Whoop whoop! We participated in our first relay a couple of weeks ago. It was an incredible experience and a lot different than we expected.
It was the Nebraska Market to Market where we started in Omaha and finished in the Haymarket in Lincoln, NE.
After a lot of stress and losing members and adding members due to injuries and wondering if we would have enough to do it, we ended with 8 runners. It’s set up to have 6-8 runners and each runner takes a position and then follows that order. With 8 runners 5 of us ran 3 legs and 3 ran 2 legs. The legs where between 2.6 – 5.8 miles in distance and rated Easy – Hard based on hills and surface.
We knew we were one of the slower groups to go and the waves were to start based on expected completion time. Our team started at 6 with waves starting from 5-9:40. You had until 9:15 to finish the 78 mile course.
I was the first runner and felt completely out of my league at the start. Everyone looked fit and fast. And I was right. When we started I fell immediately to 2nd to last place and stayed there. I felt like I was pushing just to stay in that position. I think my first run was 3.2 miles. When I got to the checkpoint, they said I was faster than expected! They figured my pace at 10:17! Which I’m normally hanging around a 12 min pace! Holy crap!
Almost all of our team came out with faster than predicted times, but we all slowed down as the day went on and started struggling with some IT band or hip issues for some.
We thought we’d have time to kill between segments and brought magazines and books to read but that was not the case. Faster teams could even have 2 cars since some of the runners would beat their car to the checkpoint. By the time we got our runner up to the switch spot a few minutes before the expected time, hit the porta-potty, dug around for snacks, and drove to the next spot there wasn’t any time to spare. We did hit 3 gas stations for a real bathroom and extra snacks when we had a runner going longer.
There was also costumes and we dressed up in Patriotic redneck. There were some pretty awesome team costumes and car decorations.
At one point in the afternoon we were getting a little worried that we wouldn’t make it in by the cutoff and wished we would’ve started earlier. But we ended up making it with time to spare. And all ran it in together!
In the end we were a little disappointed with the finish. It really felt like it catered to faster teams. Even though we had an hour to spare from the cutoff, they were tearing things down when we came in. No food, beverage line had changed, no sponsors, etc. It was a letdown.
But that can’t mar the rest of the day. It was a fun day doing something different with some great friends. And we might just do it again next year.