Sunday, August 29, 2010

100 on 100 Relay - A Totally Incredible Race

Love this racing bib!
This weekend was the 100 on 100 relay in Vermont.  This race takes place in August and teams race from Stowe to Okemo and most of the race is on Route 100.  Teams can range from 1 - 6 people.  Most teams do have 6 people although you do see teams of 3 on the course.  You race 3 different legs with all of you cycling through 3 times.  All runners have difficult legs although there are some runners who do have harder climbs or longer routes.  Teams have staggered starts. The slower teams start at 6:00.  I believe the very fastest teams go out around 10:00.  The goal is to have most teams finish somewhere around 10 p.m.  If you reach Leg 16 past a certain time, you must drive through that leg to finish the last two.  The last few legs can be in the pitch dark.
The whole team at the start.  
The next few pictures are the start 
with an attempt to show
how beautiful it is.












This was my second year taking part in this event.  Three of the people on my team had raced with us last year.  I had a different leg to do which I liked. Last year I had one of the hardest climbs, this year I saw running in the dark as my biggest challenge.  As the race got closer I realized running with an injury - PF- would actually be my biggest challenge by far.  I was training for the race, doing two runs in a day once a week when I was sidelined by this injury.  I stopped running for 10 days then I started running short amounts with permission to get ready to race.  Although many of my practice runs this last week were pain free, the rest of the day was not and I was worried about my ability to run 3 times in one day.  In fact I found it unimaginable.  Nonetheless I foolishly hopefully went forward.

I packed last Sunday as I knew it would be a busy week back at work.  It is like packing for a mini vacation.  I did put my faith in the weather forecast and packed outfits for a hot sunny day.  You need clothes to wear early in the day, after you race and for the next day.  You need TONS of food, drink, safety gear for night running, toiletries for overnight and ????? You get it............there was a lot to pack and take.  I finalized my choices and added last minute things Saturday morning.  I was up at 3:30 to be at the driver's house by 4:30.  Before I knew it we were on our way.

When we arrived it was light this year which was  a switch from last year.  Last year we began running at 6:00.  We did have to drive through one of the legs as our pace was quite slow and the final results - we were 90th out of 99 teams, 5 teams of which did not finish.  So we had some room for improvement.  The setting of the start of the race is where the Trapp Family Lodge is in Stowe. (Sound of Music)  It is a gorgeous setting!  Last year I was the second runner so I was able to jump into the race fairly quickly. This year I had to temper my excitement as I was the 4th runner and it was quite awhile before it was my turn. I didn't find this as hard as I expected.  The team captain started us off and before we knew it she was back and the second runner was gone.  Our race bibs - the cutest ever- tell what runner you are. Mine said 14-4.  This means we were team 14 and I was the 4th runner.  When you see runners at the transitions you see runners with team numbers similar to yours as you have predicted similar paces.  As the day goes on you see more runners with higher team numbers as those teams are catching up to you.  When you see a runner with 126-3 for instance you know that is one fast runner as they began much later than we did.  The race gets more congested in the middle of the day as these teams are racing by you and then it lessens again.
Our costumed runner ready for her leg





The racing pack includes tattoos! How fun is that!
This year there was a costume component added to one of the legs and I hope they repeat it another year. There were a lot of great costumes although you only saw the people who were racing near you.  There was also an added element with a plastic dog and trying to take pictures with it at certain spots. We were doing wonderfully with this, sure we were going to win Ipod shuffle for all of our team when we blew it and missed the last two pictures. Oh well.

Getting water from my teammate during my first leg


My race..........as I said I was runner number 4.  My first leg was slated to be 5.5 miles with a lot of uphill and a downhill finish. It was rated a black diamond for difficulty.  I had paid no attention whatsoever to this description even before my injury. Last summer I did TONS of hill training and this year ZIP!  I did my best although I must say it was definitely not what I needed for my PF.  Hills are not good at all and I find downhills the worst.  It was still not too hot and it was very scenic.  Out of staters should find this course a real treat as so much of it is stunningly beautiful.  I knew that the uphill was more than 3 miles with the last part being the downhill.  I had attempted to tape my foot to help with pain but could quickly see it wasn't working. Why I first tried this on race day is anyone's guess.  I didn't do it for my next two legs.  It did hurt but not excruciatingly so I decided I was okay. I spent a fair amount of my thinking time wondering how wise I was being.   My splits were 10:40, 10:36, 11:12, 9:52, 8:44 and 7:51.  Not exactly even splits!  My Garmin clocked it at 5.35 with a 10:04 pace. I was okay with that.  After I handed off the bracelet to the next runner I did lots and lots and lots of icing.  I also made sure to refuel and to drink tons!  Then I iced some more and stretched and iced some more.  It is amazing how the time goes by as it is really quite a stretch between runners.  You spend a lot of time cheering teammates and others on, eating, drinking changing and so on.  I found it a fine line between staying hydrated but stopping soon enough to not have to pee the next time I ran.  I did drink tons and felt overall I did a great job with hydrating. I think the prettiest leg is the 6th leg which was very hilly but beautiful.  One of our strongest runners ran this leg and she could not believe the continuous hills! But man did she power up them!  I had planned to take lots of pictures but was not totally successful. I think a lot of this was because of the time I spent icing my foot. It was hard - and truthfully painful - to get in and out of the van so I stayed put a lot encased in ice!
Finished with that hot second leg!


Then it was time for Round Two for all of us.  Last year this was the hardest leg for all of us as it was an unbelievably hot day.  Also as one of my teammates remembered we had not had a lot of hot days and were not the least bit acclimated.  I had a fairly long run in the middle of the day and walked some of it even though it was flat. That stunned me and humbled me.  This year it was hot but not the debilitating heat of last year.  There was even an occasional light breeze. This leg was 4.2, my shortest and flattest leg.  I must say it was a long 4 miles as even though the heat was better it was still pretty damn hot.  I am not a mid day runner - EVER.  It was  a very pretty section and I tried - with some success - to enjoy the scenery through which I was running.  There were a lot of bicyclists and motorcyclists out also.  It turned out there was a 100 mile ride going on in the opposite direction of our race.  The riders were a welcome distraction as well as being very encouraging and supportive. The downside was it seemed more dangerous with a narrow shoulder and so much going on.  Before I knew it - well not really - it took forever so why I just wrote that I have no idea - I was entering Rochester but truthfully before I knew it I was at the school where the transition was handing off to Racer #5.  This was my most painful leg as far as my heel went. Again it could have been worse but......  I iced and iced and all of the above again. I think the icing saved me overall and allowed me to do the whole race.  My splits were: 9:39, 9:45,9:52, 10:10 and 9:15 for an overall pace of 9:50.  These were much more even than my last leg. This was my best pace of the day (they were all similar) but my least favorite leg.  I think this was solely due to the heat. I was glad to be done this second leg.

I loved my teammates. Everyone was very supportive and encouraging. I did not know two of my teammates at all until that morning.  As I said three of us did it last year and the fourth person is a colleague of mine at work.  Everyone was so upbeat and positive about the whole experience. This was not the case last year so this year felt better for sure.  I know that 5 of us want to do it again next year and we were making plans on how to improve it.  We were sadly lacking in matching t-shirts with our team name for one thing!
About to head out on the last leg and getting
excited to go!


I expected my last leg to be in the dark but all day we were exceeding our predicted time goals so when I began my last leg it was still light, just begining to get dark.  I had to wear all the safety gear and was ready to go when runner #3 arrived at the transition. I was jealous of the runners who were done because this was my longest leg and I was worried about my heel.  It turned out to be my favorite leg.  It felt like my fastest leg although it was not. Still it was my third time racing that day so I am pleased with what I did.  My heel also felt the best of the day.  My teammate who had done this leg last year told me it was flat. Well, not so much. As she was driving while I was running she realized that she had had no idea how hilly it was (not big hills, but lots of rolling hills) because it was so dark when she was running.  She thought she was just tired and working hard although believe me she rocked this leg last year.  So as I was running I thought about my regular 6 mile run at home.  I didn't want to be expecting to be done too soon and be discouraged.  It was quite pretty while it was still light enough to see.  For a time I was running next to a lake.  As it began to get darker I was glad to have the faster runners catching up to me and passing me as I had stretches where I was feeling quite alone.  I found all other racers to be very  supportive during this leg as were the members of the other teams.  All vans going by were honking and shouting encouragement. Everyone was telling me how good and strong I looked and I chose to believe them!  I felt strong!  I loved the coolness of the air. My mistake was wearing a light wind breaker as I didn't need it at all. Taking it off with the safety vest and all seemed too cumbersome so I left it on.  My splits were 9:11 (Wow! Go AJH) 11:11, 10:46, 10:07, 9:50 and 9:27 with an overall pace of 10:06.  I LOVED THIS LEG. I don't know if it was the newness of running in the dark, less heel pain, being on my final leg or the amazing support of my team and all the other racers but I LOVED IT.  Once done, back to icing.  I did feel like I missed out on some social interactions due to all the time spent icing my foot but I found it really necessary.
Finished! (One racer headed home to her babies early)



As a team once the final runner starts you go to the finish and all run in together to finish, get your medals, get your picture taken and have a meal.  Then we stayed in a suite 2 minutes away. This year there was also a breakfast on Sunday morning with a slide show. It was nice to connect once more with the other racers and share some war stories.  Back to the finish. This year we ran all our legs - no having to drive through, started a half hour later and still finished about 40 minutes earlier.  Results have not been posted but I will share them once they are.

One odd fact. Today my heel is basically pain free which is not usually the case the day after I run.  Maybe I just need to pound the s**t out of it on a regular basis.

30 comments:

FruitFly said...

Wow - what an experience! This makes me want to meet some local runners so I could do a fun relay too. Congratulations on a great race!

Jill said...

Well, I guess you found the solution to your heel problem, eh?? :) Hey, whatever works!! Relays are such a blast, I had to miss mine this year (last weekend) where were do 187 miles in the mountains. oh well. I'm glad you had so much fun and learned to love running in the dark and came away with wonderful and fun experiencces!!! Now keep that heel at bay and do NOT let it hinder anymore of your awesome running!!! xo

Julie said...

It sounds like you had a blast! I would love to do a relay sometime...perhaps next year:) Woo hoo for not feeling any pain!

racing dawn said...

love the race report! i'm doing a relay with 12 women, covering 180 miles in a couple weeks. i'm so excited. it's so fun to read others tips and experiences. glad you were able to do it and worked through the injury! i'm working on our team t-shirts right now! hope that good, pain free heel sticks around!

Anne said...

YAY!!! I loved reading this recap...so glad you were able to run your three legs and that the heel pain seems to be better. Maybe that's the secret... ;)

That relay sounds like so much fun...now that is definitely something I would love to do at some point!!!

Chris K said...

That race sounds soooo cool. Loved the pics at the beginning of the post. Vermont seems really nice - in the summer :-) Great sign that your heel didn't hurt the next day. I think you have ruled out stress fracture cuz mine starts to ache if I walk without my boot for, like, 5 minutes.

Teamarcia said...

Looks like loads of fun! Glad the heel's behaving!

Jameson said...

Yay mom! You should just get a real tattoo!

Ewa said...

Great race report and what a wonderful area to run in.
I guess the solution for running injuries is to run more? I need to try that.
Congratulations on a great race.

P said...

What a wonderful race report, this sounds like such an incredible experience! You really rocked your legs of the race, way to go!

Her Name is Rio said...

Wow! What an experience! Congratulations. :)

Molly said...

what a fantastic race! Love the tattoos. Can't believe your heel felt fine after all that, that's great!!!

Dash said...

Congratulations on your race! How fun to do a relay, you are such a go-getter, I love it! I'm so glad your heel feels good, even better!

Claudia said...

OMG!! you are Amazing!
What a great race to participate in.
LOVE the Race bib!
Great Race Recap!

HappyTrails said...

Yay! So much fun - you are awesome! So glad your heel felt good. I, too am being "hopeful" this week (as opposed to foolish) to an IT issue that has reared its ugly head this week. It is good to be positive and "hopeful"! LOL! Have a great week!

Johann said...

I'm so glad you got to run this in the end, well done! I hope your foot sorts itself out quickly. I love running in the dark. it just adds something extra. Lovely pictures! That venue sure is beautiful.

Marlene said...

What an incredible day! Congrats to the whole team. Glad your heel held up for you - now take care of it!!

Katie A. said...

Such a great recap! I'm glad you got to finish the race strong! Relay's are a blast - sounds like you had a "perfect" one ;)

Andrew Opala said...

what an adventure ... lots of smiles all around I see.

Giorgio said...

Wonderful race report of your nice adventure. The photos show that you ran through a beautiful landscape. Great blog!

Thanks for reading my post about that Italian recipe :)

Heidi said...

Awesome race report. Relays sound like such a challenge, yet so much fun. Probably did your heal a world of good to ice it that much.

Darlene said...

loved reading your report - you did awesome!!

lindsay said...

i'm relieved to find out this wasn't a one-person affair, was gonna have to call you crazy! :) congrats on your relay legs and sounds like a really fun time.

Monica said...

Congrats! Sounds like a fun race and the scenery (as usual) was gorgeous!

LookingUpAgain said...

Great job :) I'm glad you made it through!

onelittletrigirl said...

That sounds like an absolute blast! I so want to do a race like this!!!

Fran said...

Great race report Andrea, enjoyed reading it.

What an awesome day this was for you and your team.

Amy said...

Wow - what an awesome race report and such a cool experience! I really enjoyed it - and am so glad your heel ended up being okay. That icing was probably a really good thing to do!

Suzy said...

This relay sounds like a blast!! I'm glad you were able to do it and not have your heel pain after the fact.

FruitFly said...

Hi again! Feel free to swing on by my blog - I've just given you an award!
~RR