Last weekend, I slept in a van and didn’t shower for 36 hours, and it was SO MUCH FUN.
Here’s the 11 other ladies I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with…while we were still clean, visiting the New Balance factory. P.S. I am obsessed with wrap cardigans, and this burnout one they gave us from their Anue yoga collection is no different. I want to live in it.
I flew up Wednesday night, and we had a lovely team dinner with the New Balance PR ladies (my old clients/favorite people) at Legal Seafood in the Prudential Center.
When in doubt, get the lobster. They put us up in the super-cute Hotel Commonwealth in Back Bay, and I slept like a baby. The next morning, I did a little shakeout run and then it was off to Lawrence for the factory tour.
Afterwards, we drove up to New Hampshire to begin the adventure. We stayed at one of the townhouses at Bretton Woods.
I rarely think I could live somewhere other than New York, but…
I guess that’s because I’d never stayed in a house that had a little wind-up gondola. Game changer.
The chair made out of skis and this view weren’t too shabby, though.
As a title sponsor of the race, New Balance fields something like 10-15 teams, and they threw a party for all the teams. Even the bloggers!
Clearly we closed down the party. Also, any party I can go to in yoga pants is a win in my book.
I slept like a baby, and before I knew it, it was 4:45 and time to start getting ready to get on the road and do this thing.
NB rented big passenger vans for us, and I volunteered to to drive us to the start. It actually wasn’t too hard to drive the massive van.
We got to the start at Cannon Mountain, and checked in and sent our first runner, Jess, off.
Photo via Gia
Just 200 miles to go…
I’d grabbed an egg and cheese sandwich and coffee at the start, and wondered if that was a poor decision, considering I don’t usually have that substantial a breakfast before running and NEVER have coffee. It ended up being just fine, and I’m glad I got some real food when I could.
Life lessons: do not let Theodora near markers. Somehow they were all drippy, and I ended up a smurf all weekend. P.S. I did not take that sweatshirt off all weekend other than to run. I wish I could say that was an exaggeration, but it was so comfortable.
My turn to run! New Balance gave us these super-cute Reach the Beach reflective Hi-Viz jackets, which I ended up wearing for 2/3 of my legs. I picked up these shorts at the factory store the day before, and they actually ended up working out really well – zero chafing!
My first leg was 4 miles, and it had a pretty hilly elevation profile. I set out of the gate really excited to run, and spent the first two miles wondering when it would be fun.
But the views were pretty gorgeous, so that helped, and around 2 miles in, I started enjoying myself, even though it was really difficult. You know you’re a long distance runner when the first two miles is a warm-up.
I transitioned, happy I’d be able to take a break until that night.
Once our entire van had finished and we transitioned with the other van, we stopped at American Flatbread for lunch and then tried to nap on tennis courts. But I don’t nap very well. I was physically kind of tired (which baffled me – I’d only run 4 miles and hadn’t gotten up that early) but my mind was still racing.
Our van started running again around 6pm, and ran till about 12:30. VAN 1 FOR THE WIN. We got the very civilized times. I ran around 9pm, and my second leg was 5 miles of rolling hills—and I loved it! It felt really exhilarating running in the dark, knowing that I was perfectly safe because I was around lots of other runners and my van was always as near me as possible.
I volunteered to drive again after my run, and drove for the next few runners, until we got to Christine (who is my new favorite person.) We would drive for a bit and then stop to wait for her, and I kept nodding off as we waited. BAD NEWS BEARS. I switched with someone after, and crawled into the back of the van and fell asleep, where I actually slept straight through to 5 or 6 the next morning. (This is basically unheard of in relay races.)
I woke up ready and raring to go! At the Van Transition Area, they had some food and coffee, and I got another breakfast sandwich. Why I was tempting fate having something like that when I have a weak stomach and had to run, I had no idea, but it had worked the day before.
Leg 3 for me was 8.5 miles, and to be honest, I was a little nervous how I’d feel running 8.5 after I’d already run 2 other legs and hadn’t slept much.
Once again, pretty views distracted.
Miles 1-3ish were okay. Around mile 3, Christine popped out of our van to see if I needed anything. I should have just told her a hug, because that was all I really needed then. Instead, I asked for water. My quads were really sore and my IT bands were screaming, and I just wanted to be done. Once I got the water, I waited until around 4ish to take some Honey Stinger chews, and whether it was the actual chews or a placebo effect, I started feeling a lot better. I also turned on music, and found a #Beach2014 playlist on Spotify to rock out to, and these things carried me to about mile 6. Around mile 6, the combo of the music and the Honey Stingers kicked in and I was crusing along. Don’t get me wrong, things still hurt, but I pretended it was the last 2 miles of the marathon.
SO fake. I did not really love running when this photo was taken, but I put on my best face I could.
The last mile or so, I ended up chatting with some runners around me. Going into the leg, I’d thought it was 8, so when I saw 7 on my watch I thought I was good to go…NOPE. The last .5-.6 was also straight uphill, which, you know, was lots of fun and my legs loved, but I still did my best to try to pass a few people and not walk.
I crawled into the van and wanted nothing more than a stick and some DailyBurn Post workout drink.
Van 1 finished around 1ish, and we made a beeline for food, heading to the adorable Exeter for lunch. The New Balance teams were just ahead of us, and they’d eaten at Rogan’s, so we took their suggestion and I had some yummy huevos rancheros there.
Afterwards, I still had energy to burn, and while everyone else napped in the van, I dragged Melissa with me to wander the town.
Finally, it was time to reach the beach! Lorraine was our last runner, and we all waited for her on the beach at Hampton to cross the finish line with her.
We did it! Running across the beach in sweats and barefoot (I was wearing flip flops because once I finish running, I take my shoes off ASAP) was a pretty hilarious experience.
Thanks again to New Balance and Reach the Beach for everything – it was an amazing weekend, and I know the kind of time that goes into putting these things together and appreciate all the logistics that were planned out for us, so that we basically just had to show up, run and blog.
P.S. My blog buddy Gina just released an e-book on blogging tips that you should check out if you’re trying to grow your blog and want to understand how to get a bigger following, work with brands, etc.
Have you ever run a relay race? Would you?