Monday, September 23, 2013

Quad Cities Marathon Relay 2013

So 7 days after completing the North Face Endurance 50 mile race the entire group of us reconvened to run the Quad Cities Marathon relay as " Team Post Ultra." I was assigned the second in order and third longest leg in distance at 5.6 miles. I was hoping to run Sub 8 minute miles but wasn't sure the Achilles issues I have been having would allow it.

Jay and I had to get up pretty early to pick the rest of the crew up and make it the 100 miles to the start before 0630. But all went as planned and soon all 5 of us were comfortably squished into my jeep for the trip. We passed the time talking about strategy for the upcoming race,past races, race plans etc.. I also treated everyone to my heavy metal playlist. Every day is a good day for metal.

On arrival we met up with our 5th team member Brian who had our race packets. Jay and Ross K we're running with rival teams so they met there teammates as well. We got a quick team picture and I had to hop the shuttle bus to get to my transition point.

Our fastest runner Ross would be running the first leg and I was expecting him to run the first 6.8 miles in about 35-37 minutes. Once we got to the transition point I hung out and waited. Lots of other folks were doing the same. Eventually we saw the lead pack of marathoners and I knew Ross wasn't far behind. Sure enough soon I saw him and he was in first place for the relay at 36 minutes. He is fast!!!

Ross streaked into the transition area, handed me the relay arm band and I was off. I was determined to hold up my end of the bargain. Even though my Achilles was barking I ran the first mile at a sub 7 minute pace. For me that was flying. I was passed by a few runners and then finally by another relay racer. I was hoping to hold them off but reality is I was about twice the age and half the height of a lot of these runners. However I kept my middle aged,short, ultra tired legs moving as fast as I could. The second mile passed under 7 minutes as well. The third mile I started feeling the effects of never doing any speed work, trails are my speed work and running with faster runners generally. My legs didn't want to hear any of my theories however, I also had to climb a big hill as I took the bridge to cross back over the Mississippi River. All this contributed to a 7:30 3rd mile. I tried to hammer it down the other side of the bridge but I almost slipped on the slick concrete as I had to turn left at the bottom. The 4th mile past in 7:20 as I started to catch my breath again. I knew I only had 1.6 miles to go and I definitely didn't want any more teams to pass me. I started pushing as hard as I could. I wasn't able to look at my watch but I think the last mile passed around 7 minutes as well. As I turned left I could see the transition point ahead. I took it in hard as I could and handed the wrist band to Kelly as she took off on her 6.5 mile leg. I finished my leg in 40:33 an average of 7:14 minutes per mile.

We where in 6th relay place overall when I transitioned and I hope that was enough to hold off the team we had a friendly wager with. The anchor of their team was really fast and we had to build as big a lead as possible so he wouldn't catch us at the end. I milled around talking to some friends on other relay teams and then I caught the bus back to the start.

I continued to wander around the finish area, grabbing some food, a coffee and some soda as we waited for our team to finish. Right about the time we had anticipated we saw our final team member coming into view. We all gathered up and joined him for the final 300 yard sprint to the finish. We finished in 3:08:31. That was good enough for 4th place in the Open CoEd division however more important is that we came in 1st place in the WeRun annual relay competition. Soundly defeating our closest rivals and last years champion by almost 8 minutes. As the winner we received the traveling trophy.

Jay also was participating in the relay and I watched him past on his leg. I jumped on the course and ran with him to his transition point and then back to the waiting are. He did outstanding running 5.5 miles total,his longest distance yet. All in all it was a great day

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