Sunday, August 7, 2016

Race Recap: Burning River 8-person 100 Mile Relay

I am writing this post with about three hours sleep.  Last night I ran Leg 7 of the Burning River Relay with the Mother Runners.  The 16.1 mile leg starts at Pine Hollow and finishes at Botzum.  There are lots of hills and stream crossings in between.  So. Many. Hills.

I met many of the Mother Runners at the pasta dinner on Friday night.  They were super-nice and supportive, but that didn't alleviate my anxiety about looking like a rookie.  The margaritas helped, though.

Mother Runners before dinner.  We look like this when we run, too.

Originally we had predicted the start time for my leg to be at 10:17 PM.  I like running at night, and I don't mind trail running at night, so I purposely chose this leg in the relay.  Well, things happen in trail races, and at midnight I was sitting in my car thinking about my life choices:

This is EXACTLY how I look at midnight when I am re-thinking my life choices.

Three of the Mother Runner teams had decided to run together, and this wasn't necessarily a comfort to me.  Could I keep up with these women?  What if I fell? What if I couldn't handle 16 trail miles?

I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself (I'm sure nobody has ever noticed this about me), and I often have to remind myself that NOBODY IS THINKING ABOUT ME AT ALL.  This often helps me to chill out and JUST DO IT.

At 1:00 AM, I was still waiting, and then the drama started: One of the three women with whom I was running Leg 7 lost her mind and punked out on the race.  Just handed me her bib and bailed.


I had to text my team captain to let her know.  I felt terrible for her team because they had to take care of it, but my other Leg 7 partner Didi and I agreed that we were glad we wouldn't be running with her for 16.1 miles since she was a piece of work.

Leg 6 runners handed off to Didi and me around 1:10, and we were off.  Didi is just a damned kid, by the way, so I had to tell her to remember that I'm an old lady and rein it in somewhat. She was a fabulous running partner--very kind and very chill.  We kept each others' spirits up, and I think we were BADASSES.  The last 1.5 miles were on the road and Towpath, and we decided to pull out all the stops.  I'm really proud to say that I was running 9:17 miles at the end.  The runner's high was incredible; I think I could have done a few more miles.

This gave me a lot of confidence for my future Akron Marathon and more importantly for next week's Ragnar Trail Relay in West Virginia.  I've been dissecting the run, trying to figure out why I felt so good, and I think I've pinpointed three reasons:

1.  Freaking BADASS and awesomely-zen running partner.

2.  Temps were just right--mid fifties with low humidity.

3.  Since Saturday morning, I had not stopped stuffing my face.  Seriously, I ate EVERYTHING: pasta, zucchini, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, green beans, roasted turkey. . .also ice cream. I didn't manage to really take a good nap on Saturday, so I think the food carried me through.  I ate a few cookies and a small triangle of grilled cheese, and I drank ginger ale at the two aid stations, and that fueled me better than GU. I need to remember to eat more at Ragnar; I know I didn't fuel sufficiently last year.

Anyway, this was a wonderful experience, and if the Mother Runners invite me back, I intend to choose Leg 7 again. . .unless I decide to try for a 4-person relay.  What????

Thank you to all the volunteers in this race; you are the soul of the race, and I was so grateful for your cheerfulness (and ginger ale) in the wee hours of the morning.  Thank you to the Mother Runners for including me in this empowering experience.  Thank you Didi, for sticking with me.

To conclude, Peeps, I suggest you take my friend Shia LaBeouf's advice.  You may be surprised at what you can achieve.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

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