Monday, June 13, 2011

NE Relay race report

27 hours, 21 minutes, 46 seconds.
223.1 (official) miles
6 guys
1 van

An epic struggle of Man against asphalt across all six New England states concluded at 1:02 PM Sunday afternoon on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Kittery Maine.  And the result of that battle was a resounding win for Man.  The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (or Divas, as everyone was calling us) dominated the race as the team to reckon with.

9:30AM on Saturday Cisco began our journey as our first runner.  Because of the tornado damage in the area legs 4 and 5 were cancelled and instead those two ran leg 2 and 3 with the other assigned runners.  It was kind of a messed up solution to the problem and I'm still not entirely convinced it was the best solution.

Although I can see their concern
By round two I had enough of the warmup and decided that I was just going to hammer each leg.  Screw saving some for later; I figured that it'd be better to push every leg and eventually succumb to fatigue towards the end than to save some energy and find myself with a lot more to give.  This was a challenge of attrition not a contest to see who feels better at the finish.  I started my second leg with UMass Amherst as my destination and with Zac's final words as he approached the transition area ringing in my head:

"There was a bear in the road"

Great.  I'm going to be eaten by a bear.  That thought never left my mind for the next 150 miles.

Leg three and I got the honor of crossing from Vermont to New Hampshire.  It is exactly as exciting as it sounds.  Round the rotary, down the hill, over the bridge, and pass off the baton in the parking lot of a liquor store.  Welcome to New Hampshire.

As we milled about in the third major exchange area (the area where the significantly less-abled runners would meet their other van full of sub-par runners and hand off the running duty to so that they could sleep and sip champagne instead of running) we began to hear rumors that the DVAS were so hardcore that we had managed to pass all of the other teams and were now leading the race.  The only other team ahead of us was another Ultra that had started 4 hours before us.  This instantly did two things to me psychologically.  First it instilled a "Fuck yeah, we rock" attitude in me.  Good for moral.  But secondly it also planted an idea in my head that I would be damned if I was going to let anyone pass me.  It seemed inevitable that a 12 person team had to eventually catch up to us but there was no way that I was going to be the one to let them by.  And I wasn't.  Although someone did get pretty close on my fifth leg.

But back to leg four.  It was a lot of downhills. A lot of downhills.  But there were also plenty of uphills too; especially at mile 8.7 when I was nearly reduced to a walk because the hill was so steep (I did not walk!).  Luckily the team with the cute girls on it kept stopping along the route to cheer me on.  Probably because I rocked that course so hard that they were drawn to my awesomeness.  But they also could have been cheering on a teammate that was running behind me.  I'm pretty sure it was my awesomeness.

Look at that freakin' hill at the end

Leg five began at 4:15 in the morning.  It was dark and the parking lot of the school we were at was completely empty.  We were alone at the front of the race.  That meant there were no lines for the porta-let.  Finally!  I took off into the darkness instantly stepping into a huge puddle but happy to be starting the last of my long legs.  Soon enough the sun was coming up and for the first time since the rednecks in Vermont stumbled out of the bars and into the streets there was some traffic on the roads.  Signs of life were starting to appear around me as I made my way down the road on my run towards Manchester.  It was getting harder to keep up a fast pace and the fatigue was setting in earlier than it had over the previous four legs but I still managed to hold a good pace. Soon enough I crossed the bridge and was in Manchester itself.  Being that it was not even 5AM yet I took every opportunity to run right down the middle of the road.  Take that largest city in New Hampshire!  

The leg ended with another gigantic hill that lasted about half a mile.  I struggled and pushed and ran my way up that thing and as I got close to the transition area I could see our van but Jake was nowhere in sight.  WTF was going on?  There was no way in hell that I was waiting to pass off this baton.  Suddenly he appeared, running out of the porta-let, ripping off his shirt and grabbed the baton just as I arrived.  Perfect timing.  Apparently the sequence of events went like this: they arrived at the transition area and he badly needed a toilet but there was none to be found.  The truck with the porta-let arrived to deliver it and as the base of it touched the ground he was in there taking care of business.  While this was going on I was making my way up that final hill.  The choreography of it all was sublime.

As we approached transition area 29 we were told that there was going to be a one hour hold until we could proceed because our current pace would bring us to the finish before the park it was in would even open.  Further proof that we were both kicking ass and, when the mood struck us, taking names.  But trouble was brewing, the team stacked with Brown college track runners was starting to catch up to us.  With the delay we would be starting the next leg together and it turns out that they had started the race at the same time as us.  This had suddenly become an actual race.  Exciting but short lived; she kicked Ollie's ass over that 11.6 mile leg.  C'est la vie.

Leg six and we were back on top.  Cisco and Zac had managed to beat out the Brown team and I had no intention of letting them back on top.  This was my shortest leg and I planned to give it everything I had left so when Zac handed off the bracelet I took off flying.  Mile two I came upon a trooper who had pulled over a car and in the process managed to block both the gigantic shoulder of the bridge we were on but also half of the travel lane.  As I ran towards them he was approaching the car he had stopped and for some reason he turned his back to me.  Noting the hand on the gun I made sure to loudly yell out "Behind you" as I approached.  Always a good idea to avoid startling anyone with a loaded weapon.  My last leg went down as my fastest and while it felt good I was glad to be done.

Three legs later we were done.  After downing our lobster rolls (but no beer, you bastards) we stood on the finish line to watch the Brown team cross before us and then to welcome Ollie back as he finished our run off a few minutes later.  It was done, nothing left but the drive home.

The finish.  At least it stopped raining.

My stats (via my GPS): 
TL;DR. We ran an Ultra relay this weekend.


  1. Whoa, you guys rocked it! When you say you were held an hour waiting for the park to open, does that mean one of you had to wait around for an hour, and then an hour was deducted from your finish time? I didn't quite follow that part.

  2. They would not allow us to start the next leg until 7:30. So when Sean finished running and arrived at the transition we all just hung out in the van until they said it was ok for Ollie to start the next leg. We noted in our log the time we were held up but it was not reflected in actual time run.