Friday, October 19, 2012

Reach the Beach: New Jersey Race Recap Part 4

Here it is, the finale of Reach the Beach: New Jersey.  I hate when recaps come to an end because it truly means that the experience is over.

Right after Sarah finished her second leg, van 1 took off because Dave only had another 2 mile leg and our van went to Dunkin Donuts.

 Pumpkin coffee and a coffee cake muffin makes the world a better place

After fueling properly we went to the final van transition area to wait for the arrival of van 1.  Since I barely slept during the night I decided to sleep out on the grass.  Mike joined me.

 My perspective while laying down

 Still sleeping after I got up

I probably only slept about a half an hour total, but it was nice to relax.  The rest of the time we just hung out and got ready for the arrival of van 1.

 Saucony and PRO Compression

 Team bonding

 How do runners relax?

Getting goofy!

There was another team at the transition area waiting for their runner and we could hear them saying, "we should get someone to take our picture".  Well, we did a trade.  I took their photo and they took ours!  That's one of the great parts about relays, you get to know your team as well as other teams running the race.  It didn't happen as much this time because there were only 34 teams but it happened a few times.

Van 2 love (note the knee sleeve)

After a little while we heard from van 1 that Megan was on her way, her leg was pretty short so we didn't have much time to wait before she arrived.  

 Amazing ladies!

Sweat Pink sisters

Isaac's knee was bothering him a little bit so he wore Colleen's knee brace and he warned us that he might run a little slower.  Megan came running in to the transition area and Isaac took off!

Good job, guys!

All done!

Van 1 is heading to the shore!

We parted ways with van 1 for the last time (during the race anyway) and took off for the transition area.  We passed Isaac running at lightening fast speed so we knew he wasn't going to give us much time.  Unfortunately at this point we went the wrong way and had to turn around to back track to the transition area. Also at this time emotions were running high because of lack of sleep and how much running we had done, so some things were said and a highly sensitive person (ahem, me) cried.  In the end everything was worked out and I know that I am an emotional/sensitive person so combining that with the lack of sleep and what I put my body through it was no surprise that I cried.  I probably needed to cry at that point!

Isaac came FLYING in to the transition area, he looked like he was flailing, and Colleen was really worried he was going to run in to her.  In the end their transition went smoothly and she took off!  Her leg was during a really warm part of the day so when we drove by her we asked if she needed some water, but at that point she didn't.  We made the decision to keep going and luckily another team gave her some water because she was starting to get hot!

At this transition area we "lost" Isaac.  He actually went for a walk and saw Colleen running but never told us where he went.  Colleen finished her leg and it was Stephanie's turn to "sparkle".

 Great job, Colleen!

That's Stephanie's determined face

Eventually it was our turn to run again and Mike got ready at the transition area.  Stephanie came running in and Mike was off!  You can read about how he did, here.  It was his shortest leg at 3.5 miles and he ran it at 8:05 overall pace. 

Rockin' Sarah's sunglasses

Only three runners left!

Before taking off, Stephanie and Colleen checked off their legs.  It is a very important part of running a relay!

We drove to the transition area where it would be my turn to run my last leg.  There was another team waiting for their runner and we found out that they were an ultra team with only 5 people!  Mike had passed his runner but before I took off I told the guy that he would probably pass me. 

Once Mike showed up I took off.  My leg was 5.5 miles and I was going to be running over a bridge that was more than a mile long, but more on that later.

The beginning of my leg was in a residential area and right around 1 mile the van passed me.  I almost caught up to them again because they had to stop at a red light and it didn't change to green until I was almost there.  At this point the guy from the ultra team had caught up to me and I told him, "see I told you would catch up to me".  He said he didn't know how much longer he could keep it up and mentioned that he would be running all the way to the finish.  

We kept on going and eventually turned on to a really busy street where the runners and vans went different ways.  I had to cross about 4 or 5 lanes of traffic and luckily I didn't die!  I kept running in some residential areas before I made the turn and could see the bridge in the distance.  We were running against traffic which meant that some of the vans leaving the post-race party could see me and honked/waved. 

The wind was horrific! The head wind was so bad that I had to pick a point in the distance and just try to get there.  I saw some boats out on the water and I tried to see if I could see a lighthouse (we knew that Barnegat Lighthouse was relatively close to the finish) but didn't see one.  Eventually I got to the top of the bridge, but that didn't really help.  The head wind was still so bad that running downhill just canceled out the wind.  I wasn't really running much faster than I had been going uphill.

Around 3 or 4 miles my knee really started to hurt.  It had been bothering me before this final leg and I put my Tommie Copper knee sleeve on to try to help.  I almost thought that I was going to have to walk but then the pain went away.  

 At my transition area

I finally turned the corner off of the bridge and I could see a parking lot with some signs.  I saw a guy standing there waving me in and thought it was a volunteer, but it was Isaac!  He ran with me and I asked him, "how much farther to the finish".  He told me that it was just to the building in the distance and I picked up the pace as much as I could. 

Finally I saw Sarah and we made the hand off!  She took off to finish up the last 3 miles of the relay!  I ran 5.46 miles in about 50 minutes at an overall pace of 9:06 (8:32, 8:45, 9:06, 10:00, 9:22 and 8:44 for .46).  

I was done! Mike and I both ran about 18.5 miles the entire weekend.  

We drove to the finish where we met up with the rest of our team and awaited Sarah's arrival.  

 Mike's happy he made it to the beach

Sometime after 5pm, Sarah came running down the boardwalk and we joined her to cross the finish line together as a team.  

Running in sand is tough!

We came in 30th out of 34 teams and finished running 200 miles in 31:42:18.  After the race we got some food, everyone except the four of us from Rochester headed back home and we went to our hotel for the night (really we went to two because we went to the wrong one first and then had to drive to our actual hotel).  On Sunday Mike, Sarah, Colleen and I drove back to Rochester and Mike and I dropped off the van.  Overall it was about a 72 hour adventure for us and I wouldn't have changed a thing, even some of the low points were totally worth it.

 I miss these people!

What's in store for us in terms of relays?  Well, Mike and I are running Seneca7 again with basically the same team, just one change, and we are either running the New England Relay or the Green Mountain Relay in June, we just have to decide which one.  

In case you missed it:


  1. Love your recap!!!! You are an addict for sure!

  2. So much SPA love in these pictures!! Such a cool experience. I can't wait to do a relay race someday!

  3. Oh my! I just LOVE all these RTB recaps!!! I'm going to do a relay one day hopefully....sounds like such a blast!! Congrats!!!

  4. I really, really want to run an overnight relay now, Jamie! I'm hoping our same Seneca7 team will be up for the race in 2013; now *that* was a fun day! :)

  5. This looks like a blast! I love the checklist on the van, too! SO FUN!

  6. Sounds like so much fun. I really have to do a relay Totally jealous of Sarah getting to run it in at the finish.

  7. Awesome recap! Sounds like so much fun!

  8. Congrats on another relay in the books! It's always sad to see these events end, but I'm also sure you were ready to crash and sleep! :)

  9. Love your recap, so sad its over though :( Loved hearing about Van 2 and your legs!

  10. All I know is that I want to do this. SO BAD!! The highs, the lows, the emotions, the awesomeness! Great job to your team!!

  11. So glad you guys had such a great weekend and enjoyed this relay so much. It sounds like you guys have relay fever now!

  12. Awesome last recap... somehow in my crazy life, I missed reading this one!