Race Recap: The American Odyssey Relay Race - Part 1

Happy Monday, my friends!

After a very eventful weekend, I am now able to tell you all about my experience at the American Odyssey Relay Race. This was my second year taking part of the event with team Green Leggs & Hamstrings and although I have had my running highs and lows over the past few weeks, I was completely surprised about how well it went! So let me rewind back to the beginning to give you the details of our adventure!

For those of you not familiar with the American Odyssey, this race very much resembles that of a Ragnar Relay event. This one, however, takes place on a 200 mile course from Gettysburg, PA to Washington, DC.

Each team consists of 12 runners (or less if you wish to compete as an ultra team), who take turns running a "leg" of the course. Each runner will run a leg, then repeat the cycle until each has had 3 runs under their belt.

Depending on the average speed of your runners, that will determine your starting time. Runners that are running at a slower pace will run earlier in the morning, while your faster-paced runners will begin later. This will end up allowing many of the teams to finish in generally the same timeframe so we can celebrate in DC together.

Despite having a 10:30 start time, Peter and I were up at 5am on Friday going through the same motions we always do. Though I was going to be going on an adventure that required me to run a total of 12 miles with little to no sleep, I still did my scheduled 22 Minute Hard Corps workout. Crazy? You betcha!

After breakfast and packing up some final items, we shuttled our dog, Beta to a friend's to stay while we competed.

Once she was settled, I drove Peter to Waynesboro, PA to meet up with the team. Peter was actually replacing a runner who had been ill. Though we had him down as an alternate for a while, it wasn't until early last week that we found out that he was going to be running.

Peter was in Van 1, which consisted of 6 runners total. These were our teammates who were running the first 6 legs of the course and starting at the 10:30 time. Because I was the 7th runner and in Van 2,  I didn't need to stick around for their portion of the race. I actually went home after dropping him off since I had several hours before I started my trek with the 6 members of Van 2.

I took this time to eat lunch and go grocery shopping (I did not want to go grocery shopping after all this was done). I left at 1 to meet up with a fellow teammate, Chris, and we ventured out to Waynesboro, where we would pack into our own van and begin our legs.

As runner 7, I was the first one up in our van. Once van 1 completed their first 6 legs, runner 6 would hand off to me and I would be on my way. Needless to say, my race nerves turned on. Food wasn't settling and I felt like I had to pee even if I had just gone. Still, I would attempt to use the nerves to my advantage and run the leg pretty quickly.

It was actually my longest leg, almost 5 miles. It was probably my most difficult leg as well. Though this one started with a 1.5 mile downhill, the next 1.5 miles was uphill, while the remaining steadily went downhill. I had no idea what this route looked like, but regardless, I was going to push the best I could despite my lack of hill training.

When I saw our 6th runner, Bob, emerge from the fog that afternoon, I went into race mode. It was my time to shine. I grabbed the slap bracelet and went on my way.

I flew through the downhill portion, pushing a 7 minute pace for the first mile. My confidence was roaring because I felt I could keep up with this pace with no problem. That was until the downhill went flat. I actually had to work for my pace at that point. It wasn't long either until I saw the dramatic incline. That's about the time my van drove past me. While they were cheering me on, I pointed them to the hill ahead, basically saying how much that was going to suck.

As my support drove off in comfort, I pushed as hard as I could up the first hill, which never seemed to end. My pace dropped in the second mile from 7 minutes to about 7:30. The next mile was even worse, ending with a 9:30ish pace due to the fact that I had to walk one of the hills to catch my breath.

Fortunately, I was able to redeem myself once I crested the series of hills. I was able to catch back up with my 7 minute range pace and push through to the end. I ended with a distance of 4.75 and time of 37:28.

The only thing that ran through my mind was "If I could have pushed through to another quarter mile, I could have broke 40 for my 5 mile time." That would have been a 2 minute PR. Guess I will have to prove myself in the future.

The benefit to being runner #7, is that I could relax while the other runners in my van took their turn. My nerves were no longer shot and I had a few hours before I needed to be ready for my next leg.

Once our van completed our first set of runs, we were in close proximity of my house, so we traveled there to eat, shower, and play games while Van 1 took over for a couple of hours. We ordered pizza, played Fibbage (highly recommended), rolled sore muscles with our sticks and foam rollars, while watching John Mulany stand-up on Netflix. It was a nice time to decompress and ready our bodies and minds for the next round.

Running shoes every where!

But time flies when you're doing a relay race and before we knew it, it was 10:30 and we had to head out to Boonsboro High. It was going to be my turn to run around 11, so I had to be ready regardless of the fatigue that was setting in.


No comments

Post a Comment

Professional Blog Designs by pipdig