Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Big Race - Grand Teton Relay 2012

We did it. It was hot and we were beyond tired and sometimes it felt pretty awful. But Team Loosli finished the Grand Teton Relay for the second year in a row and I was a proud (but somewhat slow) member of that team. We actually finished an hour faster that last year and felt quite accomplished.

The scenery was gorgeous. The company was excellent. The support of every team member for each other was impressive. And some of our team members were pretty darn amazing runners (some 6-minute miles happened - wow - and we had some amazing runners who ran up the Teton Pass and up the road to Grand Targhee ski resort - steep, steep stuff).

The hardest parts for me were the heat and the lack of sleep. I ran two of my three legs in the heat of the day which sort of killed me. I realized yet again that I'm not good at sweating. I get so hot I think I'm going to die before I finally start sweating and then I start to feel much better. I also realized that I've somehow lost the ability I once had to sleep anytime, anywhere. I had such a hard time catching any sleep in the van and during the precious couple of hours we had to sleep while the other van was doing their legs, I just couldn't sleep. Every little noise woke me up. And the more times I sort of fell asleep and then got woken up, the less my body could relax and let me fall asleep the next time there was an opportunity. By those last legs I was SO tired it was painful. And I had a tummy ache pretty much the whole race which wasn't fun.

But I was stronger and faster than last year which made me happy. And my hip and knee gave me very little trouble (they'd been hurting a lot on runs leading up to the race so I was worried...). I had longer and more hilly legs than last year which scared me at first but I ended up really liking the legs I had - loved running through beautiful farmland and down the final incline of the Grand Targhee hill plus really enjoyed running my 1am run - deliciously cool, bright and beautiful stars, something sort of crazy and fun about running up and down hills in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere...

Here we are at the starting line in Ashton, Idaho.

Fun to have the kids there to cheer us on (so grateful to Grandma and Brian and Karen and everyone else who pitched in to help out with the kids while Jared and I were running)

Here I am ready to run my first leg of the race. Eliza, Isaac and Jared ran with me for part of the way. That really helped. (I have to admit I was pretty whiney to Jared during the hard parts of that first leg - he was pretty darn nice to stick with me when I was being so unpleasant.)

The hand-off after my first leg:

Awesome van one team after we'd all finished our first legs and passed off to van 2. Left to right: Jared's sister Jayne, nieces Allison, Portia and Rebecca, and nephew Mark

 Here's Jared doing his hardest leg - a long uphill grueling run in the heat of the day to the Idaho/Wyoming border. He was very impressive.

Here's Jared handing off to Nick - so glad to be done with that long hot run:

 What a tough guy!

Here's our team and supporters at the border. What wonderful people.

The hand-off after my last leg (love that I actually look sort of fast here...and the wheat fields were gorgeous).

Our van at the end of the race (so glad to be done!)

Here's how the van we lived in for 30 hours looked at the end (the driver's door sort of fell apart and we can't roll up the window anymore - but hey, as long as it doesn't rain, we're good!). Thanks for whipping up these beautiful vinyl stickers, Michelle. (All the race material said to be prepared for bears and if we encountered one, we were supposed to play dead unless it started to feed on us, then we should fight back. So our theme this year was about being tough enough to fight off any bears we encountered and we had stuffed bears that the gleefully beat up and stuck bandaids on decorating our vans. Luckily the only bears we encountered were the stuffed ones...)

("Kills" means the number of people someone in our van passed while running. We were pretty proud of our 15 "kills")

Here we are in Jackson Hole at the finish line (it says start but the other side said finish and the lighting was bad if we turned around...). What a team!

(I did get a medal - really! I just let one of the kids wear it for a while. It was HEAVY!)

Now I'm back to my nice little 3-mile runs 3 times a week. I'm not sure I'll want to do another relay. Maybe  I'll stick with 1/2 marathons and 10K's for a while. But this was totally worthwhile and so fun to have so many great times and build great memories with Jared's great family members.


The Circus said...

I wish I knew enough runners to do something like this. How amazing for you! Well done on the improvements.

Eyrealm said...

Congratulations Saren! I am deeply impressed! I'm SO glad that this was not an "event" when we were young but it's fun to watch now! You are AMAZING!

Andrea said...

Very impressive. You've inspired me to start running again.

Jen H. said...

I'm with you--it was a fun weekend, but I'm going to stick with races that I can run on a full night's sleep in the future. That last leg run after only a few hours' sleep was pretty horrible for me.

I'm glad I got to see you at the start! Too bad we didn't run into each other later.


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