10am: At the start line.
Melissa was our Rummer number one. As I mentioned in the last post, she lives in New Jersey, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. You may have heard on the news that the week after Sandy, they had an earthquake, then the day before she was scheduled to fly out, they were hit by another big storm.
I think Melissa needs to leave New Jersey.
|Family bonding at its finest.|
We totally look like we're related. Said no one this weekend.
|Melissa peeking out in between the two ladies in front.|
|There she goes!|
|Exchange 1 had a gorgeous view.|
Here's a funny exchange 1 picture:
|Kate being Kate. Yes, those are gigantic blue testicles.|
|It's almost time!|
I was a little nervous. I've never run up a mountain before. I spent a little time talking sense into myself. What's the worst that can happen? I have to walk. So be it.
|That truck had some nerve driving by during my big moment.|
11:28am: Melissa passed the baton (slap bracelet) to me.
The first mile and a half was pretty flat(ish). After that, I was climbing. I didn't see a single person until about mile 2, then I was passed.
Damn. I'm roadkill.
When you pass another runner during a race, they are your roadkill. Unfortunately, about 35 other people also killed me on the way up the mountain.
Guess how many roadkills I got?
I got to run along side some spectacular views. Rocky ravines, waterfalls...it was gorgeous. Almost gorgeous enough to make me forget about the burning in my quads and lungs.
Just after mile 2.5 I got some company. A little dog started running up the mountain with me. I had just passed some people parked on the side of the road and I assumed the dog belonged to them and would run back to them...or they would call for him.
Every once in a while, the dog would get distracted (SQUIRREL!) and stop to sniff at something, but then he'd run to catch up to me. To be perfectly honest, he was kind of creeping me out. I hit a steep part and had to slow down to walk. I sent Anne a text to let the van know that I had to slow down so they had an idea of when to watch for me at the exchange. I also mentioned in the text that the dog was following me.
This leg was a non-supported leg, which means that vans aren't supposed to pull over on the side of the road to support the runner. The van should drive straight to the exchange to wait.
I rounded a curve and saw Greg's bright blue shirt and thought I was hallucinating. Then I saw Driver Kurt. Then I saw the van. They found a place to safely pull over to wait for me! I was so thrilled to see them! My team refilled my water bottle for me, gave me a few sips of Powerade then sent me on my way.
My team distracted the dog, too, so he didn't follow me after that.
Just after mile 5, a really nice woman caught up to me. I wish I could remember her name. She was a marathon coach and she stayed with me for about a mile but her pace was faster than mine and there was no way I could keep up with her so I sent her on her way.
|Finally! I made it!|
About a tenth of a mile before the exchange, there was a race volunteer with a walkie talkie telling the race volunteer at the exchange which team number was coming up. This is especially helpful at night when the teams can't see what the runner looks like and can't tell whether or not their teammate is coming. When I passed the walkie talkie volunteer, I ran as fast as I could the rest of the way up my mountain to get to Anne who was waiting for me at the exchange.
I slapped the bracelet on her arm and she took off running down the mountain. Read about her run here.
|Go, Anne, go!|
Distance: 6.85 miles
Average Pace: 12:49mm
Elevation Gain: 1,401 feet
Elevation Loss: 116 feet
(This varies greatly from Ragnar's map info: 1,683 feet of elevation gain and 367 feet of elevation loss.)
|I'm pretty sure "Holy shit!" was coming out of my mouth right then.|
|Garmin Elevation Map|
~to Angie, Greg, and Kate for taking some of the pictures used in this post, the previous post and will be used in the next few posts.
~to Mary and Kurt who took 2 days off work to drive our team around Tennessee for the weekend.
~to my fellow Rummers. Without you, I would not have had this wonderful experience.
~to my husband, Randy, for holding down the fort, keeping our children alive and supporting me and this crazy idea.