Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Turning my Husband into a Runner

Runner 1, despite being 2.2 miles off course, finished strong and with a smile, and handed off to our second runner, who blazed through his awesome course that took us through the battle fields of Gettysburg. Although two of our three teams ran together for the first leg, our second runner was much faster than their second runner, so we lost our buddy system pretty quickly. And then it was Runner 3's turn:

That's my Husband

Ben had run a 5k here and there before agreeing to do this, and had put in a lot of effort into adding distance to his ability. He was so nervous about letting our team down, and most worried about his first run as it would be the most difficult of the three he'd be doing. I think the butterflies fueled his run, because he did awesome, breaking personal records for his 10k even though he had to run up and down hills here.

And then... our other team's third runner "killed" him. (I learned that's what you call passing someone on the road in the relay community), giving their team's fourth runner a good head start on our Runner 4 - he ultimately wasn't able to make up the distance, as he had a particularly grueling 8 miles up and downhill to complete before handing off to Runner 5.

Me.

I knew that our two teams Runner 6's wanted to run their leg together and would wait at all costs for each other (it is widely known that Runner 6 has the toughest legs of the race, with this particular leg being 6 miles straight up hill). Since the other runner 5 from our second team had a good head start, I had my work cut out for me trying to narrow the distance between me and her. I took off at my sub 9:00/mile pace, and felt pretty good when I had two "kills" of my own ( "Chick'd", rather - that's when you are passed by a girl, apparently).

And that's when the hills kicked in. I knew I was in trouble when I felt a cramp come on. I HAD NEVER cramped up running before, not even during the two half marathons I did in 2012. I cursed the flat terrain of central NJ - and my lack of foresight in only using a 1.0% incline on the treadmill - for not preparing me adequately for this. When Map My Run told me at 2.1 miles I was barely hanging on to a 9:14 mile pace, I knew my sub 9 race average was not going to become a reality. This first leg, at 4.5 miles, was supposed to be of "medium" difficulty.

Sure. Maybe to a gazelle.

I ended my first leg with an average time of 9:09, learned I had done a pretty good job closing the gap on the other team's runner 5, and we bid farewell to our Runner 6s. We were all looking forward to our first of three well deserved naps with the hand-off of the baton to the next six runners awaiting us in our second van.

The night time runs began for us right about sunset, and were fairly uneventful. Nobody got lost. This time around, our Runner 4's stuck together, and I got to hang out on my second leg with the other team's Runner 5. A good thing, too, as it was 10:00 at night and our leg was along a main road that was pretty uninteresting. This was to be the easiest of my three legs - 4.0 miles with gently rolling hills - but I think the long day and lack of sleep were already starting to wear on me. 9:14/mile pace.

My favorite part about this portion of the course though was that it ended right near an angel's house. Ok, not really, but a close friend who actually knew many people on our three teams very well lived along the route, and each year she opens up her doors for us to take showers and sleep - albeit for a very short period of time - on beds, couches, air mattresses, anything she has to offer. A clean and grateful me laid my head to sleep on a pillow and air mattress, and figured someone would come wake me when it was time to lace up again.

I figured incorrectly.

Today's Exercise:  Rest

Breakfast
Lunch
Snack
Dinner
3 Eggs, spinach, Coffee
Tuna Salad,
peppermint tea
WalnutsPaleo taco salad

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