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2010 Texas Independence Relay: Race Report

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5ksandcabernets: 2010 Texas Independence Relay: Race Report


Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 Texas Independence Relay: Race Report

First the smell/scene: Ben-Gay. Sweaty shirts. Port-o-potties. White panel vans. White lights. 18-wheelers blowing by you on lonely deserted highways. Night lights. Soggy socks. Blisters. Wind. Night chills. Sun. Reflector vests. Camera phone. Kinesio tape. Nipple tape. Ice.

Now, the stats. (Team Name: FW Luke's A-Team. Team pic above.)

Our 10-person team (5 men, 5 women) finished the 203-mile course from Gonzales to Houston in 24 hours, 18 minutes. Pace was 7:11 min/mile. Of the 100 or so teams who ran this relay, we were fourth in our division (mixed adults) and 7th overall.

I ran Legs 8, 18, 28, and 38. They were distances of varying lengths, between 3.5 miles to 6.33 miles. The funny thing is, I've run more than 10 miles hundreds of times. But during this relay, any thing over 5 miles seemed hard. I guess that's because I was trying to hold a pace faster than my half-marathon pace for every run.

My teammates drove from Fort Worth to Austin Thursday night to pick me up. We spent the night in Lockhart, then awoke Saturday morning to drive to the start of the relay in Gonzales.

The race directors staggered the starts for each of the 100 or more teams. The slower teams took off hours earlier than the faster teams. This is so that everyone would finish relatively at the same time. For instance, the slower teams took off around 6 AM Saturday morning. We were one of the faster teams, and we took off at about 1:00 PM Saturday afternoon.

We decided to split our team into two vans. While the members in one van ran, the other van could eat, or rest. We were in the second van, which meant that even though we began running at 1 PM, my first leg of the relay (Leg 8) wouldn't begin until around 5:30 PM.

Here are my splits for each of my legs.

Leg 8: 4.53 miles in 29:24. Pace: 6:29 min/mile: This was purely an adrenaline run. Like I said earlier, I'd been waiting around to run all day and when I finally got the "baton" I was like a bat out of hell. Since it was a staggered start, I ran this leg of the relay without seeing a single soul. We ran on highways and feeder roads and in neighborhoods, so I guess I did see people __ in their cars coming right at me.

Leg 18: 6.33 miles in 42:46. Pace: 6:45 min/mile: Go run a 10k. Then go sit in a cramped van, eat some french fries, and then in 5 1/2 hours, run another 10k. Your body will be mad at you. Very mad at you. As you can see, I'm a bit slower than my first leg. Part of the reason is because it took me 7:20 to complete the first mile. I felt so stiff having waited around so long between legs. It didnt help that the course was mostly uphill. But at this point in the race, you begin to pass the slower teams who took off hours before you did. You are running in the dark and all the sudden, about 50 yards ahead, you see these blinky lights and a reflector vest. Closer. Closer, and then you pass a runner. Then a second. On this stretch of Texas nowhere I passed four runners.

Leg 28: 3.56 miles in 23:41. Pace 6:39 min/mile: I was so glad to see a short run. So glad. Before this run, it took me 20 minutes just to warm up. Again, run a 10k or a run at 10k pace, sit around for five hours, and tell me if you feel like running.
Leg 38: 6.39 miles in 47:45. Pace 7:28 min/mile: My leg was only supposed to be 6 miles. I got lost running through Pasadena. This course had the most turns of any other Leg in the relay. I tried to carry a map with me, but its hard to read and run. Still, 4 miles into the leg, I'm doing ok. Had already decided I wasn't going to try to stay under 7s. Too tired. Just wanted to enjoy this last leg. All of a sudden, I'm in a really scary neighborhood, with lawns undone, cars on jacks, pockmarked streets. And then, this car creeps up behind me, then it pulls up next to me. Guy rolls down his window. I'm thinking, 'Oh, shit.' He pokes his head out and says, "Hey, man, all the runners turned back there."
Turns out, I'd gone about a quarter of a mile down the wrong street. Found out later I should have turned on Austin Street, of all names.
At this point in the run, I totally gave up trying to even keep a sub 7:30 pace and cruised the rest of the way in.

I have to say this is relay was almost as hard as running a marathon. Almost. If degree of difficulty for a marathon is a 10 compared to running a 5K, 10k, etc. Then this relay is an 8.

And I'm ready to run another one.



Blogger verbivore said...

Awesome writeup. Don't know if I'll ever run anything like this, but it's great to know what it's like. Thanks.

March 9, 2010 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger Christie said...

You know I was confused by your tweets. I was like, wait a minute, didn't he race yesterday? How long is this race? Haha! Glad you made it through even though your body wasn't feeling it.

March 9, 2010 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Mrs. B said...

lolol @ the car coming up behind you! Great post and boy does this sound like painful fun! Good job on finishing...what an experience! Steer clear of cramped vans for awhiile :p

March 10, 2010 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger lindsay said...

i can imagine how heavy the legs feel after a 'leg' or two of a relay, but they still seem like so much fun! night running, deserted running, stinky people in a van... still seems like a good time :) glad you enjoyed yourself!

March 10, 2010 at 6:54 PM  

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