Van 1 (above: Teresa, Chrissy, Mark, Joe, Laurie, and Shaun) finished up after 27 miles and 900 foot net elevation gain (that is almost the elevation of Ames!) and handed off to our Van for our 24 miles. Al (#7) had his only non-climbing run of the day and then the rest of began running up the 2400 foot net elevation gain we needed to get up. Van 1 gave us a lead over the Sunflower Striders (the only other Flatlander team starting in our wave), but their super fast #9 runner was the one who finally caught us. Melissa (#10) was the only one on the team with a "Very Hard" leg for their first leg, but she rocked it and then handed off to me.
Wow, after all that I can finally talk about running. My leg was 4.8 miles with 524 feet of net elevation gain. The first three miles was gradually climbing but rolling with the last two miles just up up up. The first thing I noticed when I started was that I really like oxygen. I wasn't running very fast at all and I could not push anymore since my lungs were burning. I was also very glad I brought my own water, since I was wetting my mouth every few minutes. I got passed pretty early on by a speedy dude. The weirdest part of this relay was that I started with no one in sight ahead or behind me. Sort of hard to get into the racing mode!
Anyways, with a mile left, the girl from the Iowa Flatlanders (who started a half hour before us) started gaining on me. Her team was very nice and offered me water, although I had my own (to which they said "we have cold water!" I think they just wanted me to stop since their runner was stopping ;-)). At this point, after almost a mile of climbing, my butt and calves were burning. There was no way I could speed up to stay ahead of her for a whole mile. She was run/walking it this whole time, but apparently she did that faster than I ran :-) A few minutes after she passed me, she started walking again, I looked down at my Garmin and saw I was doing 17 minute miles (!), and decided to walk (figuring I could probably walk just as fast) until she started running again (about a 100 feet). Then, like a beacon in the fog, I saw the dude calling out which runners were coming and I was able to pick it up until the end (with a little help from Abba on my ipod). I wasn't able to catch her, but I managed to accomplish my goal of being under a 12 minute pace for this leg (I finished in 57 minutes with an 11:52 pace). My legs were burning when I finished that leg. The good news was that this was by far my hardest leg, so I was psyched to have it done.
I handed off to Anna, and even with her fractured elbow, she totally smoked the Iowa Flatlanders and at least one other team on her leg, so she more than made up for my slowness! Anna passed off to Teresa for Van 1 to begin their climbing and we went and ate lunch at the Potbelly restaurant. That lunch tasted really good. And it was our last real meal until the end (if I had thought about it that way, I would have eaten a lot more!). We did a really pretty drive up to Exchange 18 in Wyoming, where I was finally able to get ahold of my sister and beg her to find a friend to volunteer for us, since we were one volunteer short now and that was a disqualifiable offense. $50 later, we had us another volunteer and I could finally relax a bit. I crashed on a nice little spot down by the river and even though I didn't sleep well, it was really nice to relax and listen to river. I woke up and we waited for Joe to come running in to pass off to Al for our second set of legs.
Next up: Full moon running.
We Survived Cannon Falls Duathlon!
7 hours ago