We Reached the Beach
Expect a lot of photos in this post!
Friday, Van 1 and Van 2 left Burlington, Vermont and headed to Franconia, New Hampshire to start the New Balance Reach the Beach race. 200 miles 24+ hours of running. Pure insanity. We got to the Cannon Mountain ski resort where the race started about an hour or so before our team was set to start so it was the perfect amount of time to do van decorations!
Then it was time for Captain Cassie to start. At noon, on the dot our team, and a few others were off.
Because I was in Van 2 we had several hours before any of us had to start running. So we did what any other normal running relay team would do. We found a lake on the route and stopped to do some relaxation…and cheering.
After a few hours of waiting around, cheering and getting antsy it was finally our turn. My first leg was a moderate level of flat, incline an decline. 7.25 miles. I did an average pace os 9:03 min/mile. Not horrible but definitely can tell I am slacking in my speed department. I also started to get some knee and hip pain during this run so I wanted to be conservative and not blow everything on my first leg. I knew I had a ton of miles left to run and wanted to be able to do them all.
Right before my first run still giddy and having energy
After I ran in I gave the slap bracelet to Chris and he was off.
After his run, feeling great!
After Chris finished he handed off to Rachel who was ready to go!
After a few more hours of resting and relaxing I was up again. 9 miles of CLIMBING. Up and Down, Up and down and then some more up and down. This leg was hard. Very, very, very hard. The whole time I kept trying to focus that it wasn’t just me, that there were 4 other people waiting for me and then another 5 in the other van waiting on me. It was hard to stay focus when my legs were killing me. My hip was clicking and grinding, thanks VCM for that, and my knees were aching. I was also extremely tired as it was 2am that I started this run. I finished though, an average pace of 10:12 min/mile. I will take it!
I was so excited to see Chris waiting for me after that run. I gladly slapped him with the slap bracelet and he took off into the night.
Chris checking off his 2nd run box the following day – we couldn’t find our markers in the middle of the night to do it right after our runs.
My last and final run was another 8.5 miles. I knew after the night hard run that I was shot and could not possibly do another 8.5. Rachel, who only had 13 miles total, wanted my 8.5. I gladly swapped for her 4. I hoped I could do the four…Spoiler alert, I couldn’t.
After sleeping a few hours and trying to eat I still wasn’t feeling great. Lack of sleep and nutrition definitely kills my stomach and then on top of that having hips and knees that are screaming at you to stop the insanity I mentally was just not strong. I watched Rachel power through another hard run, my run that I couldn’t do. She was my hero. I watched her slap the bracelet to Chris and then I tried to get more focused. I tried to stretch and foam roll, I tried to eat something and drink some water. Nothing was helping. I knew these 4 miles were going to hurt. I finally saw Chris running to the transition site and took off.
I ran, limped, walked and hobbled. 2.5 miles into my run I saw my van mates waiting at a pull off to check in and see how I was doing. When I saw them I just wanted to cry. I felt like I was holding them back and knew I could give so much more than what I was. Chris ran up to me and gave me some water. He said that I had three options: 1. I could keep doing what I am doing 2. I could run with Bill who was the next runner up and see how much further I could go and then whenever I couldn’t go anymore he would just take off or 3. We could just do the exchange now and Bill would finish the last mile and a half and run through the transition site and finish his leg. I opted for 3. I was spent. I could barely walk and didn’t want to push any further and risk seriously injuring myself. I sunk into the van seat and cried like a child. I felt so defeated, I hated myself for quitting and was just so emotionally and physically drained from the whole experience. Everyone was so nice and said that they knew I didn’t quit and that I was smart for listening to my body. Still, I felt like crap.
Bill ran an amazing leg and finished it up strong. Because our team was a 10 person team instead of 12 it meant that van 1 had all 4 legs and the 6th runner, our first runner in our van, also had 4 legs. So since most of us were done, but we still had 1 runner in the van still left to run we got a little bit of food at the school of our transition site, showered and relaxed a bit. We then hauled on over to the last transition site where Betsy, our final runner would run the last leg of the relay to the finish.
Finally, we spotted Betsy, Cassie and Kovi. Chris ran ahead to run in with them. Once they got closer to the finish the rest of the team joined in and ran it through the finish. Hearing RMFAO Sexy and We Know It over the loud speaker announcing our finish was unbelievable. We were finally done. 30 hours after we started!
10 person mixed team – RMFAO
Chris with his medal!
Me with my medal
Cassie and I
After photos and relaxing a bit we headed to the food tent to get some dinner. We relaxed and caught up with the other van since we didn’t get to see them much. One van headed back to Burlington while another van stayed in NH to spend the night. Chris, Beth, Ryan, Bill, Betsy and myself all stayed. We celebrated back at the hotel room with prosecco and more food. We headed out in the morning for Burlington but made a quick detour to Portsmouth, Nh for an amazing breakfast.
my post race breakfast feast
An ultra relay is such a surreal experience. Chris kept saying that is feels like a social experiment. During the whole thing I have such mixed feelings. You are so drained and wanting your own space and then when it is over you miss all that stuff. We have such an unbelievable team and it is becoming quite the annual tradition to do this. I know if I weren’t to do it next year I would be missing out. We shall see if I will do this for a third year in a row. First thing is first. I need to get my legs healthy and ready to run. Physical therapy is definitely on tap for this fall.