Sunday, July 3, 2016

WIld Rogue Relay

My 9th relay is done & done! I guess its safe to say I love me a good relay! Call me crazy, but running close to 20 miles, in 30 hours, with little to no sleep, sleeping in a suburban, eating cold breakfast burritos, and creating power arches for runners to run though is my idea of a fun, somewhat relaxing weekend {I love that my only concerns are cheering on my teammates and getting out of the van to run!}. 

After being unable to run the Wild Rogue Relay for the first couple of years {the race director is a good friend of mine and relay teammate}, this year I was not only able to run it, but was asked to join a team, consisting of employees from a company in my office building...I couldn't say no.

There are SO many things I love about a relay, but perhaps my favorite part is the instant friendships that are formed {unless of course you have the unfortunate experience of being in a van where not everyone's personalities mesh well...but knock-on-wood that has never happened to me}.  We had a runner drop out last minute due to a family emergency, and no sooner than I posted on Facebook that we were looking for a runner I received a message that someone was interested in joining our team...a very talented runner, new to the area, who was hoping to meet people while doing what she loves..RUNNING! Anyone willing to join a team of 11 runners, knowing nothing about them, with no questions asked is a winner in my book! And MOLLY was just that...such an amazing and perfect addition to our team! 

Molly got the party, and a good lead, started.


It's always amazing to witness a very talented, yet humble, runner! Rocking the 6:30s.


If it looks like I am struggling here, it is because I was...6 miles slight steady incline, but NO break! One thing I will say about this relay is it is definitely one of the more challenging races, in terms of terrain...lots of climbing. But I guess that is the price you pay to enjoy amazingly beautiful scenery.


These two...amazing...so much fun to have such a fun, loving, supportive, positive, talented father daughter duo in the van! I loved seeing the two of them bond over the experience, and Halyn ROCKED it!!!



There's something magical about finishing your first leg of a relay and experiencing your first hand-off.



See...Jill's smile says it all.






No relay is complete without a picture with Big Wayne and his cowboy hat...Wayne and I were van-mates for the Cascade Lakes Relay {another amazing Oregon relay}



The major exchanges are where the party's at.  This was the first time in which I ran a relay where we switch up our legs each time..as in I was not always runner 2.  I am not sure if I have a preference one way or another, but it did create a sense of flexibility in our ran and we switched up legs as we went....Molly took my TOUGH MOTHER leg for me, and I swapped legs with Ryan, as he jumped in and ran the last couple miles with his daughter on her final leg, and then continued on to run my leg.  I did like the lack of pressure to run our specific legs, in a specific time etc.  Created more of a team support atmosphere. My only complaint per se would be that our team captain assigned all of the more challenging legs to the stronger runners {although everyone in our van was a strong runner}, thus resulting in a lot of miles AND climbing for some.

Wonder Woman rocking the costume leg.



These two...as if 4 or 6 miles UPHILL wasn't enough, they both decided to run both legs back-to-back, for a total of 10 miles, with about 2500 ft of climbing...can we say bada$$.

Perhaps the best part of the entire relay was when they were getting ready to run, and Ryan was still contemplating whether or not to join Molly and run both legs, she looked back at him and said, "Are you ready, because I am going to take off like a bat out of hell!' She was ready to roll...and Ryan was still unsure. But of course he rallied and they crushed all 10 miles. AMAZING!







All I kept hearing about when I signed up for the relay was the amazing breakfast burritos at exchange 24..which you pre-order before the relay...so they are waiting for you! Throughout the relay we kept talking about & anticipating the burritos, building up the hype...only to pull into exchange 24 which was rather crowded with limited space to park and sleep...and no sign of burritos. As we all got tucked in in hopes of getting an hour or two of sleep, all we could think about was our damn breakfast burritos. Devastation started to sink in...until Molly woke up around 3:30 for her leg and found the {cold} burritos...WINNING! 

I had to try it...




This picture says a thousand words...Liz is running with, encouraging and supporting her sister-in-law Kim, as she runs the final leg of her first relay...their entire team was running in memory of Ethan, their nephew and son, who lost his battle to cancer several years back. Such a power & inspiring image.



Not only did we have a father-daughter, we had an amazing husband-wife team in our van as well. Seriously, we had an amazing van...I can't say that enough!


You'll notice there are no nighttime running photos, because I was the only one in Van 1 with a nighttime run...Van 2 ran through the night and the rest of Van 1 missed out on the truly amazing experience of running through the headlight and blinky light lit night! But I think they were thankful and relieved..

The checking off of our final legs...












We were happy to be DONE! 

Another relay in the books with a supportive, encouraging, and FUN team made up of 12 runners, some who work together, some family members, some complete strangers...who all ended the 220+mile relay as FRIENDS!!! 



MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!



I didn't really share much about my legs, but I ran just shy of 20 miles over 3 legs, did a lot of climbing, and enjoyed every step of the way. Wild Rogue Relay...JOB WELL DONE...I'll be back!


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