Monday, September 14, 2009

Colorado Relay Report..

This is the second year I have done this "race" I call it a "race" because it is more of a fun 2 day event with lots of fun friends with running in between...It is in all, a 170 mile run between 10 people, 2 vans and 2 drivers...

We started on Thursday at the airport, where our plane left around 12:30. Orlando and I were the only ones there until about 12:00. I thought maybe they were playing a cruel joke on us and really we were the only ones doing the relay--ha! However alas, not everyone is as anal retentive as I am and has to be at the airport 2 hours before their flight. We all got on the plane..

Anyhoo we took off and even the SWA flight attendant announced our presence on the plane: the New Mexico Triathlon Racing Team-welcome! That was cool. We all were nervously excited as we made the quick trip to Denver. After a very smooth transition into 2-15 passenger vans, we made our way to the nearest Walmart to "stock up" for the race. Now between 12 people we managed to spend about $300 in shit to eat, drink, coolers, etc..this is besides all the nutrition we each had for our own legs of the race...Needless to say, there was a wee bit left over at the end! 2 jars of unopened pickles was the funniest leftover!

Off to Breckenridge, the start of the race. We did the race check in, which was very speedy compared to last year, checked into our hotel and were at a restaurant eating massive amounts of pizza by 7:30 PM. There was Dread Pirate, who is our "team captain" and organizer extraordinaire, Mark, Margaret, Tim, Paul, Kristin, Brian, Dave, Orlando and myself. The drivers were Damon, who has more electronic GPS equipment than the airplane we came in on, (plus high falootin radios to talk to each others' vans with) and Mike, who is a runner by nature but has been injured so opted to drive. This was our crew. Most of them are faster than me and younger than me. Well, all of them are, actually. I had carefully chosen my leg by saying I want one of the easier legs! Done! I had leg 7, which was basically a 6 mile run, a 4.5 mile run and a 2.5 mile run. I was in "van B" which had the leg 5-10 in it. In short, each person had 3 runs to do at all hours of the day and night in the next 27 or so hours after the race started...

After our very serious "pre-race meeting" in the hot tub the night before, and all had slept at least a few hours, our race started at 5:30 AM in Breckenridge.
This was out intended route:

The route got shifted at the last minute. Something about rock slides on a mountain pass. So the first 4 legs got changed up a bit and we had a second start with leg 5 further down the road at 9:00 AM.



Which meant we had Brian from Van A in our van for awhile. He is new and seemed to fit in quite well as he actually did run in his underwear his last run, as we had told him this was the initiation (it wasn't)-ha!

Our van's runs started around 10:30 AM Friday with Orlando and leg 6. At this point I drank a "Rockstar" energy drink, since my first leg (7) was to follow in about an hour. We drove around to the next exchange point and I awaited Orlando, and waited, and waited....DP and Margaret were about to kill me as the Rockstar apperently made me "a little hyper" :) I continued to wait, saw Becca come in, who was doing the race with some of her friends. That was cool. But where the heck was Orlando. Visions of him lying hurt in a ditch were a concern. Making a wrong turn was really a concern as there are some big ass mountains to get lost in up there..DP started getting worried and asked the race official what they do when we cannot find our team member. Time went by...they radioed the transition area we had just left-nada....Now 2 hours into a 6 mile run and we were worried..Then, DP got it! I bet he is running your leg too Debi! Just like that we figured it out. There was a turnoff 3/4 of a mile up the road where outbound runners were going and he took that turn. Yep that was it! They found him at the next exchange point. Well, crap now what do we do? We asked the race officials if I could run that extra 1.5 miles he did not run and call it good and they said yes! I ran or rather walked fast up the hill at 10,000 feet .75 miles then hauled ass down. Done! I felt kinda wierd at this point. Kind of annoyed, kind of relieved, kind of jealous..glad Orlando was OK!!

So we sped off to Exchange 7 and found Orlando, who never ever heard the end of it the rest of the trip, you can believe that. How does one just "accidently run 6 extra miles?" Well, you would have to ask Orlando that. However, I had a dilemma: a) I was caffeinated enough to run 20 miles now b) I had eaten 3000 calories in junk food and c) I had not run yet and it was 3:00 PM! OK, so I struck a deal with Orlando. I would run leg 16 with him (his leg) and 17 on my own (my leg).
After a fruitless attempt to "sleep" for a couple of hours at 7:30 at night...we got moving to our check point..

We did not start the run until almost midnight. As we waited for the runners coming in from Vail, we saw one hysterical woman who almost got run over by a drunk and one visibly upset woman who saw a bear. Holy crap I am glad I am not running alone..Last year I had run that leg and remember how hard it was to run at night down a trafficked road. Geez! We took off for our little 3.5 mile run along the highway and it was not so bad. Orlando and I were quiet, probably a sign of fatigue and night running, which by the way is so awesome! I could see the stars and mountains-very beautiful! Then, all of a sudden I twisted my ankle, heard a "pop" and down I went. Oh shit! It hurt...I can't lie..really hurt bad for about 1 minute. Orlando helped me up. I thought Oh no-my race is over! But I willed myself to start running again..the pain left..Thank goodness that is over! Or so I thought...

Exchange 17 came and went and there I was running alone in the dark against oncoming traffic. It really was pretty even so and night runnning with music is an ethereal experience in itself. To digress a bit, I was drinking so much G-2, water and anything to keep me from being dehydrated after the fiasco last year that I just kept having to pee. Constantly..I saw probably every porta-potty at every exhange point plus a few gas station BRs..So of course I had to go right the middle of my night run, 1:00 AM or so and NO ONE was around. I saw a fire station and thought Oh that should be a safe place to make a pit stop in front of, in the weeds here.. The only thing I did not count on was the very bright motion detector that came on just as I was "doing my business" Hmmm, wonder if these guys think I am mooning them? Oh I hauled ass so fast out of there, you would not believe! OK, back on the road. It was still pretty. Then all of a sudden, Bam! Ankle turned AGAIN and I am on the ground again! This time no one to help me up. Again I just ran through the pain, probably not such a smart thing. I just refused to think about it and the pain left again..I made pretty good time on that 4.5 mile run part. I had now run 8 miles, fallen twice and almost got busted for public nudity. Not the best run ever but my time was OK, I survived the night and the next run would be in daylight-YAY!!

After I got in the van, this time I was able to sleep. I smelled like a dead animal or something but somehow managed to stop and wash up then sleep-yay! I slept right through Margaret and Jane's run. Felt a little bad about that but 2 hours of sleep by now was like gold!! Last year I had no sleep, not enough fluids and ended up puking on my friends and the van, thus cutting my little adventure short. I was WAY more respectful of the elements this year. Last year, it rained, snowed and there was mud and cold. This year it was sunny and just plain cold at night. Fantastic weather for these parts!!

Finally, the sun came up and we were down the home stretch!!! Orlando did his leg 26 and I stood right in front of him and got the exchange this time. It was a quick 2.4 miles through a town I do not remember but I made it!! There was such a high after that last run-I was done, in one piece and feeling pretty good..We watched our last 3 runners do their thing and at the end, the finish line, DP took it on in with all of us running the last block:








We were done!!




I felt in pretty good shape, no dehydration issues, nagging pain in my left ankle but was good to go. We spent Sat night in a set of 2 fabulous condos in Silverthorne, with fabulous views. I was in bed by 8:15, probably a product of my age at this point. The next morning we all had a great breakfast where Margaret made her famous "scones" (ok you could market and sell these Margaret). Lots of stories shared, laughing done and in general relishing our finish. Here are the stats:

Total Miles 170.1

Total Ascent 13,651 feet

Total decent 15,127 feet

Our Finish time was 27:40:59

Average min per mile for the 170.1 miles was 9:46..

So not too bad, heh?

Oh the only bad news was that my left ankle was now swollen into a pretty bad goose egg. Damn! R.I.C.E. for the last 2 days and it is still sore but not as swollen. After horror stories on Facebook about not healing if you run on it too soon and surgery because I did not let my sprained ankle heal I am scared straight into not runnning for a few days. I see my MD tomorrow for a physical so will check with him on the matter but I think my running friends know probably more. So I swam yesterday and I am jonesing to run!!!

I loved every minute of the Colorado Relay, well except the falling part...Good friends, great scenery, well run race and fun, fun, fun!!

Spent the night with Becca, Dan and baby on Sunday night and flew home yesterday. As I sit here this morning, I still smile when I think of the weekend and cannot wait until next year!

8 comments:

bigmike600 said...

That sounds so fun (except for the twisting ankle part). You guys did awesome. I can't believe you tricked the new guy into wearing his underwear for his last leg!!! That totally cracks me up.

Hope the ankle gets better soon. Take care.

Molly said...

Awesome report - sounds like a great time!!!

Iron Eric said...

I hope that things work out next year and I will either be able to race with you, or come watch.

Contrats!!! What an amazing time!!!

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Great job. Sounds like fun stuff

IronLa said...

Nice work! Rob likes drinking the energy drink "Mother". I stay away from that crazy stuff. Hope your ankle heals quickly!

Cody the Clydesdale said...

wow, that sounds like so much fun!

Jon Gilchrist said...

bravo for a much better experience the second time around...I'm definitely happy for you. How's your ankel now?

21stCenturyMom said...

I would love to do one of these races with good friends. I did one with a random collection of people and it isn't so great. We got tired and cranky and things totally blew up. Your experience sounds much better except for the ankle part. That part was not so great.

Happy Birthday!