Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Relay - 27:00:59

What a great adventure; thank you everyone for making this happen. We challenged ourselves, pushed ourselves hard, and lived life to its fullest this past weekend.

Our team, Maverick Waves, consisted of 12 runners and 2 drivers and we ran this relay race non-stop for 27 hours and 59 seconds. We covered the 199 miles from Calistoga, CA to Santa Cruz, CA. The runners never got lost and no one got hurt. I'm very proud of how we did. I was the captain of this team and I got the people together, and did most of the planning, but in the end it was of course a team effort and everyone did their best and did well.
21st of 104 teams. In our division, Open Mixed, we were 4th of 25.

Highlights from van #2:

It has to be Greg, finishing his first leg, leg #8 consisting of some tough steep hills in the vineyards. With wide eyes, looking like he survived a near-death experience, "that was soooo much worse than ANYTHING I could have POSSIBLY imagined." And well, you just had to be there. Brings tears to my eyes it was so funny. It was great having you on our team and in our van, Greg.

Another highlight, especially for Ben and me, would be meeting Dean Karnazes. For some reason he only ran 145 miles that weekend. That feels weird saying something like that -- "only ran 145 miles", but I guess that shows what an amazing athlete he is. He was very gracious and friendly and signed my book and let us take a couple of photos with him. Our poor Julie Mell -- you missed getting a hug from Team Dean.

Dilly.... Dilly-man, The Dilly Meister... an aspiring comedian, enthusiastic one-man support team, and the van #2 public relations manager. Thank you for driving and taking the photos and watching out for us boys and girls.

Jenny smashed my estimated time for her second leg and I didn't give van #1 a full hour's notice, so we lost about 3 minutes at the next handoff waiting for van #1 to arrive with Kiko. Sorry again about that. I think that was the only big mistake we made which is very minor compared to what could have gone wrong. Just getting 12 runners, 2 vans, and 2 drivers all together on time felt like an enormous accomplishment. From my perspective, it felt like we were half way done already!

BORING, DIARY PORTIONS HERE. Ben, skip this section, if you made it this far. :)

My most intense moment: running on the steep downhill side of leg #10 (8.9 miles, "very hard"). It was steep and fast and rocky and wet and at night. The terrain just seemed to be flying towards me in this circle of gray and brown, illuminated by my headlamp. It was a surreal out-of-body experience, like watching this sepia-colored silent movie with terrain and mud and rocks flying towards me, my eyes glued to this center of light. Even blinking my eyes seemed to be a dangerous distraction for this intense 20 to 25 minute period. A cow guard suddenly came into view and I was on one side of the trail and the plywood board only covered the middle of the cow guard. My left foot landed on the strong parallel bars and then the front of my foot plunged in between the metal bars. I instinctively yanked my foot out as my right leg was in the air, coming forward. I was running very fast (for me). It was only moments later that I realized how serious an accident I almost had. I made sure to cross the remaining cow guards in the center of the trail.

My best leg: my 3rd leg. I felt pretty "dialed in". I had developed side cramps in my first two legs because I think of the extensive downhills which I pushed myself hard on. My 3rd leg was pretty much flat for 4 miles with a strong headwind and then huge inclines for the last 2+ miles. I averaged 7 minutes 6 seconds a mile and passed 5 other runners on this leg. I had predicted 48 minutes and did it in 44:05.

All-in-all, I'm happy with how I ran. For the record, my times were:
leg #10, 8.9 miles "very hard" (the hardest leg in the race). 1:06:22
leg #22, 4.2 miles "easy". 27:53
leg #34, 6.2 miles "very hard". 44:05
I passed 3 runners in my first leg, 2 in my second, and 5 in my third. I didn't happened to get passed by anyone although there were certainly many better runners out there.