Sit down and buckle up. This might be a long photographic ride (especially if you read my recap). This weekend was the Cascade Lakes Relay. With 12 runners, 2 x 15 passenger vans, 2 drivers and 216 miles to run, we had an adventure ahead of us.
We left town Thursday night after work, but not before some local delicious coffee ice cream from the Red Wagon Creamery.
You've gotta pull the van over when there's a lake and a beautiful sky.
After finalizing details with the whole group at our condo in Sunriver Resort, we hit the hay after 11pm. The guys' van needed to be outta there by 6:45 am so I woke up at 5:40 am to Phil preparing the guys their gourmet breakfast sandwiches. In case you didn't guess, the girls didn't eat a bite of those things.
We opted to do a guys and girls van so that the guys could have their nasty funk van and we could have our own cleaner version where girl talk and stripping off wet sports bras were safe.
Since we were van 2, we got to our van exchange point a bit early to hang out. There was lots of people watching and waiting to do before the guys last runner got to us and handed off. Teams like "Run Like a Mother" were all decked out in van decorations. Ours was more 'simple' style.
With any relay, there is a lot of organization and coordinating that needs to happen. Most importantly, you've gotta record the splits of each runner and the overall running time to verify there's no cheating on your team.
The girls are ready to rock it.
And the fun begins!
Cascade Lakes was much more scenic than Hood to Coast Relay in addition to being much tougher (hot and hilly)!
I loved the smell of sage throughout the relay.
With relays, you never really know when exactly you'll be running so I was wearing a little less clothing than I might have if I had been planning to run at night. But it turned out perfectly. My first leg started around 9 pm. Runners are required to wear a reflective vest, some kind of light/headlamp and a flasher for your back side.
My first leg was fairly flat and in the dark, but I loved it. It was 5.3 miles and I ran a 7:35 pace, perhaps a bit ambitious for my first of three legs, but I ran with it (literally). I was the last runner for our van so I handed off to our #1 guy and then we booked it to the rest area where we all slept on a high school gym floor for 90 min or so.
A few hours later in the middle of the night, Kristi and I got a little fresh with the palm tree decorations at the next van exchange. This is when everyone starts to get loopy and crazy because you should be sleeping and yet you can't.
Our van continued to rock our night legs until I finished my second leg around 6:45 am. It was a COLD one. I ran 6.6 fairly flat miles at a 7:45 pace through some gorgeous scenery. Wish I had my camera!
Then it was time to hand off again to Aaron. Each time I got to the exchange I would basically sprint the final .10 to .25 mile because I was just so excited. I think my excitement rubbed off on others. :)
And then we got to the most beautiful place on earth to rest - Elk Lake near Mt. Bachelor. The views were breathtaking and it was so fun to see runners sprawled out in their sleeping bags everywhere.
Dawnetta and I decided to forego sleep at this spot for a real meal. Seriously, aside from lack of sleep, one of the toughest part of relays is that you never really have a chance to eat real food. I was so sick of trail mix, chips and bars by this point. An egg, bacon and cheese croissant never tasted so good.
Kristi had a BEAST of a final leg. 4.2 miles of which half was a continuous steep uphill. Luckily, the guys were kind enough to help her out and run her up that hill.
The views helped entertain us too. Team Tomohawks kept setting up their teepee at each exchange point and this guy was running in his loins.
Look at those views. Did I tell you it was scenic or what? Don't you want to come visit Oregon?
Kristi demanded we have her beer ready for her at the end of her final leg. Done and done.
And finally, I was ready to bust out my 100% cotton "Pre" outfit. Not exactly friendly to a 7 miler in 85+ degree temps in the sand.
It was so fun to have the whole team run in with me through the finish line. Loved it. I'll tell ya, that was the worst 7 miler of my life. But finishing made it all worth it!
So, how'd we do? Team Eugene Running came in 15th overall and 8 out of 107 teams in our division!
Division: Open Coed
Overall time: 29 hrs 5 min 18 sec
Overall pace: 8:04 min/mile
I was very impressed with our results. I knew we were fast, but paces on our team definitely vary. The whole group ran strong.
Now the question is: would I do it again? I'm not so sure. The lack of sleep really got to me this time. The race was BEAUTIFUL, but sometimes the idea of sleeping in your bed and having a normal dinner and breakfast almost sound more appealing.
What I would do differently: bring more food for the cooler (string cheese, pb&j sandwich, bagels, bananas), REST a few days before the race, bring some fun car games (mad libs?) and bling for the car.