12 Runners. 24 hours. 200 miles.
|June 12, 2010||Posted by Lauren under Running|
The early morning fog swirls around you as you run down a quiet road through Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains. The only thing you hear is the sound of your steady breathing and your footsteps as they hit the pavement. As you watch the sun slowly rise over the trees, you feel at peace. All is right with the world.
Suddenly, you’re snapped out of your reverie by the sound of running water. Its fresh smell fills the air as you round the corner to see one of Vermont’s amazing covered bridges. You look in awe at the idyllic beauty of the scene and think to yourself, “Does it get any better than this?”
Now, imagine feeling this way despite the fact that you’ve spent the past 24 hours in a cramped van with 5 other smelly runners. After over a day with practically no sleep, you’ve been surviving on caffeine, energy bars, and pure adrenaline. This is your third and final leg of the race and at this point, you’d give just about anything for a shower and some clean clothes. Your salt-covered legs feel like bricks and your stomach is twisted up in a million knots. But somehow, you keep putting one foot in front of the other, focusing instead on the beautiful views all around you. Because, after all, this is supposed to be fun (and honestly, despite all this, it is!)
This, my friends, is what the Green Mountain Relay (GMR) is all about. A challenging relay race through the beautiful state of Vermont that truly tests your limits…all within a fun, extremely well-organized event. This will be my second time running the relay, and it is one of the most fun, yet most difficult things I have ever done.
The 200-mile Adventure Relay
So what exactly is an adventure relay? From the GMR website:
The Green Mountain Relay is a 200-mile team distance relay race adventure in Vermont designed for runners of all abilities. Scheduled the third weekend of June to take advantage of the Summer Solstice, and limited to 100 teams, the intimate GMR route travels north-south through the heart of Vermont and the Green Mountains, with a majority of the route following or paralleling historic Route 100. The Fifth Annual running of the Green Mountain Relay will be Saturday – Sunday, June 19th – 20th, 2010.
Start your running season off with a fun and challenging adventure with 5 or 11 of your running friends on one of America’s most scenic relay race routes.
…Runners will experience all that is special about Vermont: country stores, sugar houses, quaint country inns, covered bridges, and revolutionary war period homes, buildings, and cemeteries. Route 100 weaves through small towns and villages, past mooing cows, crowing roosters, and the roaring waterfalls in Granville Gulf. Runners cross over seven historic covered bridges, go up and over challenging hills such as Terrible Mountain, and finish with the Bennington Memorial on the horizon.
The basic premise of the event is a 200(ish) mile relay from Point A to Point B that you run with 11 of your craziest closest friends. You are divided into 2 separate vans which trade off throughout the course. Runner #1 starts, runs to the checkpoint and hands off to Runner #2. This process repeats until all individuals in the first van have run a leg of the race. Van #2 then meets Van #1 at a set transition area, where Runner #7 will take off. All runners in Van #2 then do their first legs before handing off again to the first van. This way, there is a runner from your team going at all times as you slowly make your way through the heart of Vermont, down to the finish line. Each runner ends up running somewhere between 15 and 20 miles over the course of the relay.
If you’re really crazy fit, you can choose to run the race with a 6-person team (or less!). In this case, each person would run over 30 miles.
There are adventure relays that take place all over the US. I’ve only done two – GMR and Reach the Beach (in NH). GMR is a much smaller race, but it’s definitely my favorite of the two. The event is so well organized and the scenery is amazing.
Next week at this time I will be in Vermont with EC, HOTR Sister #4, and a team of 9 other individuals who happen to be complete strangers. Yep, that’s right. I’m spending 24 hours in a smelly van with people I’ve never even met. Why would I choose to do something so crazy? Well, the truth is, the team EC and I were supposed to run with ended up falling through. We were both extremely disappointed about this, and tried to tell ourselves that there will always be next year. However, I was never completely able to accept this fact. Call me crazy, but I wanted to run the race so badly that a few weeks ago, I sent out a desperate plea on the event message board asking any teams if they still needed a couple of runners. To my happy surprise, EC and I were able to find a team that had some members drop out at the last minute, and we’re dragging my youngest sister along for the ride.
But because I had (almost) accepted the fact that I wasn’t running the race, my training has been less than ideal. In fact, my mileage has seen a significant decrease in the month since my 1/2 marathon, both because I’ve been focusing more on lifting, but also because I’ve been traveling. A lot. And I haven’t been the best about getting in runs during my travels.
Since I’ll be covering a total distance of 18.2 miles, ideally I’d like to have had a couple of 10+ mile runs along with several days of running 2 times per day under my belt at this point. In reality, the only double digit runs I’ve had so far have been on my two double run days. Most of my runs have actually been hovering around the 6 mile range. While that will be the average distance of each of my legs, I’d feel much more confident going into the relay had I been running just a bit more these past several weeks. I plan on doing a long run this weekend and again early next week as well as squeezing in one more double-day, but then I’ll just have to trust that adrenaline will carry me through.
On a positive note, I do feel pretty confident about the hills. So while two out of three of my legs are rated hard and have some pretty decent climbs, my regular running routes cover some pretty good hills, making me not (too) worried.
Updates From the Race
The cell reception is pretty bad along the course, but I’m going to try posting periodic updates through Twitter and may even try to do a quick phone-assisted blog post when possible. And I’ll definitely be doing a full recap after the event, so stayed tuned!