"I learned that I love hills (yes, this IS a positive). By the end of the run, I was almost begging for more hills. That's less because I'm good at them and more because you use slightly different muscles when you climb them. But still, they were fun! And they come with a built in "instant gratification" (instant compared with the 2.5 hours it takes to finish a half marathon) --at the top of them, there is relief. "
The hills I was referring to in this post I have demoted from hill status to anthills. Small anthills, for small ants. Real hills can be found in Vermont, along Route 100 between Stowe and Okemo Mountain.
This past weekend, I ran the 100 on 100 Relay Race in Vermont with five of some of my now-closest friends. We began running at 7am and finished running at 9:32pm, clocking in at 14:32. Each of us ran three times for distances ranging from 2.5 miles to 8.7 miles (these are the extremes). All in all, I ran 15.9 miles, 10 of those being uphill.
In case you didn't catch that, 10 of those miles were uphill.
My last leg, no pun intended, where I ran uphill for 6.7 miles.
Since I made a big deal about my shin problems in my last two posts, I'll go ahead and say that my shin gave me no problems in this race. I was very worried about it, and while my physical therapist said I would be okay, she didn't have high hopes that I would be able to run for about a week afterward. Haven't tried to run yet, but walking has not posed any problems so far.
So hills are hills, and they are hard to run up, and they are even harder to run up when you're tired. I think I did these 6.7 miles in about 1hr 15min.
We all had hills, though. You should see the elevation map for Jenny's, our runner 6, first leg of the race, or Arthur's, our runner 2, last leg of the race. We all had hills. That's Vermont for you!
So a bit more about this race. The 100 on 100 is a bit unusual, because it is a 100 mile relay race and most relay races are 200 miles. The great thing about that is that you get it done in one day, whereas the 200 mile ones last at least 24 hours. Also, we only had 6 people on our team whereas the 200 mile ones have 12.
There were 130 teams competing this year, and for a race that is only in it's 5th year of existence, that's pretty awesome. What's cool about this one is that they have various start times for different teams, depending on your average team pace, and they try to make it so that everyone finishes between 9 and 10pm. It turns into a "party" for the last few legs since there are so many teams running at the same time.
I recommend that everyone do a relay race for the following reasons:
1) You will get to know the people in your van very well. This is because you get to see their extremely excited, high-endorphin side post-running, and their groggy, grumpy low-energy side as the fatigue starts to hit before they run again. I think that my team saw a little bit more of the latter than the former from me (sorry team!).
2) You'll kick butt. There's no way not to kick butt in this. Chris, our runner 3, had never run more than 6 miles before she did this race, and she ran a total of 15 miles. 15 miles!! And she was amazing! Even on her last leg when she had some unexpected hills. Seriously, you can't not rock this, your adrenaline will be so high with all the cheering from your team and other teams, from the sugar cookies you've been eating the whole day, and from your desire to just be done with running. In all honesty, if you're even a little bit of a runner, you'll love this kind of race. When else will running be a team sport?
3) Most relay races that I've read about are set in beautiful areas of the country. There's one in New Hampshire called Reach the Beach, that goes along the southern end of the state and ends at the coast. There's also a Reach the Beach in the west, I'm not sure in which state. There are also several in Colorado. If you want to find out more, just google "running relay race" and you'll find them.
4) You meet such inspiring people from the area and from around the country. There was a woman who was running my legs and helped me with the hills by tell me to "go slow and steady, with small baby steps" to get through them. There was also a 12-person team there called "Cody's Crew" (2 people ran at a time) and they all met on a running website. The team captain's son Cody died of Neoroblastoma a year and a half ago at the age of 6 1/2 and they have been raising money to go towards research for a cure. While their mission is serious and the story sad, they are so enthusiastic about the race and so willing to share the story with curious onlookers. They have a pirate theme and run with a personalized "Cody's Crew" pirate flag.
5) It's just fun. You run, you stretch, you drive, you wait, you cheer your team on, you eat, etc. etc. and then repeat that three times. Ok, I'll admit it, unless you're a runner that probably doesn't sound like much fun, but just trust me on this one.
Now I'm not saying you should all go out and sign up for a relay now. I am saying that you should go and visit Vermont because wow it's beautiful this time of the year.
Thanks to all of the towns along Route 100 that let the race happen, and for the transition space. Thanks also to the volunteers who made this day run so smoothly.
The race came at the perfect time for me. I was feeling overwhelmed by the looming marathon date and the loads of training that need to happen and the race helped me to feel ready to tackle the coming month and a half.
Thank you Jenny, Chris, Arthur, Liz and Carl for running an awesome race this weekend!
What's next for me?
The Harwich Cranberry Festival half marathon on October 3, 2010. My Mom will be in town for this so I'll have my first half marathon spectator!! I'm very excited for this.
The big day, however, is October 17th, when I will run my first marathon in San Francisco! I'm still fundraising away and training like it's my job.