Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Epic Adventure Part 3: The Heat is On

I realized in reading through my previous two posts (I always do to be sure I correct any weird errors which I always find) and I noticed that I totally missed some high (and low) lights of our first two running adventures.

Being in Van 2 meant that even though we got to enjoy a nice hot breakfast, get sunburned before leaving Beaverton and taste some fine wine along the way, we ALSO had to be running in the heat of the afternoon.  Our first runner was unfortunately our guinea pig, the poor thing.  We sent her off in the hot sun for a looooong leg with no water and a promise to "check in with her" partway through the race. 

We hung around the exchange for a bit, and then thought we should get to the halfway point.  Our poor runner was literally panting like a black dog on a porch in the south on the hottest and most humid day of the summer.  If her tongue could hang out it totally would have.  We gave her some water and set her off again.  She was our guinea pig for EVERY leg, we experimented on her like a little lab rat and always fine tuned our approach for the remaining 5 runners in our van.  We owe her.  BIG time.

We got a lot better at stopping more regularly for our runners after that.  Well, until we got to my neighbor!  We found a place to get more ice and kleenex, as whatever the kind of grass is in freaking Nowhere, Oregon, most of our van were experiencing an allergic reaction in totally different ways.  Me, I just sneezed and blew my weight in snot, running through what little kleenex we had.  But I digress. 

We filled the water jug with ice, we're hanging out all cool, chatting with another van feeling all that and a bag of chips 'cause we're in the shade and then CRAP!  There's our runner looking at us like we're the WORST PEOPLE IN THE FREAKING WORLD, and I couldn't really blame her.  She ran so much faster than we expected so we weren't ready with water for her.  Well, that's what we told her and we're sticking to that story.   Needless to say after that we were sure to have water at the ready on each of her other legs.

Our middle of the night legs were also amazing.  There's something peaceful and zen-like about running in the dark, I can't explain it.  You don't see a lot of the scenery, so it's trail by braille mostly, but the cool night air washing over you as you pound the pavement for mile upon mile is the most refreshing feeling.

I was the last leg and the sun started coming up which was incredible.  I was able to see so many things like the creepy drunk dude trying to take my spot in the van, the Willamette River below the bridge I ran on that freaked my shit right out, and the cemetery I ran by (my second reference to death after the Hearse I ran past on my first run).  I remember thinking "is the universe trying to tell me something?"

My favorite part though was running in to the high school for the next exchange, with my iPhone iTunes on FULL BLAST playing Guns N Roses "Welcome to the Jungle" as I passed a row of sleeping runners.  My phone was on speaker (I was not willing to wear headphones in the middle of the night) and I cranked it up and thought "wake up SUCKERS!" as I breezed past them to the exchange point.  Payback for them earlier in the evening.  Just sayin'.

My neighbor, we called her the energizer bunny, as our team captain was pretty amazing.  That woman can run (literally and figuratively) on almost NO SLEEP.  When we all thought we had another 34.21 minutes to sleep there she was rolling her sleeping bag up and filling out paperwork in the van.  We grabbed some decent breakfast and coffee and set off to the final exchange point for some stretching and rest.

I will say this.  If you are ever in charge of a relay race, please do me this one favor:  Have more than three Honey Buckets at the major exchanges and buy COSTCO SIZE TOILET PAPER PACKAGES SO YOU DON'T RUN OUT.  Many runners, like myself, have nervous colons and there's nothing worse than waiting in line to "make a deposit" and realizing there's no TP.  Nuff said.

Once again we ran in the heat of the day, and my final leg was no exception.  Along the way I ran through someone's yard sprinkler (OMG it felt so good I almost needed a smoke), a crematorium (reference #3 to death making me think I may not make it...) and the big ass duck pond that I ran through at the end.  I really did, ran in up to my thighs and these people were like "do you need help?!" and I said "nope, did it on purpose, but thanks!" and kept on going.  My shoes weighed about 20lbs each for the final 400M but it was worth the few extra seconds added on to my time. 

Running across the finish line with 11 amazing women runners with me was by far one of the coolest moments in my life, aside from marrying Mark and having my babies.  I started running again on December 20, 2011 and to finish the relay as the anchor leg was amazing for me.  Truly epic.  There's no other word.

And I thank God for my legs, good shoes and many roads ahead.  I'll need them, as I am prepared to face another epic challenge in my life.  I'll post about that tomorrow, so stay tuned. 

I want to thank my husband for supporting me in all my hair brained ideas (like running for example) and my children for putting up with my sweaty ass hugging and kissing them when I get home.  I also want to thank my neighbor and good friend Cyndie Burke Pelto, without you I wouldn't have taken on such a challenge and I certainly wouldn't have survived the craps without you force feeding me that damn banana.  Cheers to you my friend, you inspire me.

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