On Sunday, my fellow renegades and I teamed up to run the BCS Marathon Relay - well, all of us except for Diane, who had signed up for the half marathon months ago. For the relay, you could have a four-person team or an eight-person team, which is what we had; that meant that we were running an average of 3.3 miles per leg, which is pretty much a walk in the park for most of us. But, since none of us were really interested in running the half marathon again, this was a way to participate in the race.
I was assigned leg 7 of the race, which meant I'd start running around 10:45 - 11:00 am; very weird for this pre-dawn runner...I didn't quite know how to prepare for that start time. Normally I don't eat much before I run a short distance like that, but normally I'm running by 6:00 am, too, not nearing lunchtime. I ended up taking a 24 ounce bottle of Tailwind with me and began drinking it about two hours before my leg of the run; I got down about 3/4 of the bottle, so I had about 150 calories in me to fuel my run, which worked nicely.
A word about the relay - the BCS Marathon has offered it for several years now, and they had really good driving directions to get to each relay exchange point - this was critical as there are a lot of roads that are blocked off for the race, but they had workarounds for the traffic that got everyone where they needed to be without stress. Each exchange point was marked with a sign, and there were runners from other teams at all of the spots, which made it easy to find. We divided up into two groups - the early birds, and the sleepy heads. While it was nice to sleep in on race day, I have to say, it was really weird to not be there to see everyone start...but sleeping in - did I mention how nice that was?
Anyway, Jimmymeow drove Andi's van with the early birds - Karen, Cary, Andi, Julia, and Jeff, while CC drove the sleep heads - Loretta, Brian, and I - yes, we made the 8 1/2 months pregnant lady ferry us around! She did a great job; she knew exactly where to go (our exchanges were all on campus, which confuses the heck out of me, so I was especially grateful for this) and got us to our exchange points in plenty of time.
Thanks to my fellow renegades, I have pictures of each runner - it's like they knew I'd be blogging about this or something! Here's some of the highlights of our race:
Leg 1 - Karen:
In the starting corral, ready to go!
Leg 2 - Andi:
Karen handing off our silicone bracelet to Andi (picture is a little blurry because the phone was in a ziploc bag).
Leg 3 - Cary:
Andi handing off to Cary.
Leg 4 - Jeff:
Cary handing off to Jeff.
Leg 5 - Julia:
Julia taking off after getting the bracelet from Jeff.
Leg 6 - Loretta:
Julia coming in to hand off to Loretta.
Leg 7 - me:
I'm putting on the bracelet here - click the picture to see the goofy look on my face - could I BE any happier about starting to run???
Leg 8 - Brian:
I'd just handed the bracelet off to Brian - I like this picture because we are both so focused on our watches - I'm stopping mine while Brian is starting his.
Some running pictures:
And somehow CC made a silent movie while taking pictures of me coming in - now that's a smooth bracelet handoff, wouldn't you say?
Once Brian took off running, we knew we had about 20 minutes to get to the finish line if we were going to see him come in. CC not only managed to get us there, but parked super close - we just strolled over to the finish line and had plenty of time to watch for Brian:
I like this picture not only for Brian's excellent form, but also to see the other half of our team cheering him in from across the street.
Afterward, Brian collected our medals and handed them out, and of course we had to take a team picture:
Jeff, me, Julia, Karen, Andi, Loretta, Cary, and Brian - and please note, we're wearing our new Renegade shirts! They arrived just in time for this race.
Group shot with everyone:
Diane ran a half marathon and had enough time to change into a dry shirt before we all finished. Our drivers, Jimmymeow and CC are in front - we couldn't have done this race without them!
Notes on the race
- I started running at mile 19.9 of the marathon, about four hours into the race. So that meant that I was out there on fresh legs, running with people who'd been running for hours, and they were feeling it. Runners who we saw go by when we were waiting for Loretta to get the handoff from Julia at mile 16.5 were struggling when I was running, and passing them, at miles 20 and 21. Of course they were struggling - running a marathon is incredibly challenging! But here's what bothered me (and Loretta later said it bothered her as well) - the people who were on the sidelines, cheering on the runners? They were being super supportive and intense with their cheers, but I felt bad - I wanted to say "don't cheer me - I'm not worthy" - because really, I was just running a few miles. Those marathoners were the ones who deserved the cheers and needed the support. I was embarrassed to be on the receiving end of cheers at that point in the race.
- There were sections where I was all by myself - the marathon field had really thinned out by the time I ran my leg. But one funny thing happened in Northgate, which is across from the university and where all the bars are. There was a woman running a few yards ahead of me, and as we passed by one bar, a group of spectators were drinking beer and one guy stood up and held out a cup of beer to the woman. She stopped, turned and looked at him for a few seconds, and then walked back and chugged that beer! I was cracking up - I'm sure she was thinking, "what the hell, it's carbs" - and at mile 21, the beer probably helped at that point.
- Many of the aid stations were staffed by Scott & White hospital employees (Scott & White is the major underwriter of this race). I recognized one woman as I ran by - I pointed to her and gasped out "gift shop!" and pointed to myself (she's a good customer). That was fun and I hope to see her in the gift shop tomorrow so I can thank her properly for being out there and helping the runners.
- The relay was a very expensive race - I believe we each paid around $45, which is a lot when you equate it to running a 5K. Yes, we got a medal and a technical participant shirt, but still, it was something that would make me think twice before signing up for this particular race again.
- The expo was really tiny compared to previous years - I don't know if the race excitement has worn off or what, but there were hardly any vendors there aside from our local running store. I only bought one thing, but I'll save that for Friday's post to show you.