On Monday, I revealed that I was doing my first ever relay and the nerves that came with it. Throughout the week, the anxiety never subsided and by the time Friday rolled around, I can honestly say that I was still not sure how I felt about a weekend relay race with people I barely knew, but were kind enough to invite me on this adventure. But today, I’m back to report that it was a FAN-FRICKIN-TASTIC weekend and I’m so glad that I stuck to my 2011 goal of making the most out of every opportunity.
I’ll skip the car ride and bring you to Friday night when we all met up at this fine cabin. Inside the log walls was Ralph, Corinne, Tiffany, Todd, Lloyd, Angel and myself.
Ralph, our ring leader and uber-excel/analytics obsessed, had already prepared a spreadsheet of last year’s relay, the pace the each of previous team member ran on each of the legs. Whoa there, nelly. I haven’t been training for this (let alone at this altitude) and cannot compare to last year’s performance. As anyone with any sense of race nerves might guess, it wasn’t getting any easier for me to swallow this.
Thus, to prevent boring you to tears and writing a mini-novel, let me break down the relay for you like this (and mostly with photos, because who doesn’t like photos?!)
The relay consists of seven legs that run the complete perimeter of Lake Tahoe:
- Leg 1: 9.6 mi.
- Leg 2: 8.2 mi.
- Leg 3: 10.3 mi.
- Leg 4: 12.3 mi.
- Leg 5: 10.6 mi.
- Leg 6: 10.5 mi.
- Leg 7: 10.5 mi.
I was assigned to the first leg and technically knew that my leg was flat with a good climb at the end, but what I didn’t realize was that the altitude difference would eat my soul and legs alive, and that the climb was pretty brutal. Now lets get to some photos already!
One of the best parts of a relay is that 100 percent support you have from your team along the entire course. I was so baffled and grateful at how every single on of my team members was so genuinely supportive (not to mention fun). This has to be the number one reason I enjoyed this race.
However, this is also where the pain started to set in…the hills were picking up, my lungs felt like they were on fire (I NEED MORE OXYGEN) and I told Corinne that I’ve had to go the bathroom since mile 3 (and there are no port-a-potties on the course). Things were not looking pretty.
After climbing one of the hills, Corinne ran out to me with a bag of TP. As much as I wanted to stop and go, I wasn’t about to a) go the bathroom in front of my teammates (who had already apparently scoped out a spot for me), or b) waste time and let my team down.
So I powered through the last two miles – lungs burning and feeling like total crap. Overall, I bonked. My body simply wasn’t prepared for this elevation change – so I took my 7:15 pace and sent Angel off on the hardest leg of the race…all uphill.
Holy huge medal!
We circled the lake in 8:57:45 (7:28 pace per mile), finishing 17th overall and 6th in the Open Coed division. Most of the team (myself included) would gripe that we all had a bad day and when we compare it to what we each know we are capable of, sure we each could have run faster. But this race did teach me a thing or two:
- Relays are f-ing awesome
- You will look like crap the entire day, but it’s totally worth it
- TRAIN AT HIGH ALTITUDES!
- Never hesitate on an opportunity to make a new adventure
- Your worst run in always better than a day at the computer
Oh, and wine and Ralph’s salmon are new post-race mandatories!