On Saturday, I participated in my first relay race. Last year, I was asked by one of the parents at my daughter’s bus stop to join his team. I remember very clearly when he first made the offer. If I accepted, I would be one of seven team members to run 92-miles across the state of New Jersey (from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean). I laughed it off and said something about it being ‘too hard core for me’.
This man turned out to be very persistent! He would occasionally bring it up at the stop. Never being pushy, but always trying to encourage me with getting back into running and reminding me that a spot was still open on the team. To be honest, I never really had a desire to run in a relay. Which is why I didn’t jump at the first opportunity.
Eventually, I came around and even got excited about it once I found out my friend would be able to register along with us.
The months passed and I continued on with my running. I admitted previously that there were times I felt this relay breathing down my neck. It’s one thing to run a race and only have yourself to possibly let down…it’s an entirely different thing knowing you’ll have six people watching every second of your performance with absolute scrutiny!!
When Saturday finally arrived it was extremely humid. I ran stage one and even though it was humid it was still relatively cool. I felt good about my pace for that stage, but knew my next run (stage eight) was going to be brutally hot!! And it was. I ran for 5.5 miles in the obnoxiously bright sun with ZERO shade for about 98% of it.
My teammates insisted on stopping every mile to ice me down and have me drink cold water. I have to say, those breaks definitely felt fantastic, but they wasted precious time. I was running slowly and ended up taking costly walk breaks. While I was frustrated with my pace for that stage I can’t really complain. I ended up finishing at a full-blown sprint. I took about two minutes back at the support car to get iced down again, drank some water and then I was off again. No resting. For the remainder of the day I was literally jumping in and out of the support vehicle, running alongside the roads helping out with our teammates.
So, how can I really be disappointed about running almost 10 miles in the heat/humidity, finishing STRONG at the end of both stages and being mindful of hydration/fueling all day so that I was more than able to keep up with the hectic pace of supporting the late day runners? All of this only seven months after having a baby??!! I can’t! I absolutely did the best I could under the circumstances and the only thoughts about my performance that really matter are my own.
Now that it’s done, I can say that I am very happy with my decision to go for it. It was definitely an experience to remember. Although, I think there are a number of things could have made the experience even better. For that reason alone, there’s a part of me that would like to do another relay. Then there’s the other part of me that isn’t really interested in doing it all over again. I feel almost like it could easily become a been there done that kind of thing. Which means that it’s entirely too early for me to be making any definitive decisions!
This morning I ran three miles with an 8:42 pace. Comparable to my stage one pace. I was surprised that I wanted to run this soon after the race. It felt good and I think it’s another sign that although I may not have met my time goal for stage eight I ran ‘smart’ which is far more important.