I know, I suck at blogging. Maybe I'll try to give it a whirl of blogging every day, but I'm going to be out of town for several weekends coming up so I don't know how that will work. Anyway...on to the entry I have promised for a while.
(I wrote this while at the race, so it will be a little off in terms of tense. Does that make sense? Whatev!)
I'm back for my 5th year of Reach the Beach and this year I've been training really hard and following all the workouts coach has been giving me. I'm pretty excited to see what kind of paces I'll hit. Although, I woke up this morning (Friday of the race) with a sore throat. I always get sick after this race, but this year it looks like I'll be sick during the race. And, of course, it's raining.
Coach wanted me to run a total of 20 miles between the two days so I started this morning with a 5 mile run--really slow. It was hard to keep my HR low because I would run up a hill then down a hill. Up a hill then down a hill. I kept mostly in zone 1, but I did have a couple segments in zone 2.
Things got started off properly--in the rain. At Cannon Mountain it was cold and raining. Mandy was our first runner and took on all the boys. Meantime in van 2, we headed to Quiznos to get some lunch and a convenience store to buy some sweat shirts. Boy, was it cold!
I ran my first leg around 10pm and it had stopped raining and was extremely humid. With every breath I took, it looked like it was foggy outside. It was hard to see anything with the fog and humidity and the roads I ran on were not all that great. I rolled my ankle at one point but kept on going. The first leg was also hilly, but coach's workouts must be working because the hills weren't that bad.
Well, last year we lost Dave. this year it was Nathan. Our night sleeping spot was the technical school. We arrived there around 1am and had until 3:30am to sleep. I headed off with Bridget; Dave and Bob stayed in the van; and Steve and Nathan headed in different directions. By 4am Dave was running his second leg and van 2 was off. Problem was, we didn't have Nathan and we didn't know where he was. We and van 1 started blanketing the grounds yelling his name and looking at every person in a sleeping bag. Finally we had to make the decision to move on to the next exchange and leave Nathan behind. Van 1 continued to look for him, but still couldn't find him. After Dave exchanged to Bridget, we went back to the technical school and Andy and Nancy had finally found Nathan. He had fallen asleep on a couch and he had his head underneath his sleeping bag. He never heard his alarm or the phone when we called and left SEVEN messages!
I too had taken a small nap at the technical school, but when I woke up my sore throat had turned into a huge head cold. I felt awful and did not want to run anymore. Luckily Bob had some Sudafed and I did feel a little better after taking it. My middle leg was 6.2 miles and it went very well. I paced well and passed 9 people in the process. Because of the Sudafed I decided not to wear my HRM because the heart rate would be too high anyway.
By the time I reached my third and finally leg I was completely wiped out. I had only slept a 1/2 hour, my head was completely clogged and my chest was super tight. Although it was only 3 miles, the whole thing felt like a struggle. I ran for 10 minutes then took a 30 second walking break. At 20 minutes I did the same thing. At 24 minutes the officer at the intersection said my exchange was just around the corner. I could see the vans so I figured I must be getting close. I picked up the pace, but the exchange wasn't right around the corner. It was around the corner and then another 0.4 miles. In fact, the mileage wasn't 3 miles as anticipated, it was 3.4
The team did really well finishing under 26 hours. When we looked at the result at the beach we were in 28th out of 360-ish teams. (The final results had us in 29th.) Personally, I was disappointed. I have been working with a coach for months and all I could prove was 8 min/miles? I know I can't help being sick and you have to take into account running at odd times, with poor nutrition and very little sleep, but I really thought I would do better.
The fun didn't stop there! I went back to the hotel, showered and crawled right into bed. I gave Dave my remaining money, told him to get me some pizza, and I fell asleep. Dave went to the bar with the group. He woke me when he got back brining pizza, a lemonade, and some NyQuil. I ate, drank, and slept another 10 hours. In the morning we were heading home.
If only everything was that smooth. We flew from Manchester, New Hampshire to Newark, NJ. Our flight in Newark unloaded and then they told us there were mechanical problems. Our plan was taken away and they told us we would be taking the airplane coming in from Mexico City--in 4 hours! To pass the time, Dave and Andy tried to get the customer service reps to let us into the President's Club. Neither of them succeeded, but Andy was told our flight was delayed because of weather. This is not what we had been told and it would be significant.
After 4 hours an announcement came on saying our crew had too many hours and our flight was canceled. All of us rushed to the customer service desk. There were members of our group that had to get home that day and the only way they were getting home was by renting a car. There was one more flight out of Newark that evening and it was overbooked. There was one flight from LaGuardia but it too was overbooked. But, because Andy had already talked to them about weather versus mechanical problems we were able to get vouchers for a hotel and food.
So Andy, Jim, Nathan, Dave and I wound up in the Radisson Piskataway. While drinking our food vouchers (he he!!) we noticed some scantily-clad women walking through the lobby. Prostitutes? Adult-film stars? When men from the bar started following them, I got suspicious. Turns out, as we looked it up when we got home, it was WWE stars there for a benefit. Yeah, Piskataway!
The next day, Monday, we waited for the hotel shuttle to take us back to the airport. The shuttle came tearing through the parking lot and totally rammed a car. Funny part is, the car was parked next to a sign that said "Not responsible for damages." Ha!
At the airport our flight was delayed again for hours because our co-pilot never showed up. Needless to say, we've sent a little nasty gram to Continental Airlines. Finally we got home two hours later than expected only to come home to no electricity (we had a major wind storm that Sunday). After talking to our neighbors it seems we were going to be without power for a whole week (and many people in Columbus were). Thankfully my parents had power and they let us come over for dinner. And doubly thankfully, we woke up Tuesday morning to electricity.
The fun never ends in "this runner's world." :)
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