Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reach the Beach 2011!!!

I'm writing this the Friday night before the Mohawk Hudson Marathon and I should be packing for it, but I'm so far behind in this blog, I felt like I just needed to post about Reach the Beach, which happened three weeks ago.  I still have another post about my August multisporting, but that one will have to wait until after the marathon post....

Anyways, so three weeks ago I did the Reach the Beach Relay again!!!  It was my third Ultra relay since May, and my third time doing the NH RTB Relay with team Front Runners NY Ultragays.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's almost gotten to the point where running 30ish miles over 24 hours is not that big of a deal.  Almost...

But it's still a TON of fun.  The most fun I've ever had doing any kind of running activity has been during these relay races.  Part of it is that I get to spend the weekend with some great friends.  There's the camaraderie and the friendly competition.  There's the support and encouragement that you get from your teammates.  There's also the gossip, the jokes, the wisecracks, and chatting.  And of course, the grogginess, sleeplessness, stinkyness and soooore-ness.  But through it all, I got to hang out with a wonderful group of people, and we all did some really great racing.

The Ultragays this year consisted of me, Mike Terry, Josh, Darin, Gabe and Peter.  I've done Ultra relays with all of them before (it was my 4th time with Josh and Mike!)  We had both a driver AND a den mother, so that was really nice.  Bryce took control of the van for the full 36 hours' worth of driving, and Ben was our cheerleader / Gatorade hander-outer / and Twitterer extraordinaire.

Gabe did some great work decorating the van!

 Polly's Pancake Parlor is always one of the highlights of the race!

My first leg was about 3.87 miles of uphill, but for some reason it didn't feel uphill at all.  I think I was just really pumped up on adrenaline that I felt like I was flying. I had my Garmin on so I knew I was going around 6:30-6:35 pace.  One of the other FRNY teams (there were SIX Front Runners teams--4 men's and 2 women's) was just a few minutes behind us and Mikey B was running my leg, so I think I felt a little pressure to not get passed by him.

By Leg 2, though, I started feeling the hills.  It was 5.19 miles, which I did around 6:40 pace.  I don't remember a whole lot about this leg.

Leg 3 was my hardest leg by far.  It was just past midnight when I started.  Josh was passing off to me, but I didn't see him coming until he was about 50 yards away.  I was still wearing my hoodie and sweatpants when he came up to give me the slap-band.  I was totally not ready for him.  And then, as soon as I left the transition area, I had to climb this enormous mountain.  I couldn't see anything and all I knew was that I had a steep, steep climb for over a mile.  That first mile came to about 8 minutes, with me running as fast as I possibly could.  It was so hard.

And then I had to come downhill, which was even scarier.  I was going so fast and it was so dark and so steep, I almost felt like I might not have been fully in control.  I couldn't see if there were any cracks or potholes in the road.  I remember thinking that if I stepped on a branch and got my legs entangled, I'd be in huge trouble.  I ran mile 3 in 6:10.  It was crazy.  And then I had another huge uphill followed by an steep downhill again.  It was just a brutal, brutal leg, and was my slowest.  About 6.5 miles at 7 minute pace.

Just to show how all over the place I was, here are my splits (in half-mile increments) for that leg.  Fastest 1/2 mile was 6:06 pace, and slowest was 8:09!  Ugh, it was so hard.

My last three legs were a little easier.  Leg 4 was 3.5 miles at a 6:37 pace.  By that time, I was probably a little delirious.  I really don't remember anything from that run.

With Leg 5, I was at the point where I was dreading having to go on my run.  My legs felt so sore, I could barely walk.  But at 5.6 miles, it was one of my longer legs.  So I had to pull it together.  Somehow I managed, with a 6:47 pace.

By Leg 6, I just couldn't wait for it to be over.  At the transition area, there was another team of Ultra runners (team Are We There Yet?) waiting for their runner as I was waiting for Josh.  They had started 20 minutes before us (so we were about 20 minutes faster than them), but we could tell they were competitive and wanted to pass us.  The guy running against me looked really fast, so I was nervous.  Josh came in first.  And when he gave me his slap band, I just booked it fast as I could go.  My legs were jello by then but I knew I just had four miles to go I so I pushed strong.

And then it happened.  The friggin stop light turned red and the traffic cop made me stand still while he let traffic through. He had the nerve to joke with me that I was "lucky to get a break."  I was so angry.  I had run so fast to get ahead of that guy from Are We There Yet, and then I had to stand there and wait for him to catch up to me.  For like eternity I was standing there.  Ugh.

I ended up getting to the transition a few seconds before the other guy, but not by much.  He definitely made a lot of time on me, since he was faster and didn't have to wait at the light.  I did my 4.03 miles at 6:55 pace.  If you deduct the 55 seconds I was waiting for the light, then a 6:41 pace, which sounds much better.  I was so, so, so glad to be done, though.

But then, there got to be a little bit of a race between us and team Are We There Yet.  Granted, they did start 20 minutes before us, so they weren't really our competition.  But their 5th runner ended up passing Peter on his last leg.  And as he came running into the transition before Peter, he shouted out to us, in the most obnoxious way, "Oooohhh, where's YOUR guy??"  Jerk.  I thought it was really unsportsmanlike.  So of course, I wanted to kick their ass.  Luckily, we had Darin as our anchor, and he just blew right past their 6th runner.  Take that, suckers.  How you like gettin' crushed by a a group of gays!  Hahhaahaa...

When we saw Darin coming in on the beach, I was so happy!  We all ran through the finish line with him, thrilled at being finished, and so excited about our excellent race!  We ended up finishing the 191.92 miles in 21:13:29, or a smoking 6:38 pace!  (I did my 28.67 miles in a 6:44 pace, which I was THRILLED about!).  We were 11th place overall out of 434 finishers, and 2nd in the Men's Ultra division, right behind the FRNY Mission Men.  I was so pleased with our performance, and so happy I got to do the race with some of my best friends, and also very glad that I got to see every other Front Runner team along the way.  Congratulations to the other FRNY Teams: Mission Men, The Clowns'll Get Me, the Real Front Runners of New York, the U-Haulers, and the Ultragays for Women.  And a HUGE congratulations and THANK YOU goes out to my team, the Front Runners New York Ultragays, for your amazing racing and for giving me an wonderful, wonderful experience that I'll never forget.