8:00 am. We had 2 hours to catch up on sleep. Well, most of us did. I dozed off for about 20 minutes.
It has been 21 hours since the start of the Relay. We won’t be able to beat 24 hrs, but it’s not the point. Google1 elite team - passed us previous evening, so we know they are on track to reclaim this year championship title.
Running gods are definitely having lots of fun with us - it is another hot day and plenty of sunshine. Van #1 team just signed off from their last leg and we are closing onto the finish line fast.
Briana finishes very strong. Despite her first day troubles with dehydration, she pulled excellent pace during the night watch, and finished her last leg well under estimated time! Well done, fighter! First year rookie definitely ‘got it’!
Jen is consistent in her every run. Plus or minus - there are no surprises, she is ‘on the dot’. Many struggle with pace consistency, but for Jen - it is a priority, and she diligently works during every run to keep her pace even. And it pays off - team is not missing a beat.
I’m putting in my last leg, last 6.5 miles. It is relatively hilly part, but without major extremes. Rolling hills - would describe that stretch the best. Whoever marked this leg ‘easy’ on the race charts should be crucified - it is definitely not easy. I complete my last run, and pass the torch to Nick, who is now faced with steep uphills.
Last, Angie is taking on the last two legs of the race. It is unbelievable what she is able to pull off. Uphills, downhills, she crunches the miles as if they are easy casual walks on the beach. She makes it seem so easy on the outside. She is always smiling, her posture is upright, regardless of how tired she is - excellent running form! And her pace, oh, boy.
We caught up with Nick, who decided to run with Angie the last leg of the race. We determined to cross the finish line together as one team.
If those steep hills didn’t get him, then Angie's pace - did. Nick is suffering. I carry my GoPro, so I have to run in front of Angie to get a nice shot crossing the finish line. Easier said than done. My legs - are two chunks of led.
‘Boy, I’m so stiff! Let me run with you!’ - I call Angie to slow her down a bit. ‘Tell me about it!”, she responds and keeps her sub-7 minute\mile pace as if nothing happened. Yes, she also feels it, but she keeps on going.
You run with you mind - that is Angie at her best. I have no choice, but to pass the camera to our driver and I tell him - GO!
Santa Cruz Beach, sand, finishing gates. With the team we are crossing the line. That is it. We are done! 196 miles with a few extra miles added to the course - puts us just over 200 of total miles, and 26 hour mark.
We are happy, and go for an ocean dive. Well, some of us did ;) What a treat, after two days in the van, very little sleep and continuous chase against the clock! Our muscles are happy to cool down - even though not everyone took the plunge.
In the aftermath, looking back - I would have to say, TheRelay - is in the class of its own. It is fun, difficult, demanding course. But people, and team’s support makes up for it. It is definitely more challenging than any single road marathon I ever ran, and you realize that only during the last miles of the course where you can easily hit ‘the wall’, which I must admit, I did.
So, what is it like to run TheRelay? It is sort of like a Deep Space exploration. You must have not just a plan A, B, and reserve plan C - you need to be ready to face literally anything, adapt, and move forward.
TheRelay will challenge you, it will try to break your spirit, it will test you and the team. In the end, you’ll grow to appreciate every mile of the journey, and maybe, just maybe you’ll walk away from it with deeper respect for the road, distance and your mates.
Can you stomach the challenge?
Good night, and keep on exploring new things. #neverstopexploring