Sorry I've been absent, lately, in case anyone even noticed...Busy days! Awesome days! You get the gist, right? I can't wait to get caught up on everyone else's blogs, as well.
lots of pictures, less words, more fun
A is for Art: Our driver, my husband. He was such an integral and amazing part of the team.
C is for Conch: Sounds dirty, but it's really just a giant seashell. They're abundant in Florida...as were the teams with "Conch" somewhere in the name. In fact, one of our own club's teams chose to be:
D is for Dirty. This is how I went to bed, in Key West, when we were done with the race. I hope I'm not the first person to complete a two-day running event and not shower that night. When faced with the choice of : Pass Out and Drown in Shower or Go to Bed Dirty, I chose the latter.
Runner-up. These were so tasty at 4 am.
E is for Earrings. I wore tiny, cheap, gold hoops, in conjunction with our team's pirate theme. My ears are bloody, scabby messes, now. Today's Running PSA: Don't wear cheap earrings when you plan to get really sweaty!
F is for Famous. One of my multi-talented teammates submitted an article for Ragnar's RagMag. They ended up featuring it, along with pictures (page 20) of last year's team (all the same except for me. I was a new addition/replacement). Other runners were excited when they saw us. "Hey! You're famous!!" was fun to hear from strangers.
G is for Gators: My 2nd leg started in a pitch black swampy area. The "road" was grass and very large gravel. I was completely alone but hoping our van would be able to find me, at some point. Blocking my path, about a mile in, was a truck. The driver hopped out and yelled at me to stop. (Pretty awesome, so far, right?)
"You have to go tell all these runners to stop coming down this road!" "There are too many gators out here!" "It's not safe!" The stranger, in the dark, told me.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to run away from him, and the gators, even faster or jump in his truck for safety. Either way, it scared the heck out of me.
H is for Hair: From the Fluffy 'Fro pre-race, to the disaster, mid-race, I had to just stop caring about what I looked like. This wasn't too hard to do.
not actually a raccoon try to escape the bandana
yeah...my hair was the least of my problems, at this point
I is for Ill. How I was feeling from just before my 4th Leg, all the way 'til Monday afternoon. (2 days after the race ended). Must figure out what's causing my intestines to misbehave so badly during these runs!
J is for Jumping. Awkwardly.
no runners were hurt in the filming of this over-played scene
I could've picked a more obvious "J" topic. Too easy.
K is for Kathee. We pulled off the road, into a mostly abandoned parking lot to try to catch Jeff on his current leg and give him a water. Looking around, from the van, I suddenly spotted another blogger! It was so random that I happened to see her. I'm terrible about approaching people but knew I'd regret it if I didn't. Kathee looked and smelled much better than I did, at the time. She and her team seemed awesome and I was so happy I'd gone and talked to her, all stalker-like.
L is for Lost. This is what happened to one of our teammates, during his 2nd leg. By the time we found him, we were in last place out of 491 teams. We were so happy to find out he was alive, though, we could've cared less about anything else. However, due to our later start time and the mishap, our next stretch of legs were very dark times. Literally and mentally. I am so proud of that fact that we, as a team, didn't let it get us down, though. We rocked those lonely, empty, dark miles.
my view from my 2nd night run
M is for Mothering. I guess, because my own children were being cared for and spoiled by their grandparents, I inadvertently reverted to trying to "mother" everyone else.
"Did you re-apply your sunscreen?" "Try some ginger for your stomach." "Bring your water!"...and the like. I'm sure it was annoying the crap out of them, but I couldn't seem to stop.
N is for Naps. There weren't a lot of these. I snoozed for about 10 minutes, during the night, and about 20 the next morning. Most of the time, our eyes were too heavy to keep open, but actual sleep was elusive due all the stops and starts.
plus, if you fell asleep, people would take pics like this one
O is for Overjoyed. This feeling came over me when we finally saw another van and other runners, in the middle of the night. One of the first vans we saw was actually another WVR one, which made it even more awesome. Our giddy greetings also helped soften the blow that we were about to leave them in our dust...
P is for Port-a-Potties: Road, Van, Port-a-Potty. That about sums up where I spent my time from Friday Afternoon through Saturday evening.
very few of our photos don't include those grody little units
Q is for Quirks: Lord knows I have plenty of my own. After spending that many sleep-deprived, physically hard hours together, I learned quite a few of my teammate's, too. Somehow, we all managed to not kill each other.
R is for Roadkills: When you pass another runner, during your leg, you get to count them as a "roadkill". Each team tallies up their "kills" throughout the day, and at the end. For the most part, it's all in good fun. The teams that went overboard in their celebrating were annoying, to me.
our sad stats during the night, when all the other teams were long gone
S is for Slap Bracelet: This is what all teams use as a baton, when passing off to the next runner. The "seamless handoff" attempts were pretty funny to watch. I stopped even trying, after a while. I just kinda put it somewhere near a wrist and hoped someone would start running. Fun fact: No one wanted to keep the stinky, moist souvenir after the race. So, I brought it home! The husband was thrilled.
waiting for my very first "slapping"
the "eyes closed" handoff is particularly tricky to master
T is for Towels. We used these, after our legs, to sit on and protect the van's seats. All the towels in Florida couldn't have withstood the sweat we produced over the weekend. Think about this next time you're sitting in a rented van...
U is for Unbreakable. Regarding our spirits, and determination during some very undesirable conditions? Yeah, that word about sums it up.
V is for Vests. Good for safety, bad for running. I should've definitely practiced running in them before the race. They were so uncomfortable and distracting. We were, literally, counting down the seconds 'til 7:30 am, when the race directors had deemed it safe to remove them.
flashlight? check. Stupid vest? check. Annoying my teammates with my dumb smile? check.
W is for Winning. Yep. Last place team came back to win our division. (mixed ultra) In addition, we ended up beating 436 other teams, by placing 56th overall. How, you may ask? See the letter U.
X is for X-rated. Don't panic! No pictures for this one. One of the exchanges (the start of my last leg, in fact) was outside Adult Superstore. Plenty of obvious jokes, ensued. I was just trying to focus on rallying my tired legs and completely destroyed stomach to pay any attention.
Y is for Yummy. The piping hot, fresh, burgers (black bean, for me) we inhaled after stumbling happily away from the finish line were beyond yummy. I did comment, however, that they could've handed me a hot shoe and I would've eaten it with the same gusto. After a couple of days of Non-Perishable Van Goods, a hot meal hit. the. spot.
We made it to one pub, after our quiet, reflective beach burgers, before passing out. (some of us may or may not have done so at the table) At the pub, I finished off my Post-Race Food Wishlist with a basket of giant, crispy fries. My mouth's watering just thinking of those golden brown sticks of heaven. Or, possibly, I'm feeling the residual blisters from tearing into them while they were still smoking. Either way...it was all yummy.
the shoes I was drooling over while waiting for my burger
Z is for Ziti. Yes, I did have ziti, mid-race. No, it doesn't fall under the Yummy Hot Food category. It was scraped from the edges of a giant, tin serving dish at a major exchange. Again, we were the last to arrive, so we weren't given a lot of options. It was well after 10 pm. The food was ice cold and the cheese was questionably crusty. I didn't care. My body wasn't used to what I was putting it through and had decided it was starving during my 6 mile leg right before this point. That heaping plate of old pasta couldn't have looked more appetizing, at that moment.
hot parking lot, cold ziti, delirious runner
Have you ever participated in a relay?
Which part of this recap made you most want to run one?