someone, it almost felt like a community of runners out there. i had a lot of friends running this year, on a lot of different teams, and it was fun to see them. there were 1000 teams participating. that made it around 12 thousand people on the racecourse. it felt pretty amazing to be sharing an experience like that.
my team mates made it wonderful too. i now have another 5 best friends who don't care if i belch loudly, stink up the van, say silly things, or complain about the porta potties for the 100th time. they like me, even though i'm slow.