Monday, May 21, 2007

Beach to Bay Marathon Relay Recap

Oh man, what a fantastic experience! I have done a couple of relays before but never a marathon relay and certainly not one that starts on the beach as the sun is rising and ends up winding over the huge causeway, the Naval base, a few other areas and ending up at the edge of the beautiful Corpus Christi Bay!

How did I get so lucky as to be asked to run with such a great group of women, and of course a great running club! I think we had 9 teams there, so the Striders were well represented and a few of the teams even won some hardware, not surprisingly so since we had some great talent there!

Anyway, if you are running 1st or 2nd leg, while yes you get the coolest part of the day but you also have to be up super duper early! I was to be downstairs with the others at 5:05am for our specified driver to take us to the HEB for loading onto buses for them to then take us over the huge causeway to the beach!

I have seen alot of sunrises in my life, but you know I cant ever remember one this beautiful. Maybe it was the surrroundings, all the 1st and 2nd leg people milling about, warming up, chatting..all giddy with excitement, but it was something to see. I ran into a few people I knew that I didnt know was there, Edwin!!, Stephen...

The first leg folks did an out and back on the beach before handing off to the 2nd leg (me). This was the hardest part for me...

Not being in the pack when the race actually begins!! I went up and stood on a huge dune and just looked down over the mass amount of people, and was so excited I could hardly stand it! I didnt want to have to wait to run!!

I was nerve wracked, checking my watch as I knew about what time to expect Carol, but she was early!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!! Somehow I actually heard them calling our number and instead of waiting for her to come to me, I went and met her closer in...

And I was off! I suspect it was about a 1/4 mile of sand that I had to contend with (nothing like her) before I hit pavement. I had been advised that it was going to be rough, NOTHING like Surfside and boy were they right! Oh God, it was as if a million horses had gone through there, and there were holes everywhere, and trying to run on it was so hard to do! I had been told, "dont kill yourself trying to get out of the sand, just take it nice and easy and you'll be fine".

Wiser words were never spoken. I did exactly as I had been told ;o) and I was fine. I was better than fine. The most annoying part of this little bit was that some of the 1st leg people were walking instead of getting out of the way after their leg!! Ugh!!

Once I hit pavement, I never looked back. I never walked a second, instead opting to take what I could out of the water cups on the run and then pour the rest on me there towards the end. The sun was up by that point and well it was getting warm. At least there was little humidity which helped tremendously! Once I hit mile 3 the urge to have to go to pee started...Oh God, please no...with every step it hurt just a little, and I began looking for a place to run off, but really there wasnt anywhere where I wouldnt be spotted! Somewhere in mile 4 it was getting bad and there was a Whataburger but well, it just wasnt an option. Not this close. I would lose the extra time I had in the bank, and we'll maybe later on in the race, we would need it. You never know what kind of a day someone is going to have!

The mile splits were right on the money up till I got up to the 4 mile marker, and my watch had already beeped at biggie...I was close dammit. Real close. The causeway was looming in the background and I was trying to see ahead as to where I was headed...It confused me because I thought how are they getting to the other side?? Little did I know we would veer to the left, and go under and around before I could hand off! UGH!!! :o)

I remember thinking numerous times...I am so glad I dont have to run the bridge. I am so glad I dont have to run the bridge. I am so glad I dont have to run the bridge.

Once I made it to where the transition area was, I just began hunting for Barb. I had no idea if she was going to be on the left or the right since I hadnt talked to her that morning, and I knew its the next leg's responsibility to spot the runner, but I couldnt help but be concerned. I had heard stories about runners losing each other in the transition area...but there she was...I think we saw each other about the same time and I could hear her calling my name...and the handoff was done!

Let me tell you I hate running with a baton. About halfway through I stuck that thing down through my shirt in such a way that it was secure and I didnt have to worry about carrying it or having it fall out somehow...

Now the real fun starts...trying to make it back to base, and then manuevering to the post race party for some fun and to see the final leg finish in all their glory!!

The part of having to wait and wait and wait is boring so we won't go into all that, but finally making it to the post race party was easy enough and all I wanted was beer and food. In that order.

The amount of people (runners) was amazing, something like 10,000 if I remember correctly so it was a sea of tents and people, and food, and beer, and beer, and beer. ;o)

Our little women's team made it over to the finish as we knew our #6 leg girl would be bringing it home shortly...We really thought we were going to get under 4 hours, and we were close, but the 4th, 5th and 6th leg folks really had to endure some heat. I heard several stories about some collapsing by the road and the number of times I heard ambulances while waiting at the end of the #3 leg were too many to count. I wonder if it were those folks that opted to run more than one leg just for the heck of it?

Barry ended up having to run 3 legs (probably a total of close to 13 miles, including the last one being having to run UP the causeway... (I cant even imagine) because of the bus situation at the end of #2; running another 4 miles was faster ... they really need to improve upon that ... I wasnt going to wait for another bus I can tell you that...I smushed my way through the crowd of folks that had cut in front as we were waiting on the other one and were almost on. There really needs to be some order in this process I can tell you that!

I was the last person that made it on, and as I said I smushed my way on and if she would have told me to get off, well, I wouldnt have. ;o)

Anyway, back to the finish..and Hilary..We finally spot her coming towards the finish and I cant even begin to tell you how incredible her finish was. She looked completely worn out and not a dry spot on her body, her clothes or her hair. It appeared to me that something was wrong, and that she looked like she was in some pain, and well she was indeed, but nothing out of the ordinary. She, like all of us had pushed ourselves for each other, and it showed. She was amazing. I think we all were.

All in all, this was one of the best experiences (so far) as a runner. Yes my first marathon will always be my first marathon. But this will always be my first marathon relay. I cant begin to tell you how much fun we all had this weekend. It was just a perfect weekend all the way around! Highlight of the weekend, not including the race itself, was being squished in the back seat of a convertible smack dab in between Peter and Fred...I mean really, what more could a girl ask for? ;o) Well, I could ask for more, but that would be on an entirely different blog now wouldn't it?? ;o) ;o) ;o)

I tell you one thing, I hope like hell I get asked back again next year! I think I want to tackle that bridge...Easy enough for me to say now right? ;o)


Anonymous said...

Yo JB, great recap and great photos! Everything went really well, good times for all.

Asked back? What does that mean? Raise your hand when the time comes and YOU'RE IN!!


Vic said...

Your post made me really wish I had been there. Reading your post, I guarantee I'll be there next year.

Jess said...

I don't know how I'd do with a baton. I haven't held one since 7th grade track.

Grat job on the race -- pics are beautiful!

TX Runner Mom said...

Great pics! Way to go Ms. Speedy Bug!

Pony and Petey said...

Reading your blog, I was reminded that the baton I took from Barb was the SAME baton that Carol had carried for her 4+ miles, the one that you had carried for the same, Barb carried it, I carried it, then K, then Hillary carried it over the finish line for us. That baton had traveled 26.2 miles, our sweat mingled together.

What an honor and a privilege to be on a team with you! We are now officially "sweat sisters"... you know, like blood brothers = )

You are part of a very cherished memory for me!!

equarles said...

Thanks for taking the time to mention me. Cool seeing you there Saturday morning. Always nice to see a familiar, pretty face at such an ungodly hour of the day.