Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Grand Teton Relay

It was hard.  It was long (183 mile to be exact).  It was beautiful.  

Jared and I along with a bunch of Jared's wonderful family members finished the Grand Teton Relay last Saturday. It took us just over 30 hours and involved a whole lot of running, tons of togetherness in mini vans, lots of sweat, plenty of water, gatorade and ibuprophin, dozens of trips to dozens of port-a-potties, lots of laughing (and no crying!) - and almost no sleep.

Our team motto was "It will be fun" in honor of this YouTube video. And it really was fun. Except when I was running uphill for five miles during the hottest part of the day for 2 of the 3 legs I ran (I ended up pretty darn slow on those legs). And except when my headlamp started to go dim during my leg through the wilderness at 2am (thankfully, it did hold out). And except when some very noisy people from another team decided to "sleep" next to us for the already-skimpy 3 hours we had to sleep in a random park.

But the hard stuff pales in comparison to the sense of accomplishment and the great fun and bonding that was involved. We're signing up to do it again next year!

I'll let photos tell the story.

Here we are - ready to go - wondering what we've gotten ourselves into!

Here's Team Loosli - the 12 runners plus our great support crew of other family members -
just before the race began.
Our van was one of the team vans - lots of family members pitched in to make sure the vans looked great!

Here's van #1 (a.k.a. the best van).  Barb (married to Jared's brother Joel - also on the team), Mark (nephew - son of Brian who was also on the team), Rebecca (daughter of Joel and Barb), Jeff (our van driver, brother of Dan who was one of our runners in van #2), Portia (daughter of Joel and Barb and one of the youngest in the whole relay at age 16), Megan (niece, sister of Mark), me
Here's the start line - right in the Ashton City Park where we enjoy the 4th of July each year.

There goes our first runner - Megan - in the purple.  

The first couple legs of the race were through the rolling wheat and potato fields of Ashton with the Tetons off in the distance - so beautiful!

The first hand-off - Megan to Portia.  We had this slap bracelet we passed from one runner to the next.  

Mark passes off to me - and I was off on my first run -
sort of a painful one - uphill in the heat of the day
There I go - I started off pretty fast - but that didn't last...

Above is how the pass-offs looked at night. We'd get that slap bracelet and set off into the pitch dark with a headlamp. Crazy stuff but also my favorite run - nice and cool, beautiful stars, running along old railroad tracks and hoping not to run into any bears (the instruction manual for the relay did offer some pretty good instructions on how to handle a bear encounter - scary!)

Here we are somehow looking pretty chipper in the middle of the night

After a couple hours of pretty uncomfortable sleep in a random park, we got up before sunrise to go meet Jared at the top of a HUGE hill so our first runner, Megan, could take over from him.  Jared was a rock star making it up that hill - in good time, too!

Here we are at Grand Targhee Ski Resort after Jared's most crazy uphill run.

As we followed Megan down the hill Jared just ran up, the sun rose over the Tetons

The sun is almost up

And then it peeked over the mountains and bathed everything in gorgeous light.  Every 10 years or so, I can forego sleep for a great sunrise.  Why not.

We saw a moose.  Much better than seeing a bear.
My final run was through fields like this. But wow, it was hard to enjoy the scenery as I huffed and puffed along in the heat, amazed my body could move at all after so little sleep and so much running!

My good kids ran with me for a few minutes and brought me some water in the middle of that last 5.3 mile run that felt like about 10 miles.  They thought I should be running a bit faster.  I tried to explain between huffs and puffs that I had been running a lot faster 20 hours earlier but I was lucky to be running at all at this point!

My final hand-off to Barb.  Wow, was I glad to be done!

The kids were there to congratulate me.  It was great to see them.  Then we were off to support the rest of the team on 6 more legs of running - over the Teton Pass and into Jackson Hole.

There goes Brian cresting the Teton Pass. That was STEEP.  Brian is totally my hero.

Here comes Joel - down from the Teton Pass
Here's our team and all our great supporters as we crossed into Wyoming

And here's Jared - ready to run the final leg of the whole race.  Yep, that's a tutu he's wearing.  Tutus seem to be the cool thing in relays so some members of our team thought we should all wear them.  When most people opted out of that idea, Jared agreed to wear one for the finish so we could finish in style.  He ran the last 5 miles in that thing.  He looks lovely, don't you think?  And he sure was easy to spot with his manly run and his tutu flowing out behind him.
There he goes on the last leg of the race!
Teton Village - getting close to the finish line.  We all got to join Jared for the last quarter mile of the race to finish together.

Here we come!
And there's me - somehow finding a touch of energy to get to that finish line!
Those medals were hard-won.  Ashton was proud.
Go Team Loosli!  We did it!

It was a grand adventure.  It WAS fun. We did it.  We'll do it again.


charity said...

AWESOME SAR!!!! LOOKS SO FUN. WELL DONE!!!! Jared is the coolest in the tutu.

Nashina and Nate Jagielski said...

Saren!!! This was almost as fun as the race to look through your great pictures. ;) You sure captured those breathtaking views well! I have to agree... the runners who ran up Targhee Hill( with the crazy blind curves and wild traffic...) and also the runners who did the Jackson Pass are truly hero's in my book! Jared's speedy running pic around that corner is great. Your legs are super toned girl, way to go! -Nashina

shawni said...

wow that is awesome Sar and Jar. Congrats! I feel like I've done it now that I've seen all the pictures. And I feel like that is enough for me and now I never, ever have to do that myself! :) I'm so proud of you guys!

Rebecca said...

You and Natalie really made this sound like so much fun. That is AWESOME that Jared wore the tutu! Not many guys would be confident enough in their manliness to do that:) GO JARED!

Eyrealm said...

FABULOUS! Congrats on a magnificent accomplishment! Gorgeous scenery! tutu was the perfect finishing touch.

Love and hooray to you BOTH.

richard said...


Natalie said...

I was just cking out your blog, I am Emily Ballards cousin and met you last year at Education Week in Rexburg. This is so inspirational! I love it! I ran a marathon almost 10 years ago and since have done NOTHING with lots of babies and whatnot. Seeing this makes me thing, maybe I could run again after all. Thanks for the inspirational boost and congratulationson a great run.

Eliza said...

That does sound like an incredible adventure and the pictures were stunning!


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