Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Texas Independence Relay recap 2017

The Texas Independence Relay (TIR) was my 1st race back since I hurt my hip in Aug 2016.  I wasn't able to run until the last week of Dec/beg of Jan (4.5 months off!), when my hip pain finally subsided (TFL injury).  I then decided to join a bootcamp (Transform Fitness) in Jan so I could work on strengthening my core and hip muscles to improve my running.  Thankfully all the stretching, PT, resting and strength training did its job and by the end of Jan I was able to start training outside (on the road/higher impact).  Bring it on TIR!!

The women's team I ended up joining had booked their 12 members back in Nov.  I didn't register at that time because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to run by March (weekend of 3/25-26).  Then in Feb my friend Monica let me know she could no longer run that weekend and I was able to take her spot on the team.  I was super excited to be a part of the relay!

Thankfully Jenn and I were on a team that was well prepared and had run the relay for several years.  They had all the equipment, check lists and plans figured out which made it super easy for us.  We even had a designated driver in our van (Van #2 rules!)

I picked up our van Friday around lunch time, giving me time to come home and finish any last min packing before picking up Jenn and heading over to our captain's house.  We took off for our destination around 6pm, stopping at Blacks BBQ for dinner on the way there.


And we're off!


team dinner - team beef approved!

All the yummy BBQ

We spent the night at the La Quinta in Gonzales since we had an early start time Saturday morning.  We were up around 5:30am, ate something light (yay for continental breakfast!) and then headed to the starting area.  After lots of group photos we headed to the start line, fired the cannon at 7:10am (we were off!) and ran as a team for the 1st mile.  Van 1 started with the first 6 legs while van 2 went back to the hotel, ate more breakfast and rested until we had to meet Van 1 at the exchange point.


tatted up

Jenn, myself and Christy

Team:  If I die...stop my garmin


At the start line

van 2 in race mode
While we waited for van 1 at the exchange point, I fully got into the spirit and started tagging other vans with our mark (a clock).  It was impressive seeing all the teams/vans at the 1st exchange, I've never seen anything like that in my life!  Tons of people, everyone was in an awesome mood and the camaraderie was wonderful.  We took over from van 1 around noon-ish.  By that time there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was starting to get close to 80 degrees.  I wouldn't start my 1st run until close to 4pm and I was already dreading it.  
At the exchange point, van 2 ready to take over for van 1


Jenn taking off on her 1st leg
Jenn finishing her 1st leg
sooooo excited!

running my 1st leg, at 4pm in the sweltering sun and scorching hot pavement

half way thru my 1st leg - dying

My first run was brutal, I averaged a 10 pace.  There was also no one around me so I didn't get to pass anyone.  Each person you pass is a 'kill' and you tally them up as a team.  I was soooo happy to be done with that 1st leg.  It was so hot I had to run with a cold wet towel on the back of my neck.  Thank goodness we had tons of sunscreen!  After van 2 finished our legs we stopped for dinner at a tex-mex restaurant (Las Cabos).  And there was our downfall, we were so thrilled to be sitting down and eating that many of us overate and regretted it later during our nighttime runs. Thankfully I ate lighter than normal and minimized my chips and salsa intake...others were not as fortunate.  
fatal mistake - chips & salsa for dinner
The nighttime runs were so much fun!!  But also exhausting.  This is when you want to sleep but you cant because you have to be ready to run.  I was able to catch a nap here and there as the rest of my group ran; granted they were short, uncomfortable, interrupted naps.  I was the last person to run for our 2nd legs, running from 1:30-2:30 in the morning.  Thankfully it was a nice cool 60 degrees and I managed a 9:40 avg pace, but it was also pitch black out as there were no street lights, this made running along the highway extremely nerve racking.  I was shocked to see other cars out and about that late at night.  At one point I almost stepped off the highway but recovered quickly enough to avoid a twisted ankle.  I kept looking off into the trees wondering if some wild animal would jump out and attack me.  Amazing enough I managed to pass 1 person, my 1st kill!  At this point in the night the super fast teams were catching up and passing everyone, I think I was passed by 4 crazy fast runners.  Once I finished my run we opted to drive straight to the next exchange and sleep.  I think we might have gotten 3 hours of sleep (if you can call it that).  The van seats were super uncomfortable.  Some of the girls busted out their sleeping bags and slept outside on the ground.  I decided to stay in the van to avoid mosquitoes.

ready to start the night time runs!  leg 2

night run, 1:30-2:30am
Our van took over from van 1 around 7am Sunday morning.  I was supposed to run 5 miles at 8am but was worried it might be too much for my hip, plus I didn't want to slow us down so Jenn switched legs with me.  I'm glad she did as it was a more complicated run with tons of turns, she actually got a little lost but recovered quickly.  Jenn passed off to me, I started my last leg around 9am and managed a 9:38 pace overall and passed 4 people!!  This brought me to a total of 5 kills.  :D  This leg was pretty awesome as the street was tree lined and I finished my leg running under the Sam Houston statue!  At this point humidity was pretty high (being in Houston and all), I think the temp was around 70 degrees with 100% humidity.

Jenn starting her last leg

Waiting to start my 3rd leg. Cold neck towel ready!

starting my last leg - Houston



the hand off - leg 3 complete

victory

The last few legs team members from both vans would jump in to run 2-3 miles and then switch out.  It was in the high 80's and by this point everyone was worn out from lack of sleep, heat and running at crazy hours.  Our captain brought us home and we all ran in the last 0.2 miles to the finish!!  It was 2pm by this point.  Most teams were still running in until 5 or 6pm, and the crazy fast teams who started Saturday afternoon actually finished Sunday morning before us!  I was just glad to be done!!!  We received our medals, took pictures and partook in the free pizza.  It was hard to believe we were actually done.  Most of the team stayed another night but Jenn and I decided to drive our van home that afternoon.  It was a 3 hour drive back to the rental place and then another 30-40 min drive back home.  I think when it was all said and done I was home by 7:30ish pm and showered by 8pm.  It took me 3 days to recover sleep-wise, surprisingly I wasn't sore.   
Running in the last 0.2 miles of the relay as a team!

Finishers!!!

Our ladies team took 2nd place!

San Jacinto monument

Overall it was an awesome experience and I would totally do it again, even though tt did take me a couple days to agree to next year.  Looks like we're going to try and put together our own mixed team for 2018.  Bring it!

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