This was my second time doing the Epic Relays, but first time competing in the Ultra Team division. For those who don’t know about relays, in its simplest explanation: you run from point A to point B (ours was Canon City to Crested Butte, CO for 191 miles); you can choose to be on a 12 person team or a 6 person team. You can read about my other relay experiences HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.
Our team, the Purple Cobras (***Gold star for anyone who can pull the reference from which we are named***) have been together in some form or another for the past 7 years. We have a core group of girls who do the relays and then we will recruit other awesome ladies to fill the rest of the open spots. Something unusual about our team is that we are an all girl 12-person team (not many out there). And even more unusual is to have an all girl 6-person ultra team. We had a lot of interest this year so we decided to put 2 teams together: one 12-person team and one 6-person team.
A big part of what makes the experience so fun is the people you are with. I have always lucked out and had some really incredible girls who have become some of my best friends. There have also been some duds, but there are usually enough of the good chicks around to help balance out that nonsense. Being crammed into a van or in our case an Expedition for 30 hours with 5 other girls and all our running gear, food, and sweaty selves can potentially be awful. I mean, we are running for 191 miles with very little rest between our 4-9 mile runs, we are tired, hungry and cranky and shit can get real, real fast. But not with our van. We all laughed, made silly sarcastic comments to each other, named called, giggled at poop jokes, had potty mouths, encouraged, supported, shared food, gear and Bio-Freeze, swapped stories and oh my gosh, laughed!
I admit, I was pretty burned out coming into the relay, coming off some pretty big runs, training, races and just life stuff, but being with these wonderful ladies helped me get back into my run groove. It was a great experience!
My Running Stats (for all you runnerds)- all data comes from my Garmin
Leg 1: 6.87 miles in 56:07 minutes (average pace of 8:10). Elevation gain of 718 feet.
Leg 2: 5.82 miles in 52:07 minutes (average pace of 8:58). Elevation gain of 998 feet. It said that I did have a loss of 28 ft but I don’t remember where that was.
Leg 3: 2.89 miles in 22:42 minutes (average pace of 7:52). It was a simple rolling section. The most memorable part of this leg was that Skeletor from another team passed me early on and I tried my darndest to catch him but those Gran-Daddy Long Legs had me beat. By the way, I thought Skeletor was a name that Nina made up because we made names up for people all throughout the course, but nope, Skeletor was the name they had written on the outside of their van door.
Leg 4: 3.60 miles in 27:13 minutes (average pace of 7:33). It said that it was 810 feet of elevation gain. I remember it as a gentle uphill until the last mile when it turned into a bitch slap of a hill.
Leg 5: 7.66 miles in 1:22:23 minutes (average pace of 10:45). Elevation gain of 1,991 feet, elevation loss- 0. I ran up Cottonwood Pass. It sucked. I was cranky, but not too cranky to be amazed by the beauty of the darkness. Wish I could’ve run without my headlamp- the moon and stars were simply awesome! I was a cranky bitch and wanted to suffer alone but it was pretty great to have my teammates cheer me on even if I did only grunt back at them. So sorry guys.
Leg 6: 8.76 miles in 1:07:50 minutes (average pace of 7:45). Elevation loss of 1,484 feet, elevation gain of 75 feet (not sure where that was). I was dreading this run so much but it felt simply delightful – how I can even say that after running as much as I had by that point, I don’t know but after running up what seemed like every leg, this downhill felt so good on my tired hamstrings, they just let my quads and core do all the work.
Our team finished 25th out of 41 teams in 32 hours and 3 minutes. Not bad for 6 chicks.
The Epic Relay course is hard to beat, but this year we were very disappointed in the organization. That race report is for another day. Until then it is just rainbows (we saw one in Buena Vista halfway through the race) and sunshine (always plenty of that to go around in Colorado) and chocolate cake (because, come on, this is me). So, until next time…
Have you done a relay race before? Which ones?
- What A Week (kandjcolorado.wordpress.com)
- RACE WEEK Ultra Marathon Training (kandjcolorado.wordpress.com)
- Recovering (kandjcolorado.wordpress.com)
- Gluttons for punishment: Running the Lipbuster Challenge (proactiveoutside.wordpress.com)