Sunday, August 16, 2009

John Denver, Monster Mix & Stank: A Wild West Relay Race Report, Part III

How long is it going to take me to FINALLY post the finale of my WWR recap, you ask?? Well it's ending today!

Missed parts I or II?

So we made it to our "campsite" at our final exchange, and we were greeted with this:

There was really no where to sleep except for in front of and behind our van...but we made it happen. For, maybe 45 minutes to an hour :)

After a few hours of not sleeping and munching on handfuls more of Monster Mix, we got up to greet Van #1 and bring in their final leg so we could finish up ours! Around this time we were getting worried that we wouldn't make the cut off time (which we thought was either 4 or 5) so upon chatting with Van #1, we decided that we would "leap frog" our leg. (We should have started the race about three hours earlier than we did.)

Basically leap frogging is having two runners on the course at once. For example, we would drop of runner #6 and then drive ahead to the next exchange and drop of runner #7. We thought this was a great idea AND it would get us to the showers quicker. So we waited a while on Van #1, cheering on the huge caterpillars who were venturing out in the road to try and cross, but inevitably got squished under the wheels of a Chevy. (Seriously, I wish we had this moment on video.) When they finally arrived we snapped a few pics for them and we were off!

Alesha and I split up Steve's leg (about 2 miles each, I think mine was a little less at like 1.8) and then I headed on for my final leg. Which.Was.Killer.
I felt like the first three miles were completely uphill but I guess they were rolling. I peaked at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass and then it was all downhill from there! For some reason I had it in my head that I was only doing 4.6...but when 4.6 came and went I figured it was a bit more :)

Killer form.SIKE!

The scenery was beautiful though, I wish I had more pictures! The highlight of this run for me was when I was trudging up the final hill and was feeling beat down and the van was parked at the top of the hill waiting for me blasting Baby Got Back and cheering like crazy! I'm telling you, it was priceless! It also gave me that much needed boost to move that junk in my trunk to the exchange!

We finished up with our next two runners (blaring John Denver the whole time! how approps) and then Alesha was up for our last runner. We went ahead to the finish line and called the other van to make sure they were going to meet us there so we could all run across the finish line together. (They had already been to the hotel and showered! So.Jealous.)


Van #2. 34 hours of non-showering, sweaty STANK!

Since this post has dragged on and on for over a week now, lets cut to the chase. Here are some pics of us all showered, clean and pretty again post-race.

Underexposed photo opp on our floor. Love these gals!!

Post-race Happy Hour at our slope-side hotel. Most of the gals got Sangria, but I opted for the more potent Marg. It was pretty good, not too sweet.

The fabulous ladies of Van #2 :)

Dinner at Mazzolo's. Yummy, over priced Italian ;)

All in all, I LOVED the Wild West Relay and would definitely do it again. I am already dreaming of the next relay I can participate in if not the WWR (Miami to Key West in February anyone?).

What I loved most about the race? Other than meeting all the fun people, I am thankful that I was finally introduced to the gorgeous state of Colorado. Previously I have only experienced the North Carolina/Tennessee/Virginia mountains which are lovely, but honestly they cannot hold a candle to the vast openness of Colorado and Wyoming and the great West. I honestly think I have fallen in love with this state! It's almost enough to make me want to shed my Southern home and head for the hills! At least temorarily ;)

I promise I will return to some normal blogging soon. I have my FINAL financial exam this coming Monday the 24th so I'm pretty bogged down until then. Hopefully after Monday my summer of studying will finally be over and I can enjoy the beach/pool before...wait, it never gets really cold down here ;)

{Did a brutal 16 miler this past Sunday with the team. It was tough but I'm glad I pushed through! Back down to 10 I think this weekend. Marathon here I come!}

Friday, August 14, 2009

John Denver, Monster Mix & Stank: A Wild West Relay Race Report, Part II

Some more pictures from our first leg!

Once our first leg was over, we started the drive to our next exchange point. It looked like it may be a longish drive and we were HANGRY so we decided to stop in Poudre Canyon for some grub. I had the greasiest, tastiest BLT and fries EVAH!

Then we got lost.

But on the way we saw this perdy sunset in Walden, CO so all was well. We found some rando to take our picture. Gorgeous! One of my fave pics from the trip actually.

Then....we got to the next exchange and we waited on the other team. And waited. And waited. In the cold. (It was in the 30s!! brrrr) When they finally showed, Cynthia was off to murder some serious Colorado hills through Medicine Bow National Forest. Almost 9 miles completely, utterly, all the way uphill. She is my hero!

Eventually I was up for my 2nd leg, 7.1 miles at around 3 AM! I started in Wyoming and ran across the state line into Colorado.

I was half asleep wheen I started preparing for this leg, so I decided to try out my Hammer Espresso gel with caffeine. I took it about 15 minutes before my run and it worked like a charm! I will DEF be buying more of these to take before my weekday morning runs. This was my best leg yet with an average pace of 9:30.

I felt like I was flying most of the run, it was so nice to just be out there in the open range Colorado cattle country in the middle of the night. Although, it was a bit creepy. (Do you see how dark that picture with the sign is?? That was taken by my teammates while I was out running!)

I also had a running partner for most of this leg. Some guy who ran up behind me and ran with me most of the way. He didn't really want to talk (even though I kept prodding him to), but he pushed me to keep running faster so all was good.

It was especially funny when Steve (who was driving the van since he was no longer running) pulled up for one of the vans "motivational cheering points" and screamed, "You're prettier than that guy behind you!" So that became something our van started screaming at runners. Eventually it was just shortened to, "YOU"RE PRETTY!!!!" Good times.

I knew guy was going to turn on the gas right when we got to the exchange, and he did, but I was okay with him coming in a few seconds ahead of me. (I was ahead of him the whole run...) I probably wouldn't have kept the good pace without him!

So thanks guy I think your name is Cooper who breathed heavier than me yet lived in Denver. You kept me moving!

I don't look tired at all! The sun started to come up and then it was Alesha's turn.

Can I move here please?

Alesha finished up our van's second leg as she ran us into the Walden, CO high school. None of us had slept more than 45 minutes and we were all tired, dirty, stanky and CRANKY! We were told we could sleep in the school (as Van #1 had done for a lovely 3 hours...we were so not hating them at that point...) but we couldn't so we looked at our maps and it said the next exchange had a "camping" area.

So we decided to venture on that way and see how much sleep we could get outside, in full sunlight, at 8 AM before our final leg...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

John Denver, Monster Mix & Stank: A Wild West Relay Race Report, Part I

Where shall I begin? This trip was only a few days, but it felt like a week! So much to catch y'all up on... Here we go for Part I of our journey to the wild wild west...

Last Thursday Shannon and I set out for our wild west adventure and made our first stop from Charleston the Chicago airport. Where we saw these:

Yes, those are man legs. And no, I have NO idea what the hell those shoes are or why he's wearing them. It was odd, very odd.

While we were waiting we took a few pictures...clearly, I am not good at this.

Ok, this one's better. Our flight from Chicago to Denver ended up being re-routed up to Nebraska due to storms. Luckily we didn't have to land there, we just, uh, hovered. When we finally landed in Denver I learned that Alesha's flight had also been re-routed, but that they had landed (just to refuel) and she was in Amarillo! Luckily though once we got off the plane and wandered around looking for our ride, she texted to say she had landed in Denver. Whew!

We wandered around looking for Julie and Jennifer, who were picking us up in one of our rented vans. We finally found them and then Ryan...and then Alesha! We were on our way to pick up Dionne (aka Steve) at his place in downtown Denver. To make a long story short, we didn't end up making it to Fort Collins (and to the rest of our teammates who were already there) until after midnight Thursday night!

But we were up bright and early Friday morning and headed off to the start! Our start time was 7:50 AM...which we were to later learn was WAY too late.

Van #2 (our van!) loading up around 6 AM Friday morning.

The Dangerous Dozen ready to roll! Don't we all look so awake?

Alesha is ready to rock it!

We arrived at the start and began the check-in process and the ultimately more important process of decorating our vans. This was key!

Van #2! Our lovely minivan for a few days...

Van #1! Courtesy of Jeri's mad van decorating skills!

10 chicks and 2....? (Continue on with that thought and you will get another team's actual name...better than Dangerous Dozen?!)

They interviewed Bobbi about our team before we started. Apparently our team motto was "Get it!" and we are all from 12 different states. Even though three of us were from Colorado, two from South Carolina, two from get the idea :) Somehow word spread of this "Dangerous Dozen" for all over the US...we were famous!

Then our first runner, Melissa, was off! (She's in the blue shorts.)

For those of you who don't know too much about how a relay race works, here is the low down:

Our team had 12 runners total. Each runner was responsible for running 3 legs of varying distances. There were 2 vans with 6 runners each, one van was the active van (meaning they were currently out running their 6 legs) while the other was an inactive van (meaning they were driving ahead to the next major exchange to wait on the active van to hand off the "baton" to their next runner). Once the active van passed off to the inactive van (i.e. runner #6 passed off to runner #7, or runner #12 passed off to #1) the inactive would now be active. Make sense?

Our start time of 7:50 was determined by our projected finish time. The faster the team was projected to finish, the later on Friday they would start. They had teams starting as early as 5 AM...which we would later come to learn that we should have started around then!

So here are the ladies of Van #2 waiting for Van #1 to finish up their first leg.

Cynthia (the hill goddess), Jennifer (the crazy good, crazy fast runner), me and Alesha (the DJ's assistant and our awesome last runner!).

Here is our #6 runner Julie coming in to meet our vans 1st runner of the day!

As Julie comes in, Cynthia leaves out! And Van #2 is on the move.

Cynthia is a ROCKSTAR! Our frist few legs were flat with some rolling beautiful is this scenery?

Unfortunately, our #8 runner Steve got injured on his first between Alesha, Jenn and I we ran the remainder of his legs.

When it came around to my turn, I was studying my leg map and realized that Jenn (who was out there running) had mistakenly ran my leg! I normally wouldn't have cared...but here was the leg I was supposed to run:

And here was the leg I ended up running...

But I rocked it! Not sure of my time, but I think it was around a 10 to 10:30 minute mile. Not too bad for crazy hills and the elevation!

Stay tuned for Part II!

Monday, August 10, 2009


...we got our asses over the pass!

The Wild West Relay was a BLAST and something I definitely would do again! We finished in about 34 hours total as we sent our final runner over the finish line and ran in together at about 4 PM Saturday in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Shannon and I had THREE layovers to get home yesterday and started out by leaving Steamboat at 6 AM, driving the three hours to the Denver airport, running through security to get to our gate then flying to Memphis (for a two hour layover) then to Atlanta (for a THREE hour layover...spent eating chips and salsa at Chili's and having some much needed girl talk) then finally back home to good ole Charleston, SC.

When we finally walked out of the airport we were welcomed by a familiar wave of thick humidity. It was good to be back at sealevel again!

Hopefully I can get a full report up for you guys ASAP...we took tons of pictures too so it should be a good one :)

Let's just say this report will include...roadside dancing, 4 AM runs through open range cattle country, Baby Got Back/John Denver/and other appropriately themed drive-by cheering & jeering, more granola/protein bars than any one person should ever consume, The Taco Blog, AMAZING ATHLETES...and tons of crazy and delirious fun with our teammates!

I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I'm probably a little crazy this morning, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Get your ASS over the PASS!

Hey guys! So sorry I haven't had time to post anything else this week. I am heading off to Colorado today for the Wild West Relay and won't have access to a computer, but of course, I will be Tweeting away the whole time! Our flight leaves at 2:41 this afternoon and we should get into Denver about 7:00 tonight. Our team starts tomorrow morning around 8 AM EST...and should finish up around noonish on Saturday.

So come visit me on Twittahville (I'm @ChasRunner) to follow our teams inaugural Wild West Relay experience! I will have a (massive I'm sure) race recap next week where I will outline the products/foods/gear that (hopefully) got me through the race...I bought a few new things to try out this weekend and review for y'all so stay tuned ;)