2010 Blue Ridge Relay – Post-race Wrap-up (#1?)

Before

After

This entry has been delayed long enough.  It is time to capture the annual post-race wrap-up.  I found myself delaying this post because I think I really don’t want it to be officially over (until next year).  What a fun event we had.  Like hiking, running the Blue Ridge Relay on an ultra team (6 or less runners) is a great opportunity to find what you are made of. A test. An accomplishment. Never did I think we would not finish this race – not even close. But you do have those moments while running where you have to pep talk your way through the pain, high heart rate, impossibly steep hill (truly mountains), stomach problems, fatigue or whatever else might be causing more discomfort than you would feel on a normal 10 mile run.  There is little normal about this event.  36 legs. 208 total miles. Our team of 6 runners ran between 30 and 43 miles per runner averaging 5-7 miles per leg.  The challenge is rarely in the leg distances but in the ability to keep up a regimen in between each leg. Run. Stretch. Hydrate (replenish). Eat. Change Clothes. Rest (ideally sleep). Change Clothes. Hydrate. Repeat.  Somewhere in there you may volunteer or be volunteered to drive the van from exchange zone to exchange zone, go fetch another runner from the exchange zone and escort them back to the van or socialize with other teams.  Each run past the first leg for each runner starts out the same.  Slowly and with some stiffness or soreness.  Slowly your stride returns, your body finds the flow and your mind gets the luxury of wandering in any direction you choose.  Thoughts like “what will I eat when I finish?”, “is that van coming up behind me and will it be our team van?”, “other than the obvious, what cures the ‘sloshing belly’?”, “is that barking dog on a leash?”, “is that a building in the fog or just thicker fog in the shape of a building”?, “did I really just step over beaver roadkill?” are not uncommon.  Honestly, how unlucky are you if you are a beaver and get hit/killed by a car?  Never did I question my reason for being out there running my 20th, 30th or 40th mile but oddly never did I have a great reason for running this event either.  Maybe it is camaraderie?  I would love to know whether others have deep-rooted reasons for running this relay and what they are.

Well, no shock I have digressed a touch.  Let’s talk stats, data and improvement ideas for Team 4tunate:

  • This was our 5th time running the Blue Ridge Relay:
    • 2006: 6-person mixed team: 30 hours 58 minutes (team name was originally “Low Hanging Fruit”)
    • 2007: 4-man team: 32 hours 8 minutes
    • 2008: 4-man team: 32 hours 38 minutes (by the way, the definition of ‘dumb’ in the dictionary is repeating a 208 mile relay with a 4-man team).
    • 2009: 6-person mixed team: 32 hours 01 minute
    • 2010: 6-person mixed team: 30 hours 12 minutes (our best to date!)
  • We have spent these hours in a “Dualie” van for 3 of the 5 races.  Yes, this has become our mascot.
  • Having a great sponsor like Mountain Khakis who equipped us with race leisure wear was too cool!  They make some super quality stuff!
  • Cold Chef Boyardee is the most popular post-run food of choice.  We brought 7 bananas and returned home with 2.  We brought like 80 Chef Boyardees and returned home with 2.
  • Women like to run in clean outfits for every leg run.  Not so much for the men.
  • It takes 2 hours and 25 minutes to reach Grayson Highlands from Uptown Charlotte (I write this so we can officially reference it next year).
  • 3 year old van markers are too old to use.
  • Zero air fresheners were used in our van.  That is too little.
  • Bojangles Mac-n-Cheese tastes better after the end of a long sleep-deprived run.
  • Every year at least 4 blinky lights will be found in the van prior to returning it.
  • Gas for the Dualie costs roughly $110 for the trip.
  • No matter how many bagels are purchased it is always too many.  Same goes for Bananas and Bars.
  • A loaded potato in the middle of the night after running 4 legs is a little bit of heaven.  Next year get 2 of them.
  • 0 race number belts is 1 too few – pinning numbers to clean shirts is a drag.
  • Some runners (think rookie) have requested mace for the night-time legs for the imagined serial killers.
  • 1 Snuggie was 5 Snuggies to few in our van.  Team Snuggies instead of shirts next year?
  • A car AC/DC adapter should be a race requirement.
  • Whitney wears a women’s MEDIUM, not small.  Her tallness made the team shirt look like a belly shirt.
  • Speaking of belly shirts, our van ruled that this attire is not appropriate for any of the men on our team (as a minimum standard).

I am sure there are many other relevant stats and learnings and will be adding to this list as I remember them.

As we emerge from the race we enter an official team “quiet period”.  This means noone can officially opt-in or opt-out of next year’s event.  I know where I sit (IN!) but your brain is not qualified to make a rationale, balanced choice in the days immediately following the race.

I also want to spend some time memorializing my fellow Team 4tunate runners:

  1. JMart – this guy is sneaky fast and crazy sweaty.  I secretly think he’s trying to de-throne John for sweatiest runner I have ever known.  One thing is for sure, he’s never seen a spot not worthy of a bathroom.  He also pulled some monster driving shifts this year in the wee hours of the night.  He is to be heralded.
  2. Jasut – this guy likely talks a bit too much.  He definitely does so too often without thinking.  His ship was loose for most of the trip and rarely could he get into or exit the van without having to ask someone to pass something to him.  If an article has been abandoned somewhere in the van it is his.  He remains married even when doubters thought inviting his wife to join the team might change this fact.  There’s nothing sneaky about this Jason – you can hear him from miles away.
  3. Johnny – John is an efficient speaker. Direct. His running is steady from start to finish and so is his running prep.  The only member of the team to mimic his race legs down to the mile in training. He sleeps with a sheet over his face. Occasionally he will snore.  In violation of our “quiet period” team policy, he proclaims this is his last BRR – we’ll see about that.
  4. Cindy – Rookie. Steady. Strong. Shockingly undisturbed by most of what the newness of this race threw at her.  She changed clothes while her husband held a towel around her (what does she do on a team without me?). She is no longer friends with leg 22.  She wore clean running clothes for each leg.  She needs to embrace the rejuvenating power of baby powder – mocking it will get you nowhere.  She introduced the “Snuggie” to the team.  Jaw-dropping.
  5. Alex – machine-like in his running.  Go fast.  Repeat.   His demeanor is unwaveringly positive and his running is quick.  Alex brings a calm coolness to the team.  He’s never seen a river he won’t wander into.  He’s also a consummate professional competitor.  You need him on that wall.
  6. Whitney – lean, mean running machine! Flow. Funny.  No one likes a good “Repent” sign more.  She runs a tight ship and asks little of anyone.  When she does ask for something people go out of their way to make sure she gets it.  She travels from St. Louis each year for this event – Mississippi Representin’!  Driving the Dualie may not be her thing (in my dreams I heard “stop, stop, stop, now go forward” repeated by JMart several times).

There will be more thoughts to come…until then enjoy this slideshow of pictures and these results!

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3 Responses

  1. […] MO (6th year of BRR) So, what’s so special about this race and why do we like it so?  Read this. What do I need to know about the legs and how do they break down for our 6 runners you ask?  Read […]

  2. Nicely done! Excellent finish.

  3. […] Click here to see details on our Blue Ridge Relay Run (sometimes Cindy and I have to go to extreme m… on a side note, you might enjoy the humor about this event in this post from a fellow competitor… […]

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