Today was Mill Cities Relay. A 28.3 mile relay race, with 5 legs, that goes from Nashua NH to Lawrence MA. This was my 3rd year running. I love relays! I love the team spirit. The weather is usually bad too which makes it even more fun!!
The first time I ran this was 2007 on a Coed Open team. I ran leg 3 which is 2.5 miles. In 2008 I ran on another Coed Open team and ran leg 2, 4.75 miles. This year I ran on the Women's Open A team, leg 4 which is 9.5 miles.
Now, I was suppose to run leg 2 again, 4.75 miles. On Tuesday of this week I get an email from my friend Laurie, who is the relay coordinator for the Winners Circle Running Club. (I don't run for the Winners Circle, I run to help out my friend.). Anyway, she asks if she can move me from leg 2 to 4. Wow... 4.75 to 9.5. I thought about it for awhile and then was like, why not?! I am not in shape to race a 9.5 race, but I said yes. She emails me back and says, "That's why I love you!" On a side note, I can't complain to her because she ran leg 4 for the Womens Masters team (which took 2nd) and then turned around and ran leg 5 for a team of new runners because they couldn't find a 5th runner! And that's why I love her!
I drove to York last night to stay at Laurie's house. It makes the morning drive much better! Another girl on my relay also stayed. We had dinner and went to bed early. Early, but I couldn't sleep. I've been having back issues for the past two weeks. My back was aching. I tossed and turned and think I fell aspleep around 10:30. I got up once in the night to pee. Probably all the water I drank. Then I woke up at 4:30. My alarm was set for 4:45 but at that point I just got up. Next, shower ... wait, there's no hot water. Ugh. I took a very cold shower. Not sure if it was worth it. I tried to eat but could only get down 1/3 of my oatmeal and was not feeling well. Wow, this isn't good. We leave the house at 5:30, stop at the Portsmouth traffic circle to pick up Beth and then head to Nashua. We had to make 2 stops for bathroom breaks and more coffee. Still not feeling well. We drop off the leg 1 runner and then head to the 2nd relay exchange. We parked the car, grabbed a few items, then jumped in with Linda and drove to relay exchange 3. Another trip to the bathroom. Still not feeling well. Trying to be positive. Finalize race attire and head to the relay exchange.
Now, I listen to music when I run and when I bike, but I never listen to music when I race. Never. Today, my stomach was such a mess and my back was so sore that I thought, I need music to drown out the pain. I made sure it wouldn't disqualify my team and strapped on the iPod.
Back to the relay exchange, I see my girl coming, take the wrist bracelet, and I'm off. It is very slick in the beginning. I'm not running as fast as I should be because I'm trying to keep my footing. Finally the path gets better and I settle in. I have no idea what pace I'm running. The mile markers are painted on the road under the snow. I pass 2 females in the first couple of miles. I keep running. I finally see a mile marker at mile 4. Nice! I check my pace, just under 7:30. I'll take that. I keep running. I take a gel at mile 5. I hit mile 6. My back it starting to hurt and get tight. I just keep running. I'm trying to get lost in the music and just run. Keep to the beat. I tell myself that just leaves 3.5, that is just one loop around back bay. I do it all the time. I keep running, but I fall off a little. I hit mile 8 and some chic passes me. I thought for maybe 30 seconds and then was like NO! I can do this. It's only 1.5 miles to the finish. I pick up the pace and run behind her for about a half mile. I finally pass her back. We hit the 9 mile marker and I pick it up again. That chic is NOT passing me again. I come to the relay exchange and hand off to our last runner. Wow. I covered the last 1.5 miles in 10 min. Overall pace was somewhere around 7:25 I think. I was very happy with my race.
Now it hits me. I stopped and reality set in and my stomach went crazy! Ugh. I found another one of my teammates and we had 2 cars to drive to the finish. We finally get parked, get inside, and change into dry clothes. Wow am I sick. Eat or no? I eat. Bad decision. I'm standing there and all of a sudden I get a hot flash and I think this is it, I'm going to puke. I breathe. I find some Ginger Ale and go sit on the floor. I sat there for a long time and finally started to feel better. I have no idea what it was, but as I sit here tonight I am fine.
End result, my Female Open team took 6th. Laurie's Female Masters team took 2nd. Jeanne Hackett's Female Senior team took 2nd. It was a good day and a lot of fun, despite the stomach issues.
This race actually made me feel good about my fitness. I am looking forward to the Mid Winter Classic and feel good about what I may be able to do in about 2 months.