Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Madison-Chicago 200 Relay 2009

We came.
We saw.
We ran.
I didn't kill anyone.
I came close though.
But we all survived.

And had a BLAST. This here (above) is my rockin' team - the Sandbaggers- at the start line. I think the only people bloggers would know are me (front), Devin (second from left), Spie, (next to me) and Colin (white shirt at the end).

This is my friend Adrienne, me, Spie and Colin. Adrienne's husband started us out and narrowly made the gun going off (with one minute to spare - but I will save all the details until the end of this post) so he is already on the course and not in this picture. However, 20 minutes later, as we waited at the transition site, he called to say he was dropping out. So technically, the above picture represents our van runners.

This is my sister's van. She is far left, and the really tall guy is my new back doctor.

This is me, 20 minutes into the race, and SOOO happy that we actually started the race, despite the TONS of drama leading up to it (again, details at the end). Can you just feel the relief oozing from my smile? Little did I know that while I was taking this picture of my happiness, my phone was ringing in the car - it was Runner #1. He was calling to say he was quitting after Mile 2. He is walking in. My relief was short lived. Enter drama.
Me and Spie. Also taken moments before the drama kicked into high gear. But that aside, I need to tell you about this lady - going into the race, we had asked her to run Spots 4 &5 because we were a runner short. That means that, in total, she would be running SIX (legs ), three in each cycle - for a total of almost 30 miles. And she didn't just run these legs, she KILLED them. After the first two runners, we were DEAD LAST by more then 30 minutes. After Spie? Right back in the game. You have no idea how fast this lady runs. She was voted MVS - Most Valuable Sandbagger.

Runner 2 coming in. She is the wife of Runner 1, the dropout.

Me, bringing it home to end Rotation 1. I ran the 6th spot, so I got to hand-off to Devin's Van every rotation.

Colin, finishing up a blazing run in Rotation 1. He started making up the lost ground...

When Spie came in and covered some more!!!

Getting ready for Rotation 2, in full safety gear. I LOVE night running. LOVE.IT.

Handoff 1 in Rotation 2. It's getting darker....

And the end. I didn't add any pics of the people in my sister's van really, mostly because you all probably wouldn't know them. But how cute is my sister over there on the Right? I also had the chance to go home and shower, because my van finished at 1030am, and the team finished around 530. And then we all went home, and promptly crashed.
For anyone who has never done a relay, I highly suggest it - at least once. You can't imagine how tough it is on the body - but hoe profoundly overwhelming it is when its all over. It's not even the mileage that is tough (although if you are Spie and running 30 miles over the course of 24 hours, then maybe). It's the running, the staying awake, the brutal fatigue, the GI issues (ugh), the food - the everything. It's just HARD. And I am addicted.
We are already talking about putting a team together for next year - now that I am no longer a Newbie Captain and can deal with all the "unknowns" and details that I overlooked this year. After all the drama this year, I swore that I would never do it again, but after some reflection, I think that I would be much better prepared next time, thus reducing my stress.
And speaking of stress - here goes - the Clif Notes version of what went down.
Back in January, my friend A and her husband committed to doing the race. Two days before the race, I got a call from A saying that her husband had diarrhea or a sore ankle or something (I am not sure) - and could he drop out? I said, "Not unless he finds someone else to run his spot." I mean, I can be sympathetic, but 2 days? And besides, she later confided that he was just "scared" to run because he was "slow." So....
On Thursday, they get to my house at 630, which was 2 1/2 hours late, to leave Chicago. On the way up to Madison, my friend told me her husband couldn't run the assigned legs - they were too long and he didn't know he would be running that much, despite over 10 emails with this info in it. Ooooookay....I get that problem fixed within the hour. But then the morning of, he is MIA until 9:59 - when the gun went off at 10. And then, two miles into the first leg of the entire race, he quits.
Drops out.
He walks the last 3 of his 5 miles into transition, grabs his comforter, and proceeds to sleep for the next 24 hours in the back of the van. Across the bench. The only bench in the van. And rarely ever gets out to cheer his team members, never apologizes or thanks us for covering his legs, never offers to drive or navigate - nothing. In fact, he never even speaks until almost 24 hours later. He quits, then sleeps. For 24 hours.
Meanwhile, we restructure, and other runners pick up his legs. Colin, for example, ran both Dropout's leg and his own leg in Rotation 2, for a total of 14 in just that Rotation alone.
There were tons of other little issues with this debacle along the way, but that's the jist of it. It was sort of a nightmare. But at some point (can't say for sure what the final straw was), I just pretended like there was this black screen separating his sleeping bench from the rest of the van, and just proceed on with my race. If I can't see it, it doesn't exist.
But the flip side is that Colin and Spie MADE the race. I mean, these two were not only funny, but they were like my little army in this battle of a race we were in. I am soo sooo soo grateful for these two. I would do the whole thing all over - 10 times over - with these two in my van. Oh, and did I mention that Spie made BOTH van bags of homeade banana muffins, oatmeal cookies, and Smores brownies? Oh yeah. Breakfast anyone?
So if you are down for it, and want to give it a try, we are getting a team together for MC-200, the 2010 version. Lemme know.....


MissAllycat said...

Dude, I am a relay ADDICT. Keep me in mind for next year! :)

Mommymeepa said...

um, I don't know if I'll have the mileage under my belt by then to run with ya, but I sure could come and drive a van and be your support and your cheerleader. Keep me in mind if you need me.

Sounds like a blast. I can't believe he slept the whole time. Oh well, sounds like you overcame it and still had a great day.

Benson said...

Wow, that sounds like you had a lot of fun and good times.

Carolina John said...

that's insane! love the pics, looks like you had agreat time hanging out with a bunch of slackers. can't believe that one guy slept in the van for 24 hours?

Amy said...

We did a relay a few falls back. It was only a 100k. We went from 4 in each car to 6 in one car and 2 in the larger car because of in team issues. It was a shit show. But I think I could handle a relay with you. Hmmmm now there's an idea...

Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

When we did the Ragnar relay a few years back, it was one of the hardest things EVERY. I think we all underestimated the pain... We all were IM training so figured we would just go out and do aerobic runs. Not so much. We ended up basically doing 3 10ks. I was sore for DAYS!

You are right tho - so much fun!

prin said...

I'm inspired by your passion. *high five*

Anonymous said...

Someone should have slapped that dude. Or maybe just a cleveland steamer as he was sleeping. Just sayin

T. said...

I am SO in. But only if Dropout isn't invited cuz I woulda had to create some drama of my own just for him.

rUntoNamAste said...

I love relays! I captained one last year and it was such a nice break from conventional road races. My team was fantastic! What was up with dude though? Not pulling your weight is one thing but not cheering your team mates on just blows. Sounds like you made it work though. Way to go Cap'n. Keep me in mind for next year!