Last we left off, we’d gone through one round of our team, and I was trying to get some sleep in the van, semi-unsuccessfully.
We got to the Van Transition Area (the points where our entire team was together for a little while while we transitioned from Runner #6, Sarah, to Runner #7, Tina) around 11:15, but we weren’t expecting the second van to get in until about 1:30am.
I sort of thought I’d be able to sleep while Tina and Monica, the runners before me, were running. I mean, I wasn’t running, so I could sleep, right? But as soon as our van mom’s alarm went off, we were all up and ready to cheer on the rest of our runners.
Tina and Monica went before me. I’d been a little nervous about the whole nighttime running thing, but watching Monica freak out right before my leg freaked me out a little, too. What would it really be like to run in the dark at 3:30?
In order to stay safe while running in the dark, there were a few things we did: wore reflective vests, sweet New Balance hats with lights and blinking lights on the vest.
[photo of Elizabeth, via Tina]
I don’t have any pictures of myself in the dark, but just picture me wearing a long-sleeved awesome pink New Balance shirt with black capris, and it’s pretty much the same thing.
The running hat with lights was one of the things I couldn’t quite wrap my head around before the race. Would the hat really throw off enough light? Would it really be so dark that I need it? Yes, and yes.
This leg was 6.51 miles. Although when I first saw how nervous Monica was, I became nervous myself, by the time it was my turn, I’d seen how wonderful the team was at supporting her on the course and was less scared. The van “hopscotched,” meaning that Monica would run half a mile, and the van would run up to meet her (cheer for her, jump out in a banana costume.)
Before each leg, NB Monica would ask us what we needed for the leg–when did we want her to stop? Would we need water? (There’s no water out on the course, which makes sense, but is an interesting difference from traditional races.)
I didn’t want to play hero, so I asked Monica to stop just as frequently for me as she had for Monica. I started off the first mile with my lower back really tight from sitting/sleeping in the van, and I was nervous it would hurt for the rest of the run, but I stopped for a second to stretch out a little and, very luckily, it ended up being fine. The first 3-4 miles were pretty dark, but I was less scared than I thought I’d be. I thought I’d be terrified. Every once in a while, in the stretches in between meeting up with the van, I’d think I heard footsteps and turn around to look…but they were my own.
By mile 4ish, I was getting into Foxborough. Not only was it starting to get lighter out (it was after 4 at this point), but there was a nice little downtown with streetlights (streeeeetlights, peeeople…ohhhhh ohh….), so I felt much more comfortable with this overnight running thing. Once I got around mile 3.5-4, I picked up the pace because I was just ready to be done and back in the van. About a mile or so before the end, some dude passed me, and I picked up the pace. I knew I’d never pass him back, but thinking about picking up my pace helped. I gave myself a goal for this leg, too–and it was to run 6.51 in no more than an hour. My Garmin literally said 1:00:00 when I stopped it, for a 9:10 pace. I can definitely run faster in “normal” races, but given the lack of sleep and sitting around, I was plenty happy with this pace.
Elizabeth, Anne and Ashley ran after me, and then it was time for another trip to the Van Transition Area.
Some of the girls tried to go back to sleep, but Elizabeth and I were wide awake, and decided to hop on top of the van. Why? I don’t really know. NB Monica mentioned she’d slept on top of her van when she did Ragnar, and we thought it was a good idea to hop up there.
Sometimes, even bananas get tired. I think she was the only one who actually fell asleep. The rest of us laid outside for awhile and chatted before Monica woke up at 9:30 and we went for coffee.
At this point, basically everyone’s stomach was upset except mine. Considering I usually am the one with stomach issues, I was convinced this meant I was next, and I ate as plainly as I could. We went to Dunkin’ Donuts and I got a turkey sausage flatbread without cheese and an iced tea.
All afternoon, I was antsy to just go run so I could get to the beach, but by the time my turn came around, I didn’t actually want to run.
But, um, I didn’t really have a choice, so off I went.
This leg was my longest, at 6.88, and it was HARD. Hot, hilly, sunny. I wish I had taken pictures on this leg, because it was pretty. I ran past some farms (that didn’t smell pretty) and a winery (which I wanted to stop at), and I tried to make myself enjoy this leg. To be honest, the running part of this leg was no fun at all. I was tired and hot and ready to be done.
Finally I finished! I was so happy to have the running behind me, but at this point, I was really antsy and wanted to reach the beach immediately. However, there were still three runners ahead of me–Elizabeth, Anne and Ashley.
Ashley’s last leg was gorgeous!
31-some hours after we started, we reached the beach.
Our van zipped ahead to get us to the beach (where Van 1 had been hanging since around noon that afternoon) and wait for Ashley to finish.
We did it!
And then we made a beeline for the burrito bowls. After 31 hours of random meals, it was nice to get some veggies.
And a quick beer.
I totally caught Sarah making a quick video in the parking lot. Vloggers will be vloggers?
We taped a quick interview with the RTB videographer who’d been hanging with us for the entire experience, and then it was all over. We boarded our vans and went back to the New Balance offices, where our entire adventure had begun. The upbeat mood we’d all been in for the previous 48 hours was replaced by some quiet small talk, as we all started to crash and realize our adventure was coming to an end.
I said goodbye to all the Boston bloggers, and Monica drove us back to the hotel where New Balance was putting us up for the night. Melissa and Ashley had mentioned earlier potentially going out when we got back to the hotel, but by the time we got back, any talk of that had ended. Ashley and I showered and were in bed by 10:15.
Sunday morning, we had a quick breakfast with Anne and Gretchen, and Ashley and I headed for South Station to come back to NYC.