Akron Marathon relay is for 5 people and my team name is "Four Fast Freaky Females," so either
a) my team did not count me as fast
b) we were short a runner and someone had to run two legs
While the more believable answer is a) the truth is b).
I was to run the 2.8 mile leg through Sand Run. I had never done the 5-person relay before, but having run the full and the 2 person relay one time each, I have ALWAYS run this section. It is in my opinion the worst section of the course. It is boring like the towpath and mostly uphill. There is nothing exciting going on and it comes between mile 15.5 and 18.3 (which completely sucks for the marathoners). If you survive this section the course is awesome to the finish, not easy, but way more exciting!!
I was the only teammate not in bun huggers. I want to wear tight shorts, but I'm too smooshy and too slow (it's more the smooshiness that I defer from the bun huggers than the slowness). Anyway, my mom was nice enough to get up at 5:00am to haul me down to the start and then to the relay point. We were able to watch the start of the race and see e-speed come through at HER pedestrian pace (which is still a pace, many of us can only dream to run for one mile). We screamed and cheered for her as she ran down High Street before jumping in the car and heading out to my relay point.
My legs had felt pretty good the night before on my shake out run. I had taken an ice bath on Thursday and only worked 3 days leading up to the race. The plan was to run for fun, but the girls fun pace is still faster than my "shit your pants pace," so I still felt I had to run as hard as I could.
I ran about 2.5 miles easy for a warm-up and felt pretty good. It was overcast and cool. I wasn't certain how fast we would be but I figured worst case scenario daisy would be in at 1:45:30 (that's 7:00/mile). Impressive huh? I jogged down the hill backwards to try and stay warm and loose and as I turned to jog back I saw a woman coming that looked an awful lot like, yep you guessed it....DAISY!!
Oh boy! Game time. I ran back up to the hill and jumped just a few steps in front of the mat. Daisy was almost to me when one of the race people started yelling at me to get back behind the line, runners were coming. All I could think was "Look ya crazy broad!! This is my teammate and she is the only one here!!!" I took one step and she kept yelling, but I ignored her. Daisy had to run up the hill to me and was probably exhausted and as far as I was concerned once she crossed the mat her job was done. I grabbed the snap bracelet out of her hand and took off. I secured the bracelet to my wrist and then started my garmin. I felt good and knew I probably wouldnn't catch anybody, but hopefully I wouldn't get passed by too many. The first mile felt awesome (it should have it was downhill or flat). I dont' look at my Garmin when I run, but after reviewing my splits it came back at 6:52.
Mile 2 started okay, but between the hills, the inclines and the curvy road I started to slow. I kept thinking "you're not dead yet, run dammit, run!!" I felt like I had run a 5k by the end of mile 2 and I was breathing heavy. I felt like I was in quicksand. I tried to keep pushing myself. "Just 0.8 miles, Hang on!!" I kept telling myself. My garmin split 7:42 (what the hell, just happened?).
Salty said she would run back about a half mile to meet me, but when my watch beeped she wasn't there. I know I started my garmin late, so I was well passed 2.5 miles and I didn't see the relay point either. Oh shit!! Was this course long? As I rounded a bend to the right, there she was just up ahead running toward me (Thank you Jesus!!). She did a U-turn and I could feel her trying to pull me along up to her, but she was too fast and I could see the gap getting bigger. No women in the relay had passed me until that point and then it happened. A significantly faster chick ran me down. I figured Salty was faster, but what about the girl Salty had to run against? Had I just cost us a spot? I hung on as best I could and ran for the mat.
I crossed the mat, relieved to be done, or so I thought. Salty was running away from me and the race people kept telling us to keep coming!! What the hell, not again, except now I was on the other end of it and hurting. Finally got the snap bracelet into Salty's hand and stopped my Garmin. It had 0.9 at 6:55, yuck!! I figure starting my garmin late and still being over the distance put me close to 3 miles insteasd of 2.8 -- SHIT!!
I bent over disgusted with the way my leg of the race had gone. I was bent over and spitting in the grass, trying to decided if I needed to puke or not.
I hoped I hadn't cost my teammates too much time. I think my official time was 21:23 (suck it!!)
Turns out that girl that had passed me was on a mixed relay team, and Salty ran the last girl down anyway. We finished in 2:53:57. We were 3rd overall and missed 2nd by a mere 23 seconds. All, I had to do was run 8.5 seconds per mile faster and I couldn't do it. Who knows had I run under 7:00/mile like the rest of my team, perhaps I would have set Salty up for a fighting chance at the line with the first place team. Damn, my slowness!!!!
I do feel I let them down and I am embarassed. I trained as best I could leading up to the race and ran as hard as I could, yet I am still disappointed. I don't want to end this on a bad note because everything else about the day was awesome.
E-speed was like Tigger on speed bouncing around from the start of the day until the finish. Daisy was her usual matter of fact self, all business, changing hats from relay team leader to party captain without missing a beat and Salty taking it all in stride, enjoying a little free time with friends, smiling from ear to ear like the cheshire cat before heading home to share her day with the mini-salties.
As for me, I'm glad they let me run on their team, drink a few alcoholic beverages and share in the moment.