Friday morning, Mike and I made our way from his parents' house into Vermont. We stopped at a few lighthouses on Lake Champlain along the way, went to lunch in Middlebury and drove to the end hotel in Rutland where we were meeting the rest of our teammates.
Crown Point in New York and Colchester Reef in Vermont
We waited in Panera for everyone to arrive, and finally I got a text from Crystal saying that she and Joe had arrived! Even though it hasn't been that long since we last saw them, we were all happy to be reunited.
We even matched!
The four of us chatted and reviewed the team handbook while waiting for Janell and Aaron to arrive. Around 6pm we got word that they were arriving soon and went out to our cars to get stuff ready. We were leaving my car and Crystal's car at the hotel and taking Janell and Aaron's van to the start hotel.
Pretty soon Janell came flying into the parking lot, we quickly loaded up the van (it was quite a sight and some people were watching us) and then we hit the road. We wanted to try to make it to Stowe for registration but unfortunately it was only from 6-8pm, so we scrapped that idea and went to the hotel instead.
Go, go Power Strangers!
After checking in, all 6 of us were sharing on hotel room, we found a place to eat and started to carb-load. We all got to know each other, this was the first time Mike and I had met Aaron and Janell (they are Crystal and Joe's really good friends), and hit it off right away!
We got back to the hotel, settled in for the night and before we knew it three alarms were going off at 5am. We quickly got ready, pretty impressive for having one bathroom between 6 people, and drove the half an hour to the race start. Registration/check-in went smoothly, we had all of our required safety gear, and we all started to get ready for the race.
Our start time was 7am, and team Power Strangers was ready!
Our team order was: Janell, me, Aaron, Joe, Crystal and Mike. I decided early on that I wanted to be in the first half of the order since I have always been in the last half in our other relays. There was a brief 7am pow wow and then Janell was lining up to start us off! It was extremely foggy in the morning and her leg was less than 3 miles around the Trapp Family Lodge (yes, those von Trapps) so I knew I wouldn't have much time before it was my turn to run.
There she goes!
Around 7:20am, we saw Janell's bright orange shirt approaching and I got ready for the hand-off.
I'm ready to go
Time to go run through some mountains
I took the slap bracelet from her, and ran through the parking lot where all of the vans were parked. My first leg was 6.3 miles long and the beginning of it was all downhill on the dirt road leaving the lodge. I ran by the cows that were grazing in the field, they were probably wondering what we were all doing, and a guy passed me saying, "this is when we let gravity do its job".
The first 1.5 miles or so were all downhill. I actually had to force myself to slow down, because I knew I had to save my legs for my other two legs, and some people passed me. I was enjoying running through the fog and the cooler temps, that I knew would disappear, and eventually got to the main road.
So foggy in the morning
As soon as I got on the road some rolling hills started, but it was still manageable. The van passed by me immediately after I got on the road and I waved to them. I could see runners and other vans up ahead and focused on keeping up a good pace.
A little after 3 miles there was a crossing guard helping direct traffic so that runners could get onto route 100 easily. I thanked him as I passed by and this is when it started to get tough. The legs were rated using skiing ratings and this leg was a single black diamond (my other two legs were double black diamonds). I started to worry about my next leg (8.3 miles) but I forced myself to focus on the moment and what I was doing.
A car passed by me and the driver, a guy, said something to me. It sounded like he said, "you're gorgeous" but I doubt it. And I don't think I looked gorgeous at that point, I was starting to sweat! Even though it was foggy, it was humid, and I was having some trouble breathing because of the elevation change. The major hill on this leg was taking its toll on me, and other teams cheered me on as they waited on the side of the road for their runner (don't think our team was bad, we decided to not stop except for a few exceptions later on).
Coming into the transition area
Finally, with about a mile left the hill flattened out and I started to descend into the town of Waterbury. I saw the "transition ahead" sign and immediately after that I saw the TA. I couldn't make out Aaron, but then I saw him getting ready for the hand-off. I could hear everyone yelling for me, and as I got closer Aaron put out his arm for me to slap the bracelet on him (we hadn't established that handing it off was better/easier than slapping it on yet).
One leg down, two to go
Off he goes!
I had finished my first leg in 55:04 (8:41 average pace). My paces each mile were: 7:25, 7:40, 8:37, 9:10, 11:08, 8:29 and 7:40 for the last .34 miles.
After I finished my leg, we got in the van and made our way to the next transition area.
You'll just have to wait and see how the rest of the relay went!