Thursday, September 5, 2013

HTC recap, Part 2!!

Dorothy, our final runner for the first series of legs finished well after dark. One surprise I had was that the staff didn't stress reflective gear for anyone but the runners during night time hours. For Ragnar anytime you are out of your van during night time hours you are required to wear your reflective vest and I found myself keep falling back into that habit. Not a bad thing, the safer the
Team Photo (I'm in the reflective vest!)
better, but I just thought it was a difference worth noting. Anyway on to the more interesting stuff ;) We had a 2 hour drive from where we finished to the next location. We finished near some of amusement park in Portland and spent some time catching up with van, getting our free muscle milk samples and swapping our war stories from the previous legs. LaRee and Tabatha were syncing their phones because several of the HTC legs did not have cell phone service so van 1's app didn't record any of your times. It's really only a big deal for the last two runners just so the opposite van has an idea of when to prepare for their next legs. We left the exchange nearly an hour after arriving and I was tired and ready to attempt to catch some zzzs' so we headed to the next major exchange...or so we thought.

The "CELEBRITY" is in the middle (googled image hehe)
We got to an exchange around midnight and had to be up at around 2:30 to start preparing for our second round of legs. I decided it would be smartest to make a sandwich right away, use the bathroom, change into some clean clothes and then use the remaining time to sleep so I didn't have to worry about taking care of those things in a mad frenzy right before take-off. So after eating Dorothy and I got in line for the port-a-potties and who did we see?!!! The Heart and Soul lady from the HTC
video who DIED on the course in 2008!! Yes, she DIED on the course. She collapsed on her third leg and stopped breathing. We told her she is an inspiration and I told her that I didn't like her Dr.! In the movie her Dr. tells her that she can not run the first leg (she does so anyway) and it made her look so sad- like he broke her heart! I say let her go out doing what she loves. In the movie she said she wanted to run a marathon in every state so I inquired on her progress; she has 3 states left. Dorothy said it felt like we met a celebrity! I wish I had a picture with her but we were in line for the port-a-potty at 1 in the morning, it seemed like a weird time to try and rush back to the van. If she was as exhausted as I was she probably just wanted to be left alone. She was actually very sweet though and it was a privilege to meet her.

Back at the van Troy made himself comfortable between our van and the one parked next to us. This wasn't an outdoor sleeping location so we could have got a strike for it but I didn't want to be the one constantly throwing the rule book at people.I had already been the one to break the news that we needed to wear two LED blinking lights during our night time runs. So I grabbed my pillow and kind of curled up sideways against the window. Dorothy and Edie were in back, Doug had the drivers seat and Tabatha was in the passengers seat so I had a little room to spread out...a little. I started to doze off and then saw lights shining towards us. Turns out the van "next door" had moved and a new van was pulling in. I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. I thought I was going to watch Troy get run over. I started sitting up and readying to jump out when they shut off the engine and had stopped short of where he lie on the ground in a black sleeping back! I breathed a sigh of relief and started slipping back into a light sleep. Suddenly the same situation repeated itself and I saw a new van pulling in next to us. I sat up and woke up Doug. "Doug, Doug, you have to tell Troy to move. He's going to get run over!" I kept watching vans pull in and it was only a matter of time until some tired driver didn't see him and our race would be cut short by a trip to the ER. Troy moved behind the vehicle and I was able to catch a good solid 20 minutes!

I don't remember if we all woke up because of our alarm of if van 1 called us but shortly after just falling asleep the whole van was awake and trying to find van 1. We told them we were in front of the port-a-potties, apparently they were too but we weren't finding each other. I wasn't on the phone but as I understand it they saw a circus tent, we saw a barn and then realization hit...we were at the wrong exchange! Apparently we went 2 exchanges past where we were suppose to be so it was a mad rush to get back to the other exchange as we knew LaRee was only a mere minutes away from finishing. Unfortunately for us the road back to the previous exchange was tiny, with no shoulder so we almost literally road killed some runners, whoops. I think only one person actually flipped us off though. We tried to turn towards the exchange and the volunteers told it was an out only. Troy asked if it'd be faster if he were to just run to the exchange and they said yes so he got bonus mileage. LaRee had been waiting 25 minutes for us to get there. Now that the race is done we talk about how fast we really were when you take away all the little whoopsies- we did pretty darn good time wise!

This second leg was the one I was most nervous for because I was going to be running up a freaking mountain.  I took off around 4 am I believe. It was still pitch black and for 75% of this run I had no one around me. There were a couple times I would look around and see something reflect in the bushes and wonder if it was an animal only to find out that it was a power box with reflective tape or something innocent like that. Another interesting observation I made while vans were pulling over to wait for their runners was that only during a relay can you see a chester the molestor van on the side of the road at 4 am and feel comforted instead of completely scared out of your mind! Right off the bat I felt pretty tired. I wished I had music to keep me moving but since HTC doesn't allow

headphones I was out of luck since I didn't invest in speakers. Thinking about it now though it might have been a little spooky to have that sense taken away. It was already so hard to see since it was pitch black and if I looked up to where my light was shining I only saw bugs- or dust, I'm not quite sure which. There were no driveways off that road either. It was several miles of a paved road up and freaking mountain with no other runners, houses, buildings, anything. I knew I had two downhills so I was just trudging along until I hit those. The first came a little quicker than expected and lasted longer than it looked on paper. I loved it. When I hit the second hill those the paved road turned to gravel and it suddenly because much harder. I walked quite a bit and other runners started catching up to me and passing me. I did have 2 road kills myself but they were earlier in the leg. On that soft gravel I wasn't passing anyone. Once I hit the final downhill I got a second wind and let my legs open up. I was doing around a 9 minute mile, the only thing has sort of saved my overall pace. I wanted to go faster but I was still on gravel and had to be careful with my foot placement. As I came into the exchange I saw Tabatha waiting for me. One of the first things she said was, "that looked rough. I'm glad you're still smiling!" My van mates shared her sentiment. They said as they were driving they kept thinking "poor Marissa."

I had an average pace of 11:38 for that second leg and I was ecstatic. I don't think I've ever been so excited to be so slow in my life! LOL. It was a tough leg and when I started I told myself anything under a 13 minute mile would be a success. I knew I would finish but I didn't want to totally quit on myself and walk more than I needed to. I feel that my pace reflects that I gave it a good effort. I'm so glad I ran that leg in the dark though. I could only focus on the next step and I think sometimes that is what we need to conquer the thing we fear.

Leg 3 and the Finish Line Recap will come tomorrow. Good night everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Loved your comment about the molester van being comforting! So true. :)