After I finished my second leg, I was so hot and tired. My legs were already hurting but I knew I had a few more hours until I had to run again. Unfortunately, my final leg was going to be the hardest, but more on that later.
Perfect relay hand-off form
We kept running down route 100 toward Okemo Mountain and everyone was having a great time. I really loved our team, it helps that we all were friends (at least through the internet, ha) beforehand.
Mike and I had brought Mussel Baby, our stuffed mussels from Musselman 70.3, along with us and somehow we ended up back in Rochester during the relay! Alright, it was Rochester, Vermont but we still thought it was a cool photo opportunity.
Mussel Baby enjoyed 100on100
Back in the ROC!
Eventually it was Mike's turn to run again. His second leg wasn't as bad as his first, it was described as flat but that means rolling hills in Vermont. Since we were close to Rochester, Vermont at this point it only made sense for Mike to wear his #trailsROC shirt during this leg.
This TA was at a Ford dealership and A-A-Ron (Mike kept saying that the entire relay) and Joe were browsing trucks while we waited for Crystal, ha! Eventually we saw her approaching the intersection, there was a crossing guard here too, and Mike got ready to run.
Doing some sort of ninja kick while running
Off he goes
This was one of the only times the vans went a different way than the runners, we weren't sure if we would see Mike but we did. We saw so many runners in front of him and Joe said, "he's going to catch them all". Mike caught about 50 runners during this leg, alright that's a bit of an exaggeration but he KILLED it! He ran the 5.3 miles in about 43 minutes (8:03 pace). You can read about his leg, here.
While we waited for Mike, I got ready for the costume leg. We should have had me dress up like a Power Ranger, but we were being cheap and I just went for as bright as possible. I borrowed Crystal's tutu and we were all set!
"Von Trapped in a Van" was one of our other team name choices
One funny story while Mike finished up his second leg. Crystal and I saw him approaching, but we didn't see Janell. We started saying, "he's coming!" and "Janell!" I saw Aaron and Joe and yelled, "where's Janell!?" Little did we know she was already ready, ha, and said, "I'm right here guys".
Starting the final round of legs
Janell's third leg was her hardest, it was over 6 miles all uphill, so we had some time to get to the next TA. When we got there, as I was waiting, some little girls came over to me with a reusable iced coffee cup. I didn't understand what they said at first (I thought they might be selling it) but they said that they were giving them out to people with good costumes. They were so cute!
Bright as possible!
Eventually we saw Janell approaching, she killed her leg and only walked at the very end, and it was my turn to run my final leg.
Up I go
The 14th (and 15th) legs of the relay are the costume legs (Aaron didn't wear a costume). I think they do this to take your mind off of how horrible this leg is, really the 13th-15th legs are killer. I started running up the first hill and while it was making it hard to breathe, I knew I would have a slight downhill before the major uphill. Some people passed me at this point, I passed a lady who later passed me again.
The van drove by and I waved, trying to keep a brave face. I think the winning team passed by me around this time and the runner said he liked my shoes (he had on Saucony Kinvaras). People were dressed in all kinds of costumes, bananas, Scooby-Doo outfits and more.
There were vans pulling over and other people out taking photos, who weren't even a part of the race! Since we were in a ski town there were a lot of restaurants and other things along the road to take my mind off of how badly my legs hurt. I was still running in the road, though we were on the right side and not the left, but other runners were on the sidewalk. I didn't feel like going on the sidewalk because I thought it would add more distance, ha!
Eventually after the nice downhill, which really hurt my legs but I could hold a good pace, I started to make the climb up, up, and up. I did eventually get on the sidewalk and I caught up to the Cabot Cheese runner (they had been passing out cheese samples to everyone throughout the relay). Right around 2 miles in, I had to walk. The Cabot guy was walking too and he was slightly ahead of me. There weren't any breaks in the uphill so I just gave myself destinations to get to before I would start running again. I was disappointed that I was walking but my legs hurt and I was about 16 miles in for the day.
A van told me that I looked strong at one point, and I laughed because I didn't feel strong, and the Scooby-Doo runner (who was carrying a plastic blow up Scooby-Doo doll) passed me when I was walking. She asked if I was saving it all for the last mile, and at that point I didn't have much left to save.
I eventually saw vans turning down a road, where I thought the TA after mine might be and other runners, and I knew I was close to the top of the mountain. My pace had slowed, because of the walking, but at that point I was determined not to walk anymore. I saw the transition ahead sign, saw the volunteer waving me into a parking lot and I made my way to the transition. I had to run across a parking lot, I didn't really like that because of the gravel, and then I saw my teammates! I put a smile on my face because I was done and I handed the bracelet to Aaron!
Yay, I'm done!
I finished my last leg, which my watch clocked at 3.87 miles and not 4 miles, in 42:17 which was 10:55 pace. My paces each mile were: 9:49, 8:41, 13:15 and 12:06 for the last .87 miles. For the final leg of the day and how trashed my legs were, I'll take it!
Our team got in the van after I was done and we made our way down the mountain. Aaron had one of the hardest legs but for a different reason, it was all downhill. The van's brakes (and others) started to smell because of how much we had to use them on the way down. Aaron was hurting but he was a trooper and finished with a smile. I should also note that at this time I shoved two marshmallows and a red velvet cupcake in my face, hey I had to replenish my calories somehow!
The evil downhill leg is done!
We only had three more runners and it was starting to get dark, so everyone was required to wear their safety gear. Crystal was a little nervous about running in the dark, but I knew she could do it. The only time we stopped for anyone during the relay was Joe's final leg. He didn't bring water with him but he wanted us to stop about halfway so we could hand him some. It was nice to support him out on the course!
All ready for the night leg!
Joe finishing up his leg
Mike's final leg started at Echo Lake (which is funny to me since there is an Echo Lake near where I am from in Maine) and it was pitch black when he was starting his leg. We had Janell stationed a little further down to signal when Crystal was coming but then all of a sudden we heard, "Mikey!!" and then "it's her!". Mike ran to the cones and then he was off on the final leg to finish out the day.
We got in the van and then I noticed I had a missed call. I hadn't mentioned this yet, but when we got to the hotel the first day I had a call from our start hotel about how my credit card had expired (which I knew). I fixed everything with that hotel, but I should have told the end hotel as well. I called the end hotel back and he had CANCELED our reservation (one room for all of us again). Luckily, they had a room but it had ONE bed. We still took the room and in the end we all fit inside, with some puzzle work, but it was a little bit frustrating to say the least.
When we got to Okemo Mountain, we parked the van and went over to the "team reunification" area. I didn't realize that we would be finishing inside, which was cool, and we watched other teams finish the relay. The time got close to when Mike should have been finishing his leg and then we saw him! He wasn't going in the right direction, though, so we yelled his name and after some confusion he joined us (I guess he ran through the parking lot instead of on the road and he got all mixed up, you can read about it here). He ran the 4.9ish miles in 39 minutes (8:00 pace).
Yay! We're done!
Power Strangers was done! We crossed the finish line in 14:14:18, about 5 minutes ahead of schedule (we were projected to finish at 9:21pm). We got our medals, took some finish line photos and stuffed our faces.
Power Strangers, 14:14:18, 70th out of 160 teams
After everything was over, we piled in the van, drove to the end hotel and all took showers. Like I said before we figured out how to fit us all, Joe and Crystal in the bed, Aaron and Janell on their air mattress and Mike and I on the floor in our sleeping bags.
Love Mike's face
The next morning we repacked our cars, finished checking off our legs (oops!) and got ready to go camping! But you'll just have to wait to hear about that later.
I loved this relay, it was so much fun and I would definitely do it again. Power Strangers was a fun group of people and it was just the start of an amazing runcation!