Here we go again, back in time to October 19 for the Hambletonian Marathon and Good Time Trotters Relay. My crazy husband signed up to do this marathon – his first!- about a million years ago. I said a big ol’ “Hell NO” to running it with him. I was so not ready for a marathon, let alone one known to be crazy hilly. A few months down the line, Christina and I somehow came up with the idea to run the relay option (See her recap here.)We needed a third person so we dragged our poor, innocent coworker, Kathryn, into it. Team House Elves was born. (All 3 of us are Potterheads)
We had all sorts of fabulous plans to all get together and run at least a few times, but finding time for one person to get in training runs is hard enough. Getting 3 women to all have the same time-slots open on the same day AND have their individual training plans be somewhat in sync so no one is running more or less than they should? Yeah, right. Christina and I managed to run together a whole ONCE and it didn’t go quite as planned.
I found a shop on Etsy, Fit Club Apparel, that made us some customized shirts so we could look like a team. Our tank tops that said “I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good” on the front and had our team name and relay leg number printed on the back. You can check out a picture of one of them on Christina’s blog post. We never even got a group shot of us. Probably because it was TOO EFFING COLD and you wouldn’t have been able to see our tank tops under the layers of hoodies and sweaters that we were each wrapped up in. “Nicole, why on EARTH did you opt for tank tops for October?” Because it’s October! The weather can really go either way and I’d rather put a tank top over a sleeved shirt or wear arm sleeves in the cold than be in a sleeved shirt and sweat my ovaries off in the heat. Of course, the gods like to mock me, so they made it cold and windy on October 19. Goodie.
Lucky for me, my leg was the very first one. I got to warm up quick. I guesstimated that I’d finish my 11.5 mile leg and get to the first relay exchange between 2 and 2.5 hours in. Two hours if I really pushed it, 2.5 if my body said screw you. I said good-bye to my teammates and started with the individual marathon runners. I did not envy Christina and Kathryn having to stand around waiting for my slow ass to get to the exchange.
I think I did pretty well for the first half even with the crazy hills that I didn’t realize I’D be encountering (I thought all the crazy hills were in the second leg.) I was using a 90/30 run/walk interval, but I skipped walks that occurred on downhill sections.
The course was ridiculously well supported. There were mile markers and directional signs and you could find water/sports drink stations every 2 miles-ish. Volunteers on bikes, cops and other officials in cars, Girl Scouts, Girls on the Run, Boy Scouts, Choirs, Dance Troops… You name it, they had it somewhere along the route. Scattered at the aid stations were gels, fruit, pretzels, candy, and vaseline (with labels telling you DO NOT EAT.)
I was feeling awesome. Then I got here
and started to think I wasn’t going to make it. The temperature fluctuating. It was too warm for my arm sleeves, but when I pulled them off, I started getting cold. The temperature shifts were screwing with my breathing = side stitch. My shins and knees were aching, possibly because the roads were quite pitched- not cool, but what can you do about that? I ran as close to the middle of the road as I could. I texted my team to let them know where I was and that I was slowing down. My pace had been between 10 and 10:30 the whole time so, it would be ok to slow down a bit and still make my projected finish time.
The second half of my leg wasn’t pretty. I walked a lot more than I should have. I got passed by a LOT of people. I had freezing cold teammates expecting me to get to the relay exchange by 10:30 and goddamn it I wasn’t going to let them down.
I finished my leg of the relay in 2:08:33 (unofficial, only Kathryn had a timing chip.) Then it was my turn to wait and freeze while Christina ran her 9.8. Kathryn and I found the shuttle to the next exchange. I stretched and moved and stretched and moved. The two of us chased down any sunshine that could warm us up.
I wanted desperately to put my yoga pants on over my compression capris, but I had this horrible feeling that as soon as I tried putting pants on, Jay or Christina would round the corner to the exchange and I’d be running to cheer them on with pants around my ankles. Christina came around that corner first. I grabbed Kathryn’s bag as she bolted to start her 4.9. Sadly, my iPhone reflexes were not enough to also snap a photo of their exchange. Sorry ladies. 😦
Once Jay made his way through, Christina and I headed to the finish line. We watched the incoming runners like hawks not wanting to miss Kathryn. We also watched the finish line volunteers like hawks trying to determine if relay runners got a medal. (**SPOILER ALERT- they don’t**)
We saw the last of the House Elves come into the last stretch and ran her across the finish line at 4:52:32! Well under our semi-goal time of 5 hours.
There was supposed to be food provided, but I guess we weren’t fast enough because nothing was left. We noshed on whatever we could scrounge as we waited for Jay to finish his first ever marathon.
A round of celebratory prosecco at my house later, we were all on our way to nurse our legs and get our body temperatures back to normal. All in all, it was a great race, though I really wish some of the promised food had still been left.
And some bling. I could always use more race bling.