"What, by running there?!"
We all laugh more than the moment deserves, but that's part of the fun of being three-fourths of the way through an 82 mile trail relay race.
Legs 5-7 were off-trail, and a completely different story. Leg 5 was supposed to go up, leg 6 down, and leg 7, well, we heard rumors, but really didn't know. Running a relay is about embracing adventure, among other things, so we didn't really need to pay close attention to the details, right?
It had been raining in the days leading up to race day, so we had no idea how muddy or slippery the trails would be, nor if the usually dry creek beds would add to the sense of adventure.
"Leg 6 runners," shouted the race staff as we waited for Dave to finish leg 5, "watch out for the slippery wooden stairs. If you fall and get hurt, you still have to make it out to the medical tent at the next exchange."
When Dave finally, and quite suddenly, appeared from the tree-tunneled twisting trail, Trisha took off enthusiastically despite the ominous warning. She passed at least one runner with obvious injuries from a fall somewhere, but managed to stay on her feet the entire time!
Leg 7 was Michael's second run. Going into it, we had heard two things...it is rolling hills and it is the easiest of legs 5-7. So much for hearsay. Michael, who recently visited the mountains of Colorado, shared after finally catching his breath, "that felt like I was back on Pike's Peak!"
And what about leg 5? Was it really all uphill? Not in the beginning, but about the second half of his run Dave confided, "I kept thinking the laws of physics would eventually kick in. You know, what goes up must come down. But at the end of each uphill section it would level-off briefly, and then just kept going up."
Despite all the craziness of their runs/hikes, our amazing trail runners managed an average pace of 10:12 minutes/mile. Rock stars!
Is there room for improvement? Of course...
The relay is a beautiful event. It is adventure, camaraderie, accomplishment, and fun. In many ways a distance relay is the closest thing to an acceptable adult version of a kid slumber party, you know, without the slumber part (unless you are running a longer relay, like our other favorite, Hood to Coast).
The relay motivates us to be better runners and sign up for more races together. It highlights running as a supportive community, and dispels the myth of running as a solo sport. And, the relay makes us work really hard for our beer!
Team ChafingTheDream(.com) is ready to run the KT82 again in 2015! The race will be on Saturday, September 5, 2015, and the lottery opens on November 17, 2014. Check out the KT82 event website for more information.
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