While I should be doing a million and a half other things right now (grading essays, completing Spanish homework, cooking dinner, etc.), I just had to recap the race I ran this weekend. It was amazing.
Six of my closest friends and I ran Iowa's inaugural Market to Market Relay, a 75-mile relay from Jefferson to Des Moines.
We woke up at 4:15 a.m. and headed across the countryside to the starting line.
It. was. frigid.
We were all bundled up quite warmly while we waited to cheer Runner 1 off on the first five miles of the journey.
At each exchange point, about half of us got out of the car to use the porta potties and to cheer in our runners.
The exchange points were super cool. Several of them were on local farms, literally next to combines and tractors. After all, we were in Iowa.
I was super nervous for my first leg of the journey for a few reasons.
First, I felt super unprepared: while I have been running with the kiddos, the furthest I have run since the marathon in October was a measly 2.4 miles. My first leg was 2.9 miles itself.
Second, I have been dealing with some heart issues lately; according to the doctor I saw on Friday and the EKG, I have "frequent PVCs," and I am seeing a cardiologist tomorrow. Essentially, it feels like my heart skips a beat and then makes up for the skipped beat by purging a whole bunch of blood with the following beat. It does not feel good and pretty much wears me out, making me feel super weak. Interestingly, the only times I don't notice the PVCs is when I'm sleeping or working out.
Third, everyone on my team was über fast and in much better shape than I.
Despite those worries, I pretty much killed it:
I ran 2.86 miles in 30:49. I started out with an 8:30 pace. An 8:30 pace. Who am I?! Granted, that pace didn't last for long, but whoa.
I know that this does not seem fast to many, but was quite quick for me, especially since the last mile was completely uphill and I actually walked a few times.
I didn't feel super great after that run, but wow, was I proud of myself.
After stretching for all of 30 seconds, I hopped back in the car, and we started driving across Iowa again, passing lots of towns I never even knew existed:
Yes, apparently Jamaica is in Iowa. Interesting.
Throughout the whole relay, I was trying to eat well and stick to the Farrell's nutritional plan. Unfortunately, that does not work so well with running races. Pretty much the last thing I wanted to eat for lunch was the cottage cheese and vegetables I had packed.
So, when we stopped at a convenience store, I picked up some goods:
The Nutri Grain bar went down in approximately two bites, and the cinnamon bears functioned as GU -- immediate carbohydrates -- prior to the second leg of my trek.
And if you thought I was nervous for the 2.9 miles, you should've seen me for the 4.6 leg. I was a basket case. My teammates said that they could just see the stress and worry emanating from me. By the time I was scheduled to hit the pavement yet again, the wind had picked up tremendously (like, gusts of 45 miles per hour), and it was no longer at our backs.
I thought I was going to die.
In fact, I kicked ass:
I ran 4.6 miles in 50:30 -- at a faster pace than my first leg. I didn't stop for one second during that race, not even to walk. I. crushed. it.
I was so fast, in fact, that my team wasn't even waiting for me at the exchange point. They thought it'd take me another ten minutes or so. I loved showing up as early as I did, as goofy as that sounds -- I felt so accomplished. And, I'm pretty sure I felt the runner's high for the first time ever.
And then I had the best piece of pizza of my entire life:
Casey's sausage pizza. Seriously. Get in my face.
After I ran my final leg, we still had four legs to go before finishing as a team. After an entire day of being in the middle of cornfields, it was nice to finally be back in familiar territory in Des Moines and in our neighborhoods. Seeing the familiar was wonderful.
Throughout the day, we had been filling in our team scorecard, keeping track of just how long the race had taken us. We finished in ten hours and 29 minutes. Yes, it took us that long to run a race.
However, we pretty much kicked butt. Per the official results below, we finished 15th in our division and 46th overall. Considering there were over 200 teams, we were pretty darn pleased.
Honestly, I had so much fun that I want to do it all over again right now. Seeing parts of the state I had never seen before was pretty darn neat. Hanging out with six of my friends all day was so fun. And running the best race of my life was awesome.
Team Sorta Neat will definitely be back in 2014.