Thursday, October 18, 2012

Reach the Beach: New Jersey Race Recap Part 3

I left off right after I finished my first leg and handed the slap bracelet to Sarah.  She would be the first person to run her entire leg in the dark (mine started at dusk and ended in the dark) so our van decided to "hopscotch" any runner who was running at night.

We took off and caught up to her and told her that she was doing amazing!  We then found a place to pull over to wait for her (also one of our teammates, Stephanie, wasn't feeling well because she was dealing with being car sick almost the entire race, what a trooper!)  Sarah had downloaded the app, Run Keeper, so we were tweeting her encouraging messages along the way.

Eventually we went to the van transition area where we were able to meet up with van 1, where Dave was getting ready to do some work on his second leg of the day.

Going in for a special ops mission, I mean RTB leg 2

Other than running, I would have to say getting to hang out with van 1 was one of my favorite parts of the relay.  It's unfortunate that you only get to know the people in your van really well if your team is made of up people that you have never met before! I really enjoyed our time bonding before our van transitions. 

Your light is bright

Alex and Loretta are psyched for their second legs! (Loretta rocked an epic hill)

Since we had hopscotched Sarah we only had about 10 minutes, if that, before we saw her approaching the transition area.  She made the exchange with Dave and then he was off!  Van 1 left pretty quickly, but van 2 bought some of the food being sold at the transition area.  I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Mike had a hot dog.  

We then got some gas and drove to a recreational area for our overnight van transition area.  It was about 30 degrees outside so most of us opted to stay inside the van to "sleep" but Mike decided that he would sleep outside.  He actually said that it wasn't too bad, but he was a trooper!

I ended up getting no sleep.  I might have "slept" for 20 minutes because I was the person that the other van was texting letting us know their location.  I would try to fall asleep and then I would get a text, or another van would show up and the runners would be yelling or a bright light would be in my face, etc.  One time in my delirious state I called my work and couldn't get my phone to stop dialing.  I was able to end the call before the answering machine wanted me to leave a message! That would have been interesting.

Around midnight, Isaac woke up in order to get ready for the arrival of van 1.  We still had about an hour before they were going to arrive so I just stayed in the van.  Mike came inside and he looked freezing!

Finally around 1am or so, Isaac was off for his second leg!  We weren't able to hopscotch him because he had to run on a trail for a little while and we ended up going a different way to the transition area anyway.  When we got there we thought we would have about 15 minutes before his arrival but it kept getting later and later. 

 Van 1 all done with their second legs!

Eventually Isaac came running around the corner and he was with another runner.  I guess he felt bad for him and decided to run at his pace, which unbeknownst to him was about 10-10:30 pace, so he came in about 20 minutes behind schedule (we had already been 5 minutes behind after transitioning with van 1). 

At this point, I kept going out with each runner (at least I think I went out with Stephanie, at this point I don't remember) to make sure the transition went smoothly and that the runner got back to the van safely.  Finally, it was Mike's turn again!  You can read about how his second leg went, here. He started running at 4:13am and ran 8:32 pace overall for 7.5 miles, he killed it again!

We only hopscotched Mike once and when we got to the transition area we had some time to kill before he arrived.  I waited in the van for about 10 minutes and when I announced that I was going outside to wait (and use the port-a-potty in the dark, headlamps come in handy) no one said anything.  I ended up waiting for Mike by myself, which was alright but upset me a little bit.  I kept my layers on for as long as possible since it was about 29 degrees and when I saw Mike coming I stripped down, turned on my front blinking lights and asked a volunteer to turn on my back lights. 

I gave Mike my clothes and pointed him in the direction of the van and at 5:18am I was off and running my second leg of the race.

I was only running 4.4 miles so I took off at a quick pace and tried to catch someone, even though there wasn't anyone to catch.  I saw a blinking light ahead of me for about 5 minutes and then the person was gone.  I was running along some country roads and at first they were pretty well lit, I even saw a shooting star!

Around 1.5 miles the van went by me and since I was still a little upset (and I was trying to be tough) I told them to go to the transition area.  In all honesty, I probably would have only had them stop one time more because my leg was so short. 

As soon as they went by me, I regretted telling them to go on.  It was DARK! I no longer could see Orion or any other stars because I was in the woods, running up huge hills.  I knew that my pace was slowing down and I tried to keep it up because I kept telling myself that everyone was depending on me.

My headlamp was so weak that I could barely see ahead of me and I tried not to think about what was in the woods.  I did stumble off of the pavement once and I had to pull myself together once when I heard a rustle in the woods! I may or may not have screamed a little.

The scariest part of this run was the fact that I didn't see any other runners and I saw about one other van (not including our own).  I thought I saw a car that was part of the race, but it ended up being a hunter! I just ran as quickly as I could away from him.  It is also a weird experience running along and seeing the woods lit by a headlamp with a silhouette of a figure in the distance.  I hoped it was just some guy that was running the race that needed to use the bathroom and went on my way.

Eventually I turned onto the last road and kept running for what felt like forever.  I finally saw a lit area and saw the beloved RTB signs pointing me up the driveway of the church/school/fire department of my transition area.  I ran up it and finally heard, "yea Jamie" and "look at that form" and handed off to Sarah.  I was a little upset and I told Mike that I was sad that no one came out with me, but I was just overtired and really it wasn't that big of a deal. I ran 4.55 miles in about 43 minutes at a 9:22 overall pace (8:24, 9:06, 9:10, 10:41, 9:47 for .55 miles).

We got in the van, I had a Chobani and Cheribundi drink and we started to hopscotch Sarah again.  She had an 8 mile run and it was really tough, but she did great!  It started to get light out as we headed to the transition area where we saw our van 1. 

Looking good even though she was in pain

Isaac had gone down to run a little bit with Sarah and when we saw her coming a volunteer got excited because he thought there were two runners.  Well there were but they were just both from our team, sorry guy!

 Van 2, Leg 2 complete!

After we handed off with van 1 we headed out, and again, you're just going to have to wait until next time to see how it turns out!

In case you missed it:


  1. I actually really enjoyed the quiet of running at night - even though I only saw one other runner and my van passed me by without stopping to offer water during my NH night leg!!! I'm looking forward to MA!

  2. These recaps are so much fun to read! I had to laugh at your late night run- my imagination would have been running wild as well on such little sleep, when you could barely see where you were going!

    1. Oh it was, I forgot to mention that I saw a silo or some big tall building up in the distance and in my head I heard the scary noise from the "Prometheus" trailer. I had to tell myself to stop it!

  3. I would have been scared to run at night without anyone else around. Proud of you for toughing it out!

  4. Ah, I would've be terrified running in the dark--you've got some guts!

  5. You're hardcore! Enjoyed reading your recaps! Great job to all of you!! :)

  6. Thank you so much for these. This has been so awesome to follow along on your journey. I'm pretty sure I would have been TERRIFIED running in an unknown land, in the dark. It would have made me run faster though, that's for sure. HAHA!