Team 86: In ‘N’ Out ‘Til We’re Done
This was my first time captaining a relay team. I knew I could pull a team together but coughing up the entire team’s registration fee in advance was a smidge worrisome. It all worked out though cuz my team was good folk! This was also my first time wearing my new Maui Jim’s sunglasses. They were amazing invaluable in the SoCal sun!
Actually, I can’t say enough about how proud I am of my awesome, awesome teammates! They were fierce in the face of cramps, IT band issues, brutal heat, night-time nausea, last-minute wake-up calls, and of course just plain ‘ol exhaustedness.
J and I decided to split up between vans. We had a lot of newbs and no one knew everyone so we divided and conquered. He led Van 1 and I led Van 2. This was good because we do things differently. Very differently. It worked out famously and each van had a great time in their own way.
I am particularly proud of the members of Van 2 as they managed to last through the entire relay with me. They ran hard and they were very helpful to each other. They were quick to jump out with a water bottle to support our runner and got out to cheer them in at every exchange, even at 3 am. I didn’t even have to ask them to refill the ice chest or take out the trash when we stopped. How awesome is that?! So awesome.
Check out my super video.
Round 1 – Friday Heat
Starting at Huntington Beach, it was beautifully overcast and cool at 7:30 am. Some of the team hit traffic on the 710 South and we literally got Elliott bibbed and tagged about 5 minutes before our heat started. A sign of things to come for poor Elliott.
By the time runner 3 (Jason) finished his leg near the Angels stadium is was already heating up. By the time runner 6 (Missy) finished in Yorba Linda, it was over 80 degrees.
The Friday heat was referred to as “brutal” at the beginning and ending and middle of every leg after that. My male runners in Van 2 had to take walk breaks it was so brutal. I believe the temps bumped into the 90’s in Corona with a heat index (or the perceived temp) of high 90’s/100’s. Just in time for my 5.5 mile leg through shadeless, windless hills.
While I was mentally trying to determine what heat stroke would feel like during my first leg, the bright side to it all was that I able to keep jogging along up the hills. This was in large part due to my awesome team support with ice water and grapes and my not-to-shabby training. And because I was able to keep moving, I passed 14 runners-who-had-been-reduced-to-walkers! DOUBLE DIGIT ROADKILL!
Round 2 – Beautiful Night
Sometime around midnight we started our second legs for Van 2. Van 1 had a ton of mileage to cover and some of their runners had to struggle through some pains and ill feelings. That meant we had ample time for some rest and relaxation before starting our second legs. And we KILLED IT!
For round 2, our van only had a total of 22 miles to cover. These were the shortest legs for most of us. On top of that, we were so excited to have cool 55 degree temps to run in so we busted through those legs pretty fast. Poor Van 1 barely got an hour of rest. Their #1 runner, Elliott, had went off to sleep without his cell phone and Jason couldn’t find him until 10 minutes before our last runner came in. He finished like he started. In a hurry.
I gotta say I love the night legs. Mine was mainly downhill. I was passed by more than passed me, I’m afraid, but it was pleasant. Well, all except for the creepy 3 AM animal sounds which are being attributed to wild peacocks.
Round 3 – Saturday Fog
It was weird to arrive at exchange 30 (around 4:30 am), be able to hear the exchange and the excitement of the first runner coming through, but not be able to see a damn thing; no lights in the distance or anything. Fog. When I “got up” (didn’t really sleep) it was light out but I still couldn’t see very far into the distance. I got my runners up, we had some breakfast and got prepared to bring it home from the glider port in Torrey Pines all the way to Coronado Island.
Our last legs had some great scenery through La Jolla and down to the marinas. Unfortunately for Liz, her 11 mile leg turned into a 13.5 miler when about 20 runners got lost around the harbor. Nothing like finishing a long distance relay with a half marathon effort.
Saturday was a mostly cool and overcast day, with one brief hot spell during Scott’s last leg. Actually, finishing on Coronado Island was downright chilly with the ocean wind. I was happy my team was willing to put on out costumes for the finish line dash and team photo at the end. We got a lot of cheers for our costume and even more orders for double doubles, animal style.
-Crowded: As of now, this is the largest relay I’ve participated in with about 530 finishing teams. The positive side to that is there were always runners to pass, talk to, cheer for, and see up ahead to make sure you were still on the right road. The negative side, of course, is the crowded exchanges and the inability to use smaller venues (like churches and schools who sell food for a fundraiser) as exchanges. I think we passed through one exchange that was selling food. Bummer.
-Volunteers: In order to fulfill our team’s volunteer requirement, we got one super awesome person to be a SWAT volunteer. She was partially in charge of major exchange 18 and was there for like 20 hours straight. She is amazing. She is also fundraising for Team in Training right now and our team is going to make a large donation toward her goal.
-Overall it was a wonderful event and I would totally do it again. Maybe I should try to do an ultra team next year…?