Sunday, September 14, 2008

I survived and lived to tell about it..Part One.

I decided I will probably not be a good candidate of "Survivor" at this point of my life. I did however, have the time of of my life at the Colorado Relay this weekend. We left on Thursday and flew to Denver:

where we shopped as a team of 11 in the local Walmart. Snacks abound as we left for Whole Foods in Denver where we checked for the race in our 2 vans and had the team dinner:

We excitedly discussing our triathlon careers and weight loss. I didn't realize that Mike, Tim and Brian had lost a total of about 300 lbs between them in the last 5 years. They compared old license pictures:

After that, we headed to Georgetown. After a team meeting in the hot tub:

We hunkered down for our last night of sleep in a real bed for 48 hours. Up at 4:00 AM, I looked outside and it was pouring rain! Not the just dripping silent type of rain, but the kind that sounds like a deluge on the ground. OK, so we are going to run in the's official. We headed off to the starting line and there were the other 249 teams, checking in as we all anticipated a real test of endurance in these conditions. Dread Pirate, our team captain and I listened, outside in the pouring rain, as the race director said, "Some people treat this Relay as a race, some as an adventure with your friends. In these conditions, I suggest you treat this as the latter." We heard along the way that these were the worst starting conditions ever in the past 5 years anyway, of the Relay. Here we are ready to begin the adventure:

Tim, the bravest of us all, started the first leg of the race:

Jane, our fearless leader, was pretty psyched for her leg.\

Off Margaret went on leg 3, in the snow (she loves running in the snow-no kidding):

On the way up this pass, the van we were driving decided it had had enough and just slid into a stop, not 200 yds from the top:

Luckily, a nice man in a Bronco, towed up to the top of the pass, where Mark took off on his leg, down the mountain, in the snow

We slid the van down the mountain, where I waited for Mark to hand me the bracelet, which was the hand off object for the relay.

Here I go!

I started running as fast as I could down the road, Ipod on, feeling fabulous-flying..All of a sudden I hear a car honk and Tim yelling at me from the van: Debi-you missed the turn! Oh damn-I had to run up the hill to connect up with the trail head, where the real fun started. It was 5.8 miles of running straight up a mountain, to 10,700 feet and then back down to 9,000 ft. It was called Burning Bear Pass. I prefer to call it Burn My Ass Pass. It was considered "hard"... Are you kidding me? I don't even get to rate it "very hard"? I was huffing and puffing much of the way up, power walking much of it. There were large puddles of water on the trail, many streams to jump over, several inches of snow at the top, where I decided to put on my Yak Trax, which are basically little wire thingies you put on the bottom of your running shoes so you can run in the snow. These came off at the top, when I started descending on boulders and rocks and mud down a very steep narrow trail. The only thing that kept me from feeling totally like a failure was that several young looking men were even walking at the top. Note to self: Next time try practicing running at 10,000 feet! I almost bit the dust many times as I hopped and jumped my way down.. I was very stressed that my teammates would be worried about me, as I was about 45 min. off my expected arrival time but I was doing my best under the circumstances. It was raining or snowing the whole time-the only advantage of over packing, which I always do, was that I was overdressed and certainly not cold at all! I finally managed to get to the next exchange point, where Van B, the other van's first runner, Dave took over. I have never been so glad to see anyone in my life!

Next we found a place to lay down at the exchange point for our next start. We had about 5 hours to kill so DP and I found a little cubby hole in a Community Center to take a nap in. By now it was around 4:30 in the afternoon, still raining, but abating a bit.

Can I just say that I have never met anyone who could sleep as easily as Dread Pirate. She slept in the car, on the floor, anywhere she could between her running legs. I was sooo jealous!! I tried to nap here but found it very hard to sleep after all the caffeine I had consumed to run up a mountain pass.

We all met up at this point of the race to start Van A (out van) out on leg 11:

Mike had the hardest leg, up Georgia Pass, which was closed for awhile because of snow. He started out with the first group allowed to run the snow packed mountain, fell coming down and has the wounds to prove it:

He is OK, thank goodness, although road rash on your body and hand cannot feel good.

This is a picture of the masses (and Tim) as we waited for GeekGirl:

Here she is!!

Our view as we drove to meet Tim at the next exchange point:

By now it is 6:00 PM, Friday night, 12 hours after the Relay began. The sun is setting...

In the van, we laughed so much my sides hurt. We reminisced about parts of the relay, we ate and ate and ate..Margaret, Tim, Mark, Jane and I made for a very fun van ride. Tim and Mark did much of the driving (thanks guys!). Being the van driver was my previous designated job. I am so glad I got to run instead..Otherwise, we would still be up on Guinella Pass, stuck in the snow I am sure
More later as night falls...


Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

and there's more? sounds like quite an adventure already. ;-)

LBTEPA said...

OMG you people are SO INTREPID!!!

S. Baboo said...

Wow you guys have a very different start than us. All our first legs were in cold rain instead of cold snow except Mike had some snow on the ground and cold fog.

Hope you are feeling better!

WADDLER26.2 said...

What a great group of people. Love the photos.

Iron "GeekGirl" Misty said...

Could we find a fatter picture of me to put in there?? Please??