I ran in the Big Sur International Marathon this weekend. And before you get all zippy about that, I ran it as a relay with 4 other people. Which really just means that I did a simple, short 5 mile run.
I’ve never done a relay before and I was full of questions about what it would be like
I knew that our team would be running our legs independently, so I logically knew that I would be alone, but still… the vision in my head looked mostly like this:
The reality was a lot more like this:
From my experience of one race, here’s what I now know and impart to you…
-Because it’s happening simultaneously with the actual marathoning, a relay marathon must suffer all the same hoopty and brouhaha. This means I had to wake up at the grotesque hour of 3:20 am. For a race start of 6:45 am. So that I could run 5 miles.
-Leaving The David and Vinny, the 2nd and 3rd legs, to get on the bus to take me to the start was a super strange feeling. We’re all in this race boat together, and now it’s “so long chum! see you in 8 hours!”
-As the runner of our first leg, I had to contend with the actual race start and thousands of marathoners. I could write a whole other blog post (stay tuned, maybe I will) or possibly even a scathing treatise of hate just about this race start. It took an hour to get through the porta-potty lines and bag check. Just so I could run 5 miles.
-Finishing my leg, seeing the exchange point and sprinting up to The David to pass off our relay slap bracelet was fun and exciting. That was a pretty cool 15 seconds of “Hooray! I’m doing a relay! I’m passing my baton! Go team go!” But then he ran away. Another 5 miles away. Leaving me alone with the other Leg 1ers. So that he could go run 5 miles.
-Finishing leg 1 meant that I was 21 miles away from the finisher’s village and was currently just stuck on the side of the road. A very beautiful road, granted. There were bananas and gatorade, but other than a promise of a bus ride back in another 3 hours, that was all I got. Possibly another sort of marathon, one that’s not taking place on such a scenic, yet inaccessible and remote course, wouldn’t have this problem. But being stranded for hours and hours of forever is a big fat dislike.
-So I went ahead and walked the next leg, and found The David at the end of leg 2. On my team, I ran one leg and walked a second. The 3rd legger went ahead and ran the 4th leg, as well, and then ran/walked to the end (for a total of 16 miles!). The 4th leg runner also ran the 5th leg. All the extra running wasn’t about wanting to do a longer run, it was about wanting to get to the finish, rather than be stranded somewhere along the course. Except for me. I travelled 10 miles and was still el stucko.
-We had to be at the shuttle pick-up point to be carted off to the start at 4 am. The bus dropped us off at the finisher’s village around noon. Not counting the next shuttle ride we had to take to get back to the parking lot where we’d left the car that morning, that is 8 HOURS of time for the sake of running 5 MILES. Which kind of means that I had a pace of 96 minute miles.