Where did I leave off? Oh right, Aaron had just taken off on the third leg of the day and we all piled into the van to get to the next TA. I have to say that Aaron and Joe (our third and fourth runners) were both troopers. Of all of the guys on the team, Mike is the only one who trains and races consistently. Aaron and Joe both agreed to do this with a little begging from Janell and Crystal, though I think that they both enjoyed themselves in the end!
Decorating the van is very important
When we got the next transition area, I decided to change my clothes since I was a little sweaty from my first leg. Then we took some photos together!
Crystal giving Mussel Baby the look
A normal "girl" photo and then imitating a "guy" photo
As the day went on we kept moving from one transition area to the next, and eventually the sun came out.
Crystal before her first leg
Mike had awhile to wait to run his first leg since he was our final runner, but eventually the time came for him to run.
Waiting for Crystal
As we saw her approaching the TA, Mike got ready to run. He did amazing on his first leg (it was his hardest) and I am really proud of him! He ran the 5.8 miles in about 50 minutes which is 8:37 pace, you can read about his leg here.
With Mike out running the 6th leg, that meant it was almost my turn to run again. Janell would be starting her second leg of the day and it was getting hotter. The sun was out in full force and I knew my second leg was going to be tough since it was the longest of the day and the relay at 8.3 miles. I tried not to think about it too much.
The toughest TA was where Mike and Janell were going to exchange. It was at a horse farm and there was only one road in and out of the place. We had to sit in the road for awhile waiting for our turn to park. Luckily, Aaron was amazing and he got us positioned in a perfect spot to leave once Mike was done running.
Finishing up a tough leg
We took off immediately after Mike finished running, there was only one port-a-potty at that TA so I decided I would just wait until the next one since Janell was running 6.6 miles. I knew I would have plenty of time to get ready. Unfortunately, this was when we had one thing go slightly wrong. I could hear Joe and Aaron talking in the front of the van and I noticed that the van started to have issues shifting. That's when the guys decided to pull over and see what was going on.
We had already passed Janell around 1 mile, so we knew we had some time but we did start to worry. The guys did a diagnostics test on the van, and I forget what was wrong with it but we decided that we would keep going and hope for the best. Janell hadn't caught up to us at that point (we had pulled over right around 3 miles or so) so once we got to the TA I hopped out of the van and got in the port-a-potty line.
Still smiling at this point
I made it through relatively quickly and then I waited for Janell. I couldn't really see around the bend in the road so everyone was looking out for her and then Mike said he saw her approaching. I got ready and as she ran up a slight incline, I took the slap bracelet from her and started my longest leg of the day.
Off I go
I had brought my handheld with me, because it was a little past noon when I started running and the first portion of this run was toasty. There wasn't any shade and I was upset because the leg description had said it was relatively flat and shaded. The beginning was neither. The first 1.5 miles or so were uphill, but nothing compared to my first leg. I was passed by some runners in the beginning but other than that I was on my own for awhile. The van passed me and I waved to them, and I knew I wouldn't see them for about an hour.
Not too bad
Vans from other teams were stopping about every mile on this leg, most likely because it was the longest of the day and it was in direct sun. At this time I could tell that faster teams were catching us and we were catching slower teams.
After three miles, I started to make the decent into the Breadloaf Wilderness and it was shaded, finally! This portion of the leg felt a lot like Maine, especially where I am from (just missing the ocean that is) and I started to think about the MDI Marathon. There were little brooks along the road and an AMAZING waterfall (I asked my teammates later and none of them saw it)! There were a lot of vans at this point and even tourists just checking out the falls. I passed two runners at this point, I believe they were earlier starters than us, and kept going on my way.
In the morning we had been warned about one way roads and construction and this is when I saw a sign for a light ahead. It was a one way road and luckily it didn't impede runners at all (the van was stuck here for a little while, though). There were a lot of cyclists out all day and some passed by me at this point.
Unfortunately, after the construction I was back in the sun again. I kept watching this one female runner who was slightly ahead of me the entire time and her team kept stopping every mile to give her water. I was drinking from and dumping water on myself from my handheld the entire leg. I was passed by a faster male runner, but I passed another runner around this time as well.
At one point, toward the end of the leg, I saw a team on the side of the road with what looked like a paint sprayer and as I ran by them, they sprayed me with cold water. It was refreshing, but a little bit of a shock!
The terrain had turned to rolling hills again and I just focused on a red barn type building up ahead. Luckily, as soon as I got to the bend in the road I could see the transition ahead sign. I was almost there!
A-A-Ron waiting for me
I made my way closer and I saw Aaron on the sidelines waiting for me. I got the slap bracelet ready and I could hear Crystal yelling, "come on Ironwoman!" which made me smile and I kicked it in to the TA.
Finishing up my leg
So happy to be done
I was so happy to be done with that leg! I ran 8.3 miles in 1:16:53 which is 9:17 pace. My paces per mile were: 8:59, 9:51, 9:35, 8:35, 8:32, 9:21, 9:51, 9:31 and 9:28 for the last .3 miles.
We didn't have much time to get to the next transition, so we got in the van and continued on our way. We were almost halfway done for the day!
And you'll just have to wait for the conclusion!