I brought oatmeal with me to eat for breakfast this morning, and forgot to bring a spoon. Ty had a plastic knife with her, so I used that to eat my oatmeal (and it actually worked out pretty well). There was HUGE line of cars at the starting line, so we ended up dropping Ty (runner #1) off and then we went to the first exchange point to wait for her.
As soon as we dropped Ty off, it started raining. Awesome. The first exchange point was at a church, and they were super nice to allow us to use their bathrooms and wait inside if we wanted. When it was close to time for Ty to come through, we went to the exchange point, which was very crowded. There was no organization whatsoever for the relay teams, and it was hard to see the runners coming. Thankfully, we were all wearing the sparkle skirts, which made it much easier to spot our team members!
I was runner #2, so Ty passed me the belt we had to wear. The relay team members had to wear THREE bibs--one on back that says "RELAY", an individual bib on front, and then the person who was running had to wear a belt with another bib. Ridiculous.
I fumbled getting the belt on for a minute, but took off running. The first tenth of a mile or so was downhill, and I was scared I was going to slip and fall in the rain. I was running with some fast marathoners, which was a strange experience. Ty's pace was something like 9:00/mi, and I was running at about an 8:30/mi pace, so I was passing marathoners who were aiming for about a 3:45 finish time. If I was running the full distance, there is no way I would be passing them!
I won't name any names (ahem, Detroit Runner), but whoever told me that Glass City was pancake flat was totally lying. At least my section was really hilly! They weren't huge hills, but they were very noticeable.
For the first two miles, I was running an 8:30 pace, and I was just ahead of some guys that were talking really loudly (they were running the marathon). They were really annoying, talking about how they were irritated that the spectators weren't cheering when they went by (let me just say, I am SO grateful for all the spectators that showed up, despite the pouring rain!!). I couldn't stand listening to them any longer, so I decided to disregard my plan of running at a pretty easy pace, and try to get ahead to where I couldn't hear them anymore.
Shortly after that, I passed this big guy who was running the relay. As soon as I passed him, he made this grunting noise and obviously picked up speed to pass me. I was kind of humored by that, so I picked up my own speed and passed him again. And so it went for the next three miles.
He was getting kind of mad every time I passed him, which I thought was funny, and he became my rabbit for this race. I really wanted to beat him. With about a mile and a half to go, I gained quite a bit on him, and thought I'd lost him. Then with just one mile left, he came up and blew past me. I picked up my pace again, and was running about a 7:45/mi pace, but he must have been running about a 7:15/mi pace, and I couldn't catch him. Dammit!
When I got close to the exchange, I could see my teammates really easily because of the skirts, and I handed the belt to Debbie. I was pretty impressed with my time!
Debbie was super nervous about this race, even though we kept telling her that it was just for fun. She's done 5K's before, but this was the longest distance she'd have run (4.75 miles). The rest of us drove to the next exchange point, and waited for Debbie, which actually didn't take long. She was way ahead of the time she expected. She was SO adorable when she finished--she started crying and hugging Jeanie. This was probably my favorite moment of the race.
Debbie had handed the belt off to Jen, so we all piled back in the car and drove to the next exchange to wait. Jen finished faster than she expected, too. And finally, Jen handed the belt off to Jeanie for the fifth and final leg.
Jeanie had written the race director to ask if we were allowed to cross the finish line as a team, and they said sure. So while Jeanie was running, Jen, Debbie, Ty, and I all went to the 26 mile marker to wait for her. The rain finally slowed to a drizzle just before Jeanie got there. When I saw her coming, I ran ahead to get a picture of her running, and then I hopped in to run alongside her and then the other girls joined in as well.
We finished in 4:25:14, a 10:08/mi pace--not bad at all! We were predicting 5 hours, so we were surprised to finish much sooner, but all of us ran faster than we thought we would. After we got our medals, we took a team picture:
|Jen, Jeanie (my sister), me, Debbie, and Ty|
I think that a relay like this is the perfect way for a new runner to experience a race, too. Since your time is collective as a team, rather than individual runners, there is no pressure at all to aim for a certain pace. It's all about fun! And you have a personal cheerleading team waiting for you at the end of your leg ;)
I'm really glad that I got my sub-2 half-marathon a couple of weeks ago at the Martian race, because this course would have been really difficult to get that time. Most of my leg was through the woods on a tiny trail, and I couldn't pass people, which was frustrating. But other than that, I enjoyed the course (everyone else said they did, too), and I would definitely do it again next year! Hopefully with better weather, of course.