I don’t know how to recap this relay. There’s just too much. Too many inside jokes. Too much fun for words.
Last year, I did a pretty extensive recap of each leg. The legs didn’t change much this year, except Leg 2 had even more mud pits and Leg 10 was even more overgrown with weeds. It was warmer this year and each Team Honeybuckette runner experienced some issues, mostly stomach, because of that.
This year’s event was also much larger than last year’s. Just our division alone more than doubled in size. Last year there were four 4-woman teams (and we came in 1st!). This year: 11. We came in 4th with a time of hours and 25 minutes.
We all chose to do the same legs as last year with the exception of Mel as she’s a little busy growing a human. Alyssa filled in for Mel and rocked as Runner 1. I was Runner 2 again, Tiffany 3 and Zoe 4. And Tiffany’s husband reprised his role as relay driver!
The day started off warmer and drier than last year. It was hot (for us in the Pacific Northwest) by the time I was done with my first leg, Leg 2—the notoriously difficult trail leg at 6.8 miles. I was hopeful that I could blow my 2012 time out of the water since I knew what to expect, but I only finished 3-4 minutes faster. I lost a couple minutes, at least, when my shoe got swallowed in the mud pit that was Mile 3.
The last half-mile or so was different this year: It was sunny and in a chute…of blackberry bushes probably 6-feet tall on each side. I became extremely dizzy after crossing the finish and tagging Tiffany. Luckily that passed, I stretched…then I remembered to stop my Garmin.
Leg 2 of Rainier to Ruston Relay
Here’s a short recap, mile by mile, of Leg 2 (6.87 miles – approx. 1:08:42 – approx. 10 min. pace):
1 – 9:38 pace: technical trail–lots of logs, roots, rocks on single-track trail up on Rainier; more muddy than I remember from last year; trying to go out fast because I know I’ll lose time in mud pits in the middle of the leg
2 – 10:53 pace: I went out too fast and felt done–lots of people passed me; I’d forgotten about altitude
3 – 10:30 pace: Just trying to power through the streams and shoe-sucking mud pits instead of being timid like last year; ran through the streams on purpose to wash the mud out of my treads; felt blisters developing
4 – 11:11 pace: Shoe got swallowed by a mud pit and I had to go back, get it and put it back on
5 – 9:29 pace: My attitude was pretty poor at this point since the mud seemed worse than last year, but seeing my friends at the bridge lifted my spirits; Tiffany’s husband Will had even come down to the trail to take pictures, but when I heard them yelling, “You’re not muddy enough,” I stomped through the mud pit in front of him; shortly after this, I rolled my left ankle pretty bad and scared myself for a second, but it only felt sore not injured, so I kept going
6 – 9:04 pace: This is where it turns into more of a logging road and it’s less muddy and more jagged rocks, but pretty flat and straight
.87 – ?: Forgot to stop my watch, but Garmin says 13:43–I’d guess it’s closer to what I ran during Mile 6 or even faster since I knew I was almost done and the footing was much better. I’d done my stretching, etc., right next to the finish, so I did not add much mileage. The manual says the leg is 6.3 miles, but both this year and last year, it’s been more. Maybe from dodging and weaving mud pits?
Mel met us in Orting and hung out with us for a few exchanges. It was fun to see our other member of Team Honey Buckettes, who is busy growing a human.
Leg 6 of Rainier to Ruston Relay
My second leg, Leg 6, I planned to blow through. It’s short, flat and on a paved trail I’m familiar with. Turns out, I only ran it NINE SECONDS faster. Here’s a short recap of Leg 6 (2.73 miles – 22:24 – 8:13 pace):
Leg 6 of yesterday’s Rainier to Ruston Relay: My legs were shot from Leg 2, but since it was a shorter distance I wanted to power through and run hard. Unfortunately, the sun was making it rough on us warm-weather wimps from the PNW.
1 – 8:06: Went out too fast, yet again; hot
2 – 8:22: dying
.73 – 8:14 pace: trying to catch the team in front of me, but needed another quarter mile or so
All day, I’d been dreading Leg 10. In fact, I’d developed a very poor attitude toward running and let everyone know that “Running is dumb” and “I’m so over running” and “Running is overrated.” I mean, after a couple miles, what’s the point? Yes, I realize I have a marathon this year.
Leg 10 of Rainier to Ruston Relay
Anyway, Leg 10 is a horse trail, and it’s sandy and overgrown with tall grass-like weeds that try to grab your ankles as you hop between the two skinny tracks (take the one most traveled and less weedy so as not to fall). I had high hopes it’d been mowed or something. It was worse than last year.
However, it felt like it went by faster. And I did run it a couple minutes faster than last year. It wasn’t as bad as I’d remembered it, but then again, I did get cloud cover for my last leg.
Here’s a short recap (3.13 – 29:32; 9:26 pace):
Leg 10 – Rainier to Ruston Relay: My final leg! I’d been dreading it all day because last year it was sand and overgrown vegetation and no shade. Since it is below a levee, one section of the trail was flooded. But Alyssa and I did get our picture taken for the Tacoma News Tribune at the exchange before my leg, so that was cool!
1 – 8:59: Wow. This surprises me.
2 – 9:26: The weeds were often as tall as me and some were bent over across the single track sandy trail. It was like they were trying to trip the runners.
3 – 10:01: The flooded section was toward the end of the leg, and it forced me and several other runners to climb the steep levee wall, run along the road for a 50-100 yards, and then go back down the levee (which was very, very steep; honestly, I was scared to go back down it but it actually wasn’t bad at all). Up on the road, you could see where the flooded area ended, and you could see the transition area. I wanted to be “fair” by not running on the road too long and went back down to the sandy trail. As I ran in the sand, I saw another runner pass me way up high–she was still on the nice, paved road. “Oh, hell no,” I thought. “Not fair!” She did come back down toward the end and I sprinted (well, it felt like sprinting) so as not to let her beat me to the finish.
.13 – 8:15: “Sprinting” in the sand
This leg was not as bad as I remembered it to be (more weedy, though); it felt like it went by much faster than last year. And I got cloud cover! My bad attitude was all for nothing.