Sunday, May 3, 2015

Pro Football HOF Relay and a Giveaway!

Beast Mode 5 got the job done on Sunday, 4/26, the day of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Relay.  It was my first experience with a relay, and I'm glad it was this particular race.

I was a bit worried about running my 10k leg (#1) because I had run the Gold Jacket 5k the day before, and I ran it hard enough to just miss a PR.

I know I had written that I was going to go bright and early to Belden Village to take the shuttle, but Michael (Leg 3) lives just across the park from the starting line, so we parked at his house and I used the park as a warm up.
This is Michael.  He saved us from shivering in a parking lot at 4:00 AM.
We met the other members of The Ohio Runners Network (TORN) on the Hall of Fame steps for a photo op:

We are fresh and ready!

And then we got a special Beast Mode 5 pic:

Check out the headbands. Beast Mode 5: Does the name scare you?  NO????
After that we waited for the start.  And waited.  Unfortunately, the lines for the shuttle were super long, and rather than start without all of those people, Jim chose to give them another ten minutes.  I think that's a really difficult call for a race director to make because you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.  Some people were really cold, but I felt ok because the sun was coming out and I was crammed next to a bunch of runners in the corral.  Plus, I was excited.

If you read my post about the Gold Jacket 5k, you know that I was irritated that I couldn't get around the walkers in the first mile of the race.  I was really worried that I would have the same problem, and because I was the first leg of the relay I didn't want to screw up our team by having a slow start.  Luckily, starting in the 9:00/mile corral was exactly what I needed; I was able to get into my groove soon after crossing the starting gate.

I felt great running my 10k leg.  The course had a few small hills, but nothing a Beast Mode 5 team member couldn't handle.  I stayed at a pace I thought I could handle for six miles and still push myself at the end, and as a result, I PR'd the 10k by over three minutes!  Unfortuately, my time isn't officially recorded because even though I crossed a finish mat,  the slap bracelet I was wearing didn't register my individual leg--just the overall time of the team.  I'm disappointed, but at least I know what I can do for my next 10k (Akron Rubber City Series).

The exchange points were really well-organized, but that didn't stop Beast Mode 5 from screwing it up right away.  I lost at least 30 seconds, maybe a minute, because I couldn't find Brad.  I suspect he was in the Port a Potty, but I would never say that publicly.  Oh wait. . .
I guess I did say that publicly. Way to go, Brad!

Anyway, Brad, Michael, and Mandy were awesomely speedy in running their legs, but I still had a few hours to wait for Joy to come in.  The day was beautifully bright, but there was a cold, cold wind blowing.  Luckily, I had brought a change of pants and I already had my amazing finisher's blanket, which I immediately wrapped around myself while I huddled on the field and ate some food.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I'm huddling on the field with a blanket and a hoodie.

Great food, by the way:  Subway sandwich, spicy rice chips, Caveman bar, bananas, chocolate milk.  Yum!

When it was time for Joy to come in, we were waiting for her at the entrance to the stadium for our relay team finish, and it was fabulous!  We loved running in together while the announcer called our team name.

Beast Mode 5 races in.  What you don't know is that my pants were falling down here.  What a dork.

We collected our medals and posed for our post-race pic:

Tired, dirty, and happy

Would I do this again?  Yep!  I loved running with a team, and this was a fun race to try.  The pluses: the course (challenging, some nice residential parts), the medals (sooo awesome), the food, the finisher's blanket (soft and warm!).  The minuses:  the unexpected wait at the start, no record of times on individual legs.  I think these could be easy fixes when Jim gets together with his team to plan for next year.  I do have one more suggestion that would have made the cold wind, the wait, and the lack of an individual finish time much more bearable: BEER.  Michael, Brad, and I agreed that beer would have really helped us feel better about waiting in the cold wind for Mandy and Joy, but it certainly isn't a deal breaker as there are a lot more positives than negatives about the race.  Maybe I'll bring a deck of cards while I'm waiting next time.  And a space heater.

I'd like to thank Jim Chaney for giving me the opportunity to blog for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon, Half Marathon, and Relay.  I hope this is only the beginning of our partnership, and I intend to continue blogging about the Gold Jacket 5k when I run another one.  Would you like to run one with me?  You have a few more days left in my Giveaway.  Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This week I ran my last long run until the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon.  Eleven miles (eight of them on the trails), and I'm ready to collapse.  My taper starts. . . NOW.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!