I've missed you and missed my daily blog time - writing and musing about life. That being said, it's been good for me to have a week of rest and escape from routine. I traded in my laptop for a few library books and spend the week feeling quite peaceful.
Vacations are wonderful but they must end. So, rather than mourn what is no longer, I'm embracing the things I enjoy and have missed on my week away. Starting with writing. I have so many stories to share so I decided the best approach is to just go in order.
Last Friday, after I ran my 28k and wrote my blog, I hopped in the car and headed north to Horseshoe Valley. The Simcoe Shores 245K Ultra-distance Relay was starting in the morning and I had to get there, get organized and get psychologically prepared. Plus I knew that the rest of the troops would be arriving and that there would be snacks! Lots of them! Sweet. Salty. Healthy. Not so healthy. We had it all.
Eight runners in one place equals lots of snacks!
By 6pm, all ten of us had arrived and huge pots of pasta were boiling away. The mood was festive and we signed Klari's singlet, decorated our cars with mojito-inspired limes and went over last minute race details. We laughed and we dealt with running nerves. We ate, we drank wine and we chatted about life and love. One by one, we all headed off to bed.
Saturday morning dawned and half of our group headed out to start the race.
We called them Team Stage One. Klari, Steve, Carl and Kate were the runners and Erika was the support crew driver. They had to run from Barrie to Orillia between 9am and 2:30pm and from Midland to Wasaga Beach from 11pm to 4am.
Team Stage Two: Dan, Tina, Barb, Doug and I didn't have to leave until 3pm so we lounged around, read books, napped and ate more pasta.
My team (as I call them) had to run from Orillia to Midland between 4pm and 9:30pm and then from Wasaga Beach to Collingwood between 7am and 12pm.
It's amazing how many stories are amassed during a 24 hour period.
Stories of courage in the face of injury.
Stories of strength in the face of challenging runs.
Stories of lightning bolts.
Of other teams who cheered us on just as we cheered for them.
Stories of frustration as we watched not one but two different runners arrive at a transition point and find their team missing in action.
We crossed our fingers and sent our runners off down dark trails or up monsters climbs and we breathed a sigh of relief when we spotted their mojito-green singlet as they emerged at the other end of their journey.
Every member of our team came face to face with demons during that 245k journey. Some faced injury and agonized about whether to push through or ask someone else on the team to run for them. Some faced extraordinarily challenging runs. Others battled nerves, self-doubt and exhaustion.
I had the never-ending pressure of making sure that I did what I needed to do to get my runners where they had to be on time and ready to run. And I faced having to send Doug off to run the toughest leg of the entire relay on his own, without support. This leg was up a small country road and no vehicles were allowed. We dropped him off at the bottom of the escarpment and drove a different route up to the top to wait for him. Runners who arrived before him were pale, staggering, walking or crying by the time they reached the top. I stood in the pouring rain, staring down the road, willing him to be ok.
Our team came in 19th out of 28 teams with a total running time of 22:00:00 hours. We came in second in our category (mixed over 45).
It's a tough race but it's a lot of fun too. Best of all, it's a great way to bond with some pretty amazing runners.
We're already talking about 2012.