I mentioned yesterday that it is going to take me three posts to properly recap this race. I don't want to rush through it and since I ran three legs, it just makes sense!
Now on to the recap! I'll start from the beginning, the night before the race.
Photo credit to my mom
We invited everyone over for a carbo-loading party at our house on Friday night and it was the first time that the majority of our team met. Unfortunately, Rena and her boyfriend Stefan couldn't make it but they were there in spirit.
Sarah, Mark, Tom, Cat and Linda (and Benny of course)
Mike, me, my dad and my mom
We enjoyed getting to know everyone and had a great meal with regular and gluten-free pasta, gluten-free bread and an amazing salad that Sarah made. Cat made gluten-free cookies and everyone agreed that they didn't taste like they were gluten-free. We also made signs that our spectators (my dad, Cat's step-dad and Rena's boyfriend) would hold the next day. These signs had a huge impact on us during the race, but more on that in another post.
Everyone left around 9pm because we were going to have an early start to the day on Saturday. Our wave started at 8am so that meant that we were going to have to leave our house at 5:45am, which meant waking up at 5:20am. Good thing we weren't in the first wave at 7am!
Driving to the Seneca7!!
We hit the road around 5:50am and had a brief moment of panic when we got in to town in Geneva. I accidentally thought we were going to LakeSHORE Drive but we were really supposed to be at LakeFRONT Drive. After texting Sarah and Mark we figured out where we needed to be. Rena and Stefan were running late too but in the end it didn't matter since we had all done our waivers electronically (ironically I was the only one who had to sign the waiver the day of because they didn't accept my electronic initial signature).
As the team captain, I went and checked us all in and picked up our bibs and race packet. We got some awesome goodies, like t-shirts, water bottles, 77.7 stickers for our cars, etc.
Team "Will Run for Whoopie Pies" finally together!
We took a team photo and then Mike headed to the start and my mom, our second runner, headed to the shuttle that was going to take her to the first exchange point. In order to reduce congestion during the first legs the race set up a shuttle system and it seemed like it worked out well.
We saw Mike off at the start and then we got into our van.
Nice arm warmers!
Starting team #5 off strong! His shoes make him easy to spot!
Cat's mom, Linda, graciously drove us around ALL DAY (and let us use her van for free and she wouldn't even accept gas money from us)! She made a quick stop at Tim Horton's for some coffee and breakfast and then we were on our way to the second exchange point to drop Cat off. We saw Mike running and cheered for him from the car!
We couldn't stay at the second exchange point so after briefly stopping at a local fire department that was a designated rest stop, we dropped Cat off and wished her luck. At this point we had no idea how we were doing since our first two runners had to use a shuttle to get to the third exchange point where we would all be reunited.
This sign came in handy at the exchange points!
While we were all together in the van, my dad, Cat's step-dad, Tom, and Rena's boyfriend, Stefan, were cheering for whoever was running (with just a few exceptions, sorry Mark!). They kept us in the loop during the first three legs and that gave us a better idea of how it was going.
My mom was runner 2 and Cat was runner 3
Mike was waiting for us at the third exchange point and he KILLED his first leg. I am seriously so proud of him. He felt like crap and he still rocked an 8:04 average pace for his 4.41 mile leg! Shortly after my mom came in on the shuttle and she did just as amazing with a low 8 minute pace for her leg too (oh and by the way, this was my mom's FIRST race ever)! When we registered for the race we put that we were an average pace of 9:30 minutes per mile, so all day our goal was just to come in under that time.
We finally saw Cat coming and then it was time for Mark to run! From then on we were all together, except for the individual running, and we could stop at all of the exchange points. We kept hitting sub 9 minute pace as a team all morning long!
Exchange after exchange happened and I was getting antsy to run. Since I was the team captain it had been decided that I should be the anchor leg, which meant that I had the longest to wait to run the first time through our rotation.
Mark and Sarah are a couple so it was nice that they ran back to back legs
It was difficult to hydrate and fuel properly since I've never had to wait that long to run. It also threw off my routine and unfortunately my mom, Cat and I missed one of the exchanges take place since we were in a LONG, LONG, LONG line for the porta-potties, that didn't have any toilet paper! Luckily Cat ran back to the van and got some tissues. Rena did yell to us while she ran by though!
Half of our support crew doing a great job!
Get it Rena!
Since Rena was our 6th runner that FINALLY meant that it was almost my turn to run. We got to the exchange point, I did some stretches, ran a little warm-up and then crossed the road to wait for bright pink to come into view.
The exchange point
Finally, at 11:48am (only 6 and a half hours after waking up) it was my turn to run. Rena came running in at lightning speed, she handed me the slap bracelet, I hit my watch and I was off to run my first leg of the Seneca7 relay!
Sneak peek: the outfit was a bad idea
Stayed tuned to see how it turned out!